Preview: Dirt 5

I didn’t really know what to expect from Dirt 5. Disclaimer – I loved Dirt 4. Everything was brilliant, but number 5, well it looks a bit ‘hip’. All neon and a story mode, and actual track races. But… what about the rallying? 

Well, some questions remain but what I can tell you about is the Playgrounds mode. A user-creator mode gives you infinite possibilities of arenas to try set in one of three modes, Gymkhana (score the most points by doing tricks), Smash Attack (a race against time to smash all the objects) and Gate Crasher (drive through the checkpoints as quickly as possible in any order).

They’re all good, although my favourite is Gate Crasher. A few curated picks whet my appetite, but then I tried a user-created level which was a big circle with a gap in the centre that you could fall through… 

The creation tools then are wild. In the preview build, there are already vastly impressive arenas created. Massive jumps, huge turns in doughnut-shaped dirt mounds. The ones I’ve enjoyed most have you hooning around scoring points for drifts and donuts, or hitting gates with pin-perfect accuracy to complete the goal.

It’s all a bit neon – which is cool I suppose, although I’m interested to see if it translates to the traditional racing modes. It works for Playground though and it is cool. The real star though is the handling. Oh boy, the handling. The cars feel great. They feel different from each other for sure, but the sense of speed, control, rabid power under the hood all translates really well. If anything else it’s sold me on the game completely, with these weighty yet controllable beasts being flung about with accuracy and intent – well it’s really rather excellent. 

The course creator is pleasingly simple to use. I am quite proud of my gate track, set in such a way that there is really only one way to pass through them, but requiring super control to navigate through at pace. I set a time after a number of attempts which made me sit back with a huge smile. Until someone knocked three seconds of it. That’s the hook I guess.

I can’t wait to see how the game develops when it’s released later this year. It’s moved from being ‘another Dirt game’ to ‘one to watch’ for me. 

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