by Anthony Maynard
previewed on PC
All About Playgrounds
Those familiar with the franchise are aware that Dirt often perfects the rally racing formula; however, the new Playgrounds mode we had opportunity to go hands-on with, looks to freshen the formula up a bit. This mode allows players to create unique challenges and events using a series of objects within custom-built arenas. These events can then be uploaded online for all players to test their driving skills. Other games have had course builders before, so this concept will be familiar to those interested.
When creating a course, there are three challenge types to choose from; these are Gymkhana, Smash Attack, and Gate Crasher. Gymkhana has you earning as many tricks and combo points as possible in the time allowed. Smash Attack, as the name suggests, has drivers earn points by smashing into inflatable objects in a race against time. The Gate Crasher challenge requires players to drive through all the checkpoints in order, before crashing into the finish line. From the premade courses available, I enjoyed Gate Crasher the most, as it encompasses all the skills needed in a game of this genre. These courses feature tight ninety degree turns, requiring the correct racing line, straight-line speed sections, and even some jumps.
As far as creation goes, at the start, you can select one of three arenas, two are small in size the other is large. Upon setting your stage of chaos, you are dropped in and are free to create as you please. The only things required for Gate Crasher is a start gate, checkpoints in between, and a final gate for the finish. Developers Codemasters, gives players a plethora of obstacles, terrains, ramps, and much more to create the perfect challenge. As I mentioned above, those with experience in designing courses will feel right at home. The system is simple, with basic controls and a snap feature allowing seamless blending from one obstacle to the next. For people like me who shy away from creating their own courses, you will be pleased to know; this feature is easy to jump into.
The creative freedom inside Playgrounds will certainly have creators excited to build some insane courses, which has me excited for the full release of the mode. It won't take long for players to design some out of this world challenges for us less creatively inclined to take part in. I was a little disappointed to find that I couldn't choose what car to use. Instead, I was stuck with the one selected by the course creator. Leaving that decision up to the creator of the challenge makes sense given the leaderboard feature, ensuring the scores are fair. Maybe in the full release, you can run a course with whatever car you see fit, or recreate the one using the car you wish.
Preview Final Thoughts
Dirt 5's Playgrounds mode freshens up the game giving players a fun alternative from the unforgiving campaign mode seen in previous instalments. Featuring a plethora of tools to create the perfect challenge and simple controls to help make things easy, Playgrounds offers fun for everyone. Those who aren't interested in building courses of their own can still partake in ones uploaded by other community members. Conquering a difficult event and taking the top spot on the leaderboards will be worth bragging about. The creative freedom opens up never-ending possibilities and leaves me feeling excited for the full release of Dirt 5.
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