Dirt 5 Playgrounds Preview

If I learned one thing in my time with Dirt 5’s Playground mode, it’s that I am not cut out for Gymkhana, or indeed any sort of intricate driving. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun, but man, I’ve got some practice before I’ll be giving any one a good run for their money.

The focus of this preview was the aforementioned Playground mode. Here, players can create their own tracks and arenas for others to download and try out. Even in the short window this demo was out, there were already some incredibly complex tracks – hence me discovering my lack of skill!

From pure races to the finish under the guise Gate Crasher, to Gymkhana tracks, the editor appears to be incredibly flexible. Those able to invest the time will find a plethora of tools at their disposal, with multiple track segments, ramps, loops and more to place at their will. This is still somewhat of a sim mind, so you’ll also need to be wary of the limits of the vehicles.

Creating the tracks is straight forward, with a pretty intuitive menu that has nice, clear images of the parts selected. Then, it’s just a case of plonking it down on the level, with the parts snapping to each other if lined up correctly. They can be placed any which way though, if you really feel like making it a challenge. Checkpoints can be placed around to guide players through, before hitting the eventual goal point. Incidental additions such as railings or bails of hay fill out the scene, and there’s a lot of options to customise not only the layout but the look of the track to your suiting.

Creating the Gymkhana trials lets us place elements for drivers to use to rack up points, and I can see some seriously fun, yet challenging tracks coming from here. One in particular I played made use of a good variety, and even though I’m really bad at it, I could see the desired route and how awesome it would be to see a competent player work through it.

Playing others creations is even easier; just browse the various tabs on the page, press play and away we go. We can rate each one after beating them, and so will see more similar ones in our recommended feed.

The driving itself is a challenge, in the way that it’s more simulation nature meant I found myself on the roof more often than not. Of course, seeing Gymkhana efforts in real life might make it look easy, but pulling those stunts off here (and indeed, IRL) is clearly beyond my skill set! I did start to get the hang of things once I calmed my boy-racer tendencies down though, and enjoyed the approach Dirt 5 takes.


The Playgrounds editor looks to be a solid and deep addition to what will surely be some solid racing action from the veterans at Codemasters. Even in this limited preview there were still a ton of options to mess about with, and more are promised for the full release. Now, I just need to get a lot of practice in before Oct 9th…

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This game was previewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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