dirt racing just isn't skill based, its all about how lucky you hit a certain bump and resulting in how fucked you are
This made me laugh, but it's also only true at first. Rally/dirt racing is like anything else: you have to learn the track. In the case of rally racing, it's more learning the terrain than the corners and is why there are rarely racecar drivers that do both. The mindsets are completely different, the responses to vehicle physics are completely different, and the only real thing in common is getting there the fastest. It doesn't mean a rally racer can't learn circuit racing, or that a circuit racer can't learn rally, but they are drastically different in real life execution because of what you described. This is why rally racers have a co-pilot, too, because the terrain is your real challenge moreso than the corners.
If I had to describe it at its core, rally racing is more about predicting what your car will do and anticipating it, and circuit racing is more on-the-fly response to pushing a vehicle to its very limit. Example: when you hit a bump and go airborne in rally racing, you literally have ZERO control over the vehicle until it lands, so you try to adjust your throttle and steering position for the landing; on a circuit, you try to take the corner as fast as possible, but human error may cause you to slightly push the throttle a smidge hard and your rear end starts to come loose, but if you have the response time of a cat, you quickly counter-steer and correct to maintain control of the vehicle at its limit of traction.
I hope that helps you do more dirt racing lol
Bruh, by that token, literally any part of the game you didn't play is "bloat" lol... Come on, man, just let people have their options
But also, now you're asking them to have a full character creation suite when they are already doing more than literally any other racing game does for your driver. And actualyyyy, you missed out on FH4 if you wanted "hang out" stuff: FH4 had actual car meets. I barely used it, but it was actually quite a neat idea to be able to see each other's car in a (small) parking lot hahaha
I'm pretty sure the density is based off graphics settings, but then again I've been maxing games out for so long or just playing them on consoles that I'm not entirely sure why you're having low traffic offline. I'd say check your graphics settings or settings in general, there might be a traffic density setting.
As for the AI, it DOES have questionable power levels, BUT I'll also say that this goes into custom modding the car versus auto upgrading. If you auto upgrade and say, it adds better brakes and a spoiler, that obviously makes you better at slowing down and taking corners. Auto-upgrade is a general sweep, and I've always custom modded for things I knew would give me an advantage. For sprint races with minimal sharp corners, I'd upgrade mostly power and my Drivatars are on Highly Skilled and Expert (depending on the race, I find dirt races on Expert to be too sweaty) and would pull them on straightaways while they would take the corners better but not quite make up the difference. This is that subtle "car enthusiast" stuff I enjoy so much lol
I'm glad you're giving it a fair shakedown, though! I never fault people for properly trying a game out even if they end up not enjoying it after all. Sometimes, well like a video I'm about to post: sometimes you don't know what you're in for in a game until you simply put the time in.
It's amazing how loading times change the perception of a game. I'm loving it a lot more now it's on my SSD, no more alt-tab killing time with something else in between the 2 to 3 minute races. Now it has flow! One race to the next. I also use one of the recommended cars now (Ford escort) which balances out the AI much better with a much nicer looking variety of cars as well. (A class). That Corvette Stingray can rest at the bottom of a Caldera :)
My issue with the bloat was, it's 109 GB, didn't fit on my SSD, so installed it on HDD which led to a poor experience. Hence being annoyed with all the customization options. Odd though that FS2020 still loads pretty much the same from HDD, yet for FH5 the difference is night and day. (3 minute load to main screen in FS2020 from SSD is just poor)
I don't see any settings for traffic density, I have no idea what that's based on. When I started the game there were tons of cars on the road, all drivatars I think. Now I see maybe a dozen NPC cars at most while driving to the next race. Very empty. I'll turn head to head requests back on, maybe that brings the traffic back.
No traffic at all now and no other players either. No clue. Oh well, races have cars :)
I'm not arguing the size of the game, just that "bloat" isn't really "bloat" just because you don't like, want, or use whatever it may be lol... By that token, all the sides quests in games are "bloat" for anyone that doesn't do those. I see "bloat" as things that literally do not factor into or serve the game whatsoever which is almost non-existent in gaming, but VERY existent in PCs you buy pre-built from large companies (which is why I build my own!). Bloat, meaning stupid software that does more to slow down my PC for the sake of some company to get my information and feed me ads or sell me things lmao...
I guess my definition of "bloat" is closer to adware or spyware stuff, but yea, I don't really think a bunch of outfits really had that much impact on the game size lol