Forza Horizon 5 is the latest entry in the racing series Forza Horizon, which is part of the Forza Motorsport franchise. While Motorsport focuses on realistic track racing, Horizon has a vast open world with more of an arcade gameplay feeling. The series centers around a music and driving festival named Horizon, which has now landed in Mexico. The playable character is a freely customizable Superstar and director of the festival.
Mexico is a vast world with terrains ranging from volcanoes to beaches. The world is already fun to drive outside of the volcano, which does not have a fast way to the top, but the map is perfected with a plethora of content. At first, there are activities that have to be loaded separately. These include, for instance, races from various disciplines and Showcases that place the player in specific scenarios, such as racing against a train. Open world activities include PR Stunts, like Danger Signs, which measure jumping distance, and Barn Finds, which make the player search for the barn with a forgotten vehicle inside. Every activity contributes to the challenges known as Accolades, completion of which allows to expand the festival to unlock more stuff to do. Daily- and weekly challenges also provide more things to do, such as smashing snowmen. The number of activities is overwhelming, but they are not tedious, as they are interesting and can be done according to the player’s interest.
The massive car collection has over 500 cars from hypercars to normal cars, and more are added constantly. The best thing is that every car feels different and is customizable. There are cosmetic changes such as paints jobs, which can either be created or downloaded online from other players’ creations, but every car performance can also be increased by tuning. This is required for Daily- and Weekly challenges which require specific car and performance. The vast car collection provides a vehicle for every situation, while cosmetic changes make the cars pleasing to use. The tuning is also great as it allows one to apply a car to a specific scenario. Unfortunately, tuning can only be done in particular places such as a player house, which makes it time-consuming.
The rewarding nature of the game brings everything together. While driving, the player can perform activities ranging from speeding to smashing cactuses to earn points and multiplier. If a player has not crashed during these activities, this Skill Chain transfers to Skill Points, which can be used to upgrade the car. Upgrades include, for instance, getting more credits from specific race types with that car. The best example of the rewarding nature is, however, “Wheelspins”. They are slot machines with no chance of loss that can be earned, for instance, by leveling up. The prices include credits, emotes, and even the most valuable cars. Moreover, spins can’t be purchased with real money, and they are easy to get. The constant rewards make the game very rewarding.
Unfortunately, there are some issues. At first, the loading times can be long, particularly with races. There are also some glitches like the world not being fully loaded, which stops the driving for a moment. Still, these issues might only be present in the Xbox One, as it is not the game’s primary platform.
Outside of some issues, Forza Horizon 5 is fun to play with a vast content-filled world, customizable car collection, overall rewarding nature, and many accessibility options. I recommend it for players looking for fun experiences or open world racing games. It also has a large number of both single-player and multiplayer content, so fans of both are pleased.
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: Playground Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One (reviewed on), Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: 9.11.2021
Pictures: screenshots from the game, taken by the author
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