The next entry in the Forza Horizon series is here and boy is it a doozy! Forza Horizon 5 is easily the best game in the series. Available now for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC and Xbox Cloud Gaming, there are so many things to like about it.
The game takes place in Mexico and features a large and diverse open world with awe-inspiring weather events such as towering dust storms and intense tropical storms. And, its campaign is deep and filled with challenges, which reward you for engaging in activities. That’s just the tip of the iceberg too! Let’s take a look at Forza Horizon 5 by Playground Games and see why this game is easily one of the best racing games in recent memory.
Forza Horizon 5 Details
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Racing, Simulation, Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
The largest and most diverse open world in the series
If you played any of the previous games in the Forza Horizon series, you’ll feel right at home with Forza Horizon 5. The latest game in the series brings the Horizon Festival to the vibrant and diverse land of Mexico. You play as a hotshot race car driver looking to dominate at the Horizon festival.
Character customization in Forza Horizon 5 is pretty impressive. Compared to previous games in the series, you now have a much more diverse cast of selectable characters to choose from. Some of the new customization options include selecting prosthetic limbs, hair style and colour, choosing from different voices, pronouns and the ability to purchase clothing with in-game credits.
Once you choose and customize your character, the real fun begins. The game opens with the Forza Horizon cargo plane dropping cars out of it to the landscape below. This allows you to experience several different vehicles as you make your way to the festival. As you progress and win races, not only do you unlock more cars to drive, you will also level up your character so to speak. In turn, you can buy new clothes, accessories and even a house. It adds a little bit of RPG flavour to the game.
More than 500 vehicles and a wide variety of races
The Horizon Festival in Forza Horizon 5 is an amazing showcase of not only a racing event but also amazing cars. With over 500 cars in this game, you’ll find a car from partially every corner of the globe. Every single one of the cars is replicated with such care and rendered in incredible detail on Xbox Series X.
There are cars makes and types available in the game from virtually every manufacturer you can think of, Lamborghini, Rimac, BAC, Maserati, GMC, Delorean and more! Regardless of what kind of driver you are, there is a car here for you in Forza Horizon 5 and a perfect event for you to drive it in. Races are scattered all over the map, which is 50% bigger than its predecessor.
More to see and do than ever before
As a result, compared to previous games, there is a lot more to see and do in Forza Horizon 5. The number and type of events range from road races, to dirt races, to cross country races, and drag racing!
However, events need to be unlocked and you have to have the right kind of vehicle to race in it. For example, if you want to compete in an off-road race, you will need an all-terrain vehicle. Sometimes you’ll be able to afford to buy the right car and other times you won’t. I found the pacing of the game to work really well and for the most part as the events unlocked I had enough experience and money to purchase what I needed to compete.
Driving the cars is fairly straightforward, however it’s the fine tuning and customization where you really get down to the nitty gritty. Here you can change gear ratios and a wide variety of other settings to really get your car running at max performance. To be honest, it all was a little complex for me. Not knowing much about cars, except how to drive one, you’ve really got to understand how a car works. However, my saving grace is the fact that you can use in-game money to purchase other gamers’ customizations. It will even show you if this will raise or lower your car’s stats.
Forza Horizon 5 introduces a new weather system
Forza Horizon 5 contains 11 distinct biomes featuring active volcanoes, jungles and beaches, ancient Mayan temples, and towns and cities such as Guanajuato. Mexico is such a diverse country with a wide range of elevations that Playground Games developed a new weather system.
While the four seasons still exist in Forza Horizon 5, the weather is different in each area of the map. In Forza Horizon 4, if it was snowing in one part of the map, it was snowing everywhere else. In Forza Horizon 5, the season affects each biome in a different way. Dust storms appear in the dry season, while tropical storms occur throughout the fall storm season. It really is a sight to behold and marvel at while playing.
A beautiful and vibrant Mexico
Every game in the Forza Horizon series brings the festival to more expansive and breathtaking vistas. And, Forza Horizon 5 is no different. The Mexican landscapes are absolutely amazing, even when blazing past them. Mexico is a vibrant and diverse country and Playground Games have really outdone themselves in recreating the environments in absolute stunning detail.
I often found myself stopping on the side of the road to look around in wonder at just how realistic everything looks. Photo mode allows for some really breathtaking pictures! Get ready for your jaw to hit the floor when you start playing.
Forza Horizon 5 offers two graphical modes: performance and graphics. On Xbox Series X both modes run at 4K resolution, graphics mode runs at 30fps with HDR and raytracing at the ForzaVista only. Performance mode runs at 60fps with HDR, no raytracing and additional graphics settings adjusted to maintain 60fps. Overall both modes look absolutely amazing and I spent the majority of my time playing in performance mode, for me, 60fps was just too smooth to give up.
In terms of sound design, Playground Games again nailed it with the cars, environments and soundtrack. Every single vehicle has its own distinct sound along with ambient noise of each biome. In fact, the environmental sound effects in this game are so rich you can stop your car and close your eyes and be able to pick out which environment you are in.
Forza Horizon 5 really shines with friends online
Forza Horizon 5 features numerous different ways to play with your friends online. This latest installment introduces a brand-new multiplayer mode called Horizon Arcade. Essentially, this new mode is a suite of 130 mini-game challenges that span across 11 different themes across the map.
One of my favourite mini-games in Horizon Arcade has you smashing Piñatas with your car as you drive around racing the clock against others to see who can smash the most Piñatas.
Eventlab is also another great multiplayer mode that allows you to design your own race with your own unique requirements. It’s a nice change of pace from the traditional modes in the game.
Forza Horizon 5 is the best game in the series and a must own for racing fans
Forza Horizon 5 is without a doubt the best game in the series. It takes everything that makes games in the Forza Horizon series good and makes them 10x better. From the breathtaking visuals, to the incredible amount of cars, to amazing online play, to the varied events you can compete in, and the absolutely huge map—Forza Horizon 5 has it all. You won’t be disappointed with this game at all.
+ Breathtaking visuals
+ Incredibly fun to play with friends online
+ Huge map that is packed with a ton of things to see and do
+ Diverse landscape with 11 biomes and a new weather system
– Certain types of races can become repetitive
OVERALL ASSESSMENT FORZA HORIZON 5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5