The Forza Horizon series has been a favorite of mine since the first release, and every new entry in this beloved racing franchise is still some of the best driving experiences on console. That being said, while Formula One might have made its return to the game with all-new content that’s shiny and brand-spanking new, it feels like Forza Horizon 5 is more about tinkering than innovating.
Forza Horizon 5 Review – The Formula Still Works. Forza Horizon 5 is the latest installment of the open-world racing game franchise developed by Playground Games. This time around, players are able to explore a vast Australian landscape that has been torn asunder by extreme weather conditions and natural disasters.
With seven Forza Motorsport games and now the seventh Forza Horizon game, Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft Games have developed quite a name on the backs of the Forza series. The Horizon series has always provided me with an incredible experience — some even more incredible than others — by delivering a high degree of pleasure, accessibility, and longevity to the globe. With Forza Horizon 5, Turn 10 Studios hopes to continue this trend.
While there are great expectations, striking a high note five times in a row is a difficult feat for any developer. The fact that the Horizon plot never actually changes from one iteration to the next makes this aim considerably more difficult. Sure, the locations, personalities, and vehicles vary, but the route the game requires the player to take is quite consistent.
With everything out of the way, let’s get into my Forza Horizon 5 review and see whether Turn 10 can do it again.
Forza Horizon 5 Review – What I Like
So, what happens when you keep utilizing the same foundation for racing, drifting, off-roading, and alternative travel from one edition of a game to the next? It can work well for developers who know how to add features, modify styles, and enhance the control system on a regular basis, and that’s how it works in Forza Horizon 5.
If you’ve been playing this game from the beginning, as I have, the control system will seem familiar and trustworthy. At its core, the Horizon series is a sim-cade with a strong arcade component.
You may start to alter your driving style and vehicle modifications to meet the task at hand after you learn how various cars respond to different environments in the Forza series. Forza Horizon 5 clings to the formula, tweaking it with a pinch of this and a sprinkling of there. In summary, the driving and racing are as enjoyable as they have always been.
If you’re new to the series, you’ll quickly realize that Forza Horizon 5 needs you to maintain control at all times, which is sometimes easier said than done.
The series continues with the premise that the control system is more nuanced than merely minimum and maximum. It requires you to learn how to ‘feather’ both the brakes and the accelerator, frequently at the same time, in order to travel the present route in front of you as efficiently as possible.
To learn all of the locations in Forza Horizon 5 is a daunting undertaking, but half the joy is figuring out how to have perfect control while being utterly out of control.
Placement, Placement, Placement
Some of the best pleasure in Forza Horizon 5 comes from immersing ourselves in the culture of wherever the next iteration takes us. We’re in the heart of Mexico in this situation, and the notion of “heart” varies by race.
You’ll be racing through Mexico’s jungles with heart-pounding intensity one minute and street racing in the middle of the city the next, or traversing ancient ruins. If that isn’t enough, try navigating the slopes and hillsides, which are packed with hazards that may change the course of your race in an instant.
Forza Horizon 5 has a big open-world area with miles and miles of alternating landscape, each zone feeling distinct from the others. The magnificent environment and visuals in Forza Horizon 5 are so vivid that I can nearly feel the perspiration pouring off my brow from the tropical heat and merciless beams of the sun, regardless of the location.
Turn 10 Studios has built a playground for us that is nothing short of magnificent. The transition from one location to the next seems lively and alive, from the rich greens of the forest or jungle to the neon lights of metropolitan night.
Finally, the locales in Forza Horizon 5 are places that I would want to live in, play in, or at the very least vacation in (assuming all the cars come with the vacation package). Every time I start the game, I get to go on an interactive vacation.
While the narrative is short and quick — and may lack the complexity that fans of the series have come to expect from it — it is presented and unfolded in a manner that accomplishes just enough. The tale here isn’t told by an AI character, it’s not about a task you completed, and it has nothing to do with how many automobiles you gather.
The true tale is told not via words, but through the atmosphere. Forza Horizon 5 allows you to get lost in the game for hours at a time while yet providing an experience that seems like it happens in a matter of minutes. That degree of immersion is quite unusual, yet it is absolutely genuine in Forza Horizon 5.
Hundreds of automobiles are available in Forza Horizon 5. And, as with previous installments of this series, the vast number of choices and possibilities available when it comes to automobile choosing is almost impossible to swallow.
The level of painstaking detail that has gone into each individual car adds to the impressive number of vehicles available.
Horizon’s automobiles have always looked incredible, but with the power of the Series X behind them, it’s a whole new ballgame. It’s one that had me stopped continuously to admire each amazing digital reproduction, and it irritated me when I damaged the aesthetics in a dramatic crash.
It’s not only about the appearance; as I noted in the “controls” portion of this article, it’s also about the handling and how each vehicle behaves so differently on various terrain.
The mix of all the locales and cars is something that simply works so well, and it made my time with Forza Horizon 5 so addicting. Even now, after writing all of this, I feel like I’m underestimating the experience’s significance.
With Forza Horizon 5, the makers have finally given me enough leeway to play the game the way I want. Those who are acquainted with the franchise and consider themselves veterans of the Forza Horizon series may believe that this is something that the series has always done – and in some ways, you would be correct.
Regardless, my favorite element of Forza Horizon 5 is the ease with which everything is presented to me on my time, in my manner, and I have complete control over how it all plays out.
Being entirely upfront, I’ve heard concerns about a lackluster plot with no complexity, but for me, that’s where the game’s true charm lies. True, the character growth is a little behind schedule, but I was able to get beyond that since it seemed like the character development was centered on me and my appreciation of this wonderful environment.
Predetermined tales that take me down a straight route with limited leeway for my choices in how I wish to see things play out give me very little pleasure.
Finally, Forza Horizon 5 gives me complete control over how everything plays out, and it does so honestly. Although it seems to be a simple notion, few game creators are aware of how to do so, much alone how to properly apply it into a game.
Turn 10’s creators have nailed this element, and although some may have preferred a plot with more branching complexity, I’ll take freedom to travel, freedom to play, and freedom to decide over a bloated storyline any day.
Forza Horizon 5 Review: What I Don’t Like
There’s a lot to like about Forza Horizon 5, but it’s not flawless like any other game. Even if the flaws and faults I encountered in-game were few or only happened once in a while, they were nonetheless there.
Some of the problems aren’t exclusive to the Forza Horizon franchise. This may involve situations such as getting stranded in an area where your car has no way out. This includes AI drivers that will battle you for every inch until you overtake them, at which point they will vanish into the darkness. The damage model is also incredibly forgiving, which is probably for the best for most of us.
I’ve seen AI-controlled automobiles hover above the earth as they passed me on the highway on other times. Now, Forza Horizon usually has a large number of cars with various technological capabilities, but hovering vehicles were not meant to be among them – at least not to my knowledge.
As I already said, none of these little bugs or faults had a significant influence on my overall pleasure of the game, but they are there, and you will encounter them in some form.
My Style of Music
Music selections are less of a criticism and more of a desire that I had during my many hours of work on this Forza Horizon 5 review.
The in-game radio stations may be changed with a simple left click on the direction pad, which is good. The option to add my own music from the hard drive is something I often desired — or wished for and hoped would be incorporated in future Horizon games.
The necessity (or want) to have access to my own music style(s) was strong, whether it was via the integration of a personal Spotify account, Apple Music, or a list of uploaded music that I’d generated on my Xbox itself.
I really want my own music to be the secondary passenger on these travels since the game does such an excellent job of letting the player to climb behind the wheel and go around the planet aimlessly.
Of course, most of us can plug in our headphones or use our cellphones to play our own music. All of those choices are wonderful, but having that option incorporated within the game would add a new level of fun for me.
With its current release, Forza Horizon 5 doesn’t offer much new, but what it does does drive the franchise ahead while providing an experience that players of all skill levels may enjoy for months to come.
I still like obtaining new cars, shattering XP boards, having a turn behind the wheel, or viciously tormenting a friendly racing avatar in the fifth iteration. These aren’t new possibilities, but they’re done so effectively that they still ring true and provide hours of entertainment.
Playing Forza Horizon 5 has an addictive element to it, and the makers have promised to keep releasing new content for the foreseeable future, as they have in the past. Whether you’re speeding down the highway or navigating an abandoned ancient site, Forza Horizon 5 feels like an old buddy who has returned home and has things to share.
Forza Horizon 5 is the sort of game that brings people together both in and outside of the game, and it’s equally enjoyable to play single or with a bunch of friends in a party. This game does not need you to be a racing lover or an expert at driving games. It just asks that you have a good time.
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