Review: Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 4 is arguably my favorite racing title. it has its flaws, but the gameplay and overall atmosphere is really fantastic. Can Forza Horizon 5 improve on the flaws its predecessor had? Check it out in our review!
The Horizon Festival travels to Mexico in Forza Horizon 5. We play in an über-large open map again. This arcade racer simply remains the best in its franchise for me. However, Forza Horizon 4 had some issues with multiplayer, progression and playing for bacon at times. Small spoiler, this part improves little on that. Still, it's still just a really strong race title.
Welcome to Mexico
This time, the Horizon Festival travels to beautiful Mexico. The development team has put a lot of effort into this, from filming the sky to filling in a lot of interesting Mexican vistas and ruins. The map is big, beautiful and with the new generation of consoles, the word 'horizon' in the title is no longer a fantasy. Just like in other parts, you can of course do many types of races and the map also responds nicely to this. Mexico is divided into several types of areas, from an active volcano to grand colorful cities, or fields. There is always something to find or see in Mexico, the campaign fits in nicely with this.
The map is, as I mentioned, really immense. There is plenty to do, sometimes too much. The game throws event after event at your head and at a certain moment you lose the overview. I also had this in the predecessor, but it is even more present here. Once you get used to this, there's a sea of content to blast through. All events have their own charm, some less than others. But, in terms of content, there is always plenty to do.
Mexico itself is colorful, sharp, grand, beautiful and very detailed. There is literally nothing to criticize about the map, it is the best map I've ever had the pleasure of playing in a racing game. street racing, off-road racing, dirt racing, barn find search, doing big events and unlocking challenges through the map. You will never be bored in Forza Horizon 5. The content is just there and you can keep yourself entertained for months if you play the game on-and-off.
One thing I ran into, or drove into in the previous part and now too, is rocks and trees. There are a lot of breakable things in the map, which is very nice. Still, the most small rocks and unexpected trees are an issue for some cars.
The campaign is slightly different this time than we are used to from the Horizon titles. It's much more about the characters and the exploration. You will need the photo mode more often than ever. The storyline is also quite diverse. It has a different pacing than you are used to from the Horizon games. You notice that they try some things and start to find a perfect way in, but it's a cool experience and fun to play through. Finding new festival locations has also been worked out really well and gives a certain progression that was less prominent before. You don't go from one showcase event to another, you really have some kind of path to follow. However, the game does give you the choice in which order you would like to do this.
Gotta catch 'em all
The Horizon titles have always been in the context of collecting, modifying and taking to the streets a lot of cars. That is no exception here. You unlock the craziest cars from the first second and you can immediately give them beautiful community skins or expand them completely yourself. This is one of the coolest parts of the game for me. As a collector nothing to complain about. However, there is still something to be desired for people who like steady progression. Because, you unlock everything crosswise, often very randomly through things like Wheel Spins. Still, there are over 500 different types of cars to customize and test, so you'll never be bored.
The driving itself is in my opinion much better worked out. The controls feel more realistic and every car actually feels different. My friends and I all have our own and unique preferences when it comes to cars. It also seems that cars have more 'weight' than before, where you could sometimes experience a sliding fest with the heaviest cars.
Forza Horizon 5 therefore scores almost perfectly in all areas. The driving is fantastic and diverse, the world is colorful, fresh and sharp and the campaign is more unique than before. However, the game has little to no improvements on the issues I had with previous installments.
For example, the multiplayer, which barely worked the first week, is still as shit as in the previous part. As soon as you play online, you will encounter plenty of bugs or graphical pop-ins. Also, playing with friends is not always a pleasant experience. Even creating your team and inviting your friends is and remains a problem.
The AI and Drivatars you play against are still not really 'smart'. They drive their route, bring a good challenge, but it would be nicer if they reacted a bit better to each other and to what you do. They now feel very ordinary and boring to race against, despite being a pain at times. I'd rather have a good pounding than a car that's simply faster to play against.
Graphics, performance & audio
These are again 3 areas where Forza can be put in the spotlight. The audio from both the cars, the weather conditions and everything that comes with it is flawless. The performance on both Xbox Series S and PC were not an issue for me either. I played the game on a 10-series graphics card, with high settings, without any issues. On the Series S, the game also plays really great in performance mode. Where you immediately see a significant performance drop in graphic mode.
The graphics themselves, on the other hand, are gorgeous. This is by far the most beautiful racing title I have ever played. There is a lot of detail, color and the game is as sharp. There are several storms that you will drive through and these look amazingly good, you really feel surrounded by wind, rain and sand. It's just a breath of fresh air to play this game on your big or small screen.
Okay okay, Horizon 5 may not improve much on the issues that previous installments had behind the scenes, but it's still that near-perfect racing game. There's no arcade racer like this one, so I can't give the game a low rating. Let's just hope the big community-wide issues are addressed in a future installment, or in updates. You can also play the game with Xbox's Game Pass, which makes it even more beautiful. So folks, have fun!
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