Forza Horizon 5 developer, Playground Games, couldn’t have come up with a better name for itself if it tried. The team has become unbelievably adept at creating digital playgrounds for players to explore and Forza Horizon 5’s Mexico is their best effort yet.
A sprawling, diverse and stunningly gorgeous world awaits players in Forza Horizon 5. Deserts, mountains, jungle, cities and more, Mexico is by far the biggest, most diverse and best location Forza Horizon has taken its festival yet
It’s not like there’s been a shortage of gameplay in previous iterations of the franchise but with Forza Horizon 5, Playground Games has gone above and beyond to deliver a game with limitless potential.
You may never stop playing Forza Horizon 5. And you won’t want to.
Forza Horizon 5 Review
From to get-go, Forza Horizon 5 is an unabashed celebration of motorsports. We’ve covered the initial drive before and after jumping out of a cargo plane inside a car, you may have doubts Forza Horizon 5 could keep up the same pace throughout.
You’d be wrong though.
One thing that was clearer to me than anything else while I played Forza Horizon 5 was the hype, the over-the-top nature of the Horizon Festival and the push by Playground Games to deliver increasingly insane driving experiences. I won’t ruin anything here, but as you progress through the campaign, unlock expansions for each of the Horizon stages and unlock additional events, you’ll be completing all manner of awesome stuns, races, tricks and more.
Another facet of Forza Horizon 5 that never lets up is the content on offer. The world map starts of relatively clear but it’s not long before there are so many map markers, quest locations, racing icons and collectibles that Ubisoft would look at it and say, “That might be too many icons bruh.” Thankfully, there’s a fundamental difference between those cluttered maps and Horizon’s. Everything on the latter’s map is a way for you to engage with the game, to earn experience or credits or skill points. Every race, every PR stunt, every speed trap, speed/drift zone, Barn Find, Bonus Board…they all feed directly back into your experience immediately. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by what’s on offer because you can go at your own pace and you’ll naturally complete many things as you explore Mexico.
Even when it comes down to set races and events — rather than the short trick/skill/speed events that occur during free-roam — there’s an unusual level of depth and variety on offer. There are road races, off-road, circuits, sprints, drag strips, multi-stage championships and they’re all multi-faceted with different classes and types of car being able to be used. Not to mention the EventLab which allows players to design and build their very own custom races, challenges and stunts. Seriously, the sheer volume of content available, at launch, in Forza Horizon 5 is mind-boggling. And that’s not even considering Forzathon and the shifting seasons…
During the review period, I’ve only had access to the Summer Season and associated events, but we already know that the current and upcoming seasons function very differently from what we saw in Forza Horizon 4. Summer can, and will mean thunderstorms while spring will see the rains come to the jungle and farmlands. Gameplay across all 11 biomes in Forza Horizon 5 is incredibly diverse and will shift throughout the year. Not to mention the enormous, game-changing storms that have been included.
Giant dust storms, thunderstorms and others I’ve not yet experienced, transform the world around you and transform your Sunday drive into something else altogether. Each and every time I saw a dust storm on the horizon, I headed right into it with Junkie XL’s Fury Road soundtrack in my ears.
Being Forza Horizon 5, you know what to expect when you boot it up. It’s an arcade motorsports game but one you can tweak and change to nudge closer to a sim if you wish. The driving is beyond solid. It’s sublime. Hooning around the map, drifting around corners at ludicrous speeds and jumping off cliffs that would end in certain death in real life is all part and parcel of the Forza Horizon 5 experience and it’s bloody awesome. I’ve said in previous reviews that I’m not really a car guy, but when it comes to Forza Horizon just call me Ricky Bobby.
What makes the racing and driving even better in this release are the amazing visuals. Forza Horizon 5 is the best looking console game ever. Period.
Running on Xbox Series X at 60 frames per second (in performance mode) at 4K and with tremendous levels of detail, you could easily be fooled into thinking Forza Horizon 5 is real footage. It’s just that good. The lighting and particle effects are better than anything I’ve ever seen and the cars themselves, well it’s basically vehicular porn. The care and attention to detail that has gone into each of the 500+ cars available in the game are beyond belief but seeing is believing. Being human though, we tend to get used to things pretty quickly and the flashiness of the visuals did stop wowing me after a while, however, then the time of day would shift or I’d enter a new biome and I’d be floored all over again.
This right here is an example of what this generation of consoles is all about.
I’m really not sure what else to say about Forza Horizon 5. It’s virtually perfect with only some very slight niggles. As I mentioned in my review of Forza Horizon 4, the radio stations are pretty limited and the soundtrack does tend to get old pretty quickly. Other than that, some races force you to play against “Very Hard” Drivatars and those were not my favourite. I thought I was a decent racer until I was left very, very far behind. Quitting the event and going back to Freeroam made me feel better, but I knew I’d have to come back and try again.
I did. And I got annihilated all over again.
Aside from those two, very minor quibbles, I unabashedly love Forza Horizon 5. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s absolutely fantastic. Once it’s released and more players get online and populate the game world, it’s only going to get bigger and better. We’ve also got new seasons and events coming up, on top of the near-limitless content already built-in.
If you own an Xbox Series S|X you NEED to get Forza Horizon 5. There is no better example of what your console is capable of out there.
Forza Horizon 5 was reviewed on Xbox Series X using a digital copy provided by Microsoft.