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Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5
5.0 Action Adventure Racing
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Description

Forza Horizon 5 is the newest racing game in the Forza series that brings the thrilling "playground" formula of its predecessor to a totally new and exotic setting, with some enhancements and additions to boot.

Just as with Forza Horizon 4, this 5th installment throws all the mechanics proper to a racing game into a sandbox. This approach has forever shaped the future of racing games ever since Burnout Paradise entered the scene. In that sense, you may say that Forza is not entirely innovative, but it does reinvent the Burnout recipe in an interesting and (dare we say) groundbreaking way.

Before you ask, this is not "Skyrim on wheels". though you could make the case that it has more in common with Assassin's Creed than with your average arcade racer. Just when you thought the open-world frenzy was over, we're apparently still a long way from that happening (if ever).

In a similar fashion to Assassin's Creed and Forza Horizon 4, Forza 5 takes place presumably in a condensed version of a real-world setting. But, whereas Forza 4 allowed you to get lost in the lush (albeit repetitive) British countryside, Forza 5 sets you on a quest to explore exotic Mexican biomes. Fans of the previous game would probably miss the more European aura of Forza 4, though I have no complaints about how the new setting was put together and conveyed.

Though they're not totally different from each other, Forza 5 does bring some improvements over its predecessor. One of these is the way you can progress throughout the game. It was cumbersome to try to make sense of the UI in Forza 4, and the number of options tossed at your face was so overwhelming that you were left mentally staggered.

Don't get me wrong, though, Forza 5 is still huge! You will be graced with lots of stuff to do and events to unlock, but at least the game makes an effort to simplify the content list so that, when you launch the game after a long break, you'll not be left scratching your head wondering where you were and what you're supposed to do during your next session.

To give some examples of what you can do in this game, you can choose to partake in closed-track road races or to rather roam in the wilderness and do cross-country rallies instead. You'll also have a map (huge map. by the way) bloated with a plethora of icons in a way that's very reminiscent of your typical Ubisoft release, each representing different challenges, racing events, and rumors.

Finally, before delving into the gameplay aspect, I feel the need to talk about the graphics. If there is one game that feels next-gen, it's this one. The lighting is incredibly photorealistic, and the textures are simply unmatched by those of any old-gen game you can name (or even current-gen in most cases). This game also supports ray tracing in Forzavista.

On a 3080Ti, it can easily reach 94 fps on extreme settings at 1440p. The Xbox Series X, on the other hand, can run Forza 5 at a stable 60 fps with a 30 fps option for those who prefer higher graphic fidelity. I personally opt for sacrificing visual candy in favor of performance, particularly when it comes to a racing game that demands a bit more input accuracy.

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Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5

How to play

Now we get to the nitty-gritty portion of the review, which is the gameplay.

If you've already played the previous games in the saga, you won't notice many differences in the controls and overall gameplay design. If this is your first Forza game, however, then there are some things you may want to know before we move on.

The first thing we ought to point out is how intuitive this game feels with a controller over a keyboard and mouse. This is true for games of many genres (except for first-person shooters perhaps), but in racing games especially. You could still try your luck, but I would advise against going into competitive modes without a controller.

Then, there is the open world. As disclosed earlier, this game is essentially a sandbox in its own right. 

In contrast to traditional racing games, where you'll be shown a narrow list of activities and competitions, in Forza 5 you can approach "missions" as you wish or even go directionless and "smell the flowers" so to speak. As you compete and win races, you'll earn prizes and in-game money that you can exchange for upgrades to your previously-owned cars or new vehicles.

Speaking of which, there are tons of cars available for you to collect (500 in total) but it would be seemingly impossible to collect them all in one playthrough. Some are more difficult to obtain than others and each one has a different set of stats. Choosing the right car for that specific stunt or type of road you'll be traversing through is crucial to your success.

When it comes to game modes, there is a multiplayer mode that is accessible after completing a series of activities. You can also participate in the Festival Playlist (a feature also present in Forza 4) which offers a list of weekly missions and challenges.

In addition, you can complete the main campaign (or story mode), in which you must compete in certain races and overcome mandatory challenges in order to unlock Festival activities across the game's version of Mexico. In the interim, you'll be earning Accolade Points (a new feature in the Forza franchise) which would grant you access to new Horizon Adventure Chapters and other goodies.

There are, in total, six main locations for the Horizon Festival, beginning with the Mainstage Horizon Mexico Festival. You're not forced to do every one of them. The game will let you decide which ones you'll take part in.

These festivals would be found by performing Expeditions (another new addition in Forza 5). These will encourage you to explore the outskirts of Mexico, which is the game's centermost focus.

As for the story itself, it's definitely not the forte of the game and it seems to be shoved into the concoction only to complement the open world and to segway us into all the different competitions. Don't expect an elaborate multibranched Witcher-style narrative (or even GTA-style, if you want a more comparable example). 

During the course of the story, you'll likewise meet some "colorful" characters from the Mexican racing scene and you'll have to go through some dialogues with them, which can admittedly become grating (as attested by many players) and are, in my view, the weakest point of the entire game.

But probably the worst offender in this regard is the fact that you cannot skip the cutscenes (at least in the game's current version), which means that, if you are not interested in the story, then it sucks being you! Luckily, you could completely bypass the story if you only wish to quench your adrenaline rush.

As a side note, the "skip" feature should be included in every single game, no matter how good the story is purported to be, and it's just a shame that some developers simply don't care to add it, which is odd considering that even lore-heavy games like Elden Ring allow you to skip cutscenes! 

Regardless, and even amidst these weaknesses we just mentioned, Forza Horizon 5 manages to set a new milestone in the genre, and ultimately deserves all the praise it gets from the video gaming community. We would totally recommend that you check it out!

You're more than welcome to share your gaming experiences and thoughts in the comment section below so that readers can get additional feedback about this great game!

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Reviews

Rate:
  • It is fun

    Maxwell

  • i love it

    thomas

  • That this is the coolest game in the world and I just want to play the game.

    Jacob adien o'neal Harrison

  • The car is very good

    Aaihlihdwe

  • awsome

    easton

  • best game

    bgg

5.0

Editor's Rating

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