Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning game. With its brilliant gameplay and detailed visuals, we called Forza Horizon 5 “the definitive racing game of the new console cycle”. Forza Horizon 5 opts for that old adage: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. England-based game developer Playground Games, which has made every entry of the ever-improving Forza Horizon racing franchise since its inception more than nine years ago, doesn’t mess with the formula that is delivered upon and honed overtime on its predecessor. Forza Horizon 5 is a lot like Forza Horizon 4, which is not a bad thing. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. Cynics will complain about the lack of game innovation: asset reuse, copy-paste, and old wine in a new country. But that says more about the racing game industry that we will get to in a while.
It doesn’t hurt Forza Horizon 5 — which is a great game in its own right. The in-game Horizon Festival takes players to Mexico this time around. That means we are shifting to right-hand-side driving in Forza Horizon for the first time since 2014, following Australia in Forza Horizon 3 and the UK in Forza Horizon 4, both left-hand-side (as in India) due to the shared Commonwealth roots. Forza Horizon 5 also marks the series’ return to the Americas since its origins in 2012.
- Pros and Cons
1. Pros and Cons of Game
Forza Horizon 5 is the culmination of all of Playground Games’ efforts to perfect its craft, and the result is the best open-world racing game you can play. It combines the most beloved parts of Forza Horizon 3 and 4 into one ultimate racer.
- Unparalleled visual quality and impressive performance
- A world that is a joy to explore
- A huge roster of high-quality, customizable cars
- Multiple ways to play online
- Promised post-launch support with new content
- Issues with customizing controls
- Some minor bugs
- Some features remained unchanged from FH4 or are missing
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2. Beginner Tips to get started
2.1: Find The Line
One of the things that makes Forza Horizon great is the way it gives players easy-to-use tools to be good drivers. The most obvious of which is the driving line. Anytime you are on the road you can follow a dotted line to your next destination. Its tricks don’t stop at navigation, however. This helpful line will show you the ideal path to follow around turns and uses color to give you feedback. Blue means your car can make the turn. The line turning orange or red means you are going too fast to make the turn well, and you need to pump your brakes.
2.2: You don’t need to be perfect
Driving at speed across ever-shifting terrain can be challenging, but Forza Horizon 5 is ultimately a very forgiving game. Don’t hesitate to make copious use of the rewind feature. If you rewind and don’t like what you see, rewind further. You won’t be penalized for not finishing first in a race, and there is no harm in retrying something. Even a great wreck can have a silver lining, depending on where and when it happens. Race your race, have fun, and don’t worry if your driving isn’t flawless.
2.3: Pick the Right car for the right job
The cars in Forza Horizon 5 are largely divided into two categories. Street racers have great acceleration, high speeds, and corner well on roads. They lose traction easily off-road, however, and are poorly suited to the constant turns of many mountain courses. Off-road vehicles are all about grip and torque. They maintain traction better on all surfaces and make up for their lower overall speeds with great handling. These should be your go-to anytime the drive takes you off the streets.
2.4: Collect All the Cars
Putting together your car collection is one of the most fun things to do in a racing game, and there are several sources for sweet new rides. Some cars will be awarded after completing certain races and drives. Others can be purchased, are won from Super Wheelspins, or can be found at one of the hidden barns scattered around the map. If you find yourself near a barn, open your menu and switch your aerial drone. This parks your car and lets you fly your camera around to easily find what you are looking for.
2.5: Earn Skill Points
Another great way to spend time while you are traveling to your next destination is by working to accumulate skill points. Driving at high speed, sliding around corners, jumping, near misses, there are all sorts of ways to earn points. For an even bigger boost, seek out the PR stunts. These exist throughout the overworld, and award you for your performances in certain challenges, like completing jumps or hitting your maximum speed on a certain road.
2.6: Fast Travel
The map in Forza Horizon 5 is enormous, and, even in a supercar, it can take several minutes to get to your destination. Fortunately, there is a method for fast travel. First, you need to buy a house to use as your home base. Each time you buy a new house you can fast travel to it. It initially costs 10,000cr every time you do it, but smashing the fast travel signs permanently reduces the cost by cr each time. Buying the Buena Vista house further expands your fast travel options, as buying that particular property allows you to fast travel to any road you’ve already visited.
2.7: Upgrade Your Car
Upgrading and tuning your car may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Upgrades allow you to buy improved hardware for your car, increasing performance. Want a better grip? Buy better tires. More top speed? Invest in the turbo. There are even auto-tune options, where the mechanic selects and installs all the equipment for you.
The same is true of tuning. Experimenting with the settings in the tuning menu is a great way to squeeze more performance out of your ride. Conversely, car tune settings created by the community are saved, and you can easily apply them to your car. It’s a great way to get the most out of your vehicle without having to be a master mechanic.
2.8: Drive and Draft
There is more to racing than going fast and turning in circles. The track is typically filled with other cars, all jostling to be the first one to cross the finish line. One easy technique that can help make sure it’s you they are waving the checkered flag for is drafting.
Vehicles face air resistance when they drive, but if you follow closely behind another vehicle you can benefit from them creating a slipstream. This is called drafting and is a great way to give yourself a small speed advantage when you are trying to work your way to the front of the pack. It’s especially when used in a turn, allowing you to accelerate as soon as you hit a straightaway and surge ahead.
2.9: Collect your accolades
Accolades are like miniature in-game achievements. These range from ultra-easy tasks like completing races, to elite challenges like reaching the top 5% on leaderboards. Accolades will complete automatically as you play, but it is up to you to collect the rewards. Open the main menu and select accolades. Any category that has a prize waiting for you will have a small marker in the upper corner. Click on each marked accolade to collect your winnings.
Review of Forza Horizon 5
3. Forza Horizon 5: Visuals and Sound
Forza Horizon games have always been known for their class-leading visuals, with aging titles like Forza Horizon 3 still able to impress in 2021. This attention to graphics means it only makes sense to start there when reviewing Forza Horizon 5. From the moment you literally hop in, you’re blown away by impeccable texture quality across everything in sight; roads, terrain, rocks, foliage and trees, buildings, and cars, all of which achieve a new level of greatness for the franchise.
Forza Horizon 5 tops its predecessor with major upgrades across the board, especially when it comes to lighting. The new lighting engine excels in every situation here. Reflections and shadows look fantastic, even without the use of ray tracing in general gameplay. New effects like sunlight filtering through the heavy humid fog of the dense jungle, and the bright flash of your headlights piercing through the newly improved particle smoke effects add much-appreciated bits of detail. Best of all, it plays well with the game’s sky.
Advancements to audio are seen in other places, as well. Forza Horizon 5 may not use ray tracing in 100% of its visuals, but it does feature ray-traced audio, which means the sounds of your car’s engine roaring as you tear through the canyon echoes off the cliff walls and reverberates back to you. At one point, I drove into a local amphitheater to find a Bonus Board, and immediately the powerful growl of my car’s V8 bounced off the curved walls of the stage, completely catching me off guard.
Driving in first-person even feels more realistic, with your car’s engine noise becoming muffled. If you choose to drive a convertible and pull the roof down, the audio immediately shifts to take this into account. Ambient noises are also beautiful everywhere, making it easy to stop and simply listen to nature’s gentle sounds and wildlife with the radio off and the car idle.