Review: Forza Horizon 5 (PC)

9

Amazing

A brightly painted cargo plane flies low over the Mexican skies. The cargo doors open, and a prompt tells you to press a button to jump. You jump… and a few moments later you, and your Ford Bronco, are launched out the back of the plane onto the side of a massive volcano. As you race down the slopes at breakneck speeds and see the beautiful vistas around you, you realise you are home. You are in Forza Horizon 5...

FH5 has a lot more variety in terms of biomes and locations. From vast open deserts, to winding coastline roads to lush jungle environments, this game has it all!

Mexico, what a place to behold

Forza Horizon 5 is the latest entry into the very popular, open-world, do-as-you-please, racing franchise that features fast cars, crazy events, and stunning locations. I’m going to be super honest here and say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of FH4’s British setting, even if I did enjoy the hell out of that game. It just didn’t feel exotic enough. Going to Mexico, on the other hand, is a lot more like what I look for in an FH game setting-wise. It somehow felt similar to what was done with Australia in FH3. However, FH5 does it even better; Providing a lot more variety in terms of biomes and locations. From vast open deserts to winding coastline roads to lush jungle environments, this game has it all.

On the gameplay side of things, if you played either of the previous two instalments you’ll feel right at home. There are obviously some minor changes made, some for the better, others maybe not so much, but overall, it is more Horizon, and that is never a bad thing. One of the places where things have been upgraded is the NPCs. There is more depth to the characters that make up the Horizon Festival. The Horizon games have always had characters that come over the radio and tell you how awesome you are and what cool stuff there is to do, but this time around, they all seem to have a bit of a back story. It is all very light and really not important for anything, but it definitely adds to the charm of the game this time around. Some of it can actually be very entertaining… like when I became a luchador to race against the champion in a luchador suit. The campaign is pretty huge and the variety is great.

Playground Games really went with the “if it isn’t broke” mentality with this game… it is more Horizon, and that is never a bad thing.

That being said, as mentioned above, Playground Games really went with the “if it isn’t broke” mentality with this game though. You know what to expect… Mess around in the open world, do some events and races, gain reputation and unlock more things to do. The Horizon Festival has a variety of locations, each with a different focus. The one in the jungle is more focused on dirt racing whereas the one near the coast dishes out fast-paced races in exotic cars. You then, also obviously have the Forza Showcase event. This is a big extravaganza that sees you racing against… well, something else; Sometimes this could it be a plane or some maniacs on jet skis or whatever the festival decides to throw at you. It is amazing!

A healthy online community

While Forza Horizon 5 is a great game to play on your own, the online experience is really where these games shine. And this is the case even if your friends aren’t online. You constantly see others racing about, giving you a real sense that the world is alive. And, if you want, you can always hook up with some randos to do some activities together. It’s as simple a matter as sending them a ping and if they respond, it is on. ‘Rivals’ also makes a return. This gives you a chance to challenge others in time trials to see how good you really are. You can also set up your own challenges for others (or compete in those already created), and find out how you really match up with the best in the community. Unfortunately for me, the servers were a bit empty, and my online experience was a bit limited. That being said, this was during a review period and even so, I did get a decent taste of what to expect. And I know it will be an even better experience once this game goes live to the public. For now, all I know is, there are Rivals times that I managed to set, and I can’t wait to see who will be up for the challenge.

Another cool new feature is that you now have the ability to donate a car to somebody else via the ‘Barn Finds’ barns. The idea is that once you find the abandoned classic vehicle, you can then leave something behind for the community to find. I am not sure 100% sure how it gets delivered and if they specifically need to find the same barn, but however the technical aspects are handled, it was cool knowing I could help somebody else out on their Horizon journey.

Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning looking game.

Soooo Pretty!

Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning looking game. It features Raytracing, but only in Forza Vista mode, which is where you can admire your latest machine in all its glory. There is a huge selection of cars and dynamic weather and seasons – and as you can tell from all the images I included below, it all looks breathtaking. Even cranking the visuals to the max on PC, I didn’t see an option for raytracing during normal gameplay. It doesn’t really matter though, as the game still looks absolutely fantastic. I will admit though that I did experience a few artefacting issues and weird shadow problems at some points in the game, but it wasn’t there the whole time and I don’t know if it was specific to me or my PC or more of a general issue with the game. Thankfully, while it was rather noticeable when it happening – it was a rare occurrence and it really didn’t distract from the game in general.

Cannot wait to see more

Playground Games, in collaboration with Turn 10 Studio responsible for the  Forza Motorsport series, have once again hit it out of the park with another fantastic racing game experience. Of course, if you’re suddenly expecting a completely new experience, then Forza Horizon 5 will probably disappoint. But, in my opinion, that isn’t what this game is about. It is about giving the fans exactly what they want… and well just a little bit more of what they want. And that’s what we have here. Another great entry in the FH series with just enough added flavours to keep things interesting. The game looks gorgeous and the cars feel are so enjoyable to drive. Plus, the Mexican setting is perfect, providing a great location for a ton of variety and fun. I am overall very impressed with Forza Horizon 5, and cannot wait to sink a ton of hours into it.

Good

  • The ultimate Forza Horizon Experience | Mexico is stunning | Fast cars | Crazy events

Bad

  • A few rare visual issues, but nothing to get too worried about

Summary

Forza Horizon 5 is probably one of the best racing games you'll play this year. It displays the best of what Xbox (and on PC) have to offer and it is an absolute blast to play. Even for more casual players, it is easy to get into. And you'll lose hours of your time in a blink of an eye. If you like open-world racing games, then Horizon Mexico is the place to be.
9

Amazing

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