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access_time November 22, 2021 at 11:20 AM in Reviews by Dragos Dobre

Review | Forza Horizon 5

The Forza Horizon series is getting better with each iteration. Each game keeps close to the original formula while at the same time innovating and perfecting every single aspect of the game. I always enjoyed playing Forza games, but Forza Horizon 5 is the first from its series that managed to completely win my heart. Maybe it was Mexico’s incredible vistas or its vast amount of biomes and the unique types of races. I really don’t know, but I can’t remember the last time I played a racing game for over seventy hours and still enjoy the living hell out of it.

Building your own story

Advancing through the campaign is done by collecting accolades points which enable players to select the order in which they prefer to play the game. Every time a new accolade is unlocked, a series of story missions and other types of events are being unlocked. This means that there’s no start or finish, it’s more of a “craft your own story” kind of thing. You can start with anything you like, and can jump off to a completely new type of activity if you ever get bored.

There are over 500 playable cars, each having its customizations and perks. Variety is again what defines the car collection of Forza Horizon 5. Supercars, off-road capable trucks, vintage Porsche 911s, you name it and they have it in the store. What I enjoyed about the improved Forza store is that now you can buy entire car collections. This is a huge improvement compared to manually browsing the entire catalog for hours.

I must admit, I’m not a big cars connoisseur. I don’t really know much about tuning cars or what parts are the best for each build. Forza Horizon 5 offers the possibility to upgrade your car parts, such as brakes, suspension, and engine. If you don’t know much about car parts and don’t really want to spend a lot of time learning the ropes, you can use the same path I took. The path of Auto Upgrade, which is exactly what you’d imagine it is. It takes out the technical details of cars and simply lets players enjoy the driving experience and the beautiful landscapes.

Mexico’s map size is one of the biggest in the series, but it also contains a wide variety of terrains and adventures. You will be jumping on top of volcanos, visiting mysterious Mayan temples, battle through the swamps or the windy desert. And I only named a few of the activities one can embark on in Forza Horizon 5. It’s really hard to compete with such a variety of landscapes, driving styles.

Unlimited possibilities

To make things even more interesting, the game lets anyone design their own races using the Event Labs. Using the editing features and the almost unlimited number of objects and props available, the game can be extended endlessly. From custom races, challenges, or stunts, to entirely new game modes. Even during the first month after release, there’s a ton of amazing player-made races out there. Some of them are even better than the original ones. If you’re lazy like me, you’ll probably spend more time playing what others have created, rather than creating your own worlds.

Expeditions are a new addition to the Forza world. They are special driving missions in which players unlock new areas of the map. Each expedition is designed to introduce you to the zone’s terrain and driving style. It’s like a short trailer of what’s about to come in the following missions.

The dynamic weather and seasons complement the game’s beautiful graphics. The landscapes evolve alongside the seasons, each one giving its own unique experience. It’s gonna be harder to drive during the stormy season or dust storms, rather than a sunny summer day. It sometimes glitches out and brutally switches the season, but I haven’t encountered this bug enough times to ruin my experience.

Ready, set, race!

I’ve been playing Forza Horizon 5 on my Xbox Series X for the past few weeks, and I rarely encountered any issues. It did crash once or twice, but maybe because I’ve pushed it to its limits. I know some people weren’t as lucky as myself and lost part of their progress. The complaints are coming mainly from PC players, which is probably why I haven’t been impacted by this problem. But if you decide to pick the game up on PC, be sure to keep an eye out for these issues.

Forza Horizon 5 is a delightful experience, no matter if you’re mainly playing offline or in online matches with your friends. It’s easy to pick up and love. And it doesn’t get complicated unless you really are into those sorts of things. You can opt-in for a rather relaxing experience, as I did. That way you can just enjoy the extensive amount of content the game has to offer. But if you’re more into tuning cars and getting the best out of each beast, then there’s that option available for you as well. The game does so many things perfectly, that is really hard to think how the could developer improve it even further.

Oh, and I almost forgot. If you’re a Game Pass subscriber, you can download and play Forza Horizon 5 without any extra fee. How awesome is that? And if my praises weren’t enough to convince you to give it a chance, you can always try it out by just buying a month of Game Pass. It really doesn’t get better than that.

Final Score: 10 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.

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