We analyze the new title from Playground Games, which collects the best of the latest installments and in a high-profile premiere for PC, Xbox Series and One.
Driving has many faces. Some bet on simulation. Others, on PC, will tell you that you don’t know what real simulation is if you play on consoles. And then there are so many others, that under the arcade umbrella they want to display fun, speed and spectacularity in equal measure. Forza Horizon 5 analysis has long reigned in this arena , with wild gameplay, open world, and endless options that go beyond regular racing. The great name of this year for Xbox – with the permission of Halo – reaches the new generation with its fifth installment numbered to maintain excellence, add virtues and, yes, compete with the toughest rival: its own legacy . Can you beat him ?
After a good letter of introduction with the first Forza Horizon 5 analysis, the saga gave a quality boost with the second installment, which was already appearing on Xbox One, making its way into the Open World idea and adding effects, such as rain, that were beginning to make up the total arcade game. But that title, the germ of what we have today, was totally surpassed by a Forza Horizon 3 that was the great leap to the new generation in every way: technical, capabilities and spirit. The third installment was the one that gave the coup of authority. And Forza Horizon 4 was just the pinnacle. Wild, epic, with seasons that through the weather changed any circuit, exemplary online integration and overwhelming content in form and numbers.The absolute king. Now comes Forza Horizon 5, which on the one hand picks up what was sown, adding improvements in progress, development and touch. But on the other, we have already advanced, it is a step below in general terms. Excellence is maintained and the new generation allows progress (60 fps are non-negotiable) in a continuous proposal, very well executed but not so surprising.
The driving adventure
When we started with Forza Horizon 5, we felt that the game was a spectacular off-road. That in dirt races he has no problem looking into the eyes and surpassing specialized proposals such as the latest DIRT. That cross country is intense because of the handling that it demands of us climbing mountains, descending at full speed, crossing jungle forests or jumping in the middle of the desert. Mexico as a location has contrasts to feel that off the road there is everything . And that’s how we start the adventure, with circuits of this type and with the feeling that the game wants to strive to offer us diverse natural environments: we will visit Aztec temples, dream beaches and volcanic mountains shortly after starting.
It is true that this makes us doubt whether asphalt races are well represented. But they clear up as we unlock new adventures (there are five Horizon locations, each with its own theme) and we complete a map with more than 80 events and more than 60 story tests, not counting speed cameras, danger zones, drift, duels, banners and all those extras that turn an open world of Horizon into a place to enjoy and discover organically. Forza Horizon 5 new Marvel game and too many State of Play.
The balance between asphalt, gravel, cross-country and street racing is successful and maintains a very high level in its four proposals. Cross country is freer and more chaotic, while on land circuits a very pronounced ability to control the vehicle is required; Asphalt races are the most traditional, where a mistake in a crash or a late braking penalizes a lot; Finally, street racing has become some of our favorites and where the most powerful cars shine: tracks at full speed down long roads, tracks full of twists and changes in grade in the middle of cities (they are not the most they abound, but the races within cities are very demanding) and the present traffic that can change everything for the better … or for the worse.
The Drivatars back on stage, a system that learns from real players and humanizes the enemy AI. From Experienced his attitude is aggressive, reckless at times. We will see them enter the curves as we would desperately, seek to overtake anywhere … And fail by colliding with others, going off the road. That humanity in bravery and mistakes is appreciated. We have experienced spectacular moments covering as if we were Fernando Alonso faster vehicles using the traffic to our advantage. Or see how we lost a race because a rival attacked us, stopping and coming out the winner of the fray.
Hundreds of cars different from each other
The sensations at the wheel are similar to those we met in Forza Horizon 4. And that means that we are facing an arcade-style game, and it cannot be otherwise when we are going to jump with super sports vehicles more than 400 meters without touching the ground, but with a realistic, deep touch. Of course we can lean on other rivals if we take a corner wrong and continue accelerating if we hit the side of a wall, but that does not mean that the sensations through the vehicles are full of nuances. A rear wheel drive will suffer from oversteer if we do not take the curves as we should or do not control the wet ground on duty, while the understeer will be more pronounced in vehicles with front wheel drive. But it is not that simple. Total War Warhammer 3 Confirms Release Date and will participate in Xbox Game Pass.
The power of the engine, the starting, the handling of each vehicle, the braking capacity or the wheels themselves affect our driving. And that is why we will not feel the same when controlling the Mercedes AMG One that is the cover of the game than an A-Class or the cast of BMWwith its well-recreated peculiarities. More than in Forza Horizon 4, we are able to notice even more differences in the handling of each vehicle and each class. That is why the races change according to our choice, and that is appreciated. Especially since going down a slope with an Audi A1 can generate a feeling of control superior to doing it, for example, with the Cobra Daytona Coupé (a Shelby, the most expensive car to buy) and its abrupt acceleration and a lack of control with its traction. rear. In total, 500 vehicles of all types. Every time we are going to more, although the absence of some other brand is noticed.
Tuning amplifies our options and its result is much more convincing on the road.Whether it is the engine, the body, the drive train or the tires and rims, the possibilities are multiple and they are not only valid to upgrade a car based on power and speed, but small changes can be worth championships. Tire compound, which may be the most obvious change, can allow an SUV or sports car to have much better off-road grip, or a balanced vehicle ideal for skidding. Other details, such as weight reduction kits, clearly affect the acceleration and handling, as well as the speed transmission (up to 10) can improve the acceleration started. There are many options, all valid to transform the vehicle and to adapt to dozens of events full of contrast.
One of the usual details of the saga is its customization and accessibility. We can activate or not anti-lock brakes, activate traction and stability control, manual / automatic gears and tire damage and wear. We can also choose to have power steering (which corrects the layout automatically) for the smallest or least skilled, although we do not recommend it if we want to compete at a medium-high level. All this, in short, offers more or less difficulty in handling and more credit bonuses as more demanding we are. Of course, the simulation mode in the damage is far from the numbered saga: no matter how many hits you give, it will be difficult to break the engine. This is still an arcade.
On the other hand, the game stands out for having a large number of accessibility options: deuteranopia, protanopia, tritanopia color filters (different types of color blindness), modulate the size of texts, ability to transcribe voices of other players to text or slow down the game (offline) to be able to react to what happens on the screen. A game that really wants to be accessible to everyone.
A weak rival: the weather
When we analyze Forza Horizon 2 , we remember as a memorable moment driving at night, classical music in the background, with a universal flood that almost prevented us from seeing anything. It was an indescribable feeling. In Forza Horizon 4, that multiplied with seasons that radically changed the scenery, experiencing rains that later affected because at the end, the ground was wet with what that meant, or a winter that allowed us to cross a frozen lake to win a race that It seemed lost and that, in summer, it was impossible because the water was an insurmountable barrier. The presence of the weather has been relevant in turning the saga into what it is, and in Forza Horizon 5 it is a timid tool , with little presence.
Sandstorms are anecdotal. After more than 20 hours of play, all the adventures completed and dozens of events carried out, we remember having lived a couple or three of them, and without too much incidence neither in number nor in playability. Torrential floods , some. And spectacular races with dense fog – which we have experienced – also rare. In general, the feeling is that the weather has very little presence, both within the main events – and we have done most of it in the rainy season – and in the development of the game. We do not remember driving through Mexico and experiencing a dynamic change of weather, climate and sun as in previous games. And that penalizes in the direct comparison, because sometimes Mexico, which has contrasts and is appreciated, does not seem to us an advance with respect to the two previous sites and some areas – such as the volcano – are not fully exploited.
It is true that seasonal events do have more extreme conditions, appropriate to the season, but in the main events all this is left for specific moments, and it is a pity because it was part of the Horizon experience. When it comes to creating challenges in different seasons, we have seen that there are changes in Mexico like dry lakes in hot times, but little else. When you come from Horizon 4 and an expansion like Fortune Island, with extreme weather changes, the next installment must take this into account. And here we miss a greater incidence of the weather, even in the big final events where there is not a dynamism that would have been appreciated because it would force us to rethink, for example, our settings in the face of a changing asphalt situation throughout a race of 50 o more miles.
Radical improvements in progress
On the other hand, one of the most radical improvements in the game compared to the fourth installment is in the progress system . Now, in addition to the credits to buy and the experience points to level up and earn rewards, we have the rewards. With a system very much like LEGO DLC , we will have all kinds of challenges that will give us awards. From participating in races to winning them, performing skills, achieving extreme speeds … Everything rewards you. The more awards, the more adventures to unlock. They are the main campaign, divided into five scenarios with various tests. And when we get high enough, we make it to the Hall of Fame. There are almost two thousand awards to unlock, so there are always things to do in the game.
At this point, it’s important to note that, while Forza still has an obvious festive soul , it rewards competitiveness more than its predecessors . Winning in everything we do has greater rewards, not only in CR and PE, but also in awards , something that invites us to repeat races to win. This, which continues to have a relative weight (25% of the total reward as a general rule) already pushes us more when trying than in the fourth installment, where winning sometimes seemed secondary.
This makes it easier to understand how to improve and progress in Forza , since we are going to gradually unlock what we want with the adventures and stories as the central axis. Here we will find evidence of all kinds with some novelties: the expeditions that make us explore an area looking for a statue or destroy a hidden chest; photography missions based on learning more about the culture of the area by finding relics of the past and taking photos, or the history of the Beetle and its adoption as Volcho in Mexico.
The history of Mexico
The problem with these stories is that they are somewhat insipid and wasted. In the case of photographs, the objective is to arrive as soon as possible and take the photo within the marked area: it does not matter if the statue or monolith they ask for does not come out. If you are in the area and take a photo, you have already fulfilled. Something similar happens with the Volcho : its missions tend to be varied on paper, but simple in execution. Running cross country in many cases, skipping the track to get there earlier. And this is repeated in excess, since in missions of movie scenes or duels, everything is simplified.
We lack the epic and skill that some Forza Horizon 4 stories required (where there were uneven ones, we know), and there is none of the quality of homage to historical driving games , to name one example. Neither the exhibition events manage to surprise as before. Racing against a train, Monster Trucks or jet skis no longer impacts so much, and less if in 4 there was a phase worthy of Halo. In general, story missions lack brilliance, challenge, and miss out on ideas that could have given more of themselves.
More than ever, a world to return to regularly
In return, the progression system is joined by a radical change in the seasonal challenge system that goes beyond the seasonal championships with tests and rankings returning to the scene. The Forzathon , specific tests to get rewards, remains, but now it is something secondary, because the festival’s playlist has a progress system per season where we will get rewards in the form of cars (and other bonuses) if we meet periodic events.And they are quite a lot and varied. Events in which we are invited to participate in races, perform jumps with specific vehicles, break speed records with a car brand, beat a team of Drivatars in Invincible mode, find abandoned chests and more, in exchange for points and extras . The more points, the better rewards in the form of new vehicles.
The idea of ??holding events already held offline has been much better integrated , but now with different restrictions and conditions (such as using vehicles that we might never test), in exchange for great rewards. A powerful format that we feel is going to benefit the game in the long run.
In the online game we have seen how many new experiences have been added, from the Arcade Horizon, based on group tests such as ending a series of piñatas, adding kilometers on a speed radar and the like, to participating in six human races against six drivatars in different events to earn points, or the Horizon Open , which allows you to participate in races with many other players in a championship format.
If we complete this with Playground tests, the Battle Royale mode, the creation of challenges for other players to perform and, of course, being able to play with your caravan to different tests, challenge players at the moment around the world, play cooperatively to the main events… The game has options for all types of player styles.
Yes, we have seen somewhat higher load times in online games and the occasional matchmaking error, although minor and subject to seeing how everything works with full servers. Within these setbacks, we have also had the odd error when loading the progress of some races or earning rewards that did not touch us, which we understand will be corrected for the launch. Minor elements, in any case.
4K and 60fps, a new standard
At the audiovisual level, Forza Horizon 5 fulfills what we could expect, being a benchmark in Xbox Series X thanks to two modes that stand out. Without a doubt, we are left with the performance mode, which aims at 4K but with less effects and details (and surely some dynamic resolution) in exchange for a rocky 60fps and that are already essential for the saga. The fluidity to which the title moves in exchange for losing some detail, some textures that change on the fly and less ambitious lighting is well worth it.
If you play like this, it is difficult for you to go back. In any case, the Quality mode, at 30fps and much better lighting and finishes, also leaves a very good taste in the mouth visually. The setback that the general finish of the game has is that the Smart Delivery of Forza Horizon 4 , 60fps included, was already spectacular in Series X, so the game does not have the impact that, for example, FH3 had on Xbox One. from here, there is no doubt that it will come in a next installment.
At the sound level , the selection of melodies will more or less like each one, but we maintain the variety of more rocker, more electronic, drum and bass or classical music that fits so well in this type of game. As far as sounds are concerned, an excellent job on engines, skidding, braking, impacts … An enjoyment both with a sound bar and especially with surround sound headphones. The voices are in English when you select Spanish from Spain, something that can be annoying because in the stories they speak a lot and it is difficult to follow it if you do not understand the language, but in any case the game is translated in both subtitles and menus. If you prefer the voices in Latin American Spanish, you can select the language within the settings menu.
Forza Horizon 5 analysis is a solid bet from the first minute and an audiovisual delight for Xbox Series X. The base is what we already knew: open world with dozens and dozens of events and tests to be carried out, to which is added the simple pleasure driving by driving with hundreds of vehicles. The variety of cars, their differences in control and response, and the good balance between spectacular off-road tests and intense asphalt circuits make the game excellent in playable proposal, in content and in development. Improvements to the progression system and rewards for winning – bringing a more competitive edge to its predecessor – as well as seasonal events and prizes, make it a game to be around for a long, long time. And to return to him often. There is always something to do.
But this complete and solvent proposal lacks some shine. The stories and adventures of the main campaign are insipid, with wasted ideas and far from the best of previous installments. And the weather has lost presence and weight, lagging behind the impact it had on us in the previous game, where it played a much more relevant role. These are details that do not take it away from excellence, but from being the best installment of the saga. Because, in fact, Forza Horizon 5’s only rival is, after all, Forza Horizon 4.