Forza Horizon 5 (FH5) is a game that has actually surprised me on how much fun it is. This is my first Forza game, so if you are here expecting me to talk about if Forza Horizon 4 is better or whatnot you won’t be getting that here. I should also mention that if you are someone who plays a lot of Mario Kart or F-Zero and you think you can play this game just fine too, you can’t. It will give you a feel on how to play it, however, don’t go expecting to be a pro. FH5 is an actual racing game with real-world driving mechanics, and it will give you this feeling right when you start playing.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic driving gameplay that is very smooth
- Lots of game modes for you to race in
- There are a total of 526 cars to collect at this time, with many customization options available
- A nice soundtrack with real-world music
- One of the most beautiful graphics that I have seen in a video game at this time
- Fast travel points felt useless to me
- On rare occasions, you can unintentionally join Horizon Arcade events
- Not all of the DLC’s are worth the money
- You may experience crashes on startup or when viewing leader boards
FH5 has you tasked with running an event called Horizon Festive Mexico and you will be going in this series of events in each outpost area. You can have standard racing, offroad racing, cross country racing, street racing, and more. Each race will require you to go through checkpoints to stay in the race, failure to do so will result in you going back to get that checkpoint. However, to prevent this from happening, you can engage a rewind feature that places yourself back near the checkpoint. I should note that missing checkpoints or using the rewind feature online, will screw you over big time, so I recommend successfully going through all of them in the race.
Mexico is a very big place. You can drive through a dense jungle, a desert filled with cacti, through towns, nice shorelines, and traverse a volcanic caldera. Then there is the Eliminator mode, think of it as a battle royal mode, where you and another racer battle in a head-to-head race. Horizon Arcade will make you go to these Arcade markers against other racers in challenges and minigames.!!
My favorite race has to be The Goliath - it’s a giant race where you drive all across Mexico and I picture it being a giant drive around the country.
There are at least 526 cars for you to collect and you can either unlock them, buy them with the CR you get (the game's currency), or buy the DLC ones. You can customize the cars to your heart's content with a variety of colors, engines, horns, or skins. Go and get that nice cool sports car of your dreams and put an anime skin on it, or not, your creativity is your freedom.
You can even change the appearance of your character, which to has a lot of options for you to choose from. There are only two voice options and I wish there were a few more to give you that freedom of choice for your character. The cosmetic options are very nice, and you can change the appearance at your house at any time
Furthermore, there are houses that you can buy, which will give you access to a new location for you to customize your cars or character in. However, you can’t explore them or even go inside the house so there is not really a point in buying them in my eyes.
FH5 has a lot of nice things but it has a few issues with its gameplay that are noteworthy. My first problem is the fast travel locations; these will fast travel you to an area of the map that you want to go to. My issue with these things is that I just never found them useful as I just wanted to drive around to that area. Why fast travel when I can just drive to and through the jungle in my Chevrolet Camaro!! Of course, this is just my personal opinion and if you like doing that, then use them to your heart's content.
Another issue I had was when it came to the Horizon Arcade events, these are marked by pink circles and when you enter, you will need to wait a bit before the game starts. However, there are rare chances where you will go through a circle and will be thrown into the game with no intention of playing it. I wish they showed you the timers on when the game starts on both the mini-map and the actual map.
There is also some downloadable content for you to acquire and these DLC’s can either be something that you can enjoy or a complete waste of money, depending on how you view it. Some of them give you extra cars while others are completely pointless, if you are someone who is a huge car person, then I suppose getting the DLC’s that have cars may be worth it.
The Treasure Map DLC might not be worth the price as it just reveals the locations of the fast travel locations and XP signs, where you can just use Google and save your money, but it may hit the mark for those looking for quality of life DLCs. I also hear that Forza Horizon 5 VIP does not work at all currently, so I would pass on this one until you see confirmation that the issue has been resolved.
Graphics and Performance
FH5 has to be one of the most beautiful games that I have ever played. It shows us a rich Mexico-like landscape and is really eye-catching. I especially love the night scenery when going through the towns, it just feels so nice to drive through. No other game has topped how great these graphics are and it shows that the devs have worked hard on making the game look the way it is.
I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. You will need a good computer to run this game unless you want your old one to start smoking but I don’t think that’s a smart idea.
I have also experienced some crashes when the game started which was rare or when I checked the ranked leader boards. I do hope they fix this issue with a patch someday down the road.
The soundtrack consists of actual real-world music and has a decent selection of songs, like Platnium by Big Freedia. That one has to be one of the best songs in this whole game, in my opinion, a straight-up banger. My only issue with the music is that there was no rock station but oh well.
FH5 is a fun racing game that offers lots to do, see, and explore. Regardless of if you are new to the series or coming from FH4, I do recommend this game. There is plenty of content to be enjoyed throughout the game and with how big the game is there will always be stuff to do, even into the post-game. It has really beautiful visuals that will catch your eyes and plenty of cars to use or try out.
However, I can't recommend FH5 at full price. While I did say there are lots to do, it's not exactly the content that I would pay 79.99 CDN for. There are other games you can buy like Tales of Arise, Doom Eternal (plus it has DLC's that are worth the price), or you can buy food. The game is fun, and you will get some enjoyment out of it, just wait for a sale before buying.