For the last seven years, all I’ve done is curse how few cool arcade racers have come out. There seem to be enough simulators, but all the cult series like Need for Speed ​​​​and Burnout have either completely disappeared or have given up a lot. To be honest, only one franchise did not disappoint – Forza. Perhaps the best of Microsoft’s IP library, this brand delights both realistic simulators and crazy racers. Forza Horizon 3 is good. Forza Horizon 4 is a masterpiece. Forza Horizon 5 – even better. But it’s very similar to the previous two parts, if it’s not a completely new world, it could be confused with a remaster for the next generation of consoles.

Forza Horizon 5

The desire to carefully guard the winning formula is understandable to me. Need for Speed ​​has been a sausage for years, and now the developers don’t know what even the fans want from them, not what everyone else knows. Against their backdrop, Playground Games feels as comfortable as possible: their audience knows what to expect, and that’s what they get with each new installment. Despite the various “story” missions and, most importantly, the setting, these games are indistinguishable. Structure, sound, interface – all this has not changed over the years. Although FIFA managed to make significant changes, Forza remained firm. In this respect, the series reminds me of another family, in many ways – Pokémon. Yes yes. The main goal is to collect all the animals (or cars), the number of which counts to several hundred. And there, and there, nothing really changed. But how much self-plagiarism is possible? In my mind, I understand that risk aversion cannot be encouraged. In my heart, I just want to get back to Forza Horizon 5 as soon as possible.

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Forza Horizon 5

Okay, back to our game. The main thing that sets each new part of the iconic race apart is the setting. We have Australia in part three (which now you can’t even buy officially), Great Britain in part four, and now we’re invited to Mexico. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with the choice of location, although I understand that objectively the choice is very good — this North American country offers the richest range of biomes. If Great Britain is beautiful, but monotonous and even gloomy, then Mexico is forests, deserts, volcanoes and snowy mountain peaks. Only for racing in the open world. But I, like many of my friends, am still disappointed that the rumors about Japan are not confirmed. But I won’t downscore the game because it doesn’t live up to some personal expectations. Mexico is Mexico. Let’s go.

Apparently, almost always reviews of Forza Horizon can start and end with the sentence “This is Forza, what else can I say?” Because. For better or for worse, but the new part is no surprise. It all starts very epic, and the novelty competently shows all the biomes and machines from the start. I want ooh and aah, everything is so beautiful. We went through all of this. After introductions, we were offered to sit behind the wheel of a supercar and ride the streets of Mexico, enjoying the view from the window. And we went through it. After 50 minutes your map will be filled with hundreds of tasks – speed zones, speed traps, races, stunts, story missions… there’s a lot to do. As before, all this diversity is even frightening. It seems impossible to “beat” the game in the traditional sense. And there you have it: like a living organism, Forza Horizon 5 will live and thrive in the next few years, growing with new additions, seasonal events and other tinsel, without which modern game services would not exist.

Forza Horizon 5
EventLab is worth mentioning: this mode allows you to create not only your own races, but entire minigames. So far, it’s hard to judge how extensive of functionality it offers, but the potential is there.

My words sound critical and even negative, but I’m just trying to stay objective in evaluating my new product. I really wanted something completely new, especially because in the process of “growing” Forza was really impressive. The fourth installment is still the only such game with four seasons, with summer turning into fall, autumn into winter, and winter into spring. But Forza Horizon 5 failed to offer such large-scale innovation. Instead, he took this season’s system and modified it to suit Mexico. If in Forza Horizon 4 the whole of Great Britain experiences the usual changes in an instant (fall rain, snowy winter), then Mexico exhibits different seasons in different parts of the country. A sandstorm will form somewhere, and a storm somewhere. This is more realistic in the context of such a large and diverse country. But it’s not the wow factor that anyone has been waiting for.

Like most modern games made with next-gen consoles in mind, Forza Horizon 5 is advertised using all the buzzwords like UHD, ray tracing, and ultra-fast loading. And all this is good and important, although there are pitfalls here too, however, the novelty is also released on Xbox One, so it is impossible to call it exclusively a new generation game.

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Forza Horizon 5
There are more than 500 cars in the game, but not many electric cars. In this respect, the series lags behind real life. You won’t find a Tesla or Honda e here.

The main thing that catches the eye is the graphics. Forza Horizon has always been world-leading when it comes to open world details and graphics in general, and here the novelty is not far behind. I know that Gran Turismo 7 is coming soon, but so far I have a hard time believing it will beat Forza Horizon 5. The new one is great if you play it on Xbox Series X, and there are two modes to choose from – 60 FPS and 30. Both resolution 4K, but the second mode offers much more detailed images.

You can throw stones at me, but it turns out that after comparing the two modes, I chose the second one. So yes, I volunteered to give up 60 FPS in a race – the first time ever! But Forza Horizon 5 is excellent even at 30 frames per second, and so stunning at maximum graphics settings, the sacrifice is worth it. It gives the game a great cinematic feel (whatever the expletives, it best describes the experience) and feels more like a great racing movie than a video game. It’s at 30 FPS that real photorealism emerges: the trees stop appearing before your eyes, and the whole world discovers more detail.

Forza Horizon 5
Each car looks great, with exterior and interior details. You can spend dozens of hours in photo mode alone.

Forza Horizon 4 remains a very funny game, but for the cars themselves, there aren’t any major improvements – they look great in the fourth part too. But the world around him was truly impressive. I wouldn’t choose Mexico, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in exploring its length and breadth, driving through fields, forests, ancient temples, and volcanoes. This is the essence of “Forza” – there’s something to critique, but it’s worth picking up a gamepad if you just want to play. The structure is monotonous and not very inventive, but the driving experience is so good that you won’t want anything more. I’ve climbed the mountain five times just to go down the other side in a new Ford Bronco.

For Forza Horizon 5 credit, the structure is better than the previous installment. There’s no storyline here, but the player’s goal is to complete as many races as possible (in any order) to unlock new “story” missions. They are a little different from ordinary races – they are special tasks with very spectacular races and additional elements of gameplay. For example, here you can go bowling with a monster truck or organize a race with a cargo plane.

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Forza Horizon 5
Ray tracing is trending, but in Forza Horizon 5 this is specifically for ticks. You can see it only in Forza Vista mode, that is, only in the garage. The photos are very good, but unfortunately there are no effects during the race. However, it’s not really necessary – the display is on a level even without it.

Moments of madness are the best thing about Forza Horizon 5. I’ve always complained that there aren’t really crazy races like Burnout or Motorstorm left, and while Forza doesn’t offer that level of violence, it delights in the unrealistic action in the spirit of The Fast and Furious. It’s times like these that passion rises, and I want it to happen even more. But to be honest, I can’t get hung up on the amount of content – especially since the game is available to all Game Pass subscribers. Because it’s basically free, it offers more content than the last few NFS combined. And this is just the beginning.

Sound is another important element of any game. The final part of Forza Horizon delights not only with the ferocious roar of the engine, but also with a carefully selected soundtrack that can be heard using the game’s radio. Previously, the best music collections could be found on FIFA, now Forza Horizon is the trend in this regard. There are several radio stations in the game that play rock, techno, hip-hop, classical and generally different music. Even after ten hours of playing, I didn’t have time to get bored with the many compositions, and I can only give a selection of the highest rated music. It will be a long time before you want to hear something of yourself in the background.

Forza Horizon 5
Load times are noticeably faster, even though the new product does not yet support the Fast Resume function.

I was least impressed with the work of the voice actors. Everything here is as usual: the game is so positive that all this sugar can make you diabetic. All the characters are in a permanent state of joy, almost grunting with joy at every turn. I admit, it wears you out, but on the other hand, given the realities of our world, maybe we should all be in this parallel dimension where everyone has their own Aston Martin.


After scolding Playground Games enough for being too careful, I still got a lot of fun out of it Forza Horizon 5. The old formula doesn’t get tired yet – it just gets better. And while I still think things need to change, I can’t pretend that Forza Horizon 5 doesn’t deserve a place on the list of best games of the year. Can you do better? Of course. Is there anything better today? Not. Forza Horizon 5 is standard.

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Forza Horizon 5 review - Still the best in its genre, but isn't it time for a change?