Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

Volcanic proportions are derived from volcanoes.

Volcanic proportions are derived from volcanoes.

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19/12/2023 gamesreview.net

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Review game Forza Horizon 5, Volcanic proportions are derived from volcanoes.

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Forza Horizon 5 raises the standard for open-world racing in a multitude of ways as it crosses the finish line. Forza Horizon 5 features a map of Mexico that surpasses the size, height, and variety of any previous Horizon game. A recent modification to the way the Horizon Festival is progressively put together has resulted in the creation of more one-off events specifically designed to highlight Horizon 5 at its best. Improved tools that allow us to build completely custom events that can be more or less indistinguishable from those crafted by the developers themselves.

The lighting, tyre smoke, and dust effects in particular have all been greatly improved visually. There are now numerous new custom components, rims, and performance upgrades available, along with vehicles that are even more unique than before. Significant improvements in sound quality, enhanced user interface, increased online activity, and more precise settings and options. Everything about it is really amazing.

In order to gauge the sheer magnitude of Forza Horizon 5, it is necessary to take a quick look back at Forza Horizon 4, which in 2018 truly blew up into an incredible racing game. Playground Games had taken the flawless open-world racing of all Horizon games released thus far and added simulated seasons, a revamped multiplayer experience in the shared world, and a change in the way the team told their little car stories. But that was only the first day; Playground packed in even more activities over the course of the next three years. The festival playlist offered weekly updates with new activities. The Eliminator is Horizon’s incredibly creative and successful attempt to incorporate the battle royale structure into a racing game. The Super7 allowed us to make and share our own racing, driving, and stunt challenges in addition to taking part in others’ specially designed ones.

It’s all of this, plus a surprising quantity more.

Forza Horizon 5 is not just transported to a new location via airlift, but it offers much, much more.

Beautiful Mexico
After three years in Horizon 4’s stunning but largely more uniform Britain, players can now explore Playground’s extraordinarily varied map of Mexico, which offers an exceptionally exotic and fascinating range of environments to get lost in. The vibrant backdrops and locales of Horizon 5 are more reminiscent of Horizon 3, but it feels noticeably larger than even Playground’s incredible 2016 take on Australia.

Even Playground’s incredible 2016 take on Australia feels notably more expansive than Mexico.

There’s the sun-baked tarmac of Baja, where the sandy, dry desert merges with the beach, and the deep jungle, where muddy trails wind through thickets, abandoned airstrips, and ancient temples. A tranquil seaside town bordered by the ocean on one side and mangroves on the other is juxtaposed with the colourful and enchanting city of Guanajuato, with its intricate system of cobblestone streets and tunnels. Undulating green farmland covered in windblown grass and crops complements the picturesque gorge that appears to have been taken straight out of a Western film. There is Gran Caldera, a high, rocky volcanic peak, and the semi-arid desert interior of the map, home to towering cacti and obstinate shrubs. For football shenanigans, there’s even a huge stadium.

From the top of the Gran Caldera Volcano, that size is most visible. Drive up there, and you’ll see how much it dwarfs both Horizon 3’s Blizzard Mountain and Horizon 4’s Fortune Island expansions. The Playground Games team has emphasised that it is the highest point in any Horizon game. But you don’t have to take their word for it. The drastic elevation change offers not only one of the best roads in the series thus far, a mountain run full of switchbacks that I predict will become a drifting hotspot for the sideways squad, but it also makes for an incredible demonstration of Horizon 5’s enormous draw distance. Horizon 5 does a great job of making me feel small in a vast new place, which is something I love about games.

Horizon 5 brilliantly demonstrates its incredible draw distance.

The garage is just as expansive as the map itself, holding well over 500 cars—a collection that still decisively outclasses every open-world racing competitor in Forza Horizon. While it’s true that not many cars are brand-new to the franchise—those of us who have been playing Forza Horizon 4 every week for the past few years collecting every new car will have seen the majority of them before—Playground has made up for this in part with a tonne of new rim options and visual enhancements that could give some of the cars you’ve seen a lot of times in the past a new lease on life. It’s still unfortunate that decals cannot be applied to glass, but the Livery Editor now supports higher-resolution designs and graphics.

Forza Horizon 5 is stunningly beautiful on both fronts, though, especially the map and the cars. Both the 4K/30FPS quality mode and the 4K/60FPS performance mode on the Xbox Series X are compatible with that. Although I know that the visual compromises in performance mode are typically so tiny that I need to study freeze frames to spot the difference anyhow, I have been playing mostly in quality mode because the frame rate never, ever wavers in either mode, remaining rock solid at all times and in all conditions. My favourite visual aspect of Horizon 5 is difficult to choose, but I believe it may be the much improved smoke and dust effects, particularly the way light interacts with the airborne particles. It looks fantastic.

Playground has added a new points system that allows players to choose which event hubs and special races to unlock first, as part of a rethinking of the career mode’s progression. These achievements earn points known as “accolades,” which are essentially like a much larger version of the Brick Challenges in the LEGO expansion for Forza Horizon 4. Because of this, Playground has been able to expand Horizon 5 with a few more carefully chosen drives that it has named Expeditions. The Playground stage controls the vehicles, the lighting of the day, and the weather to create memorable journeys that highlight Horizon 5 at its best. These Expeditions bring a little taste of the fantastic but brief opening drive montages from the Horizon series back into the main career. In one, you must race through trees while lightning strikes the ground in front of you, and in another, you must race up and down a rumbling volcano while steam jets burst through the surrounding earth.

During one adventure, you must race through trees as lightning strikes the ground.

Significant changes have also been made to the multiplayer experience. Playground has abandoned ranked play in favour of something less stressful that won’t penalise you for other people’s poor racing manners. As the championship advances, the PvP modes in Horizon 5 combine into one cohesive area, welcoming new participants. In contrast to Horizon 4, it seems that we won’t be trapped in shrinking factions of bitter losers who kill players when races don’t go their way.

Decision

Forza Horizon 5 is a complex and detailed automotive paradise where enthusiasts can spend endless hours collecting, modifying, and trying new things. Regardless of driving prowess or mechanical expertise, it’s also an incredibly accessible buffet of racing spectacles available to all, from fans of the Deluxe Edition to avid Game Pass users. A romantic ode to the charm of road tripping through picture-perfect vacation vistas, it is at times silly but always sincere in its celebration of Mexico’s renowned culture. A long-range, massively multiplayer online racer that has more races, activities, and event kinds than can fit on some portions of the map is rapidly expanding, but it never feels overwhelming. It never forces you to do anything you don’t want to, and it rewards you progressively for playing the game any way you choose. It is a joy to play and has a stunning appearance and sound. Forza Horizon 5 is, indeed, a lot of things. It is the finest open-world racing game I have ever played and the product of a racing studio at the pinnacle of its craft, above all else.

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