After two years of absence, the Forza license returns. There is no motorsports but a Horizon 5! This game has the heavy task of keeping the owners of the old generation (Xbox One) and the new generation (Xbox Series X | S) happy. For that direction Mexico! So is this new Playground Games title as good as its older ones? The answer with our test.
Forza Horizon 5: Long Live Mexico!
After the United States and more precisely Colorado in Forza Horizon (2012), then the Mediterranean Riviera in the second opus (2014), Australia in the third part (2016) and finally the United Kingdom in the fourth game (2018) this fifth episode . takes us to Mexico. An original choice because video games and Mexico rhyme more with cartels, drugs and shootings. This new destination is exotic and also features the largest map in the series. The variety of the Mexican terrain is also present in the game: jungle, Mayan temples, city (Guanajuato), spa, deserts, beaches and even a volcano … Almost everything is there. Enough to vary the pleasures in terms of exploration. Because yes, this Forza Horizon 5 is more of an “in-car exploration” game than a racing game. The “ride” aspect is even more extensive and ubiquitous than in the previous work. Good or bad? We will leave you to judge this point.
If in the first two Forza Horizon you played a young driver to evolve to the rank of “Superstar” from FH3, this is no longer the case. Once again you get there as THE driver and you must try to beat different clubs, local drivers and prove yourself in new styles of racing. Here you play as the winner of Horizon “Great Britain” arriving in Mexico. Received as a Rockstar, however, you will have to start over in each discipline to unlock new areas of the Festival, Stories, and the Ultimate 5 Races. Here the progression is done in the form of “tickets” where you have to use your expedition points to validate a new token (3 or 4 tokens per ticket), and that for the five zones of the game.
You will understand that the formula does not really change. Only the update system has been redesigned and the freedom to follow your “story” is even greater than before. In the end, the “story” of the game is increasingly put aside in favor of little local adventures and, once again, exploration. Perhaps for the next installment, Playground Games could revise its copy a bit. The “progression” aspect of this Forza Horizon 5 is almost invisible, especially compared to the first three games. It is a pity.
Also, the progression is much easier than in the past. You can easily finish the “story” of the game without having to shop. By linking explorations, discoveries and special missions, you will quickly earn enough points to unlock the tiles to develop the various festivals in Horizon Mexico. Ramiro, his partner in the game, will be there very often. Thus, one quickly reaches “the end” and, unlike in the first game, it is impossible to remain blocked by a race or a too delicate “boss”. This is a bias on the part of the developers. A more “casual” and more permissive formula, but that nevertheless removes a certain attraction or desire to move on. However, increasing the difficulty of the AI will be a good point to spice things up a bit more.
Forza Horizon 5: no new stuff?
We see it with many motor racing games (often licensed) it is very difficult to evolve. Sometimes, like the F1 series from Codemasters or the next GRID, always from Codemasters, this is possible thanks to a very thorough scripting of the adventure. It can also mean new gameplay, more cars, totally different races, etc. This fifth installment of Forza Horizon lacks all of that in the end.
So yeah, we started the game with over 520 cars (a series record) and dozens are already planned in the coming weeks. Two years from now we should be tickling the 750 available cars. Unfortunately, of these 520 cars, only about 20 are new to the series. However, Mexico could have brought a lot of new cars. In addition, the arrival of the Bajas could have opened the door to a large number of 4 × 4, Buggies and ATVs. Also, Mexico’s rally past (WRC or older with the Panamericana) could have allowed developers to offer even more new cars. Also, some missions / barn treasures (14 in total) refer to the Rally, the Paris-Dakar or the Bajas, but the cars dedicated to these races are few. As for the manufacturers, we will always notice some missing European brands (Citroën, Skoda, Seat …). Too bad especially when we see that the 4L is present in the game! If Hoonigan cars (FH4 DLC) are in the base game, we will still regret not having more new features among this gigantic content that will only grow in the coming months.
In addition, the Premium Pack advises that there will be two extensions. After Hot Wheels in 3 and Lego in 4, we wonder which toy maker will be the center of attention in this fifth installment. We can’t wait to discover these extensions anyway. Our friends at Mag Sport Auto are already dreaming of a “Rally” DLC …
Go to Xbox
Released a few days before the 20th anniversary of the first Xbox, this Forza Horizon 5 is a great showcase for Microsoft console gamers. Whether in the old or new generation, this game sublimates the performance of the Xbox. Gorgeous, fluid and dynamic, the game is a perfect “killer app” to drive the purchase of a Microsoft console. Tested on Xbox One, the game has already visually delighted us. So if you have an Xbox Series X | S and a 4K TV, you can be sure the result will be even better!
Yes, Forza Horizon 5 is beautiful. Despite the variety of landscapes and terrain, the game flatters the retina every minute. Soils, sky, weather effects, landscapes, car modeling, small details, animations, … Everything is magnificent in the Playground Games game. This Forza Horizon 5 is not far from the graphic slap we were hoping for. It’s going to be fine for a lot of car racing games for a while, that’s for sure!
The modeling of the cars is very detailed. Forza Vista will be the best way to appreciate it. Even if it is not useful in racing or exploration, everything is modeled: both the interiors and the engines. The set is made with special care that will delight lovers of beautiful bodywork. Simply pure pleasure.
Forza Horizon 5: where did the mariachis go?
In terms of sound production, Forza Horizon 5 continues the momentum of its predecessors. In general, everything is great, but on closer inspection we can see that many engine sounds are “generic” and do not really correspond to reality. This is perhaps one of the downsides of the game, but given the huge list of vehicles present, it would have been difficult to model the sounds of each engine one by one.
On the radio side we find the usual stations (Bass Arena, Horizon Block Party, Horizon Pulse, Horizon XS, Hospital Records Radio, Radio Eterna). Note the absence of Horizon Rocks. In fact, it lacks a bit of variety or even big hits. We have a bit of the impression of always being on the same radio station. Fortunately, the animators bring each station to life in a different way. The crazy and humorous look of some may be reminiscent of the old “DJ Crash” from Burnout 3: Takedown. Also, there is no “local” music. So, don’t imagine listening to Molotov, Brujeria, Los Ángeles Azules, Caifanes or even Ximena Sariñana and what a shame!
As for the soundscape, it is simply excellent. Once again Playground Games manages to bring its universe to life thanks to quality work on all the sounds that populate the world of Horizon. A real joy.
The perfect arcade game?
If on the Internet we see a lot of criticism of arcade-type games, Forza Horizon is the perfect example that they do not necessarily boil down to “speeding up, skidding, braking” and that they are also very popular.
Like many racing games, Forza Horizon 5 offers many settings that allow you to define your level of assistance. With all the aids disabled, as well as the AI at the highest level, here is the game transformed and much more realistic than some “simulations”.
Here, if the game is accessible and a lot of fun, the nuances between each vehicle are very present and can destabilize even the most novice. Therefore, a drive will not have the same reactions as a four-wheel drive developed for racing, especially if your little drive is reworked to enter the “S2” category (the most powerful in the game). A real pleasure to see that Forza Horizon always offers this perfect harmony between a variety of behavior, fun, easy handling and offroad from another planet. What if this is the perfect game mode for a racing game? In any case, it looks a lot like it!
Forza Horizon: Fortnite cars?
Since the beginning of the series, the dividing line between racing games, open world games, and MMOs has been very fine. Here, with this fifth installment, the developers go even further. A Battle Royale mode is available, called “Eliminator”. A great piece that will delight fans of the genre. The “Super7” offers a competition that highlights 7 challenges created by the community. A more advanced and more competition-oriented version of the community challenges presented in the previous section. As the Winter Olympics draw near, the Horizon Tour would be an ideal ground for an esports competition. It is a multiplayer tournament throughout the game map and with very varied challenges. Finally, the “Events Lab” offers a different version of Community Challenges to offer redesigned and reworked races by the players themselves. Also, let’s not forget the possibility of competing in online races and daily life with the Drivatar. This AI based (and named) following your friends and / or players in the community strengthens the connection between solo and multi. Once again, Playground Games finds the perfect balance between the two worlds and above all offers an almost endless game for lovers of online competitions.
The Forzathon is also making a comeback. Following the model of the cycle of the seasons, however, its difficulty is revised upwards. The number of challenges is greater and a good part is linked to multiplayer. Without an online Xbox subscription, these Forzathons will be more difficult to complete. However, they are still just as addictive and fun to do.
Photo mode is also making a big comeback and with a playground like Mexico it becomes even more of a “game within the game.” Accessible, however, it is packed with a host of parameters that allow virtual photographers to express themselves in all their art. A pure happiness.
Of course, customization is still at the heart of the game with thousands of designs to download (and available even before the official car colors). The color editor is still very accurate and ideal for designers around the world. The only downside, with the increase in the quality of game graphics and the size of TVs, more and more “decals” are getting pixelated, especially in the hood / cockpit view.
Speaking of customization, that of the “pilot” is even more extensive and provided than in the past. Head, appearance, gender (M or F), clothing, and even surgical masks are all part of the game. The nickname that Anna (the voice of the GPS and the guide in the menus) will call you by is also based on a list that you don’t see anywhere else. A real pleasure. Also, we are curious to see how Kylotonn will react to your Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown.
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