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'Forza Horizon 5' Review: The Best Entry To The Series Yet

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'Forza Horizon 5' Review: The Best Entry To The Series Yet

Forza Horizon 5 is exactly what I was hoping for, and more. Developer Playground Games has pretty much stuck with the golden rule of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” for the fifth entry in its open-world, arcade-style driving series . But the additions of all-new biomes, dynamic weather and fresh-feeling game modes really push Xbox’s flagship franchise forward.

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Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games
Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games

The biggest thing that makes this racing sequel shine, is the incredible open world of Mexico that it all takes place in. While Forza Horizon 4 brilliantly recreated the luscious countryside of Great Britain, it lacked some diverse landscapes - but that’s not an issue at all in Horizon 5. Along with plenty of greenery to drive through, there are also incredible deserts, beaches, swamps, forests, mountains and even volcanoes. Each environment is absolutely stunning and unique, and you can feel how certain cars perform much better depending on the area that you’re driving in, making you truly appreciate the power behind those wheels.

But Playground Games didn’t just stop at the addition of new biomes to build a more exciting racing world. Forza Horizon 5 also features dynamic weather alongside the previously introduced seasons. On one drive you could be travelling through the desert and be hit by a sandstorm, making you feel like you’ve entered the world of Mad Max. Or you could be driving through Ancient Mayan ruins and a lightning storm strikes, making you feel like you’re in Roland Emmerich’s disaster film 2012. Needless to say, driving in this world can be extremely exciting with hardly any dull moments.

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Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games
Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games

Biomes and dynamic weather aside, Forza Horizon 5 is still a racing series at its core that many driving fans will adore. Within each new setting, there are a plethora of events and races for players to get involved with. These range from stunt events to street racing through the suburbs. Each event has been designed around the surroundings that it takes place in, and you can play them in any order that you wish. There’s no pressure to play the game in a specific way, it’s very much up to the player how they want to take on this world. Each event is a unique experience because of the variety of locales and dynamic weather. 

On top of that, players can create their own unique events with the EventLab mode and share them for other players to attempt. This new addition allows players to not only create their own tracks, but game modes and custom cars too. All in all you’d have to try extremely hard to run out of things to do in Forza Horizon 5.

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When it comes to the cars themselves, this game offers a huge list of vehicles for you to choose from. With each setting requiring a certain type of vehicle to drive effectively through it, you’ll quite often find yourself switching between rides. You can either buy new vehicles from the marketplace with the credits you earn from events, or just test your luck with the Forza Wheelspin. The majority of vehicles added to my garage were simply unlocked through events and Wheelspins, which meant I could save up my credits for upgrading them. If, like me, you don’t have the patience to fine tune your vehicle yourself, then that’s okay because the auto upgrade system will max out your vehicle to a specific class that you want it to be.

Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games
Forza Horizon 5 / Credit: Playground Games

Once you get the handling nailed with each of your cars, then you’ll be able to speed and drift your way through any situation. All that’s left for you to do is jazz your chosen set of wheels up with a custom paint job and decals. There’s not a lot of difference here compared to Horizon 4 - the system is very similar, and there’s no need for it to have changed given how well it worked in the previous title. There are enough options for you to make each of your cars truly your own. Even Halo’s iconic Warthog can be customised in a way that makes it your own special ride - what more could you want?

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Check out a recent trailer for Forza Horizon 5, below...

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There are also customisation options for your character to make them represent you in the world of Horizon. Sadly, this is one of the weakest areas in the game because despite it being progressive in letting you pick pronouns and not locking certain voices to specific genders, it still doesn’t give you a lot of elements to alter and adjust. Faces and bodies are very much locked to a specific and limited selection, so I didn’t feel like I could fully create my own unique avatar. However, there are a lot of options in terms of outfits and accessories, which helps to put your own spin on things. Of course, in a racing game this is very much small potatoes, but it’s still something that lets me down ever so slightly.

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This is just a small glimpse into what Forza Horizon 5 has to offer. There is a lot in here that will keep you busy for days and weeks on end, in the best way possible. This game builds on everything that already made this series such a success and leaves you inundated, in a good way, with so many activities. It’s fun to play, stunning to watch, and even while writing this all I want to do is jump straight back into it. Whether you’re a fan of racing games or not, Forza Horizon 5 is a must play, as it really is a unique experience.

Pros: Plenty of fun events, stunning biomes, huge range of cars to drive

Cons: Character creator is still very basic

Fans of: Forza Horizon series, Mad Max, Just Cause 4

9/10: Exceptional

Forza Horizon 5 is released for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on November 9th. Review code for Xbox Series X was provided by the publisher. Find a complete guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: Playground Games, Xbox Game Studios

Topics: Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, Forza

Dean Abdou
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