Forza Horizon 5 impressions for Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

If there is a single racing series that I love more than most, it has to be Playground Games Forza Horizon series. These are some of the best open-world racers on the market, and I?m consistently floored by how much fun they tend to be even if each subsequent entry doesn?t exactly remake the wheel. And that?s exactly where I land with Forza Horizon 5 so far, it?s an amazing racer that doesn?t deviate too far from the past two entries, but the new Mexico location, and improved look/performance courtesy of the Xbox Series X, makes for one racing game you absolutely should be playing when it launches over the course of the next week. It?ll also be a day 1 Game Pass title, making this sort of a no brainer for Xbox owners that subscribe to that service. 

I?m holding off on doing a full review until I?ve been able to experience more of the multiplayer and season content, but as a single player experience Forza Horizon 5 has been an excellent time so far. Racing multiple types of vehicles feels as great as ever, the new locales are absolutely stunning, and the variety in events available helps make this feel like the biggest, brightest Forza Horizon yet. 

At the onset of the game you?ll be introduced to the Forza Horizon Festival, as you?re literally air-dropped in different vehicles that show off of the new map in a pretty gorgeous intro sequence. From there you?ll start exploring Mexico proper, completing events to earn points that will unlock Horizon Adventures, which allow you to gain access to even more events and race types spread across multiple specialities, including PR Stunts, Road Races, Dirt Racing, Cross Country and so on. The progression system works pretty well here, just about everything you do manages to feed into the campaign progression nicely, and you?ll constantly be unlocking wheelspins, new vehicles, clothing options for your driver, new horn sounds and so on by clearing various attempts. There?s an absolute ton of content to uncover and explore across the expansive Mexico map, so you?re never lacking for something to do. 

It also helps that car handling and in-game physics feels amazing. Leaping over sand dunes, cornering around small town streets, or just exploring the wilds at your leisure is just a really fun experience, and overall seems easy enough for just about anyone to enjoy. If you?d like more of a challenge, there are plenty of tricky feats of skills available via the PR Stunts, and a load of adjustable difficulty options to make opposing drivers a little more fierce. You can also just opt to challenge other real players in a variety of events, and once again your world will be populated by other players when you connect online, allowing you to spontaneously engage in various events, convoy around the map, and so on. All of the online components I?ve seen so far have been nearly flawless, so I?m looking forward to experiencing more of that with additional people.

Forza Horizon 5 also has all the livery customization options you?ve come to expect from the series, along with the ability to create your own events or try other player events from pretty much any objective marker on the map. Creating courses allows for a lot of flexibility, allowing you to create course names, descriptions, and use either preset routes or create your own route in order to build the ultimate custom experience. Again, all of this is super user friendly, and pretty easy to understand even if you commonly find level editors and what not be super confusing. I had little trouble creating my own initial courses, and could see people spending a lot of time fleshing these modes out even more.

So, as if you couldn?t already tell, I?m super impressed with Forza Horizon 5 and look forward to playing even more with other people as the Ultimate edition opens up early for those purchasers this week. I should have a review up shortly, but as of now, I can?t see any reason to skip out on Playground Games newest racer. 

Microsoft Studios provided us with a Forza Horizon 5 Xbox Series X code for review purposes.