Forza Horizon 5 Review in one phrase: it’s really good.
Forza Horizon 5 Review TL;DR
|For you if
|Not for you if
|– You like Forza Horizon Games.
– You are a casual racing fan.
– You are a die hard racing fan.
– You own game-pass.
– Want a perfectly optimized game.
|– You really don’t like racing games.
– You dislike the open world model.
Forza Horizon 5 Review – Here is why it’s so good
The list of bad things is shockingly short when it comes to this Forza Horizon 5 review. So I won’t spend time listing them separately. Most of them are minor gripes that only bothered me because I was looking at Forza Horizon 5 for review purposes. Thus most of my gripes won’t even bother you.
Bigger – Forza Horizon 5 review – gameplay
Forza Horizon 5 builds upon what makes the Forza Horizon games good. Don’t change a winning formula. A vast world filled with activities, seamless open play and interaction with other players.
Forza Horizon 5’s Mexico is huge
Forza Horizon 5’s map is insanely huge. Some races take you across the country and take me at least fifteen minutes with S2 performance cars. If you would undertake these races with a lower class, they can go upwards to twenty minutes or more.
Furthermore these races show how beautiful and diverse Forza Horizon 5’s Mexico is. From the vibrant fields to open desert sand dunes. Forza Horizon 5 features eleven different biomes to explore and race in.
Not only is the world massive, but the campaign is one of the longest Forza Horizon has offered. About twenty hours in and I haven’t completed all the stories or upgraded all festival stages. It’s so easy to get distracted by new races or speed traps to beat. Or meeting another player, convoying up and driving across the world exploring new areas.
Creativity feeds longevity
Once more the Event lab is present in Forza Horizon 5. For this Forza Horizon 5 review I tried some custom events created by fellow reviewers and Playground games devs. The freedom you get is amazing and can really change up how a certain race plays out. Suddenly you’re participating in a desert race and a huge sandstorm comes in, blocking visibility and changing your cars handling.
As in previous Forza Horizon games you can customize your cars to the extreme. From the paint job to how every small aspect of the car works. Sharing your creations and reaping the kudos when people like and use your skins or kits.
Last but not least there is the extensive photo mode. The photo mode shines brightest on quality mode and creates true works of art if you have the patience and an eye for amazing shots. I can’t wait to see what our photo mode pros publish after Forza Horizon 5 releases.
Bring an umbrella
A big feature in Forza Horizon 5 are the big storms that can appear and impact your exploration or racing. Some of the story missions introduce you to sandstorms, thunderstorms and even earthquakes from a volcano close to eruption.
That and a returning feature: the seasons. Those are sure to mix up your racing behavior and selection of cars for hours to come. Sadly, I only noticed the appearance of storms during story missions or Event lab races created by other players. None appeared while free roaming. During the review window there was no change in season either.
A car collectors dream
Do you like super cars? Or classic muscle cars? Forza Horizon 5 has you covered beyond your wildest dreams mi amigo. The headliners for Forza Horizon 5 are the Mercedes-AMG ONE and the 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands. Both make an appearance in the opening race, and tutorial, and show how diverse Forza Horizon 5’s roster is.
As we came to expect from a Horizon game, the lineup is diverse to cover all your street racing to rally needs. Forza Horizon 5 features 500+ cars to collect this time around.
And a collectors nightmare
There are so many collectibles, challenges and activities with rewards and collectables. A tad too many if you ask me. Each section has its own punch-card with challenges for you to complete and reap the rewards. But all of these punch-cards are divided per section, and you have to claim each unlock individually.
This gets pretty annoying after you unlock some challenges and have to go looking where they are located. A claim all button would have been amazing.
Better – Forza Horizon 5 review – Visuals and performance
Hands down the best optimized game I played this year. It delivers stunning visuals and a smooth experience.
Forza Horizon 5 review performance mode – Xbox Series X
Right off the bat when you start Forza Horizon 5 you get the option to choose between performance and quality. I figured I’d start off with performance and see how it runs. Performance on the Xbox Series X aims for 4K 60fps HDR without ray tracing. With some additional adjusted settings to maintain the 60fps.
Even in performance mode Forza Horizon 5 looks damn amazing. The views when taking a huge jump are amazing and render supremely well. The draw distance is insane and I applaud the magic behind the game that makes it run so well with everything going on.
Forza Horizon 5 review quality mode – Xbox Series X/PC
It only took me an hour to make the switch to quality mode. Without any hiccup whatsoever on performance mode I wanted to test the limits.
Quality mode aims for 4K at 30fps with HDR and ray tracing on. And wow was I blown away, not that there was a huge visual difference, but at how well quality mode held up compared to performance. A small stutter when loading in a race and when the car was showcased, probably due to heavy memory load. But while racing, in an event and free roam, it ran smooth as margarine.
The pc verdict
For PC the Forza Horizon 5 review was tested on an RTX3080, I5 and 16GB of ram and in 2K resolution. After running the benchmark, the recommended settings were Extreme. Sure, I wanted to test the limits of Forza Horizon 5 anyway and heat up my room a bit while I was at it. Gas prices are through the roof and my feet are cold.
Sadly, there wasn’t that much heat build-up, compared to cyberpunk that runs my GPU at 70 degrees all the time. Forza Horizon ran between 60 to 67 degrees.
FPS wise it ran between 90 and 120 fps, which is insanely good at the settings I was playing at. The higher fps did make fps drops more apparent. A drop from 119 to 90 fps is noticeable. This happened in towns with a lot of clutter and buildings. But never felt like it would lose me a match or reaction time on steering or braking. As a result of the console capping fps at 30 you rarely get any drops on that platform.
I can’t decide what version eventually looked better. For PC, a lot more goes into consideration on how it looks, from your screen to the additional settings. I can only conclude that an Xbox Series X is €500 and my gaming rig was close to €2000, that’s €1500 extra for a 90fps performance increase and some minor visual improvements.
Faster – Forza Horizon 5 review – loading times, accessibility
The power of SSD
Loading times are insane. If you have never played on a PC with an NVMe SSD you are going to be in for a really pleasant surprise. Loading times are mere seconds when playing in free roam. Starting events or loading out of them go so fast you won’t have time to get up off your seat to grab a drink.
The longer loading times were most noticeable when playing online events or against rivals. Probably because Forza Horizon 5 works with Xbox Play Anywhere and some PC rigs are not equipped with SSD’s or because someone had slower internet.
No downtime, only action, speed.
Forza for all
Ubisoft is the pioneer when it comes to accessibility in games. I’m super excited and glad to announce that Forza Horizon 5 is following in Ubisoft’s footsteps.
Adding more accessibility features like High contrast mode and colour-blind modes for the UI, screen reader narration, text to speech and speech to text option and the option to disable moving backgrounds.
But most of all, subtitles have adjustable settings. As someone who sits pretty far from their TV while playing on the Xbox Series X, some text can get pretty small. Like Aliens: Fireteam Elite (review here) and Scarlett nexus (review here) have small text that make it hard to read. And no way to adjust the size.
Even with my perfect eyesight I can struggle to read those little prompts or modifiers in text boxes. In Forza Horizon 5 this is no longer a hindrance. You can scale them up to a comfortable level. Scaling does become weird in some boxes and you have to wait until the text starts moving to read a whole block.
But kudos on adding these features in. I praise any initiative that can get everyone on this planet comfortably gaming.
Forza Horizon 5 review Game Pass tip
Forza Horizon releases a couple of days after this Forza Horizon 5 review goes live on Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate. In case you want to save money on Game Pass Ultimate check out this article. But if you already own Game Pass Ultimate, I have some good news.
One of the benefits for Game Pass Ultimate members is that you can upgrade to the premium version for €44. That is less than the full version of the game; you get both expansions and Forza VIP. This is an amazing deal for a nearly perfect game.
I had a ton of fun during this Forza Horizon 5 review and it runs amazingly well.