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“Forza Horizon 5” alluded to: Back on pole position

“Forza Horizon 5” follows the heavy legacy of its predecessor, which in 2018 safely stormed to the first place of the arcade racer. No “The Crew” or “Dirt” could keep up with that until now. The development studio Playground Games therefore leaves the successful game principle almost untouched in the successor. This will especially please fans who finally want to push their expensive Xbox Series X / S to the max.

As soon as we are thrown out of the plane with our Corvette and crash into the middle of a race, the crowds cheer us, while the radio hosts put on disco tracks and loudly celebrate the desire for uninhibited driving fun. The highly tuned Ford Escorts quickly crash through the woods, our Mustang GT makes the wheels roar at illegal street races and the freshly restored VW Beetle jumps over the ramp into happiness. But stop! Let’s press the rewind button on the gamepad and start over.

Like its predecessor, “Forza Horizon 5” is an open world arcade racer. Development studio Playground Games takes us to Mexico this time after part 4 took place in Great Britain. Thanks to different climatic zones, it is now through the jungle, over bumpy slopes and narrow streets. As a future racing star, players sit in the cockpit of different types of vehicles, from buggies and racing trucks to experimental racing cars, and engage in rapid duels with the competition. If you want, you can switch on an auxiliary line. If the car does get stuck in the wall of a house, rewinding helps. After a victory there are experience points and money that is invested in new cars and upgrades.

Spectacular, extensive and lovingly detailed: “Forza Horizon 5” is racing to the pole position of the arcade racer. (Image: heise online)

Once certain experience levels have been reached, players can unlock new festival centers for street races or off-road hunts. But that doesn’t happen at the push of a button. Instead, players must first unlock this through a kind of mini-game. To do this, they drive to a specific location to look for things or race against a competitor. Sometimes we also help students with the land survey or go with an archaeologist to look for the best photo motif in the ruins of the indigenous people. Once a racing series has been fully activated, a particularly long and crisp race takes place across almost the whole country.

There is no standstill in “Forza Horizon 5”, there is always something to do. Ramps offer long jump challenges, drifts can be perfected in special parkours, or you can drive down the highway at breakneck speed in order to be flashed at the highest possible speed. Experience points are everywhere, even if you just mow through the landscape and turn over one tree at a time. New races and challenges pop up quickly all over the map.

Forza Horizon 5 Gameplay Trailer

(Source: Microsoft)

It is up to the players whether it goes on their own or online. As a rule, they compete in the races against so-called drivatars, computer-controlled AI images of other real players that are supposed to reflect their driving habits. The online mode has been expanded: Here the fans can organize themselves into “columns” that race against each other or bow their way out of the arena in a kind of destruction mode.

In arcade mode, small courses are unlocked at certain times, in which we should master a few challenges. That wasn’t always fun: we had to drive past a speed camera for several minutes until a certain number of points was reached – boring. On the other hand, the races against the Drivatars are exciting and challenging, especially at higher levels of difficulty. Every steering movement has to be right, otherwise the joyride with the Dodge Challenger will quickly end in the ditch.

Different racing seasons with different challenges are supposed to keep the fun of the game alive for weeks and months as with the predecessor. The fans can also design their own routes, challenges or car paintwork that they make available to the community. In addition, there are the obligatory microtransactions, which are currently not necessary for playful progress. Like its predecessor, “Forza Horizon 5” is no short-lived pleasure – with constantly new content, players should be bound to the brand for as long as possible.

“Forza Horizon 5” is an enormously extensive and varied arcade racer with which not only racing fans will enjoy, but also hunters and gatherers. In every corner of the world there is some little challenge for them to discover and overcome.

Despite the tuning options, nobody should look forward to a simulation: Here, uninhibited driving pleasure is all that counts. Off the road, we’re briskly racing through the landscape, collecting damage bonuses and the few scratches in the paint are only cosmetic. Playground Games captures the fascination of motorsport again fantastically with loud roaring engines, detailed graphics and a crazy sense of speed.

“Forza Horizon 5” will be released on November 9th for Windows and Xbox One / Series X / S (included in the game pass). With the Premium Edition it will be playable from November 5th. It costs around € 60. USK from 6. We did rounds on the Xbox Series X for our game.


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