A huge fan of the Forza Horizon series here and I was really looking forward to Part 5 so I bought the ‘Premium Upgrade’ and started racing since last Friday.
The game immediately felt familiar, and as always, I was able to make an immediate impression by throwing all the visual scene my way; It’s still great to see what Playground Games has been able to squeeze out of the ForzaTech engine and Mexico as a setting that lends itself just as well as the ‘front’.
However, after the early hours of Forza Horizon 5, the “I was there, I did it” feeling stayed with me. I think that’s the game’s Achilles heel: it doesn’t bring anything new. Where Forza Horizon 4 introduced new elements in the form of seasons and weather effects (“Fortune Island”), Forza Horizon 5 sticks primarily with arcs and focus on collecting cars (as much as possible).
Additionally, I dare say that while Forza Horizon 5 is visually impressive, there isn’t much – or no – difference compared to its predecessor. Maybe new lighting here and there, but that’s it. You can even clearly see the reuse of assets, such as the stone walls. and ray tracing? Well, only in Forzavista where I spend maybe 1% of the time, if any. Forza Horizon 4 even looked a little better than Forza Horizon 5 at times, but that could also be due to the fact that you play a big four “in the wet” and the ForzaTech engine does it really well. In Mexico it is a little bit brighter with a lot of fog effects etc. I would have preferred Playground Games to have RT (@low/medium) reflections applied to the game at 1440p on the X Series and with the option of AMD FSR or DLSS on PC.
Then there is also the problem that the game is currently suffering from many (visual) bugs. Now, the Forza Horizon title has not been released smoothly on PC, but there are some issues on Xbox as well. For example, I find myself having to play Horizon Solo due to network issues and the fact that the game world is eerily empty when you play online. In addition, in some cases there are issues with exposure / brightness and sound.
Finally, there is a lack of goal/progress. As a player you immediately fall into the game world where there is so much to do. Ultimately as a player you do a lot, but at the same time it feels like very little. Well, fill your garage with cars.
In the end, Forza Horizon 5 feels like a game that came way too early for me. I would have preferred to wait a year for the game to enter Series X with a new engine under the hood. Now it feels like a huge expansion in Forza Horizon 4. Nothing more, nothing less.
7,5 / 10
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