If you look critically at arcade racers, you’ll often see the developers pick a specific niche. Dirt focuses on thread crashes in rally, gymkana, FlatOut and Wreckfest together, and Need for Speed (mostly) focuses on street racing and ramps up import cars. Almost every ambitious attempt to get past this will fail with these well-defined titles. For example, the new members of The Crew and Grid did not make much of an impression.
Developer Playground Games is jumping into that slot and trying to connect different aspects of car culture to Forza Horizon. Miraculously, it succeeded over and over again.
The versatility of the cars available, as in the previous parts of the series, is incredibly impressive. Almost all major car brands are filled with glory in the game, from American Dodge to Ferrari, Volkswagen and Honda. The attention to detail is astonishing and close to Gran Turismo level: games of this caliber are as much a reference book on the history of car culture as they are games. You notice in everything that Playground takes care of the different aspects of this rich culture.
The great thing is that the characteristics of all the available cars have been fully utilized. In fact, you can watch every car inside and out, and then put a 1.6-liter engine on its gentle hiss in no time at all or just throw a little paint on your rims. Of course this is an arcade racer, but certainly with the steering wheel and a good set of pedals you immediately feel it when you hit a wider tire under your Honda Civic.
Forza Horizon 5 is also almost completely customizable in terms of the racing experience. If you want to reach 300 kilometers per hour between the nose and the lips, just jump into a Lamborghini and hit the gas pedal. If you want to feel the nuances of a family car, you turn off all the tools and suddenly have to deal with a surprisingly in-depth representation. Maybe that’s why you like the YouTube channel too Xpertgamingtech He makes a lot of videos about Forza Horizon: to enjoy the unique handling, sounds and looks of all the cars available.
So the big question is: What about races and the environment? In Horizon 4 Great Britain takes center stage, in Part V we travel to Mexico – full of amazing ecosystems, gems and attractive driving routes.
The versatility of the cars available, as in the previous parts of the series, is incredibly impressive
Where Horizon 4 was primarily about small, exciting trails through beautiful cities and equally impressive natural areas, Horizon 5 is primarily about a variety of Mexican flora and fauna. Whether you’re tearing along or over the beach, climbing an active volcano or exploring a densely forested area: there’s no shortage of ecological diversity. Playground Games has also teamed up with the Anthropological Institute to account for several archaeological discoveries. You can visit Ek Balam, as well as the city of Teotihuacan.
While the ruins have received all the attention they deserve, this is not the case for immaterial culture. This results in stereotypes, generalizations, and uncomfortable statements about “Mexican culture”. The events and dialogues mostly revolve around the importance of family, as if defining an entire culture.
This is a shame, precisely because Playground is trying to adopt a critical stance. This is expressed not only in cooperation with the Anthropological Institute, but also, for example, in the option to choose gender-neutral pronouns.
Overall, the gameplay in Forza Horzon 5 is excellent. The imaginative representation of Mexico lends itself to a myriad of different races, from drag and drift to touring and rallying. These are often relatively short sprints that you can complete in about three minutes. But every once in a while comes a bigger event, which can take fifteen minutes or sometimes half an hour. These events guide you through the entire game world and are often exciting and amazing.
The downside to this approach is that it somewhat looks as if the game world is made up of different levels, rather than a dynamic whole. The transition between rainforest and desert is strict, at the expense of the illusion of the living world. In addition, sometimes you feel that you have to pass all kinds of short, sometimes less interesting races to unlock a bigger, more beautiful and more fun event.
Fortunately, that hardly detracts from the amazing racing experience. Forza Horizon 5 is once again beautiful, multi-layered, versatile, and unique.
Forza Horizon 5 will be available on November 9 for PC, Xbox Series X, S, and Xbox One. The premium version of the game will be available on November 5th. For this review, the game was tested on Xbox Series X.
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