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Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Review (PC): One of the Best Slices of Forza Horizon

The first major expansion for Forza Horizon 5 released this year, Hot Wheels, brings back an old theme that was made popular by Forza Horizon 3 back in 2017. Newcomers to the series probably don’t know that Microsoft launched a similar Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 3 five years ago, but veterans are probably experiencing that déjà vu feel.
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Thankfully, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is not just a copy/paste from the previous expansion with the same name; it’s so much more. The latest Forza Horizon 5 expansion takes players above Mexico, where they’ll be driving supersized toy cars on Hot Wheels-themed tracks. The environments are absolutely breathtaking as you take a plunge inside a volcano or try to keep your balance while driving on ice.

The gameplay formula remains the same, so if you’ve played the base game, you’ll feel right at home, albeit in the clouds. The main objective is to get into the Hot Wheels Pro League and unlock all the cars on your way to the top.

You’re given a taste of what Hot Wheels really mean at the beginning of the expansion, but once that’s over, you’re back to square one. That means that you’ll have to win your way to the superior league by completing Hot Wheels races. The first car you receive in the expansion is the 2013 Hot Wheels Baja Bone Shaker off-roader, a pretty decent B-class car that will help you win a lot of races. Of course, you’re not restricted to this car, so if you have better B-class cars in your garage, you can use them in Hot Wheels races.

The first few missions will get you through the huge map split into three major ecosystems: Giant Canyon, Ice Cauldron, and Forest Falls. The main hub, Horizon Nexus, sits in the middle of the map, and it is where you get your story missions.

Everything that you’re about to race on in the expansion is made of Hot Wheels tracks. No more, no less than 212 km (131 miles) of Hot Wheels tracks that you can race on, as well as explore the expansion’s different biomes.

The Hot Wheels Academy introduces a new type of progression, one that doesn’t allow players to jump into the best cars the expansion has to offer to win all races with ease. You’re going to start in the Rookie Rank with B-class cars and complete missions to earn Hot Wheels Medals and fill the Rank meter.

Each new Rank brings new missions that involve not just racing but also PR Stunts and some unique challenges that reward Medals, new cars, and other rewards such as car horns and cosmetics. To unlock new qualifier events, you have to earn enough Medals, allowing you to progress to the next Hot Wheels Rank, including Pro (A Class), Expert (S1 Class), Elite (S2 Class), and Legend (X Class).

The Hot Wheels expansion introduces 10 new cars, but many of them aren’t really fit for this specific theme design-wise. However, there are a bit more than 10 cars that you can obtain in the Hot Wheels Academy:

  • 2013 Hot Wheels Baja Bone Shaker
  • 1957 Hot Wheels Nash Metropolitan Custom
  • 2000 Hot Wheels Deora II
  • 1949 Hot Wheels Ford F-5 Dually Custom Hot Rod
  • 2012 Hot Wheels Rip Rod
  • 1993 Schuppan 962CR
  • 2018 Chevrolet Hot Wheels COPO Camaro
  • 2018 Hot Wheels 2JetZ
  • 2005 Hot Wheels Ford Mustang
  • 2018 SUBARU WRX STI ARX Supercar
  • 2012 Hot Wheels Bad to the Blade
  • 2019 Brabham BT62
  • 2006 Mosler MT900 GT3
  • 2020 SIERRA Cars #23 Yokohama ALPHA
  • 2021 Hennessey Venom F5

There’s a bunch of new content to unlock in the Hot Wheels, including over 150 missions, 87 EventLab props, and 42 events. My favorite new gameplay feature is the addition of new track types, which changes the way players tackle races. Ice, Magnet, Rumble, Water Flumes, and Air Tracks give players enough variety and fun to want to come back for more.


Conclusion


Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels does away with technicalities and just lets players do what they love to do when playing a racing game: drive. With a solid progression system that “forces” players to drive multiple cars on their way to Legend, Hot Wheels is an expansion that Forza Horizon fans don’t want to miss.

If driving and Hot Wheels are among your favorite hobbies, Forza Horizon 5’s latest expansion is likely to keep you entertained for dozens upon dozens of hours. It’s just too awesome.

Rating: 90/100

Editor's note: Review based on a copy of the game purchased by autoevolution.

 
 
 
 
 

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