Forza Horizon 5 Review (PC): Perhaps the Best Racing Game Ever Made

After making some smart studio acquisitions in the last couple of years and launching Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s gaming division entered a Golden Era. Although its most popular gaming franchises – Gears of Wars, Forza Horizon, and Halo, did not disappoint fans throughout the years, despite Microsoft investing very little in gaming, the Redmond-based company was far from being a contender for the other big name in the gaming industry, Sony.
Forza Horizon 5 keyart 17 photos
Photo: Playground Games
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Forza Horizon was always a safe bet for those looking to play a good racing game. Microsoft’s franchise always iterated on the previous titles with only a few improvements and tweaks to make the new games slightly different and refreshing. Forza Horizon 5 is no exception, so it’s no wonder that it’s the best game in the series.

After spending dozens of hours in Mexico, I can safely say that Forza Horizon 5 is a serious “Game of the Year” contender, even for those who don’t traditionally play racing games. Although the game’s structure remains the same as in the previous games, the team at Playground Games managed to design a colorful world full of fun challenges.

Forza Horizon 5 is a thrilling, addictive experience from the moment you step behind the wheel of your first car and until you hit that “Quit to Desktop” button. There are hundreds of events across the huge map, 21 story missions, and over 500 cars to collect.

Not to mention all the secret barns that hide some of the rarest cars in the game, as well as the wheelspin that let you win even more rare cars and thousands of Credits. The fact that the map is 50% larger than the one in Forza Horizon 4 helps make sure that you’ll always have something to do in the game, at least for a long time.

Forza Horizon 5 screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
Just like in the previous games in the series, you are offered three cars to choose from, such as the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe, the 2021 Ford Bronco, and the Toyota GR Supra. The difference is that you get to keep all three starting cars after choosing your first.

While using a car, you gain points by drifting, “near missing” other cars on the road, or achieving other driving goals, which can then be used to upgrade your skills while driving that particular car. Each car has a slightly different set of skills that you can unlock, but they’re not all related to how they drive.

Most of the skills you can unlock will allow you to gain more experience when executing certain actions with your car, or you can even get extra spins at the “Super Wheelspin” for a chance to win rare cars or a bucketload of money.

I really loved the fact that you can switch between cars on the fly while not competing in a race or event. It’s especially useful when you’re moving from one biome to another, and you need a different type of car. You could jump behind the wheel of a Ford Bronco for a route through the swamps or drive a speedy car along the gulf-coast beaches. It’s truly a wonderful experience to be able to go through nearly a dozen different biomes switching cars and doing all sorts of crazy stunts.

Forza Horizon 5 screenshot
Photo: autoevolution
Forza Horizon 5 is far from being a sim racer, but each car drives differently, and every piece of upgrade that you make via tuning is going to impact how your car performs. Before competing in a race event, you’ll be allowed to choose a car to drive from your garage, but you’ll also be offered recommendations to give you an idea of what sort of track you’re going to drive on.

Progression in Forza Horizon 5 is done through accolades. Each race event on the map will award you a certain number of accolade points, depending on how well you perform. Once you gain the required number of accolades, you’ll unlock a story event in one of the six festival locations across Mexico.

What I love about Forza Horizon 5 is that you’re not tied to a certain festival event. These typically have different types of races, so if you’re not feeling like competing in a drifting race, you can always choose to drive in a standard race. As long as you have enough accolades, you can choose to unlock whichever festival event you’d like.

Everything about Forza Horizon 5 screams “excellence.” The environments are stunningly detailed, and the soundtrack is exceptional. The progression system, the amount of cars and events, as well as the multiplayer aspect make Forza Horizon 5 a complete driving experience.

Forza Horizon 5 screenshot
Photo: autoevolution


Although Forza Horizon 5 is far from being perfect, I don’t think I had more fun ever before playing a racing game. A few bugs and some audio issues might break immersion, but overall, Forza Horizon 5 is an outstanding game.

The huge map urging players to explore the various biomes, the massive roster of cars with its varied tuning options, as well as the plethora of races, stories, and challenges, make Forza Horizon 5 the perfect driving experience.

I can’t recommend Forza Horizon 5 enough for anybody, newcomers or veterans of racing games, as this is truly a masterpiece of the genre.

Rating: 90/100
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Editor's note: Review based on a copy of the game purchased by autoevolution.


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