Let me just start off this review by making on thing very clear. The Forza racing series is the best arcade racing game there is, and it’s not close.

Forza Horizon 4 had been around for about 3 years give or take and believe it or not a huge number of people still play that game, myself included. That was until I was finally able to play the newest Forza that is made specifically with next-gen in mind.

It. Is. Gorgeous. No other way to describe it. I do want to be clear though. It’s still a continuation of the long standing Forza series games. Why do I say this? Not to downplay Forza Horizon 5 but only to say Forza Horizon 4 was gorgeous as well. I don’t want the excitement of the newest game to allow us to over exaggerate what Forza Horizon 5 really is. The latest game of a series, now in next-gen. I’m sure I’ll get called a hater for that but, it is what it is. Let’s get into this game.

WE’RE IN MEXICO NOW

Aside from the cars, the best part of Forza Horizon as a series is the locations. Each iteration of the Forza Horizon series takes a couple of years to manifest from one to the other because of the sheer amount of research that goes into every Forza Horizon location. The landmarks, streets, houses, blocks, beaches, mountains and are carefully added to each game and in immaculate detail. It’s on a scale like no other game I’ve ever played. Gran Turismo runs a close second but Gran Turismo emphasizes more of a track feel as its a racing simulation game and not an open world game. Forza Horizon, is a full open world racing arcade game and it rewards you not just for winning but where you’re going, where you’ve been, how fast you’re going and even what you manage to destroy while driving. The entire location is accessible in Forza Horizon 5 and it’s breathtaking and on a massive scale size wise.

This is the biggest Forza Horizon game to date in the series. England was big and it took me probably 6 months or so to fully have explored every inch of the landscape. Forza Horizon 5 is probably double the size. There’s no shortage of events. This game is packed with them just like it’s predecessor. I don’t think there’s a conceivable way you can ever be bored playing this game. From rally events to sprints to long marathon races you’ll be driving all over this lush landscape trying to boost your racing profile and level up for better cars. Mexico is not England, it WILL challenge you and you’ll LOVE IT!

CARS, CARS, CARS

Cars. I mean, it’s reason why we play racing games. Forza Horizon 5 has no shortage of cars. It’s still much of the same here. Not much is really new in terms of the cars you have access to especially since cars haven’t changed that much but of course you’ll see some gems you can buy and you can still hunt for those very rare and obscure cars out in the open world which was a ton of fun to do in Forza Horizon 4.

There are so many options to tune your cars and trick them out to maximize your driving style and taste in cars. Some cars you earn and Forza Horizon 5 is very generous in gifting cars and with this the grind to get some of the best cars in the game isn’t so mundane. Some cars you can only get by wheelspins which kind of sucks but it contributes to the element of rarity within the game.

Barn finds are still in the game and you can take your car and search the vast landscape to find them. Running races and completing events will also gain you more cars and this is the best part of the game. Car collection. There’s even a chart where you can now mark off the cars you’ve collected until you have collected all 500 plus cars in the game if you so choose. The game even rewards you nicely for collecting cars within a brand or of certain rarity aside from just the car itself. Sadly though, Forza Horizon still refuses to let you really sell your cars for in game cash without having to auction them. I really don’t understand why this is. You can gift cars but you can’t essentially sell them back to the house so to speak. You can buy other car packs and special edition packs and the VIP membership will get you that Forza Horizon edition X5M. I’m a bit of a purist so I won’t be buying any car packs but some of these cars in Forza Horizon 5 are so seriously fast that you may want to consider it. You have a ton of choices so Forza Horizon 5 doesn’t skimp on the cars.

SO MUCH TO DO WHILE IN MEXICO

While in Mexico you’ll be bombarded with things to do in terms of a variety of events. Whether it’s a street race, Rally, cross country or sprint, the more of each event you do, the more XP you gain and the more the adventure and special events open up. The Marathon, Colossus and Goliath racing events to name the major road racing events open up when you do as much as you can on the map. Sticking to just one type of car isn’t going to gain you much success in Forza Horizon 5. You should have a car build for each type of event.

There’s XP and fast travel billboards all over the map so it’s a must that you find and smash as many of them as you can especially those fast travel points because driving from one end of the map to the other is long.

As you progress and earn cash and XP, just like its predecessor, you can buy property and eventually start a business and earn cash even when offline. Certain elements of the game have not changed from the last game. Only where it’s located.

Multiplayer just as the last game is a big part of Horizon 5. The Super 7 is back. The Horizon Arcade is here and some other events relative to being in Mexico. You can play with your friends with ease or just race against their drivatar and have a good time even if you decide to play solo.

The EVENT LAB is just your design studio to create personalized tracks and courses that you can enjoy racing on or you can share them and have others race on them. The customization element of Forza Horizon has always been top notch and it hasn’t changed in this game.

Mexico is a lush landscape and it’s showcased in stunning detail, realism and beauty. All of the locations you stumble upon in the game are real and this game is so well made that if you stop the game and look at it compared to it’s real life photo, it would be hard to tell at a glance. It’s that good.

PC REQUIREMENTS

If you have an Xbox Series S or X then the only requirement is to have either respective console but for the PC faithful such as myself, it’s a little more complexed but if you have the right rig. It WILL outshine and outperform the Xbox console without a doubt. Here’s what you need to play Forza Horizon 5 on PC and well as at least 105gb of available download space because this game is huge.

Minimum PC requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 1200/ Intel Core i5-4460
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX470/ Nvidia GTX 970
  • RAM: 8GB
  • VRAM: 4GB

Recommended PC requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 1500X/ Intel Core i5-8400
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX 590/ Nvidia GTX 1070
  • RAM: 16GB
  • VRAM: 8GB

Best result PC requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT/ Intel Core 17- 10700K
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX6800XT/ Nvidia RTX 3080
  • RAM: 16GB
  • VRAM: 16GB (AMD)/ 10GB (Intel)

PC OPTIMIZATION IS KEY

For the best results you don’t necessarily need an RX6800XT or an RTX 3080 granted you can find either but it’s always good to have overhead. Those are just the best of the best. As for me, I’m currently playing Forza Horizon 5 with a Ryzen 9 3900X, Aorus X570 Master motherboard, 32gb of DDR4 at 3600Mhz and an Nvidia RTX 2080ti Founders edition.

Playing Forza Horizon 5 requires that you really understand the GPU and CPU you’re using. Just because you have a GPU that can technically support 4k doesn’t mean you should do so with Forza Horizon 5 but let me clear you absolutely can. I had to learn this the hard way. Personally and unfortunately at times I found myself having more problems than a little bit getting Forza Horizon 5 to be stable on my PC. I had been plagued with crashes, freezing and other weird issues. At first I thought this was a Windows 11 thing and not related to the game itself but I soon realized that your graphics settings matter, they really matter.

On the Xbox Series S/X all you have to do is just switch between quality and performance mode, on PC you have to tailor your settings meticulously. For example, just because you have a monitor that has a 144Hz refresh rate doesn’t mean you should run Forza Horizon 5 at 120fps. For my setup which under most circumstances would be considered more than sufficient to run any game, I found that the best results for me with a Ryzen 9 3900X and a 2080ti was at 1080p running at 60fps. I could run at 1440p and 4k but those resolutions for me were oddly unstable. I had to do a lot of testing and changing settings to nail it but that worked. This is not exclusive to Forza Horizon 5, all PC games should be treated this way but, with Forza Horizon 4, I didn’t have these issues. If you find difficulty in choosing the best settings. Forza Horizon 5 has a very good benchmark tool that will optimize your PC based on it’s hardware and hopefully stabilize your PC. Use it.

FORZA HORIZON 5 PROVES WHY IT’S THE BEST RACING GAME

If the sales and player base numbers aren’t an indication of just how good this game is then I just don’t know how to convince you to play this game if you never have. Forza Horizon 5 is simply the best arcade racing game there is and will ever be because I don’t see Forza Horizon 6 being worse. It’ll only get better. Forza Horizon 5 combines the best elements of a game let alone a racing game and meshes in into a euphoric racing experience. There’s so much variety. You can street race, dirt race, you can rally, there’s a robust multiplayer system that has a bunch of events attached to it. Forza Horizon 5 is an engaging experience and in my opinion, the best in the franchise to date. The fact that it’s now in next gen and it looks better than it’s ever been is a major plus.

4.5 million gamers don’t lie. If you have Game Pass definitely give this game a try or just buy it. You cannot lose. Do I think Forza Horizon 5 will be a GOTY candidate? I don’t think racing games should ever be but that’s my view but I’m not mad at anyone that thinks that Forza Horizon 5 is worthy of consideration, it’s not a crazy thought. Forza Horizon 5 is one of this year’s best, easily top 3 and Halo Infinite has yet to release. It’s a good year for Xbox and gaming as a whole. Forza Horizon 5 is testament to gaming overall being in a great place. Many say this should be GOTY and while I don’t agree, I don’t think it’s a crazy thought. This game is THAT good.

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