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  • Writer's pictureJack House

Forza Horizon 5: The Grass Really Is Greener

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

I've been insanely excited for this game for over a year now since rumours first began, and I'm extremely happy to say that (so far) the game has managed to live up to that hype, which isn't something I can't say about many games.

To be honest, most of the games positives stem from features present in past Horizon titles, but have been vastly improved or expanded upon. For example, the map, which is not only much larger than 4's, but also full of more interesting locations, such as a volcano, dunes, a massive stadium and huge highway. The car list, too, despite being smaller than 4's (although a lot of that one came about through DLC's and post-launch content) I think really feeds into the idea of quality and not quantity. Each car feels more unique here and with things like more accurate engine sounds and hugely expanded customisation, it might be a little overwhelming for a series amateur, but in a good way of course.

The game does tend to throw you in at the deep end at the start- you unlock events and other things left and right constantly, meaning, again, some might get overwhelmed and not know where to start. However, in many ways, I do like this- the series has always been about open-endedness and the exploration and choice of the player. By giving them a huge landscape of choice of where to go next on your adventure each person's playthrough is going to be thoroughly unique. The difficulty too, has also been modified. I feel like more recent titles have been pandering far too hard to the novice player. Yes, this is the target demographic, but it does leave a lot of veterans (such as myself) wanting more out of it, especially if the difficulty leaves a lot to be desired. Well, FH5 has come along with a difficulty spike like no other- CPU difficulty is now more accurately reflective. Sure, "unbeatable" difficulty beforehand did make your life a pain trying to get first, but now "unbeatable" really does live by its name, you're really fighting to keep the top spot, and I like it. Of course, there are lower difficulties for the more novice driver, but at least more experienced players now have something more rewarding to tackle (even if it seems like the AI is straight up cheating, but that's a story for another day).

Graphics and sound wise, the game couldn't really do much better. Even though I've been experiencing the game through my last-gen One S, rather than a sparkly Series X, rarely have I noticed this fact, the game still looks gorgeous from all angles on a five year old system. There have been points of slowdown or graphical glitches as a result of my les powerful Xbox, but these are few and far between and operates at a crisp and solid framerate throughout. One thing that is a REAL pain in this game as a result of playing it on the unoptimized system is the loading times. I've heard that on the current-gen consoles and PC they aren't really long at all, but there have been points where I've been sat on a loading screen for so long that I considered restarting my game as I thought it had crashed. Again, this is few and far between, you only really get loading screens when starting events and upon booting up the game, but all the same it does slow down the experience.

Another negative is the dialogue. Your player character now speaks, but I'm honestly fine with that, it adds some much needed character to the guy. However, almost everything else is pretty awful. I hate the banter and "humour" that they go for, almost every time it misses the mark and just comes off as irritating and pointless. I've been able to tune myself out whenever dialogue comes up due to past games' experiences (looking at you LaRacer) but I still don't get why we just can't tone it down a bit and get rid of all the waffling and padding out of conversations that add literally nothing to the game. Yes, a minor and quite pointless nit-pick, but I feel like it is at least a little relevant.

Right now, I'd say this is my favourite Horizon game yet. There's a lot I haven't touched upon, such as the online, Horizon Arcade, the barn finds etc. but I think you get the picture. Sure, nostalgia and total playtime would give the medal to the likes of 2 and 3, but based on content alone, in a non-biased sense, its hard to create a case for why any of the others in the series can remain the best. Horizon 5 has brought so much to the table, and bare in mind, this is just the beginning. Its only been just over 2 weeks since the first release, so I'm willing to bet we've got a lot of great things coming our way.

Overall Rating 9/10

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