It’s been fascinating to see Playground Games’ absurdly consistent Forza Horizon series morph into an Xbox flagship and overtake its more serious source Forza Motorsport with gleefully rough open-world driving vacations. This latest installment now finds itself the flag bearer for Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service, sitting happily alongside the forthcoming Halo Infinite as a powerful if familiar double whammy of cars and guns that should keep Xbox gamers happy this Christmas.
Regardless of his positioning, there’s no sense that the Leamington developer is taking his foot off the pedal with Forza Horizon 5. Ever since the first Horizon brought a street racing festival to the mountains of Colorado in 2012, the question has been, well, how are you? the? And amazingly, Playground always has the answer.
Although now it’s less about improving the previous game and more about keeping each new entry fresh enough to complement the previous one. This depends almost entirely on location, Forza Horizon trots across the globe, from the US to Europe, Australia to the UK. each with a distinctly different feel to road layout, weather, and views. Jumping back and forth between each game has value in itself, even if the festival setup – with its ridiculous amount of events, massive car catalogue, and queasy radio stations – remains constant.
This time we’re in Mexico, which has allowed the developer to build their most diverse vehicle playground. Sprawling dunes teeming with cactus, lush wet jungle with fabulous swamps to splash around in, narrow colorful towns, Mayan ruins and even the shimmering peak of an active volcano. It’s a treat to look at and – as in all Forza games – the map is densely packed and rapidly changing terrain and climate, allowing you to zoom through each land in one short jaunt. The game alternates between spring and summer, with the former kicking up spectacular dust storms and the latter sending tropical rain thundering between otherwise gorgeous blue skies. Its drive-by portrayal of Mexican culture is also Tourist Board-approved, with all the positive clichés you’d expect from a package tour.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/forza-horizon-5-review-joyful-driving-holiday/ Forza Horizon 5 review: a joyful driving holiday