Forza Horizon 5 will transport the player to the roads of Mexico, in a colorful, festive and, to some extent, varied look. Get ready to race through desert sandstorms, snow, the edge of chasms and more. The game will be available at launch, Nov. 9, on the Xbox Games Pass for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC (Windows). O Techblog tested a preview of the game, at Series S, and you can see our first impressions.
The title brings accessibility options, a new choice of neutral gender (in addition to female and male) and also subtitles, menus and dubbing in Brazilian Portuguese. In this preview, we tested the single player mode and got access to the open map, a list of cars and options to customize them.
As in the previous game in the series, Forza Horizon 5 it starts by showing the player what it came for. The prologue, so to speak, begins in the best style Fast and furious and you, already in the car, parachute from an airplane to face the first sequence of runways.
Each segment, which makes the transition between one vehicle and another (all ejected from an airplane freighter) takes you to different environments, with different weather and terrain conditions and – consequently – different types of cars.
The intention of this cinematographic opening is clear: to give the player an initial notion of the feeling of driving the various types of cars available and what types of terrain they would be better used: smooth and cemented tracks? Step on the lowered and faster cars; rugged terrain and dirt? Play with pickup trucks; and so on.
It’s a very energetic introduction to the game and the music sets the tone for each vehicle/terrain transition. However, the narration is a bit childish – at times. But honestly? This doesn’t bother you, as your eyes will be much more glazed over the race and the look that Forza Horizon 5 has to offer.
Also, speaking of looks…
Game is beautiful, even in Series S
As I said at the beginning of this preview, the tests of the Forza Horizon 5 were made on the Series S and the game is very beautiful and ran without crashes, even on the “weaker” console of the new generation Xbox. This leads me to believe that on Series X or even on PC, with high graphics quality, it must look stunning.
It is worth noting that the title has graphic modes options to choose from, according to your preference. You can choose quality or performance. The main difference is in the frame rate: in quality, it’s 30 FPS (because the biggest gain is in the visual); and in performance it is 60 FPS.
Regardless of your choice, both the scenarios around the tracks, as well as the use of lights and particles (especially in more arid terrains to demonstrate the dust) were well applied and make the player really “feel” that he is in a new environment.
Skid and hit a brick wall? You will cross it with bricks, stones and everything. What I liked about the game’s physics is the idea that if your car is at x speed and the retaining wall isn’t very resistant, it’s possible to carry everything along the way in a skid that didn’t work out, for example.
At that time, there are bricks, wooden fences or even pieces of trees flying in all directions. These are details, but very welcome to complement the look and give an air of realism a little more. Even because no one deserves more invisible walls, without a rationale, in the middle of 2021.
Brakeless and fluid gameplay
The gameplay style of the series Forza Horizon it’s more arcade-oriented and less simulation-oriented (although it has a hand in this mechanic as well – if you like). If you’ve played the previous title, you’ll have no problem adapting. Even if you are a newcomer to the series, I believe there will be no problems either.
The controls are very fluid and challenge you according to each modality and type of car. For those who are already used to racing games, nothing new in this regard. Horizon 5 it also brings a kind of “facilitator” in case you make a mistake. For example, did you turn too wide? Hit the wall and was passed? Fell off the bridge?! Just press Y on the controller and go back to a point before the error.
This, at least on the single player, is a nice feature so you don’t miss that perfect note just because you took a wrong turn at the very end of the race. In multiplayer, which was not available for testing in this preview, I don’t know how this can work without “breaking” the idea of competition between players.
Just brushing something I noticed about multiplayer, even though it’s not active, is that before starting some races you can select whether you want to participate in them in solo vs AI, co-op, PvP (player against player) and Rivals. We will see, at launch, how these modes will behave.
And speaking of notes, all the activities you do in Forza Horizon 5 earn you Achievement Points. And opportunities abound for you to earn these points. In addition to the races, which are part of the main campaign, there are side missions and extra activities (such as exploration, taking pictures, etc.) scattered across the map.
You earn points even if you don’t win some events. Your XP will accumulate, for the final score, according to perfect drifts and other well-executed maneuvers throughout the race, for example. This helps not to frustrate less experienced players with racing games early on, that they sometimes get stuck and can’t progress right away because they can’t always be in first place.
Oh yes, it is possible to explore the map of Horizon between races too. You don’t necessarily need to mend one run into another. Also, I highly recommend using the “free roam” mode, or roam freely, of the game. Remember those speed cameras of some Need for Speed? So you’ll find them here too and if you pass them as fast as possible earns you a score for it. There are activities you can only find by exploring.
And why join Achievement Points? As this meter increases, you will be able to unlock new adventure chapters. Horizon. As many points as you get, winning races and completing challenges will also unlock upgrades for your cars and even for your character.
Yes, it’s possible to customize your avatar in the game, but I’ll tell you that it’s not by far the highlight of the game. The customization options are limited and your character, even with trendy clothes and even prosthetics for the arms and legs (a positive point for inclusion), looks more like a talking wax doll. Fortunately, the stars are really the cars, and they are beautiful.
Are you feeling daring and owning the roads? Still in free roam mode, it is possible to challenge another car to a “catch” just passing by the other vehicle and pressing the challenge button. If you win, there are more precious points you earn.
Over time, you will start to favorite a few cars according to the style you like best. I, for example, in free roam mode, I prefer cars that have a good drift. It’s nice to get into corners with skids and make some break style points.
Tuned cars and other prizes
If you want an even more personalized experience, it’s possible to tune your cars. But I already advance that you will need to have, at least, some notion of this in order not to completely unbalance your vehicle. If you choose to venture into this type of customization, you can improve your car’s performance, for example, by adjusting tire pressure, gears, wheel alignment, suspension, brakes, negative lift and differential settings, and so on. go.
In addition to this more advanced part, as you progress through the campaign and accumulate points, you can also unlock new horn sounds (even cute and musical ones) and other sound effects. It’s worth noting that progressing in the races will also earn you points to invest in the unique abilities that each car can have. Yes, your vehicle has a skill tree and is thankfully simple to understand.
Going to the Horizon Menu, you can participate in drawings as you level up. Prizes, which are random when you spin a roulette wheel, range from more XP to new cars and cosmetic items. Don’t forget to visit these lotteries whenever you have the opportunity.
Forza Horizon 5 deserves a test drive
If you played and liked the previous game, Forza Horizon 5 it certainly deserves its “test drive”. New to the franchise? So give it a try. The game remains visually beautiful (apart from the wax figures of the human characters), features fluid gameplay, more customization options and a very extensive map full of activities, even in free exploration mode.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to test the multiplayer, but at least from what I’ve seen from the single player, the game is pretty finished and, given the amount of activities available, it should either be finished or pretty close. My only caveat, and I think they should fix this by release, is in synchronizing the lines with the characters. Twice the sync of the wax figures’ mouths with the voices was completely lost.
Apart from that, the cars are visually beautiful and the choice of Mexico as the host country at the time brought a beautiful color to a racing game that already has the premise of being very festive. The map also helps a lot to define the paths to take and which missions to prioritize. You are free to choose what to do when you want. Now just wait for November to step back!