Forza Horizon 5: Game Review

Forza Horizon is an amazing series. Since the release of the first part in 2012, the franchise has not changed at all. The delivery methods, visual and quantitative components are improved, but at heart it is still the same Xbox 360 game: a holiday race that eats up dozens of hours of life and requires only the most basic knowledge of how to drive a car. It sounds boring, but the formula works, and they are not going to refuse it yet.

What is Forza

For those who missed almost nine years of Horizon’s history, I’ll tell you what it is. The series’ legs grow out of the highly ambitious Forza Motorsport line, whose developers (Turn 10 Studios) challenged Gran Turismo in 2005. The application, of course, was excellent, but it did not stand the test of time. While Gran Turismo is still a full-fledged car simulator by its seventh part and is considered the benchmark of the genre, Motorsport.

lost in the background of its own spin-off, is increasingly leaning towards the arcade – and not to say successfully.
Microsoft noticed the problems of its own brainchild ten years ago and made the right decision: not to abandon the developments in machines, physics, game mechanics and licenses, but to look at them from a different angle. Playground Games offered to do this, which in 2010 was known only for the fact that its founders worked at Code masters and Criterion Games.

In 2012, the first Forza Horizon was released, which, on paper, was supposed to take the meticulous ring simulator Motorsport 4 into an open world. Formally, this is what happened: the players received a huge seamless map of Colorado, dozens of kilometers of roads, as well as two hundred cars licensed and modeled for Motorsport.

Along the way, the developers lost nothing at all: tuning, liveries and … reliable physics, the main pride of the entire Forza series. Officially, the simulation was then thrown out due to the weakness of the Xbox 360, which in 2012 really breathed its last and was not ready to combine both the open world and realistic physics. But, it seems to me, they did it on purpose, because this is the whole point of Horizon.

This is a game about beautiful cars, kilometers of roads, the sound of engines and driving pleasure, but not about “the ability to find the right trajectory, brake in time and fight for thousandths of a second.” Why, Horizon didn’t even call for winning races: you came first – well done, seventh – also well done, and in general you are handsome. Such a formula then (and still) was confusing for those who came to Horizon from Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo: for them, almost racing drivers, the absence of an obvious struggle looked silly, but in just a few hours such gameplay dragged even them.

Even if you have just been wrapped around a pole, you get points for a beautiful drift to that very pole. Stupid? Crazy, but very enjoyable. Secondly, Horizon does not bother. You can turn on an audiobook, a TV series, a lecture – and under them turn circles along virtual tracks until the bumpers on the gamepad rub your fingers. Thirdly, Horizon has always been stunningly beautiful for its time and very attentive to detail. And this.

in conjunction with a fairly simple driving, allowed me to periodically stick to nature or how beautifully your car shines. Fourthly, even in the first part of Horizon offered more than 200 cars licensed and reproduced with meticulous accuracy. And if at first you still turned up your nose at all these models, which differed from each other only in terms of “faster-slower, dumber-maneuverable”, then you were drawn into the story of collecting and the old formula “collect them all”.

If we draw analogies with modern projects, then the Horizon series is very similar to Assassin’s Creed, from which they finally threw out the plot that no one needed and left only beautiful views, points on the map and rewards.
And this is the formula Horizon has been polishing and strengthening for almost nine years. In the second part (2014, already Xbox One), the game received tuning, liveries, drivers, dynamic weather and a truly open world: cars were allowed to go off the tracks and radically cut the road through the fields.

The third (2016) was supplemented with something like a storyline with progress through the festival, a draft and “dangerous” zones, the ability to create your own competitions, customize your avatar, and even trade at the auction. At the same time, the number of cars in the game exceeded three and a half hundred. By the fourth part of Horizon (2018), it has matured so much that it entered the Xbox One X launch lineup, got rid of the difficulties with the player’s reputation, became even more beautiful, increased the fleet of cars to 450 and went along the path of “more rewards for every little thing, even more entertainment and , what’s there, at the same time we will add a zombie mode, a royal battle and Stag from Top Gear.

I’m sure if you’re not familiar with the series, the above may give the impression that FH is an extremely stupid and completely out of touch game like NFS or Burnout Paradise. And here is the most important thing: outwardly, Horizon has always kept a serious face. Realistic places and roads, more or less honest rules of the races themselves, and, of course, meticulously modeled cars. Perhaps that is why, sitting for six hours in a row in a game with a minimum of simulation and plausibility, you did not feel stupid, but continued to perceive the process as quite a serious occupation, worthy of staying up. In the fifth part, the approach has changed slightly.