I tried out Forza Horizon 5 for the first time last year and completely spaced on writing about it even though I had a blast with the game. With Forza Horizon 6 on the horizon (ha ha) I decided now would be the perfect time to jump back into it and remember all the fun I had with it. While Forza Horizon is a game about racing at its core, it surprised me with how much more it is.
Rather than a racing game where players compete in races linearly, once players are dropped into the world of Horizon they are free to travel the roads and complete the many events they’ll find along the way at their own pace. Forza is a racing game with a story. A racing RPG. An RRPG, if you will. In the fifth installment in the series players are tasked with traveling to Mexico in hopes of becoming the champion of the legendary Horizon Rally, adding new cars to their garage, and taking in the beautiful landscapes along the way. The map is littered with races and other activities to do, upon completion of which will award the player points which progress the story and uncover new sections of the map. Each unlocked section focuses on something different: one area might be desert and therefore focus on desert racing, while another section is more populated and offers city races. My favorite part, however, is the journey.
Out of all the other fun races and tasks in the game, my favorite thing to do is just drive. In Horizon, players are given free reign over the map and must travel to each event they wish to take part in. There’s no fast travel, and in a game where the focus is driving cars I think that was a genius move. Driving is the main game mechanic in racing games, and Forza gives you lots of opportunities to test out newly acquired vehicles while on the road to another race as well as just exploring its detailed map.
While I have enjoyed a good racing game from time to time, it would be an understatement to only label the Forza Horizon series as such. There is so much detail packed into every part of the map, and there’s even points to be gained from wreaking havoc on the destructible environments or passing way too closely to an NPC driver on the road (without side-swiping…), all the while listening to one of several Horizon radio stations. It’s a game that allows you to choose how to play depending on your mood. During a play session, I might want to just drive around the map in different vehicles while listening to a good YouTube video or I might be up for the more high energy races. I have definitely become a fan, and I look forward to the new locations and vehicles in the upcoming Forza Horizon 6.