Forza Horizon 5 game review: A gorgeous drive to familiar heights

Nearly a decade before this week’s launch of Forza Horizon 5, the Forza Horizon series began life as a plucky, goofy offshoot of the “serious” Forza Motorsport racing games. Instead of confining you to just race tracks, Horizon‘s massive map ranged from busy city streets to wide-open countrysides to muddy riverside romps.

The resulting game curried a ton of favor upon launch, since it evoked the beloved and long-dormant Burnout Paradise concept—with the bonus of Forza‘s solid car-handling model at its core. But while each subsequent Horizon game has improved the series’ technical chops, the formula hasn’t changed much. Horizon‘s best ideas have mostly come from wacky DLC packs that reimagine the series concept, particularly FH3‘s Hot Wheels set and FH4‘s LEGO pack.

In spite of this history, I went into Forza Horizon 5 hoping fans wouldn’t have to wait for another expansion pack to add that kind of fuel injection—but sadly, my hopes have been dashed. Forza Horizon 5 remains merely the best open-world driving game you can buy—the same thing we said about 2018’s Forza Horizon 4. That means it’s good, it’s fun, and it’s pretty. And it skips a few obnoxious modern trends, letting you simply play by yourself without microtransaction-related meddling.

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