Is Forza Horizon 5, Worth Playing?
Forza Horizon 5 is a perfect mix of arcade racing and driving simulation that is sure to appeal to a wide demographic of car enthusiasts.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Price: $59.99
Release Date: 4 November 2021
Supported Modes:

Event Lab.

Forza Horizon 5 grants players the ability to create their races, modes, and even mini-games; unlike some titles, which give players but a taste of the tools used by the developers to create new events, players have access to almost the entire toolkit, allowing players to modify almost every aspect of their custom event including weather conditions, car restrictions and so much more.

Creating your dream event and sharing it with others in the community feels fantastic and allows console and Android users to create custom content, something which is traditionally restricted to the PC platform.

Text to Speech.

One of the most impressive elements of recent Forza titles is the game’s ability to incorporate the player’s name into the dialogue spoken by NPC characters; while gamers have grown used to being called champion, rookie or hero audibly as the subtitles displayed their characters name, Forza Horizon 5 like its predecessor addresses the player by name in a surprisingly organic manner.

I have rewound a clip several times where an NPC is addressing me by name to see if the audio quality was any different to their standard dialogue, and from casual observation, there is no pause or tonal difference when speaking my name.



Dynamic weather and day/night cycles make Forza Horizon 5 one of the most visually pleasing titles released during the first year of the 9th generation.

Being able to start a road trip as the sun rises, drive throughout the day watching as dusk turns into darkness, and then watch streetlights, headlights, and house lights slowly start to come on as the moon rises visually stunning and one of the most immersive experiences available on console. 

Not to be outdone, the dynamic weather system in Forza Horizon 5 is the best the industry has to offer; with over 2000 different skybox configurations recorded in stunning 4K, players will experience almost every weather front earth has to offer, from tropical storms and towering dust clouds to more traditional blizzards and spring showers.

In Forza Horizon 5, Mexico is brought to life with care and attention that the region has unfortunately rarely been given in the medium, described by some as virtual tourism; I cannot wait to see all Forza Horizon 5’s interpretation of Mexico has to offer and uncover its many secrets, including lost temples, lush jungles and remote villages.


Forza Horizon 4 offered players one of the largest maps in the racing genre at a whopping 52 square miles; however, Forza Horizon 5 has entirely eclipsed its predecessor by releasing a map over 78 miles wide.

This huge landmass has allowed the developers to include 11 distinct biomes, including urban, living desert, snowy mountains, lush tropical beaches and even an active volcano, in a first for the franchise.


Driving Sim.

While Forza Horizon 5 has more than enough races to satisfy even the most ardent fan of racing games, it has so much more to offer, including open-world exploration, arcade games, player-created content, story missions, and for the first time in the series, visually stunning storm-chaser missions that challenge players to drive into the heart of the storm.

In addition, fans of collectables are in for a treat with the return of Barn Finds, a system that allows players to discover rare and valuable vehicles that are available through no other means; players will gain access to these locations by following rumours and completing challenges, giving access to a total of 15 barn finds at launch, with more expected to be added throughout the year.



Like previous titles in the Forza Horizon 5 franchise, players can experience all four seasons, with each season lasting one week in the normal modes; however, players who wish to experience a different season than the one currently in rotation may do so by creating a custom event and selecting their preferred season.

Radio DJ.

Like previous Forza Horizon titles, a virtual radio DJ comments on recent player actions; however, a borderline stereotypical (fake?) Mexican accent combined with an appalling script makes listening to her almost unbearable; as a result, most players will quickly grow tired of her borderline stereotypical Mexican phrases and fake exuberance.


Forza Horizon 5 is one of the most accessible titles on the market, which includes the introduction of ASL & BSL support in a future update, a first for the genre and possibly gaming as a whole.

A full list of accessibility options in Forza Horizon 5 can be viewed here.


Player Housing.

Forza Horizon 5 allows players to purchase various houses across the map, each with unique visuals and a passive ability, such as increased earnings, additional loot rolls and instant teleportation to any road on the map, which is great for those who want to jump right into their chosen activity and not spent 10+ minutes driving to it.

Car Tuning.

Like previous entries in the series, players can customize almost every aspect of their vehicle’s performance and appearance, ensuring that even the most ardent car enthusiast will have something to sink their teeth into.


By completing challenges and winning races, players will unlock cosmetic items that customize their driver’s appearance and emotes that allow the player to perform various dances/actions when on the podium.


Character Customization.

Skin Tones: I am thrilled to see a wider array of skin tones in Forza Horizon 5; however, they have come at the cost of removing almost every caucasian facial model from the game; diversity and player choice don’t require less of a certain thing, it requires more of everything.

Instead of giving players a choice of 2-3 faces per skin tone/gender and removing the majority of caucasian face models available in previous titles, the developers should have increased the total amount of faces available and created an equal number of options for each skin tone.

While a sincere move by the developers, this clumsy attempt at diversity does little but remove customization options for one race while adding next to nothing for every other race.

Sincere but thoughtless actions such as these may cause some gamers “sitting on the fence” to move farther to the right and, as a result, further delay the widespread acceptance of true diversity in gaming.


No Beards: I genuinely smiled when I saw the wide array of prosthetic options available in Forza Horizon 5, this was a long-neglected aspect of customization in gaming, and finally, a AAA publisher was making strides to be more inclusive of everyone, and then I saw they neglected to include a single option for beards.

Dismissed by some as a petty complaint, many do not grasp the importance of beards to various cultures and religions, and yes, those who have undergone FTM transition, whom, for many growing a beard is the culmination of a long, painful, and in many cases lonely and difficult journey.

There are multiple religions where the growth of a beard is mandatory to be in good standing with your community and God, including certain sects of Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism.


While I don’t believe God worries one way or another about my impressive beard, the developers have indirectly displayed a callous disregard for billions of people.

By ignoring the fact for many people, a beard is a very important part of their identity, the developers have done a disservice to actual diversity by placing importance on one aspect of representation while neglecting another aspect entirely.

Jesus addressed a similar behaviour in Luke 11:42 when addressing a group of religious leaders who were rigorous in following one part of “doing good” but neglected the rest.

But woe to you, Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done without neglecting the others. - Luke 11:42

True diversity makes life better for everyone. It doesn’t diminish the majority in favour of the minority; rather, it seeks to level the playing field by increasing the accessibility and representation of all people.



The Forza Horizon 5 campaign serves as a medium to introduce players to various aspects of the game; however, it is very weak, with unloveable and highly slappable characters whose cheery demeanour and cringy behaviour put them on par with the atrocious NPCs featured in Riders Republic. This game saw players interact with some of the worst characters I have encountered in any AAA title.

Sport and, by extension, racing games do not have the narrative strength to pull off actual characters. As a result, I would prefer they stop trying, saving players time (unskippable cutscenes in 2022?) and embarrassment in the process.


Forza Horizon 5 FAQ

Forza Horizon 5 is a simulation video game developed by Playground Games and published by Xbox Game Studios, it was released on 4 November 2021 and retails for $59.99.

Platform Availability.

Forza Horizon 5 is available on the following platforms: PC, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

How Many People Play Forza Horizon 5?

As of August 2022, Forza Horizon 5 had been played by over 20 million players, making it the largest Xbox Game Studios and Xbox Game Pass launch in history, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon with the Steam client alone seeing peaks of around 10k players each day.

While the Steam player numbers are impressive on their own, they become even more impressive when you consider the Steam community for any Xbox Games Studio first-party title is minuscule compared to the Xbox Game Pass community, which comprises more than 25 million active subscribers, all of which have access to all first-party titles as part of their monthly subscription.

How Long Does Forza Horizon 5 Take to Complete?

On average Forza Horizon 5 takes between 20 and 100 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 20 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 40 Hours.
  • Completionist: 100 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

Is Cross-Platform Multiplayer Supported?

Forza Horizon 5 supports:

  • Cross-Platform Multiplayer.
  • Cross-Platform Parties.
  • Cross-Generational Multiplayer.
  • Cross-Generational Parties.
  • Cross-Platform Progression.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Forza Horizon 5 offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Region-Based Matchmaking
  • Solo Matchmaking
  • Group Matchmaking
  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • Console - Mouse and Keyboard.
  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Forza Horizon 5 is rated PEGI 3+ and contains no offensive content.

Final Verdict.

Forza Horizon 5 is one of the most visually impressive and content-heavy first-party games on the Xbox Series X|S. I fully recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in racing and driving games.

While I would never outright recommend a racing game to those not already fans of the genre, Forza Horizon 5’s availability on Xbox Game Pass makes it highly accessible and affordable to those who may not have previously experienced high-quality driving simulation. I fully recommend Xbox Game Pass and, by extension, Forza Horizon 5 to all with devices capable of using the service. 

Is Forza Horizon 5 Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Forza Horizon 5" a rating of 10/10, indicating that it is genre-defining and essentially unmissable. While it may not be 100% perfect, it comes close, and the average gamer is likely to both enjoy and recommend it to others.

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