How Forza Horizon 5 can Improve Upon its Predecessors

Last year, Microsoft touted the power of the previously-unreleased Xbox Series X/S with the debut of the next entry in the Forza Motorsport series. At the time, it made sense for the unnumbered title to be the next Forza game, since Forza Horizon 4 released back in 2018 and the Motorsport and Horizon series have traditionally alternated from one release to the next over the past decade. Rumors started to spread of a new Forza Horizon game earlier this year that seemed to have the potential to beat its Motorsport compatriot to the finish line, however, and Microsoft’s E3 showcase back in June confirmed just as much. Forza Horizon 5 will continue to embrace the series’ international aspirations by transporting players to Mexico, with the biggest Horizon map to date that will be 50% bigger than Horizon 4’s Britain. Featuring over 400 vehicles, brand new arcade modes and an astounding presentation, Horizon 5 seems to be on track to be the best entry in the already-acclaimed series, but there are still several hopes we have that could help the newest title improve upon its predecessors.

Clear Difficulty

Our mostly glowing review of Forza Horizon 4 had few complaints about the open-world racer, but one of the few issues it pointed out was the absence of any difficulty indicators. While the Horizon series has offered a nice variety of customization options for each race that allow players to fine tune it to their preferences, there has been no clear way of knowing before a race begins if players should expect a more straightforward or challenging course design until the event is already underway. This can lead to unexpected frustrations on the first attempt at a given race, and providing each event with a clear designation of its challenge level could better help players determine if they need to raise or lower any of the various difficulty sliders and options. It would also go a long way towards making the races feel more accessible, since the realistic nature of Forza’s driving can take some time to adjust to for newer fans of the games.

Meaningful Rewards

Even in the opening hours of past Horizon games, it won’t take too long before players have amassed a sizable garage of vehicles, with new cars being handed out left and right for completing events and unlocking wheelspins. This is on top of all of the clothes, emotes and other player character elements that were introduced in the last game as unlockable rewards, which led to frequent breaks from the action due to the overwhelming amount of new gifts. As other loot-based games have discovered in the past, a high volume of meaningless items is only worthwhile when players feel likely to receive a bigger ticket item, but Horizon 4 did a relatively lackluster job of letting the player know when they unlocked something valuable. If Horizon 5 plans on continuing this trend of endless rewards, it would be beneficial to the player to make it more clear when they received a truly rare or high-end vehicle or accessory.

Simplified Upgrading

Along with all of the aforementioned new vehicles players can acquire, one could easily spend hours with the bevy of performance and aesthetic customization options that players have at their disposal. While this amount of freedom is welcome, players who may not be as familiar with how to properly improve their car of choice may find it difficult to determine which parts will give them the best end result. Horizon 5 seems poised to offer this same depth of customization, but also offering a simplified upgrade route would go a long way towards helping new and veteran players alike, and get them back to driving on the roads of Mexico much quicker.

Forza Horizon 5 is set to launch on Xbox Series X/S, PC and Xbox One on November 9.