Forza Horizon 5 is about to let gamers race through Mexico in a way that's never been done before. To punctuate this, Playground Games opened up the Forza Horizon 5 trailer at Gamescom 2021 in style with a 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands literally being dropped out the back of a plane, then driving through a snow-filled mountainous terrain, only to transition into the barren desert wastelands of Baja California in Mexico.
Microsoft and Playground Games' virtual preview event before the start of Gamescom 2021 was definitely something else. Even though the press never got to play the game for themselves, the opening was more than enough to leave audiences around the world with a brand new appreciation of Mexico and of course Forza Horizon 5.
Did Playground Games do enough for Forza Horizon 5?
One of the hardest things for any developer to do is to make a sequel. Playground Games has done a masterful job at subverting expectations by releasing three successful sequels. Each Forza Horizon installment has been better than its predecessor, with Forza Horizon 4 being the best yet.
Many consider Forza Horizon 4 one of the best racing games available today, which undoubtedly puts plenty of pressure on Playground Games to deliver.
Graphically, Forza Horizon 5 is a huge step up for the series. However, one can't help but wonder if Playground Games did enough to improve on the series' formula. Keep in mind that Horizon doesn't cater to the same audiences as its brother, Forza Motorsport, as well as the Gran Turismo games.
Unlike more serious racing games, Horizon's reputation is built on letting audiences feel the thrill of what it's like to get behind the wheel of some of the fastest vehicles around the world, without asking them to learn all the driving nuances that come with driving such powerful machines. Because of this, Horizon games need to focus more on keeping audiences entertained with bigger and better set pieces, as well as more things to do.
So far, Playground Games has said all the right things about Horizon 5. The game doesn't just have open-world racing events and side missions. It also has a massive Mexico map. There is also plenty of other things to do in Horizon 5, for example, the Events Lab allows players to and participate in player-created events.
With that said, only time will tell if what Playground Games has done for Forza Horizon 5 is enough to make it a significant and worthy improvement over Forza Horizon 4.
Then again, even if Forza Horizon 5 represents the series plateauing for the first time, we do not doubt that it's still going to be fun to play. It will be hard to beat the experience of driving a 2021 Corvette Stingray through the wide and open Mexican roads on the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 at 4K resolution and 30 frames per second.