As I approach 600 hours of played time in Forza Horizon 5, I think I would like to list down the many issues I have with this game and the declining quality of the Forza franchise as a whole. I’m simply going to list things I don’t like; maybe sometime later I’ll be able to write an in-depth explanation but right now I’m sure it would benefit everyone if I cut to the chase.
The game’s tone and surrounding world is so incredibly childish it feels like I’m too old for iy. What once was a believable, realistic world has given way to feeling as if it’s set in a children’s show. There’s being for all ages, and then there’s being for children. FH5 is the latter and by far the most obnoxiously G rated gaming experience I’ve ever had. LittleBigPlanet has more edge than this game.
The events and progression are completely pointless. We literally are given the three most desirable cars of the past year right out the gate. The game showers you in credits and XP. There’s no satisfaction in gaining high-level cars. There’s barely any endgame, completing races and PR stunts feels like checking off a grocery list. Expeditions full of poorly-written dialogue and worldbuilding doesn’t make this a “campaign” all of the sudden. What would be priceless six-figure rides in the real world can be used as mere paperweights in FH5. There’s no difference in owning a Golf or a Huracan; they’re both obtainable in the same amount of time.
The car list is heavily downgraded, many cars have been removed for reasons only being so that they can be recycled as new content in the Festival Playlist. So many car models are at this point Worryingly, a considerable amount of cars are appearing in the game as nothing more than mere product placement. The Mustang Mach-E is a great example of this.
The soundtrack is the worst I’ve heard in any video game, ever. Horizon 4 suffered from the playlist being too short and repetitive. Horizon 5’s is even shorter, and has genuinely terrible music, especially on XS, which seems to hold more pop music than rock. As someone who loves music and is weirdly invested in the art of choosing licensed music for games, this entire playlist is a travesty.
The UI is flat out terrible. It’s time to move away from the white boxes, guys. It’s been seven years. The UI is disjointed, confusing, and slow. Most buttons on it no longer have pictures, electing to have white block words. Being new to the FH5 menu made this very hard to navigate, quickly shifting through these menus has my brain looking for images rather than words. Even now several months into release, I’ll find myself blankly staring at the UI trying to remember where that menu I was looking for is located.
Many of the “new” additions to this game don’t add anything of value. Forza Linc is relatively pointless. Emotes return, to absolutely no one’s applause. Clothes are sadly back and are a noticeable downgrade (see below). We also have the Eliminator, which is a total joke of a mode. None of this really adds to FH5 outside of the Eliminator, and it’s so poorly made and balanced even that’s not enjoyable.
The clothing options regrettably return with even less options to choose from. We have mittens in Mexico, but not racing gloves? The ridiculous post-launch costumes are more reminiscent of Fortnite skins rather than Forza Horizon. Why were dresses added? Even if I was using a female avatar, I wouldn’t want to thrash around the Mexican desert looking like I’m ready for an Instagram shoot. No tattoos in a game (that’s supposed to be) based around one of the most masculine pastimes is a disappointment, too. Let my character have a tattoo sleeve!
The location. The map is a noticeable improvement over FH4’s, but I will admit it still suffers from plenty of issues. 40% of the map is just farmland and open fields. You also are just CONSTANTLY getting stuck on things, I’ve used the “Reset Car” button several times opposed to the once or twice I did in FH4. there’s hardly anything car-related in the country’s history, past or present. All we have is the “Vocho” which is literally just a copy/pasted model from Motorsport 4. Many cars popular in Mexico are still absent for some reason. Mexico feels very thematically inappropriate for a racing game.
This game is less focused on cars than ever. Much of the advertising and trailers are more focused on the setting and graphics rather than the entire genre and point of the game: DRIVING CARS. Even the Horizon Stories aren’t centered around vehicles or automotive history, choosing in favor to be about Mexican history and culture. Horizon 4’s Stories were bad, but at least they were about cars! For the first time in franchise history, FH5’s start menu focuses on landscape over cars. It’s disgusting.
Customization is barely improved. No options for window stickers, no tire decals, can’t paint roll cages, no custom license plates, widebody kits are scarce. Forza Aero’s hideousness still plagues the game seven years later. Virtually all bodykit options are just ripped from older Forza titles. Being someone who loves building custom cars, it’s insulting Gran Turismo 7 can outclass Forza Horizon in this aspect. If they can provide widebody and aero kits for nearly every car in the game, what Forza’s excuse?
In my opinion all the FH games have suffered from moronic inane chatter from the characters, that’s why I have always turned the volume down on that and the music, as far as I’m concerned serious racing games don’t need any story or voice acting, but then it is FH and not FM.
I would consider myself a dedicated player & for me, the biggest “issue” I can relate to is the longevity aspect to the game you refer to on point 2. After a certain time, it does feel pretty much pointless given the game progression & activities which are essentially recycled each week. Milestones for the game I suppose are initially enjoyable to achieve, but are definitely finite. Ultimately, most activities are focused toward credit awards, but once you max them out, what’s the point? That makes leaderboards, painter status, etc. pretty much worthless (*IMO). I also agree that many of in-game features & accessories are completely worthless for improving the experience. Still, I find myself going back to the game bc I enjoy creating new car designs & completing the challenges, but I still seem to inevitably get back to that point where it feels like Groundhog Day lol. But hey, at least we have some great new cars in the upcoming car pass line up to……oh wait…. nevermind.
You can make goals for yourself. As a painter for example you want 50000 downloads, likes, and uses at first, but then you can try for 1 Million downloads. Or just try to get a design at the number one spot of the Userbase. Just make up your own goals.
In open racing you want to win all of the various Championships.
In Rivals you want to be top of the board of your friends list.
As A tuner you might want to also go for 50000 download, likes, and uses, and then 1 Million downloads.
Or, you know, the devs could concentrate on delivering a game with content that actually engages the players, rather than putting desirables behind a grind to drive the stats. It is a AAA title, and they are an award winning studio after all. Personally, the FH5 experience could be SO much better, if they chose to do so.
It’s so frustrating. They’ve got an excellent structure for the game in place. It would be so easy to make this an amazing game with engaging content each week.
Instead, it comes across that the only thing they think the game needs are new cars. The playlist generally seems lazily put together - as an example, we had Subaru v Mitsubishi for the dirt trial two weeks ago and Modern Rally Cars this week (which are all Subarus or Mitsubishis). A half-competent check would have identified that and chosen something different, given the vast amount of different possible options they could produce.
Further, it must be fairly straightforward to add a few new courses here and there. A new course added every month or so would really add longevity to the game, whilst we await the DLC expansions in due course.
I don’t have 10 grievances I can think of, I can only echo the frustration because the base is there to make an engaging experience for everyone that is worth revisiting for fun as opposed to changing the colour of a window to get a reward you already have. It is tough, though to please all.
But even wet times in rivals and reverse courses add considerable replayability for me.
Regarding the list of cars, to be honest, it seems that I haven’t left Europe: there is an excess of European cars and a lack of cars from the American continent, in this case, as I’ve been talking exhaustively about the Muscles and Hot Rods that were removed, whatever it was the reason.
Regarding progress, the best path was Forza 6: all the cars in the store, just race, earn money and buy them. There wasn’t race to win a car, snipe it, save it to resell it for 20 million 15 days later. Everything was at the dealership so we could play at our own pace and the game was complete all the time, even after the end of life. Before it was just race. Today the race is to win as quickly and cheaply as possible to resell later.
Now regarding the map I have nothing against it because I really liked the map. One thing that would be nice is they the old maps as DLC… It would be nice to have access to Australia and England at any time.
Ah yes, to clarify, there I meant in the sense of conquering the cars only. I would certainly like a more immersive story, even the cliché in which the character is a weakling who grows fame and respect to conquer things seems to be much more interesting than doing jumps and running with impossible drivatars weekly. Or it could go on as it was in GT1 and 2: a story mode and a free mode separately.
Edit: Even you can hire drivers, create a racing team, equip your company, train employees, build a dynasty etc etc…