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This week in racing game news:
"Forza Horizon 5" is here and to the surprise of no one it's really, really ridiculously good
For the first time in 3 long years, the "Forza Horizon" series is back with a brand new installment, and guess what, it's a great one. "Forza Horizon 5" officially hits shelves (and Game Pass) this week. We were lucky enough to have been able to spend some time with it before release and to say we've been having an absolute blast with it is an understatement.
"Forza Horizon" games have always been good, so it's no surprise this one follows suit. When you pick one up you, for the most part, know what you're getting: A fun, arcade-like racing experience with an interesting open world and an absolute buttload of cars to choose from. "Forza Horizon 5" doesn't change up the formula too much here, just improves upon it. This game is kind of like the "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" of the Forza series. It adapts all the best things from its predecessors and puts them in a new, shiny, very fun package.
The game starts out with a bang, as is tradition for the series. You immediately get dropped in to some fast-paced "tutorial" races featuring a Chevy Corvette Stingray, Ford Bronco and Toyota GR Supra. The adrenaline-pumping sequence is eventually rounded out with an absolutely epic final race against a jet that puts players behind the wheel of the impossibly fast Mercedes-AMG 1. After this intro bit, you get to hop in the 'Vette, Bronco or Supra to start exploring.
The new environments available to players are the diverse terrains of Mexico, a location that was somewhat criticized upon reveal, but if you ask us it turned out to be exactly the breath of fresh air the game needed to differentiate it from the somewhat somber, even drab English environments of "Forza Horizon 4." In this game, you'll run into biomes like deserts, tropical coasts, cities, swamps, volcanoes and many more.
Once the game starts in earnest, fans of the franchise will feel right at home, as the gameplay is extremely similar to "FH4," although there may be a slightly higher emphasis on dirt racing this time around, which is just fine by us. Everything feels and looks great. You still have the chipper Horizon Festival announcers encouraging you every step of the way, you're still able to tune and customize your vehicles, and you'll still be able to choose a ridiculous name for yourself that all of the characters have to call you - we went with "Count Driftula." Funny every time. Also, maybe it's just wishful thinking, but it sure seems like the checkpoint flags positioned throughout races are ever-so-slightly more forgiving in "FH5" when you just barely clip one than they were in "FH4," which is a very welcome change.
There's a whole lot more we could say about this game but really it's the kind of thing that needs to be experienced, so for that reason we'll be streaming it on our Twitch channel every Tuesday at 2pm ET for the rest of the year. We love racing with readers, so if you've already picked up the game and would like to join us, come tune in and hang out! If you haven't picked up the game yet, but you're looking to, you can get it for "free" with your Microsoft Game Pass subscription, or pick it up right here. With the holidays just around the corner, this might be just about the best game we could recommend for any racing fans in the family.
"Rocket League" adds the BMW M240i to the item shop
Forza stole a bit of the thunder in racing-game-land this week, but we'd be remiss not to mention the awesome new partnership between Psyonix and BMW which brought the M240i to the item shop as a playable vehicle this week. The car uses the Dominus hitbox and comes in a pack with its own wheels, Thundernight Metallic decal, United In Rivalry animated decal, Bavarian Hat topper, and the BMW Player banner. You can grab it all for 1,100 credits until November 10.