Forza Horizon 5 takes the series to Mexico

By topgear, 15 June 2021

The racing game equivalent of a new album by the Beatles, Forza Horizon 5 is arriving in November of this year and transplants the virtual automotive festival to Mexico. What's more, with news on the real car deathly quiet of late, it makes this first digital opportunity to plant yourself in the Alcantara buckets of a Mercedes-AMG Project One even more valuable.

As one of the first games to really flex the Xbox Series X's muscles, if you shelled out for the next-gen console you can expect jaw-slackeningly beautiful 4K visuals from Horizon 5. The Central American terrain is recreated using photogrammetry, right down to individual needles on the cacti, and the game's realistic lighting will offer up the most beautiful Mexican sunrises you've ever seen. Tequila or otherwise.

Microsoft promises it'll be the most diverse open world in the series yet, featuring eleven biomes that range from sandy deserts, through dense tropical jungle to snow-topped mountain ranges. Seasons also return from Forza Horizon 4, but you can expect more dramatic and variable weather than you experienced in Britain. To pick an entirely random example, we can't recall the last time the Cotswolds was blighted by a mile-high sandstorm.

There's what's described as an 'adventurous' story-led campaign mode, which will offer at least one opportunity to race around an active volcano in the world's highest speed game of 'The Floor is Lava'. Elsewhere, the new Horizon Arcade mode will offer up knockabout mini-games, including running over piñatas, which sounds a lot like a recipe for flattened candy and crying children.

Digging deeper, the car customisation has apparently been vastly expanded, with a hundred new rims to choose from and hundreds of visual upgrades, including bodykits. A new system called Gift Drop will allow you to create and tune your own barn finds to hide in your friends' open worlds, which might be handy if you've forgotten someone's birthday.

While we'll reserve final judgement until we've played Forza Horizon 5 for ourselves, this early glimpse looks enormously impressive and there are few surer things in all of gaming than the Horizon series. If this game ends up disappointing, we'll eat our hat. In fact, make it a sombrero...