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‘Forza Horizon 5’, preview: Mexico is confirmed as an incredible setting for the best arcade races

The driving game from Microsoft and Playground Games is slowly warming up: Coming to Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One and PC on November 9 (with early access on the 5th those who have the Premium edition of the game). All this with the game present in Game Pass from the day of departure, the possibility of taking advantage of the Xbox Cloud Gaming to play from any device and, of course, Smart Delivery, which will allow us to play with the version that best takes advantage of the device we use. for each game.

That is to say, everything ready for a title that little by little has been unveiling a few characteristics that would differentiate it from other installments of the saga. The first and most notable, the setting in Mexico, which guarantees much more variety of settings than you might think In the beginning: we will pass through eleven biomes, which includes jungles, cities, Mesoamerican ruins, areas devastated by storms and beaches.

In this ‘Forza 5’ the system of stations that we were already introduced to in ‘Forza 4’ is back, and some biomes will have specific weather conditions. In addition, we will have access to some areas only at certain times of the year. The Mexican climate is what it has: variety, color and sandstorms that leave ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ in blankets. In fact, it is what has caught our attention the most in this preview that we have been able to enjoy the game.

An hour and a half of racing to the limit

We have had the opportunity to enjoy about an hour and a half of play, which has included, apart from some initial guided races, the open map with access to the 11 biomes, and of them two different stations, spring and summer. We have also had the opportunity to access the open world to explore it and in general, we have been able to feel the environmental possibilities that Mexico offers, because in playable terms, Forza is still Forza.

Without a doubt, it is Mexico that gives a special personality to the game, not only aesthetically, but also in temperament. The environment has as much variety as it is attractive and colorful. Scenarios like Guajanato, with narrow lanes that force races where braking and moderate speed is mandatoryThey are absolutely renovating for the franchise. Behind it is the somewhat musty scene of ‘Forza Horizon 4’, whose setting in the United Kingdom surprised by its photorealistic environments, but whose personality and drive is definitely behind in the few races that we have had the opportunity to test in this fifth installment.

And much of the fault is the partial reorientation of the saga towards arcade fantasy. We are not in the domains of a ‘Burnout’ or more Criterion deliveries of ‘Need for Speed’, but there are scenarios of mythological breath, absurd jumps and those sections in the desert that are not realistic at all. Microsoft has not decided to take a definitive step towards filmed fantasy, but it is clear that ‘Horizon’ has less and less of a driving simulator, and we are glad that this is the case, because the player of the saga possibly comes in search of strong emotions and adventure. Again, few environments more conducive to this than Mexico.

The driving, yes, it feels clearly ‘Forza’, we are not going to live adventures based on skids in the style of a Japanese arcade. Driving allows us small collisions with other vehicles, but everything is within certain sensible limits. If this preview has helped us anything, it has been to verify that ‘Forza Horizon 5’ still feels like a traditional ‘Forza Horizon’.

Overwhelming technical display

I have played ‘Forza Horizon 5’ on an Xbox Series S, where I have been given a choice between a Performance mode at 60 frames per second and a Quality mode at 30. In Performance, the visual finish of the game is absolutely overwhelming (and that in this Preview the most sophisticated effects are not activated yet, such as the ray-tracing). I have hardly noticed any problems with speed, and the design and coloring of the stages is as enjoyable as usual. in the series: a myriad of particle, water, mud and sand effects giving salt to the tracks (and the screen) and a very successful speed effect, but at the same time allowing you to enjoy the exquisite settings thanks to a distance of creepy drawn.

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Of course, we have a lot to prove from this Playground Games bet: we will have to see how real competitors behave in the open world and how rivals’ AI works, in the same way, in the Campaign in the most advanced modes. At the moment, we have liked the chevron system that gives prizes not only for winning races, but for driving well and beautifully, which allows us to unlock successive tests, which here, only in the beginning, are already revealed very different, from diving In a mad storm you find objects in the jungle.

For now we are left with the subtle but definitive changes of season and biome that make driving the same car through different environments requires very different strategies (and speeds). It is the beginning of a game that, although it does not seem that it is going to revolutionize the franchise, it does seem to be willing to offer more variety than ever to the games.