Forza Horizon 5 is the Most Addictive Game of the Year

Can't stop racing through the streets of Mexico? Neither can we.

Posted By | On 22nd, Nov. 2021

Forza Horizon 5 is the Most Addictive Game of the Year

Video games are designed to be addictive. From the days of the arcade, when developers wanted you to keep feeding coins into the machine, right up until now, where consistent player engagement is king, ensuring that games always have something to keep players interested and to keep them coming back has been a crucial part of game design. Some games do that better than others, of course- Forza Horizon 5, for instance, is probably the most addictive game we’ve played all year. Pretty much every second of the experience, there’s countless things vying for your attention, distracting you in all the best ways possible. And yes, that can be a bit overwhelming for some in the early stages, but once you get past that hump, it’s difficult to break out of that loop. Here, we’re going to talk about a few ways Forza Horizon 5 accomplishes that.

DRIVING MECHANICS

Let’s get the most obvious point out of the way first- the underlying mechanics. Driving around in Forza Horizon 5 is a blissful experience. The way the cars handle, the sense of speed, the ridiculously fun drifting mechanics, and more ensure that the simple act of getting from point a to b is fundamentally fun. Technically, the driving mechanics of the game (much like previous Horizon entries) are part-arcade, part-simulation, and as such, end up striking the perfect balance between the two sides to deliver a wholly unique racing experience that appeals to a massive crowd. The fact that every second of the game is a blast thanks to the core mechanics even if you’re not doing much of anything means you’re always encouraged to keep playing.

CONTENT

forza horizon 5

This, of course, is a crucial point in the game’s favour- there’s just so much to do in Forza Horizon 5. And sure, that’s open world design 101, but open world games don’t always understand that quality is just as important as quantity. Forza Horizon 5 does understand that, because not only is their a metric ton of content in the game, the vast,  vast majority of it is also really well designed. Unless you’re consciously avoiding any activities while you’re driving around the open world, you won’t be spending too long before you chance upon a fun new activity of some kind.

OPEN WORLD DESIGN

forza horizon 5

Something else that open world games don’t always understand is that there’s more to being an open world than just real estate. There’s been no shortage of games over the years that have had massive open worlds but have failed to make an impression on players because of how bland or forgettable the design of their worlds has been. That is most certainly not the case with Forza Horizon 5. Not only is Mexico massive, it’s also beautifully designed- it’s a ridiculously varied map with a number of biomes, while dynamic events such as a day/night cycle, seasons, and weather mechanics keep things fresh even dozens of hours into the game. Driving around Mexico, discovering its over 500 roads, and seeing its many different and visually stunning sights and sounds is a huge reason for why Forza Horizon 5 is such a consistently compelling experience.

OPEN WORLD ACTIVITIES

forza horizon 5

From dirt races to cross-country races, from street races to PR events, Forza Horizon 5 has many different kinds of racing events scattered about its open world for players to tackle- but there’s so much else on offer. Scattered throughout Mexico are tons of fun little activities that are nestled in the world itself, offering bite-sized fun rather than instanced racing events. Speed traps, danger signs, drifting zones, speed zones- the world of Forza Horizon 5 is full of fun little activities, which, of course, are inherently replayable thanks to the star ratings that you’re awarded with, and the fact that there’s always someone to compete with on the leaderboards.

BONUS BOARDS

forza horizon 5

Smashing through boards has been a thing in open world racing games for pretty much as long as open world racing games have been a thing, but very few of them do it as well as Forza Horizon 5 does. Like its predecessors, it has several Bonus Boards scattered throughout its world (250, to be precise), split between fast travel boards (which reduce the price of fast travel) and XP boards (which reward XP). And simply driving about and hunting down each and every one of them is probably one of the most ridiculously addictive activities in the entire game. The reason for that, of course, is how cleverly some of these are placed, each offering unique challenges and mini-puzzles for players to tackle. Seeing a bonus board on a small building’s roof and then figuring out how to get to it is a fun little challenge, and Forza Horizon 5 does it again and again and again- and it never gets old.

CARS

forza horizon 5

The point of Forza Horizon 5 (or any racing game, for that matter) is the cars, of course, and like pretty much any other Forza game, the new open world racer is thoroughly impressive in this department. With over 500 cars across different categories, eras, and manufacturers, Forza Horizon 5’s vehicle roster is massive, and there’s something inherently fun about expanding your collection of cars. What helps is the fact that you never go too long without unlocking another new car one way or another, which means that sense of making meaningful progress never goes away, and you’re always looking forward to unlocking the next excellent car.

CUSTOMIZATION

forza horizon 5

Customization has always been one of Forza’s biggest strengths, and Forza Horizon 5 is no slouch in this category either. And while this part of the experience is completely optional, those who do want to engage with it will find a ton of depth here. From upgrades to tuning, the game offers a plethora of options for players to customize their cars as they see fit, and the game always rewards you for making a car your own that way. Of course, there’s also plenty of cosmetic customization mechanics to dive into- which brings us to our next point…

LIVERIES

forza horizon 5

The livery editor in Forza Horizon 5 is fantastic. It’s robust, deceptively deep, immensely flexible- and regardless of how long you spend with it, it’s easy to produce an excellent look for your car. Given the sheer range of tools available though, it’s surprisingly easy to lose yourself for long periods just customizing the look of your car. That, in and of itself, is way more addictive than you’d imagine, but with all the social elements thrown in – sharing your own livery with others and rating other players’ works – makes it that much more enjoyable.

SKILLS

forza horizon 5

One of several ways Forza Horizon 5 makes its second-to-second gameplay as addictive and enjoyable as it is is through its skills and skill points. Drifts, air skills, near misses, environmental destruction, and other actions reward players with skill points that then contribute to levelling up, and there’s just something so satisfying about watching those numbers pop on the screen and filling out your XP bar. Levelling up is always quick, and tearing through a field with massive skill chains (especially while a skill song is playing) never gets old.

MULTIPLAYER

forza horizon 5

You can, of course, play Forza Horizon 5 without ever really doing much of the multiplayer stuff and still have an absolute blast, but as is usually the case with these games, the multiplayer makes everything so much better. Major events like the Eliminator, regular races against real players, the leaderboards, sharing and creating liveries, or simply running into another player in the open world and challenging them to a head-to-head race- Forza Horizon 5 is full of multiplayer mechanics and content for players to dive into, and it makes the game significantly better, and significantly more varied.


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