Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning achievement, both in terms of its technical and gameplay design. Taking placed in Mexico, the visuals on display look absolutely breathtaking, thanks to the use of photogrammetry. With its latest game, Playground Games has set a new graphical benchmark for open world racers.
We got the chance to analyze the game’s performance on both the PC and Xbox Series X. Our PC includes an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor, 32 GB of memory and an RTX 3080Ti. We ran the game on an SSD. This is above and beyond the Ideal specifications the developer recommends. Just like Forza Horizon 4, the PC version is packed with a ton of graphical options like MSAA, World Car Level of Detail and Environmental Texture Quality. Furthermore, there is also an in-game performance benchmarking tool which is ideal if you want to test the game before you jump into the experience.
We ran the game on Extreme settings at 4K resolution and for the most part, the game ran at a locked 60 frames per second. However, there was a just a single sequence in our test footage where the game dropped frames to the higher 40s to mid 50s. This happened in an area where there were a lot of foliage and water effects. Overall, we are deeply impressed with the PC version and if you have the hardware to run this game at maximum graphical settings, it truly can be a mind-blowing experience.
On the Xbox Series X’s front, things are a bit more interesting. Obviously, the Xbox Series X is not as powerful compared to our PC build, but the console offers multiple graphical options for its players. Forza Horizon 5 on the Xbox Series X features two graphical settings: Quality Mode, which targets a full native 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, and a Performance mode which targets 60 frames per second. We analyzed the Xbox Series X’s performance by taking some sample scenes from the game and running it through trdrop, an open source software. Note that this tool gives us a mere demonstration of the game’s performance, because an exact 1:1 representation of performance can only be provided by the developers themselves since they have access to vast of array of tools and profilers.
Quality mode ensures the game runs at a full native 4K presentation and at an almost locked 30 frames per second. Performance mode, too, runs at an almost locked 60 frames per second. Shockingly, the resolution in this mode remains at 4K majority of the time, with minimal drops in pixels. This fact alone makes the Performance mode the best possible way to play Forza Horizon 5 on the Xbox Series X. However, for the eagle-eyed players, there are some minor differences in both modes. It seems that Quality mode pushes out more environmental detail compared to the Performance mode, but you really need to zoom into to actually catch the difference. Given that you will be zooming around at a 100 miles per hour most of the time, these differences hardly matter at the end of the day.
Forza Horizon is obviously all about the cars, and there are tons of them, all rendered in stunning detail. Most of the rendering budget has been utilized on cars, but thanks to the power of Xbox Series X, environments too are shining with in-depth details. Accurate car, environmental and material reflections are rendered on the car’s body with great precision. Although these are baked in reflections and not real time, they still look great and a step up from last-gen rendering techniques. However, the game offers ray tracing in the Forza Vista mode where you can check out your collection of cars up close and personal, and that too in staggering detail. This is where the game’s visuals are truly dialed up to the max and viewing the cars in this mode is a sight to behold.
Much like its predecessor, Forza Horizon 5 has set a new benchmark for video game graphics. Thanks to its excellent use of audio ray tracing, global illumination, screen space effects, including parallax occlusion mapping along with an advanced physical based rendering pipeline, we are excited to see how Playground Games develops on this tech in the future. For now, Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning example of what can be achieved when you have raw horsepower at your disposal.