Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5: Rally Adventure

Rally cars galore has invaded Playground's latest racing title.

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Last summer we were treated to the first expansion for Forza Horizon 5 with the playful Hot Wheels. Now the next expansion is here and it offers something completely different, something that hasn't really been explored much in the game series, namely rally. Of course, what we get is more of a Forza Horizon version of the sport and not exactly pure rally, which all fanatics of the motorsport will surely notice right away due to the array of technical things that prove the point that this is not a rally game. But, the game should be judged for what it is and not for what some surely want it to be.

This time we get to enjoy a map called Sierra Nueva, a map that is varied enough to keep you interested and contains parts of the world that we didn't see in the base game, like a quarry. If that's not your cup of tea, you can embark on winding mountain roads, ravines or open fields, not to mention dirt roads that fit the theme of the expansion. The road network is well worth driving, even to and from races, instead of using the fast travel option.

Forza Horizon 5
The classic 2001 WRC Ford Focus RS driven by Colin McRae is one of the new cars.

It all kicks off with a new festival, Badlands. These festivals, or outposts, are, for those of you who haven't played the base game, a kind of starting point for different types of races. Badlands, of course, focuses on the rally adventure. The introduction allows us to drive to this by going through queues of motorhomes, off high cliffs and testing the new mechanics. Once there, you get to choose one of three different teams, each hosting a different type of race. There are the Horizon Raptors who focus on Dirt Rally (not the game series of the same name) on gravel and other mixed surfaces, there are the Apex Predators who instead specialise in Road Rally, which mostly takes place on asphalt, and finally the Grit Reapers who like to drive at night and preferably in bad weather. Choosing a team has no major impact on the experience, but is really just a way to get started with one type of race. The others are unlocked soon afterwards.

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Forza Horizon 5
Of course, you can still drive any car you want.

There are around 25 events - plus various speed cameras, drift zones and jumps - to experience and they can be run in two different ways. Either the classic Forza Horizon way where all the cars run at the same time in a race, or the new, more rally-like way where you set the best time you can while trying to beat the other drivers' times. Split times are included here at regular intervals so you can keep track of how far ahead or behind you are. I definitely preferred the latter version, but if you prefer to race against multiple opponents at the same time, you can do that too. All this along with some classic map reading for all the turns, jumps and more, add to the rally effect, but the big catch is that your instructor does not ride in the car with you, but flies above in a helicopter. The funniest thing is that "Chickens!" comes up as a warning from the navigator when chickens run across the road. It's little details like that I appreciate the most. "Hard left, into easy right, followed by chickens!". Fantastic.

Forza Horizon 5
Winner, winner, chicken dinner?

But what would an entire rally expansion be without some extra rally cars? There are a total of ten new ones, which I personally think is too few. One of these is the classic Ford Focus RS from 2001 driven by Colin McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist. I would have liked a few more pure rally cars, classic or not, as many are now other types of vehicles, such as buggies, made into a rally version. And with this being the case, the big question is how much fun these (and all other) cars are to drive on this new map. The answer is that this is a very entertaining arcade experience, and that you can drive any car you like, although the game recommends cars for each race, so if you want to drive a 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar around the Mexican dirt roads, you can. So, in Forza Horizon fashion, find a favourite car and use it for all the races, or switch it up from time to time. For me, the most fun was definitely with actual rally cars, like the recently mentioned Ford Focus.

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Forza Horizon 5
An uplifting experience.

Forza Horizon 5: Rally Adventure offers an arcade-style rally experience that's hard not to be charmed by. There is a new varied and beautiful map to drive around in classic rally cars with helicopter co-drivers, and there's a broad choice of rally types such as gravel-based or tarmac racing. And there's still that entertaining Forza Horizon racing, but now in a dustier guise.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Great new map. Finally some new music. Solid and entertaining arcade racing.
Too few rally cars.
overall score
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