It’s hard to say exactly what makes Forza Horizon 5 such a great racing game. For some it might be the huge car selection or the massive open world, others might point out the slick gameplay, and some will simply be left speechless by the amazing graphics. Forza Horizon 5 offers the complete package of experience on wheels, and that has always been the main strength of the series. However, the recipe for success doesn’t work so well when it comes to the latest expansion based on the popular Hot Wheels toy cars.
Like the main game, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels takes place in Mexico, but on a separate and much smaller map. Surprisingly, the weather and scenery are as varied as ever, meaning the snow barely has time to melt from your wheels before you cross a shallow river through a lush gorge. Most of the racing, however, takes place on the classic orange Hot Wheels tracks, this time inflated to life-size proportions, making it perhaps the most impressive (and arguably most dangerous) theme park in the world.
It’s a very faithful recreation of a Hot Wheels track, and for the first few minutes it’s a delight to drive through the iconic loops, ramps, and other obstacles that make up classic toy tracks. However, the excitement quickly dissipates when you realize that despite the fantasy setting, this is just more of the same.
What has always drawn me to Forza Horizon is its unique blend of arcade action and (somewhat) realistic controls. Even if you sometimes drive at ridiculous speeds and pull off Fast and Furious feats, you still need to hit the brakes for at least a few moments before cornering. It’s a great recipe, but it doesn’t really work at Hot Wheels, where it’s all about blistering speed and the brakes are just for show.
In this sense, the expansion brings few innovations. You can drive across speed zones, which give you a huge boost, but they cover the entire route, so you don’t even have to drive strategically to use them. Of course, I’m not advocating Forza Horizon 5 suddenly becoming Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or even Hot Wheels Unleashed. But more power-ups or some changes to the vehicle physics would have made the experience feel really different from the main game.
To be fair, Playground Games never promised to radically change the successful formula. In that sense, this is more of a content pack than a true expansion. But still, they certainly could have done more to please the fans. As in the main experience, you have to drive through a story mode, although the term is used rather loosely. During the five main missions you carry out “exciting” tasks such as: B. Driving to one place, then driving to another place, and believe it or not, driving to yet another place.
This is as boring as it sounds, and to make matters worse, a new character named Haley babbles on about how much she loves Hot Wheels and gives you boring tidbits over the radio that can be read straight from Wikipedia or promotional material seem to be. the toy brand. Come to think of it, it could have been in the main game as well, but who remembers. Playground Games doesn’t seem to be able to create a single memorable character, which doesn’t bode well for the next Fable game. Hot Wheels fans won’t learn anything new or exciting, and most players, myself included, will probably just unplug their headsets or mute the TV.
To end on a more positive note, what you get with this DLC are 10 new life-size Hot Wheels cars, a host of new races and challenges to complete, and a visually stunning new track design. It’s really impressive how Playground Games managed to create a condensed version of the main game and you can add 10-15 hours to the gaming experience with this expansion. But that’s it. Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels feels like it’s bringing even more content into a game that wasn’t lacking from the start. Also, I felt that the new races were a bit unbalanced (even more so than the main game) as it seemed completely random whether I ended up winning miles or struggling to get to the last lap of the race.
If you’ve completed all the challenges, traveled all the roads, and turned your ranch into a multi-story parking garage, you might find this new Forza Horizon 5 content appealing. But for the rest of us, they’ll probably feel well served if they stick with the main game.