Wooderon’s Favourite Video Games of 2021 – #4: Forza Horizon 5

Here we go again. Another year, another top Ten list that I’ve left till tragically late to finish writing. It doesn’t help that so much good stuff ended up coming out so late in the year. But tradition is tradition and here I am, spending the last ten days of the year talking about my ten favourite video games of 2021.

This list is one of my top ten favourite games that come out in in the year 2021. In the past I’ve been a little loose with the rules and kind of slipped DLCs and expansions into the mix. But with the real rise of service games now, I felt like I finally had to break away and create a list of my older favourite games too. Which you can check out by clicking this link here.

So let’s get into number four on my list:

#4: Forza Horizon 5

Played on Xbox One X | Released 9th November | Developed by Playground Games

They’ve only gone and done it again. It’s kind of amazing to be honest. Every time Playground come out with a new game in the Forza Horizon series, I start playing it, realise that they haven’t actually changed that much since the previous game and feel like this might be the one that loses my attention before I can get into it.

And then, despite my misgivings, I find myself putting more and more time into it until before I know it I’m obsessing over it and enjoying the hell out of even more than I might have liked the last one. It’s funny, I’m really not a car person. I’ve never really been that bothered about racing games in the past, but there’s just something about the Horizon series that does it for me.

The invasive festival that turns every beautiful corner of the world into a car park in a suburban estate, filled with boy racers is back. Having moved from the North of England, now that they’ve destroyed all the heritage sites with jumps and drift challenges, now they arrive in Mexico and it’s their turn to host the festival.

And to be honest, it really is more of the same. Horizon is a playground, throwing more races, showcases, stories and countless other things to at you than you know where to start with. And it never ceases to be an absolute blast. There certainly is a risk of suffering checklist fatigue playing this game and seeing just how many icons there are on the map.

But unlike any given Ubisoft game, these tasks never feel like work, rather they are all just fun and never feel like drag. Unless it’s a drag race. I think, part of the charm of these games being an ever unchanging rotation is that you can just jump back in from where you felt like you left off in the last game and just keep doing what you were doing before.

Plus, all those car designs other players have painstakingly created are still there this time as well. I’ve made it my mission to smother every car I drive with as much busy, anime nonsense humanly possible. In a totally unironic way. I mean, why not lean into the garish excess that is the Horizon festival?

Even though I’m playing this game on an Xbox One X and not a newer console, I still think this game looks gorgeous. But then again, what driving game doesn’t look like this. While I know from experience that these games portray a very idealized version of the locations they take place in, but the game makes Mexico look like such an amazing place.

So much so that it’s desperately making me want to visit there. Or it would if I ever had any money to spend on myself.

But there you go, another year goes by and despite my best efforts to the contrary, the Horizon festival has swept me up in the excitement of just playing silly buggars in flashy cars once again.

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