‘Forza Horizon 5’ hands-on: A Ford Bronco fever dream within the desert

Forza Horizon 5

Bronco. Each. Time.

This has been my motto whereas taking part in the preview construct of Forza Horizon 5, the newest iteration of Playground Video games’ open-world racing collection. Horizon is the chilliness, microdosing cousin of Forza Motorsport, with pageant vibes, ridiculous race tracks set in lush environments, and, after all, a digital storage stuffed with attractive autos.

Playground Video games

Horizon 5 takes place in a fictionalized Mexico, which makes it the proper stomping floor for the 2021 Ford Bronco, an SUV that I’ve been drooling over for greater than a yr in actual life. It’s the primary new mannequin in 25 years, it’s styled after the first-generation Bronco that Ford rolled out in 1965, and, better of all, it is available in a cactus grey colorway. Nonetheless, for a large number of causes — the worldwide chip scarcity, supply-chain slowdowns and the sheer expense of all of it — I’m not prone to get my toes on the pedals of a brand new Bronco any time quickly. That’s the place Horizon 5 is available in.

Horizon 5 begins with a yellow Bronco Badlands strapped to the ground of a airplane, ramp lowered behind it with clear sky hovering by. Beginning the sport drops the automobile out of the airplane, parachuting you onto the rim of a snow-capped volcano. Instantly, you’re driving at excessive speeds, following a path down the fiery mountain and getting a really feel for the Bronco. It strikes like a heavy piece of equipment, tilting on fast turns and cannonballing down the street, sturdy but delicate. (The compulsory, “I like my companions the best way I like my SUVs” goes right here.)

After which the following automotive drops from the sky — a zippy 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe that drives a lot otherwise than the Bronco, turning on a dime and floating over the street. After a couple of minutes with that, a 1989 Porsche 911 Desert Flyer parachutes previous a herd of flamingos, zooming down forest trails with unbelievable dealing with. Lastly, the Mercedes-AMG One, a superfast hybrid sports activities automotive, finishes the experience by racing an airplane.

Forza Horizon 5

Playground Video games

Every of the beginning autos has its personal sensibilities and strengths. All of them lastly land on the Horizon Competition, a large music and racing extravaganza held within the Mexico desert. That is the principle hub of the sport, and it’s a celebration ambiance full of vivid pink indicators, crowds of cheering followers and a ceaseless barrage of fireworks, confetti and sizzling air balloons.

That is the place you’re given the possibility to choose a automobile for the primary time, and it’s the origin of my Horizon 5 mantra: Bronco. Each. Time.

It’s not that the Bronco is the quickest or smoothest automobile within the recreation, however it feels proper rolling via the rugged desert panorama. It’s the automobile I need to be driving in actual life, and it’s extremely satisfying to maneuver it up winding mountain roads, alongside charming metropolis streets and into the center of huge mud storms.

To be truthful, I don’t really decide the Bronco each time — there are some races that the SUV merely can’t win, given its prime pace and large turns, and for these I’ll fortunately use one of many sports activities automobiles. However on the subject of exploring, I’m all in regards to the Bronco.

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