HomePC GAMESForza Horizon 5Forza Horizon 5: Rally Adventure Review – Ready to Rumble

Forza Horizon 5: Rally Adventure Review – Ready to Rumble

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Forza Horizon 5 is probably one of my favourite racing games ever made. Though it very much follows in the footsteps of its predecessors in terms of sticking close to the series’ tried and tested formula, it also represents that formula at its very peak, with all of its biggest strengths honed to absolute perfection, from its driving mechanics and its stellar visuals to its massive open world and the sheer variety and quantity of activities that are littered all throughout its map.

Rally Adventure, its second expansion, feels very much like an extension of the base experience in that regard, but though it lacks the flair and uniqueness of the incredible Hot Wheels expansion, it still manages to deliver an absolute blast of a racing experience, proving yet again that the series’ core strengths are still as compelling as they have ever been.

In Rally Adventure, you’re dropped into a new open world map- Sierra Nueva, a location that’s tailor made to accentuate the expansion’s sole focus, which, as the expansion’s name implies, is rally racing. There’s plenty of dusty trails, muddy off-road tracks, and rolling sand dunes. Much like Hot Wheels’ map being populated by a plethora of straights, loops, and more, Rally Adventure’s roads are all smartly designed around hairpin turns, bumpy trails, and water features to splash in and out of.

Rally Adventure feels very much like an extension of the base experience, but though it lacks the flair and uniqueness of the incredible Hot Wheels expansion, it still manages to deliver an absolute blast of a racing experience, proving yet again that the series’ core strengths are still as compelling as they have ever been.”

Where the environments themselves are concerned, there’s decent variety on offer here. With a massive abandoned quarry, small towns, a desert, a forest full of palm trees, and more, Rally Adventure exhibits the same environmental variety that Mexico did in Forza Horizon 5’s base experience. By its very nature, it doesn’t boast the sort of bombastic visual splendour of the Hot Wheels expansion and ends up falling into the “more of the same” category, but though it’ll be familiar to anyone who’s clocked a decent amount of hours into the base game, more of a good thing is certainly nothing to scoff at in this case.

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The racing events themselves that the expansion offers up are also predictably enjoyable. The vast majority of events come in two varieties that players can freely choose between- you can either participate in a regular race against opponents, or you can make it a rally event where your goal is to pass through all of the splitgates quicker than others who have raced on that track. Rally Adventure is, of course, all about rallying, so that was what I went with the majority of the time, and it proved to be a fun experience that sufficiently set it apart from what Forza Horizon 5 has to offer for the most part. In particular, racing through rally events with the driving line turned off – which is what the game recommends as well – made each of them a blast to play through, and paying close attention to my co-driver’s notes while navigating a track’s twists and turns lent a very different flavour to the proceedings.

Whether or not I enjoyed it as much as regular racing events in Forza Horizon 5 or its Hot Wheels expansion is a different question. This is obviously something that’s going to depend on your personal tastes. For fans of rally racing, Rally Adventure’s events will bring plenty of enjoyment, but for those who play Forza Horizon for its high-speed thrills, like I do, mileage my vary. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time racing through the expansion’s immaculately crafted rally tracks and watching my car get caked in mud and dirt – I absolutely did – but personally, I prefer regular races more. There is, of course, the option to make every event a race, but given the fact that the tracks are specifically designed with rallying in mind, that just doesn’t deliver the same adrenaline-fueled high-speed racing action.

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forza horizon 5 rally adventure

“Racing through rally events with the driving line turned off – which is what the game recommends as well – made each of them a blast to play through, and paying close attention to my co-driver’s notes while navigating a track’s twists and turns lent a very different flavour to the proceedings.”

Structurally, Rally Adventure feels a little bit restrictive, which was an issue with the Hot Wheels expansion as well. After you’re done with the introductory events, the expansion lets you choose between three different teams, each specializing in a different kind of rally racing, but once you select a team, you’re locked into that choice. Participating in (and winning) activities and events scattered throughout the map does contribute towards unlocking the other two teams as well, but the progression feels much more linear than the open-ended nature of Forza Horizon 5’s base experience, where you were free to do pretty much whatever you wanted right from the start. Thankfully, progression is still pretty quickly paced, so you never feel like you’re stuck on a single type of activity for too long, and the expansion constantly keeps unlocking new activities for you to tackle even within a single team.

Outside of its main racing activities, where its open world is concerned, Rally Adventure packs in a lot of content that’ll be very familiar to fans of the base game, or even the series at large, with things such as danger signs, speed zones, and drift zones, while each of the three teams also has smashable objects scattered throughout the open world, which are effectively reskinned versions of bonus boards. This was an issue with Hot Wheels as well, but I am a little disappointed in these activities. Rather than being reskinned and reused versions of activities from the base game, I would have preferred activities that were built specifically around the expansion’s unique hook and mechanics, and there’s definitely a feeling of diminishing returns here that’s hard to shake. Is aimlessly driving around in the open world still fun? Absolutely it is, especially when you’re leaving a trail of wreckage in your wake as you zip through an entirely smashable palm forest, but it’s undeniable that it mimics the base experience a bit too much.

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forza horizon 5 rally adventure

“Taken as a whole, Rally Adventure is a meaty, varied, and enjoyable package. If you’re sticking only to the critical path, you can blast through it in anywhere between four to six hours, but if you take it upon yourself to engage in all of its side activities, discover all of its roads and areas, get behind the wheel in all ten of its new cars, and win every single one of its events, that can easily to climb to 10 hours or more.”

That said, taken as a whole, Rally Adventure is a meaty, varied, and enjoyable package. If you’re sticking only to the critical path, you can blast through it in anywhere between four to six hours, but if you take it upon yourself to engage in all of its side activities, discover all of its roads and areas, get behind the wheel in all ten of its new cars, and win every single one of its events, that can easily to climb to 10 hours or more. And given how fundamentally fun the mechanics of Forza Horizon 5 are, you know that the vast majority of that is going to be an enjoyable experience.

This game was reviewed on the Xbox Series X.


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