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Forza Horizon 5 Beginner’s Guide: 11 Tips To Get You Started

Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning game. With its brilliant gameplay and detailed visuals, we called Forza Horizon 5the definitive racing game of the new console cycle” in our review. There is a lot you can do, and it can seem intimidating at first. That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to Forza Horizon 5.

Further reading

Find the line

A car following the racing line as it changes color around a corner.

One of the things that makes Forza Horizon great is the way it gives players easy-to-use tools to be good drivers. The most obvious of which is the driving line. Anytime you are on the road you can follow a dotted line to your next destination. Its tricks don’t stop at navigation, however. This helpful line will show you the ideal path to follow around turns, and uses color to give you feedback. Blue means your car can make the turn. The line turning orange or red means you are going too fast to make the turn well, and you need to pump your brakes.

You don’t need to be perfect

A car following the racing line as it changes color around a corner.

Driving at speed across ever-shifting terrain can be challenging, but Forza Horizon 5 is ultimately a very forgiving game. Don’t hesitate to make copious use of the rewind feature. If you rewind and don’t like what you see, rewind further. You won’t be penalized for not finishing first in a race, and there is no harm in retrying something. Even a great wreck can have a silver lining, depending on where and when it happens. Race your race, have fun, and don’t worry if your driving isn’t flawless.

Pick the right car for the right job

The front view of a white car driftng around traffic.

The cars in Forza Horizon 5 are largely divided into two categories. Street racers have great acceleration, high speeds, and corner well on roads. They lose traction easily off-road, however, and are poorly suited to the constant turns of many mountain courses. Off-road vehicles are all about grip and torque. They maintain traction better on all surfaces and make up for their lower overall speeds with great handling. These should be your go-to anytime the drive takes you off the streets.

Gotta collect them all!

The view from a drone cam, looking toward the players car.

Putting together your car collection is one of the most fun things to do in a racing game, and there are several sources for sweet new rides. Some cars will be awarded after completing certain races and drives. Others can be purchased, are won from Super Wheelspins, or can be found at one of the hidden barns scattered around the map. If you find yourself near a barn, open your menu and switch your aerial drone. This parks your car and lets you fly your camera around to easily find what you are looking for.

The overworld is your training ground

You spend quite a bit of time driving from activity to activity in Forza Horizon 5. This isn’t time wasted, however. Traversing the Mexican countryside will inevitably take you across all sorts of terrain, free from the pressure and consequences of actual races. Use this time to experiment with different vehicles, and to practice your driving technique. You may be surprised at how taking a few corners at high speed on an otherwise leisurely drive translates to better performance in races.

Earn skill points

A racecar is using a drift to setup a passing manuever

Another great way to spend time while you are traveling to your next destination is by working to accumulate skill points. Driving at high speed, sliding around corners, jumping, near misses, there are all sorts of ways to earn points. For an even bigger boost, seek out the PR stunts. These exist throughout the overworld, and award you for your performances in certain challenges, like completing jumps or hitting your maximum speed on a certain road.

Fast travel

The map in Forza Horizon 5 is enormous, and, even in a supercar, it can take several minutes to get to your destination. Fortunately, there is a method for fast travel. First, you need to buy a house to use as your home base. Each time you buy a new house you can fast travel to it. It initially costs 10,000cr every time you do it, but smashing the fast travel signs permanently reduces the cost by cr each time. Buying the Buena Vista house further expands your fast travel options, as buying that particular property allows you to fast travel to any road you’ve already visited.

Focus on Horizon Adventures

There is a lot to do in Forza Horizon 5. Don’t worry, it’s actually very straightforward. Your initial goal is really just to do your best in races and unlock the Horizon Adventure Chapters. These become available as you earn more Accolade Points, and give you the choice of which story mission you want to take on. In the early going these will unlock regions in Mexico for you to race in explore, so it’s best to spread around your selections initially.

Upgrade your car

The front end view of a car, in the menu where one selects vehicle upgrade parts,

Upgrading and tuning your car may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Upgrades allow you to buy improved hardware for your car, increasing performance. Want a better grip? Buy better tires. More top speed? Invest in the turbo. There are even auto-tune options, where the mechanic selects and installs all the equipment for you.

The same is true of tuning. Experimenting with the settings in the tuning menu is a great way to squeeze more performance out of your ride. Conversely, car tune settings created by the community are saved, and you can easily apply them to your car. It’s a great way to get the most out of your vehicle without having to be a master mechanic.

Drive and draft

There is more to racing than going fast and turning in circles. The track is typically filled with other cars, all jostling to be the first one to cross the finish line. One easy technique that can help make sure it’s you they are waving the checkered flag for is drafting.

Vehicles face air resistance when they drive, but if you follow closely behind another vehicle you can benefit from them creating a slipstream. This is called drafting and is a great way to give yourself a small speed advantage when you are trying to work your way to the front of the pack. It’s especially when used in a turn, allowing you to accelerate as soon as you hit a straightaway and surge ahead.

Collect your accolades

A menu filled with accolades, selectable by the player,

Accolades are like miniature in-game achievements. These range from ultra-easy tasks like completing races, to elite challenges like reaching the top 5% on leaderboards. Accolades will complete automatically as you play, but it is up to you to collect the rewards. Open the main menu and select accolades. Any category that has a prize waiting for you will have a small marker in the upper corner. Click on each marked accolade to collect your winnings.

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Justin Koreis
Justin is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of video games and technology. He loves writing about games, especially…
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