How To Play Forza Horizon 5 (Beginners Guide)

Author Alessio Lorandi
Alessio Lorandi
December 19, 2023

Forza Horizon 5, a highly anticipated addition to the series, was launched on Nov. 9 across multiple platforms including Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Windows PC. 

It’s celebrated for its vast open-world, the largest in the series, offering a plethora of activities for players.

Early Access and Game Editions

Early Access and Game Editions Fh5

Premium Edition Benefits

The $99.99 Premium Edition of Forza Horizon 5 provided early access starting Nov. 5. This edition, alongside the Deluxe and Standard versions, was available on various platforms, including the Microsoft Store and Steam.

Pre-loading Options

Players who purchased the Deluxe or Standard edition had the option to pre-load the game, allowing them to start playing immediately upon its release.

Game Pass Access

Subscribers of Xbox Game Pass, Game Pass for PC, and Game Pass Ultimate also gained access to Forza Horizon 5 from Nov. 9, with the added benefit of preloading the game.

Importance of Settings Configuration

Before diving into the gameplay, adjusting the game’s settings for display, notifications, and controls is crucial. 

These settings, accessible from the start menu, allow players to tailor the game to their preferences.

Recommended Settings for Optimal Play

Difficulty and Control Settings FH5

Difficulty and Control Settings

For players using a gamepad, setting the difficulty to Simulation steering offers enhanced control. 

Traction Control should be set to Off, especially for high-torque supercars, to balance control and acceleration. 

Stability Control is recommended to be always off for better car handling, particularly in off-road racing.

Damage and Tire Wear

Setting the damage and tire wear to None allows players to enjoy the game without worrying about the cosmetic or functional impact on their cars. 

The dirt and grime accumulated during races can be reset in photo mode for a clean appearance.

Rewind Feature

Enabling the Rewind feature can be incredibly helpful for mastering stunts and checkpoints, as well as revisiting moments for screenshots.

Advanced Controls for Precision

Advanced Controls for Precision FH5

Adjusting the Steering Axis and Acceleration Axis settings can fine-tune the gamepad handling, providing better control over the car’s stability and traction.

Graphics Mode Preference

Choosing Performance mode ensures smoother gameplay with a consistent 60 frames-per-second, which is crucial for understanding car responsiveness during tuning and racing.

Introduction Race Experience

The game starts with a race-to-the-festival montage, featuring various cars like the 2021 Ford Bronco and Mercedes-AMG One. 

This section is ideal for players to familiarize themselves with different cars’ handling on various terrains.

Personalization Options

After the opening sequence, players can customize their driver’s appearance, including hairstyle, voice, and even prosthetics. The game also offers the option to select a personalized vanity license plate.

Selecting Your Initial Car

Selecting Your Initial Car FH5

Players choose their first car from four options, all available in the garage for later use.

This choice is more about aesthetic preference as the first special event, “On a Wing and a Prayer,” involves driving a different car, the 1994 Hoonigan Ford Cossie V2.

Unlocking Game Chapters

Unlocking Game Chapters FH5

Forza Horizon 5 unfolds in chapters, unlocked by acquiring “Accolades.” The game offers varied initial tasks like finding a VW Beetle or photographing a totem, leading to multistage chapters that unlock after completing around five open-world events.

Participating in the First Race

Exploring the Open World

After completing the initial onboarding, the entire map becomes accessible, though initially sparse in events. 

These expand as players earn Accolades and are invited to start new chapters, each themed to different racing styles.

Recommended First Race

Recommended First Race FH5

The Airfield Cross Country Circuit is an excellent first choice, effectively utilizing the Cossie. Nearby, players can find a Fast Travel board to smash, unlocking the 2003 Nissan Fairlady Z, a versatile car for drifting and upgrades.

Visiting the Horizon Festival Hub

Visiting the Horizon Festival Hub FH5

After getting acquainted with a couple of cars, players can head to the Horizon Festival Mexico’s main hub to access various customization options like the Autoshow, Auction House, and Designs & Paints menus.

Painting and Upgrading Your Car

Custom Color Selection

Forza Horizon 5 offers HSB sliders for custom color painting. Players can use online resources to find exact HSB values for desired colors, applying them to their cars for a personalized look.

Performance Upgrades

The Upgrades & Tuning panel allows for both Auto and Custom Upgrades. For those not familiar with detailed tuning, community-created tuning setups are available, helping to enhance car performance according to player preferences.

Expanding Your Racing Experience

Choosing Your Next Race

For a comprehensive racing experience, participating in a road race helps set up assists and controls for high-performance road and track cars. This helps in finding the perfect balance for acceleration and traction.

Establishing a Home Base

Establishing a Home Base FH5

After winning a few events, players can purchase safehouses like Casa Bella, offering perks and serving as alternative hubs for buying or upgrading cars. 

The Premium Edition includes La Casa Solariega, unlocking five Super Wheelspins and significantly boosting in-game resources.

Diving into Horizon Arcade

The Horizon Arcade offers a set of timed objectives, marked by a purple blob and blimp icon on the map. Participating in these events is an effective way to earn money, XP, and accolades.

Forza Horizon 5 offers a diverse and immersive racing experience, blending high-speed action with extensive customization and exploration. 

From setting up the game for optimal performance to customizing characters and cars, participating in varied races, and exploring the vast open world, there are endless opportunities for excitement and advancement. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned racer, Forza Horizon 5 provides a dynamic playground to explore, compete, and thrive in the exhilarating world of racing.

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About the autor

Alessio Lorandi

Alessio has been involved at the highest levels in racing since the age of 5 (2003). He won a CIK-FIA World Championship in 2013 and then raced in F3, F2, and finally GT3s before now dedicating himself to SOLOX. He’s now on a mission to help thousands of sim racers around the world achieve their fullest potential through his ACC setups.

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