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Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels Review: Experience Flying at Full Speed on the Ground

I don’t know if you have noticed, but every DLC theme in the Forza Horizon series is very interesting. And veteran players of the series are definitely not unfamiliar with “Hot Wheels”. It has appeared in the form of DLC in the third generation and has been widely praised.

Like “Forza Horizon 4: Lego Valley”, the “Hot Wheels” DLC is a collaboration between “Forza Horizon” and the “Hot Wheels” brand. However, unlike the building block field cultivated by Lego, “Hot Wheels” started as car model toys and has a close connection with cars. Since the founder Elliot and General Motors engineers released the first small car in 1968, the wave of “Hot Wheels” has been unstoppable and has a history of more than 50 years.

Founder Elliot

The series has been passed down to this day, and the products of “Hot Wheels” already have a considerable foundation. In addition to the collection value of many models, as toys, the gameplay of these cars produced by “Hot Wheels” is just like that of domestic players who are familiar with four-wheel drive cars. They can compete with special track groups and spring catapults. The cost of building a track for this purpose is often staggering, not only is the track set up expensive, but more importantly, the requirements for the venue are quite high.

Due to this, compared with foreign countries, domestic competitions on Hot Wheels are not popular, and more people collect car models just to collect and play with them.

In fact, these tracks are often more expensive than the model car

After learning about “Hot Wheels”, you may understand why the map in “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” is so bizarre, like a giant amusement park.

As the DLC for Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels, players need to complete the prologue chapter of the game itself, and then enter the DLC at the “Hot Wheels Adventure” located in the north.

Let me start with my overall review of the Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels DLC, just one word:

If you have played the DLC of the same name in Forza Horizon 3, you should understand what I am talking about.

I have never had such a thrilling and shocking gaming experience in any racing game: the bizarre plastic track shuttles through the magnificent natural landscape in an incredible way, with snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, Gobi, and rainforests, and the track undulates back and forth with the changes of the terrain. Jumping down from the towering snow-capped mountains; feeling dizzy on the magnetic track driving in a straight line; bumping in the misty rainforest; running in the wild and unrestrained canyon, the world of Forza Horizon is presented to us in another unique perspective.

I have experienced the carnival entrance ceremony of the “Forza Horizon” series many times, but I have to say that the entrance of “Hot Wheels” was the most shocking to me. Even because the final climax of the entrance ceremony was so fast that some arm hairs stood on end.

If this kind of pleasure is the pleasure brought by the sense of speed, then the pleasure of opening the map is a kind of pleasure filled with “a large amount of food is enough”.

Compared to the “Water Park” theme of the third generation, the overall scene of the fifth generation is richer. This land far from Mexico is composed of three parts: rainforest, snow-capped mountains, and canyons. The three areas face each other across the sea and are connected to each other through the orange-yellow plastic track that has always been present in the “Hot Wheels” series.

Main maps and scenes of the rainforest section

Thanks to these tracks of “Hot Wheels”, the terrain design requirements of the game are more flexible than the main body. You can clearly see that the map is divided into three parts, with sharp edges on the coastline. Players can no longer experience the refreshing island style, although the style is fragmented, it is more diverse.

In order to maximize the fun for players, the game minimizes the limitations of the track and enhances the fun. If in the original version of “Forza Horizon”, players sometimes stumble due to road conditions, then in “Hot Wheels”, players only need to step on the gas pedal and, if necessary, fiddle with the steering wheel to experience the joy of driving and unparalleled beauty.

Firstly, the game’s track provides good protection for vehicles, with baffles on both sides of the road. Players’ vehicles generally cannot fall off the track, which minimizes the punishment for mistakes. Secondly, the various tracks also add to this dreamy journey. The magnetic track that attracts vehicles provides the possibility of 360 ° rotation on the road surface. The acceleration track and accelerator can easily increase the speed to 500 mph, combined with the stunt track, allowing you to experience the feeling of flying.

In addition, there are running tracks and frost tracks waiting for you to explore

Thanks to the unrestricted road design, the game’s route is no longer limited to the surface. In the game, the track surface is completely perpendicular to the surface, or flipped 180 degrees directly, which is commonplace. As a result, in “Hot Wheels”, there is something that should not appear on the car – the level. Compared to the new feature added in “Hot Wheels” in the third generation, this seems somewhat useless, but it is actually very beneficial for players to grasp the current situation of the vehicle – after the dizziness, players are indeed prone to losing their way, at least for me.

In addition, the reversal of the track angle makes it easier to turn and change direction. In front of the vertical surface of the track, the player only needs to step on the accelerator pedal and no longer needs to consider the handbrake and steering.

Of course, talking about so many plastic tracks does not mean that there are no roads on the surface of the game. It’s just that most of the surface tracks are not displayed on the big map, and players need to explore them on their own and find ways to get on the right track.

Nothing is more enjoyable than wandering in a landscape simulator like Forza Horizon. However, no matter how beautiful the scenery is, players still have to look at the road and not deviate. Compared to the main body, Hot Wheels is undoubtedly more exciting and leisurely , and players can look around while driving.

At least as a Cainiao like me, with the addition of accelerators and straights, being able to run 500 yards that is beyond the reach of the main body is undoubtedly a very fulfilling thing. Looking at the scenery from a different perspective also has a unique flavor.

Overall, when playing “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels”, I have no burden at all. I just need to increase my horsepower in the bizarre plastic track. Whether it is the constantly increasing points, the vague scenery in the clouds, or the speedometer breaking 400, I can feel the charm of this game. The biggest failure I have suffered is just falling off the track and being automatically teleported back to the track, nothing more.

In the magnificent scenery and wonderful track, the game has also made a considerable amount of level content, which is presented to players one by one along with the progress of the Main Task. In addition to general events, there are also high-speed challenges, drift challenges, and high-altitude leaps, as well as fun challenges with a large quantity to satisfy the players.

The advancement of the mission, like the main body, constantly accumulates points, opens the main line and more interesting tasks, and wins more vehicles.

Interestingly, as a collaboration between the two major brands “Forza Horizon” and “Hot Wheels”, there is also content about the history of the “Hot Wheels” brand in the game. Along with the spinning track, the radio station tirelessly introduces you to the interesting history of the “Hot Wheels” company. Such a serious commercial promotion, accompanied by solid game content, brings a really wonderful experience, which makes me somewhat amused.

And another important part of the game, the player’s self-made map, I also experienced it in the game. After all, how rich the content that the player community can create is, just look at those hellish maps in GTA.

Although the maps I played on the 20th were relatively simple, I still felt a different kind of fun from the official map. All kinds of parodies and brain holes shone brightly in the game. For example, there is a map with a total length of only 10m, which has reached the finish line when it just started, leaving me confused; or players are required to accurately throw vehicles from high altitudes to check points; or the entire map is assembled by accelerators, almost flying all the way to the finish line.

These challenging images always have one that can make you smile.

In addition, “Hot Wheels” continues its excellence from “Forza Horizon” in some basic designs, such as detailed vehicle modifications, seasonal rotation, extremely detailed vehicle details, rainy and snowy weather vehicles, and camera details. I won’t spend too much ink on them here.

Of course, the game is not perfect. Although the game has excellent lighting effects during the day, the lighting design of the game is undoubtedly lacking at night, so that the road is not unclear, but the grand scene in the distance is pitch black. As a carnival, it seems a bit lonely to me. I also hope that there will be a fireworks display or light show at night.

Although it does not affect the play at night, the scenery is still much worse than during the day

In terms of programming, there are basically no frame drops or bugs in the game. It’s just that after playing maps made by other players, the vehicles often stay in place after loading back to the original map. This means that there is a high chance of staying in inexplicable places on the original map, and I can only solve the problem by teleporting. This more or less affects the overall rhythm of the game.

Suddenly teleported to the wilderness

Beyond these two minor issues, I can hardly see any obvious flaws in Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels.

Incorporating the gameplay genes of the “Hot Wheels” toy into the carnival of “Forza Horizon”, the collision and combination of both gameplay and theme are very outstanding.

Compared to the more commercially cooperative “Lego Valley” DLC in the past, “Hot Wheels” has a richer and more interesting experience. As a DLC that only focuses on making players have fun, it has almost perfectly achieved its mission and maintained the high level of the series. When I have nothing to do, I just want to immerse myself in the game for two hours, experience my beloved car, and see the scenery in the distance.

– – After the ontology review –

Crossing the wheat fields and wilderness of Great Britain, our formula car changed from McLaren SENNA to Mercedes-Benz-AMG ONE, and the wheels immediately rolled into the mysterious and wild land of Mexico.

Before the official release of Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels (hereinafter referred to as “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels”), I had about four days to play this game. I almost used every inch of spare time to stay a little longer in this overwhelming event, even forgetting that this was for preparing a review. I think when you hold the controller or steering wheel, you will get the same feeling as me.


This review is based on the PC platform, with a resolution setting of 2540×1440, and all special effects are the highest.

The main configuration of the experience platform is as follows:

CPU: Intel i7-10700KMemory: DDR4 3200hz 8GB * 4Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 6900XTHard drive: Western Digital sn750 1TBController for Xbox One

The approximate parameters in the game are as follows:

The Forza Horizon series has always been a leader in creating a lively atmosphere, and this scene at the beginning of the 5th generation made me even more convinced of this.

The Ford Bronco and Chevrolet Corvette, which were slowly dropped from the colorful C-130 transport plane, respectively showed you the rugged mountains and rolling dust of Mexico, and when the finale AMG-ONE finally landed, it rushed into the center of the carnival stage. When the warm crowd, champagne, and fireworks almost woke up my tired heart beating at 2 am, as if I were in it.

Interestingly, the segment where players pinch people is designed as “preparation for appearance”. At this moment, I happened to go and pour a glass of water. When I came back, I could still hear the host making excuses to the audience because “I” hadn’t appeared for too long. The immersion of the environment came out immediately.

Compared to the 4th generation, the opening pinching section now has more freedom, with more optional face shapes for characters, and added prosthetics and voice options. Players are now allowed to freely choose gender recognition and voice. In addition, some basic clothing can now be unlocked with very few points – such as the sunglasses that many older players want in the 4th generation. However, the “take a photo with the car” function that some colleagues want is still not available in this game, so let’s wait for the 6th generation.

Before the official release, “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” had already released several live demo videos, and you must have learned some basic information from them. In terms of UI, radio, control modes, etc., “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” maintains the original design with some minor adjustments.

For example, the auxiliary line has now been replaced with a more visually appealing blue color, and the gradually changing red color during cornering now also has highlights, making it more eye-catching.

Or it could be the newly added “Forza LINK” function, which triggers a prompt when meeting a real driver, making it more convenient to interact with them.

At first glance, “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” seems like a “power-enhanced version” of the previous generation. Everything you are familiar with is still there, even the ABS that is recommended to be turned off immediately after inserting the controller is still not very user-friendly (laughs).

Of course, the improvement of the picture is real, and you can feel it very intuitively when you are running on various roads. Whether it is the crowd density and active level of the carnival, the details of the forest and the water surface, the fog effect generated by tire friction, or the volume sense of the sky clouds, Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels has done better than the 4th generation – when I talk about these, please also note that the aspects mentioned above have been done very well in the 4th generation.

Of course, if we want to talk about the details of the picture, we can write a separate article. Let’s first talk about the parts that car fans love the most.

Like “Forza Horizon 4”, many vehicles in “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” will be released in subsequent seasons and DLCs. Currently (in terms of Forza Horizon specifications), there are not too many vehicles that appear as the starting lineup at the auto show, but new products launched after the fourth generation will naturally not be absent, such as the Toyota GR Supra 2020, which appeared as one of the initial three cars in the carnival. Hmm… Although my heart is already a BMW heart, my soul is still a JDM soul?

The details of the vehicles in Forza Horizon 4 are already very impressive, so if you just look at the car, it’s hard to say how stunning the modeling of the 5th generation can be, but the improvement in details is real. For example, the cockpit details of the 5th generation are more exquisite, and the material has been significantly improved compared to the 4th generation, so it won’t give people occasional feelings of “plastic” and “model”.

Perhaps due to the improvement in resolution, I can feel that there are more details in the texture of the vehicle, even in close-up scenes that are very close-up. When viewed from a distance, I can also feel that the texture of the vehicle is stronger and more realistic.

In addition, in this work, when the vehicle is in a stationary state, the car that allows switching between convertible or mode can now be switched at any time. Taking the formula car AMG ONE in this work as an example, it can unfold two-stage deformation.

The driving gameplay of Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is not much different from that of the 4th generation, and it also retains the ancestral time travel, but the feel is subtly better – really subtle.

Compared to the previous game, you can now better perceive the “sense of weight” of the vehicle. For heavier vehicles such as off-road vehicles, the push of the head will be more obvious when the sudden braking is not handled properly. As a loyal fan of the GTR R35, I can feel that the traction of the R35 in this game is more realistic and charming, although this detail may only be felt by another R35 fan when they touch the game.

However, the improvement in feel may mainly come from a very important change: the Steam version of Forza Horizon 4 does not have trigger vibration, but in the 5th generation, any version purchased on any platform can feel the corresponding vibration when pressing LT (brake) and RT (throttle) as long as it is connected to the Microsoft controller. In a racing game that requires a large keystroke, the vibration of these two will give a very intuitive experience enhancement. For players who mainly play on PC, this change is very practical (not to say that the Microsoft store is bad).

Friends familiar with the “Forza Horizon” series know that due to the large number of vehicles (almost several times that of similar games), it is difficult to achieve a fairly rich and complete modification in this series. For example, in terms of vehicle appearance, except for some JDM models with classic modifications (such as FC, FD, and Supra), most vehicles do not have many appearance options when modified. At least you cannot expect to have the “street car” style modifications like adding neon lights to the body or adding a bobblehead doll to the interior like in GTAV. “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” still focuses on functional modifications. In terms of appearance, what can be expected now is only the vehicle paint (shared by other experts).

It is well known that replacing the hood with carbon fiber can effectively improve performance

In the modification process, in addition to modification projects such as engine, platform and control, transmission system and tires, this game now adds an engine sound audition in the modification interface, which has more reference value when modifying the power system, especially the exhaust system. However, like the previous game, the modification of “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” still requires a very long time to understand and immerse. If you want to thoroughly understand the modification of this game, you may need to spend more than 300 hours in the game.

For pure modification novices, there is now a shortcut – the automatic upgrade system, which can easily modify your car to a certain level of maximum attribute value. Believe me, if you really know nothing about modification, leaving it to this system is much more reliable than adjusting it yourself.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels did not rush to chase after these trendy cars, but still chose to use traditional grating techniques to achieve reflection effects in all scenes. However, ray tracing was added to the “Extreme Car Appreciation” section.

This choice is very stable. After all, for a game where the scene changes rapidly, adding real-time tracking in the game is a great test for the player’s hardware, and it may not bring much substantial experience improvement. Traditional grating has been tested over time and has proven to be fully capable of reflecting any material and paint surface of the vehicle in different environments.

Of course, because there is no ray tracing, you cannot expect the paint of the car to accurately reflect dynamic objects – such as real-time reflections of opponent vehicles and scene debris. Although you may not have time to pay attention to these details during the game, you may feel that it is not enough when watching the replay after finishing a game.

Forza Horizon 4 showcases the beauty and romance of seasons and weather systems to players around the world. Unfortunately, my playtime this time happened to be in the middle of summer (lasting 5 days) and I couldn’t experience a seasonal transition firsthand.

On the weather system side, in addition to the sandstorm weather that Playground couldn’t wait to show you at the beginning, the traditional rainy day effect is also very impressive in this game. Not only is the rain more dense, but you can also observe the more realistic effect of the car body soaking in rain. When I noticed this during the carnival event, I was very excited and took a photo.

Of course, the weather on the track is currently relatively stable. Before you enter the race, you can know the time and weather of the race. If it happens to be rainy, it can be foreseen that there will be water accumulation on the road. You can consider replacing the tread with stronger grip to ensure the stability of the corners.

I try my best to evenly distribute my time to various events. Overall, except for the Ultimate Marathon which is generally longer (Goliath is about one-third longer), the physical experience of street races, off-road races, and rally races is not much different from the previous ones. However, underground races often have a complex map and a sense of intricacy of walking through streets and tunnels, which indeed has a more wild flavor of underground races, giving a strong feeling of speed and passion racing scenes. Highly recommended.

What is the correct way to play Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels?

No one can give an answer. This is an endless carnival where you can run aimlessly on various tracks according to your preferences. In addition to the previous game’s straight-line acceleration race, King of Elimination (Battle Royale), and amusement park gameplay, all of which have been retained, this game has also sorted out various elements through the “appreciation” system. Instead of stuffing all the events onto the big map, it gives players the right to choose independently.

Of course, after unlocking everything, it still looks a bit dazzling

Now, you can gradually accumulate appreciation points through competitions and choose your favorite events to expand the sub-venues of the carnival. The usual street races, cross-country races, rally races, underground races, and stunt races now have their own exclusive venues. Once the main line of developing sub-venues is completed, the corresponding events will appear on the big map.

This is a good design for new players in the series. With a buffer period, they won’t be confused by the dense icons on the map at the beginning.

The process of opening the sub-venue now has a very gorgeous performance, which is deeply related to the local customs and practices of Mexico, and some “treasure hunting” gameplay has also been added.

In some missions, NPCs will introduce you to Mexico’s family ties; in some missions, you will go deep into the rainforest with them to explore and search for lost relics; or drive giant beasts on active volcanoes , driving wildly in the steaming hot air; or drive a float into the venue and wrap up the event the next morning…

Interestingly, because the protagonist gained the “speaking” ability that racing game protagonists rarely possess, now in many stories, “you” can joke around with various NPCs.

In addition to these high-profile activities, “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” also adds some fun to the roaming. You can now randomly pull a car on the roadside to start a one-on-one fight. Previously, the difficulty level was displayed on these vehicles. If you win, you can accumulate the number of one-on-one victories – an achievement that many people were too lazy to do in the previous game, but now the difficulty of achieving it has greatly reduced.

On one end of the radio station, the technical radio station that needs to be unlocked by the Hunter’s Hut in the 4th generation is now directly open to everyone. Occasionally, when it’s the turn of the song to play, it will give double the increase in technical experience. A little dessert-level fun.

In addition, seasonal challenges such as speed points have now increased the need to choose the model and grade of the tank , becoming more “challenging”.

Of course, for “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels”, the season event is always the “main goal” of the game. Most rare vehicles can be obtained in this event. Just complete the season goal step by step, collect points, and you can put the desired vehicle in the garage. Remember to pay attention to the season information frequently. Some vehicles may have to wait for a considerable period of time to be replicated once missed, and can only be purchased at a high price at the auction house.

Although I believe that most players of “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” are fans, for true beginners, “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” still lacks necessary hands-on guidance in some aspects, only inserting some subtle operation hints in the NPC dialogue. This may not be enough.

For example, for players who want to learn about cornering and drifting skills, the game does not arrange a section similar to a “driver’s license exam” to teach them necessary operation skills, such as how to pass right-angle turns, how to go in and out, nor does it provide relevant guidance for manual mode.

By the way, you can see the car damage when you cross the line in this work.

In addition, the guidance instructions for “vehicle level” and modification mode are not detailed enough. It can be imagined that many beginners will still blindly modify their cars to the highest level in the early stages of the game, and then complain about “why not use it” and “why it always slips when starting”.

If “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” is an improvement and enhancement of the previous game, then I think this section can still be strengthened. Based on my own experience, in the fourth generation, I spent at least 30 hours learning and adapting to how to speed through corners. If there were appropriate teaching, this time might be much less.

The Forza Horizon series has always been known as a “photo game” in the buzz, and it is also a recognition from players.

However, the camera system of this work is completely copied from the previous work, which makes me feel a bit regretful. In this old system, it is difficult to take photos with the same effect as the official display pictures (note that it is difficult, not impossible). The reason is simple: because the camera mode does not give you the option to set your own light source.

For players who like to study photography, providing lighting effects with one or two lights can make it easier to capture beautiful contours instead of relying solely on ambient light sources. For example, during an underground competition, I suddenly wanted to take a photo, but due to the too realistic ambient light, the presentation of the car details in the photo was mediocre… If I could have a light, I could have captured the car’s contours, and the effect would have been completely different.

Because there is no way to add front fill light, the actual shooting effect depends entirely on whether there is a reliable environmental light source

This part may be subjective – I think “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” can try to add a short introduction text to all the vehicles that appear, so that players can immediately know some information about a car when they get it in the game, such as the release date, factory data, or honors and driver reviews they have received. Players who play this game may not be so familiar with the vehicles. Adding some bean knowledge can actually increase the sense of achievement when getting a new car.

Of course, the above mentioned are only the “definitely better” parts, but what I can be sure of is that for any demanding racing game enthusiast, the current “Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels” can be regarded as the ceiling level player in open world racing games, and each indicator can pull out a regular pentagon. What is particularly rare is that after achieving perfection, it can also bring together fans of all levels and hobbies to find their own happiness in this carnival.

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