Don't get me wrong - I adore Forza Horizon 5. It's one of the best games of the year and one of the most exhilarating racers ever made. There's nothing quite like roaming the streets of Mexico, blasting out tunes from one of the excellent radio stations as the sun sets in the distance. It's relaxing, soothing and makes for some of the best gaming moments of all time. Simply put, it's a glorious game. But all this changes once those blasted bonus boards come into play, and they're quickly making me tear my hair out with the game.
I've put hours into this marvellous racer and I'm pretty sure a third of that has been tainted by my incessant need to smash these poxy little boards to pieces. When I accomplish this feat, it's a satisfying rush as my digital counters raise with XP, but it's not all sunshine and roses. Over the years, Playground Games has made some of these boards increasingly tougher to obtain and Forza Horizon 5 may take the award home for being the hardest yet. I can't help but applaud the team for their trolling, but at the same time, I hate them.
Over the dozens of hours I've pumped into the game, I can easily say a large portion has been spent attempting to identify where specific boards are. Sure, they're highlighted on the map, but sometimes you can reach the destination and realise there's nothing there.
Then you look up.
Sitting casually on the balcony of a hotel complex is a cheeky little bonus board, taunting you with its presence chanting: "You'll never get this! You'll never get this!" When this happens, I can feel my grip on the controller tightening as my vision zones in on the devilish collectable. I will not be beaten. You will be mine.
Unfortunately, that determination quickly whittles away as I comically fail at making the tight and precise jump. Much like a compilation video of You've Been Framed, my mainly failed attempts quickly become an ode to my time with Forza Horizon 5 - somebody who has spent more time turning their vehicles into pulp to acquire bonus boards, rather than someone who is absorbed in all the incredibly fun activities it has to offer.
For one of them, I distinctly remember two other players watching me from the sidelines as I attempted to make the stunt show jump across the hotel courtyard and onto the balcony. After many, many crashes and car flips, I watched as they slowly positioned up behind me and attempted the jump themselves. One immediately failed as much as I did to make my bitterness feel more meaningful. On the other hand, the second driver instantly propelled themselves into the air and smashed the bonus board first time.
I've never dashboarded a game so fast in all my life.
Eventually, after more attempts than I'd care to admit, the hotel bonus board was mine and a weight was lifted off my chest. I did it. I finally achieved the impossible, and no matter what else, nobody could take that away from me. As I drove into the sunset, towards the terrifying sandstorm ahead of me, I'd not felt this accomplished with a game in a long time. It was an incredible feeling - until my map pinged up another board. To my right, there was one sitting idly awaiting my arrival, except this time it was on top of a pylon, graciously awaiting another elaborate stunt jump put together by careful planning, mathematics and the right trajectory.
I love you Forza Horizon 5, but I also hate you.
Have you had any trouble collecting bonus boards in Forza Horizon 5? Let us know in the comments below.