Rally has played a significant role in the automotive industry over the years, and Forza Horizon 5 is now acknowledging this important history (and the many rally games over the past few decades) in its latest ‘Rally Adventure’ expansion. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time there’s been a rally add-on for the Horizon series. As you might recall, the very first Forza Horizon received a ‘Rally Expansion’ back in the day - adding new rally cars, rally upgrades and seven events across 20 different stages. This brings us to the fifth entry’s latest DLC, which is obviously a huge step up on the original game’s efforts.
Just like in FH5’s Hot Wheels expansion, you’re sent to a new area of Mexico in the Rally Adventure expansion called Sierra Nueva. It would have been nice if the main map was expanded considering this is just an extension of the existing landscape, but instead it’s once again an isolated area you must teleport to via fast travel.
Once you arrive, you’re thrust into your first rally race in the “all-electronic” 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum. You’ll swap over to the 2001 Ford #4 Ford Focus RS (made famous by the legendary rally driver Colin McRae) and from there you’re let loose. Once you're done with the introductions, you’ll sign on with one of three teams – dirt rally, road rally and night rally. Each one speaks for itself with the kind of rally experience you’ll be getting. In every race you do, you have two options to select from – the new ‘Horizon Rally’ mode, where you follow a co-driver’s pace notes and race against the clock from point-to-point, and then the ‘Horizon Race’ mode, which puts you up against actual opponents. If you want to stay true to the rally experience, you’ll want to go with the first option.
At times, Horizon Rally feels like a homage to classics such as Sega Rally and even the Colin McRae series. While we’re not saying it’s necessarily as good, generally speaking it’s done a respectable job recreating the rally experience in a fun arcade-like way. You’ll have a helicopter tracking you as you speed through turns and bends, and the co-driver calling out the next part of the course as you slide across the dirt. Playground Games also encourages players to turn off the ‘rally driving line’ in Horizon Rally events for a “more authentic and thrilling” experience. While the pace notes add to the authenticity of the rally experience, the co-driver’s callouts may not always come in time - to the point where you’ll find yourself relying more on your own line of sight as well as the race map. In general, it might come across as more of a novelty to some, and if you do activate the driving line, you may as well turn off the co-driver’s audio.
From beginning to end, the main team content should take players around a handful of hours. It's kind of an anti-climatic finish, but once you’re done you can always go back and collect everything in sight, and finish the other version of every race – be it the ‘rally’ or ‘race’ modes.
As for the tracks and new map, it actually feels quite fun to drive. While it is mostly more environment, from lush rain forests and deformable sand dunes to an abandoned quarry, there’s really not a dull 'driving' moment when racing along this rugged terrain. There are winding roads that really do look like a scene out of certain arcade racing hits, huge canyons to jump, and then there’s also a great mix of dirt roads and even proper tarmac, which might have little bumps throughout them – adding to the whole experience. It’s a great mix, but in terms of landmarks and towns, there’s not quite as much to see here as certain other expansions in the past. A bit like the previous Hot Wheels expansion, Rally Adventure can also feel a bit static at times, but occasionally you will spot a flock of birds taking flight, or a huge waterfall.
Factoring in the new electric F-150 and classics like the Ford Focus RS, there are 10 new cars all up, ranging from trucks to jeeps. A few more traditional rally cars probably wouldn’t have hurt. As for how they control, you’re going to feel yourself sliding a lot on the dirt tracks and wet roads. It’s not a bad thing at all though, and once you get in the groove, it feels great. The game’s also added launch control – meaning you’ll get that true rally start every time you begin the race. Adding to this are all-new rally parts for cars including bigger tires, allowing you to really embrace the landscape of Sierra Nueva. And for returning fans, you can also look forward to welcoming back the fan-favourite radio station Epitaph Radio (featuring a punk soundtrack). This is also included in the base game as a free update and comes with new music!
Forza Horizon 5: Rally Adventure is not only a love letter to the actual motorsport but also the video games that have paved the way and inspired series like Horizon. It might not be what everyone was necessarily wanting from the second and likely final expansion for FH5, but the driving experience here is fun from start to finish and remains the core focus - with dirt roads and tracks that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and all sorts of bumps and surprises along the way. It’s well worth your time if you’re looking for more adventures in the land of Horizon.
does it have the Sega Rally feel tho?
@Carck Let's hope not.
Thanks for this review, well written!
I'm enjoying it myself. This is not like other rally titles where a slight mistake will send you into a crash. Its forza Horizon and stays forgiving and easy to drive meaning you can enjoy the format without the ball ache!
I got very tired of the pace notes though - you'll want to turn them off in options sooner rather than later.
I like this DLC much better than the superficially impressive HotWheels. If you like FH5 and want some more fun, its hard not to recommend it.
While not at all rally fan I still did have some fun doing the race mode version of the races.
My main complaint for both the released DLC is that there just isn't a lot to them. I mean I finished the rally DLC in one afternoon and I think I did the hot wheels one in a weekend.
Maybe Playground will release an expansion with some substantial content rather than these small DLC.
@BBB How the heck did you finish this in one afternoon??? I’ve played about three hours and just now unlocked the second of three teams to work through.
Definitely feels like a Rally Game for the masses. Pace notes are incredibly simplified and there's no multi-stage events either.
They do need to patch out the helicopter dust as well. Having the "co-driver" fly in front of you kicking up dust blocking your view was such a poor decision.
The positives! The map is genuinely amazing and varied, very fun to drive with technical corners containing camber. New cars are great and the new Radio Station has fantastic music.
I’m enjoying it, and I got bored with the base game a long time ago!
@FatalBubbles it's 8 races per team, 1 race against each team principal (3 total) and a final Goliath.
I have all teams at level 9 with just a few pr stunts & photos to clear. Though I won't be doing the Grit Reapers pr stunts at that involved drifting and I don't enjoy that.
The map as nice as it is only has 34 roads (I believe), tight, technical and twisty as they are it ain't massive.
@BBB Dang. I’ll easily have 9-12 hours in it to finish it. You’re a speed racer.
@pip_muzz Have to agree with the helicopter point - it was a poor pick to try and get some extra fizz in the visuals, but it doesn't pay off at all and becomes a distraction at best and an obstacle at worse..
@hypnotoad definitely someone who either never played Sega Rally or was completely bodied at Sega Rally
@Carck I had Sega Rally on import in the 90's on Saturn.
Times move on now though...
It's great to see the return to Forza Rally after having previously only seen it with the original. Playing rallies with my custom created cars is amazing.
Good review. From some of the comments I can’t help think that we are completely spoilt these days - I remember spending umpteen hours marvelling at Sega Rally on Saturn and being amazed that those 3D visuals had made their way from the arcade into my living room. And 4 courses too! (if you unlocked the bonus course)
Nowadays people moan because this 20gig expansion can be ‘finished’ in a day - that’s over two dozen race routes that can be played in rally or race mode and numerous other challenges. All with variable weather, times of day and destructible scenery rendered in 4K at a rock solid 60fps.
I think it’s got to the point where users are almost ‘immune’ to what they are looking at, with ridiculously high expectations. I’m so glad I can still enjoy and appreciate where gaming has come to from those early days of a few dodgy pixels being loaded (sometime, but not always) from a dodgy tape recorder onto my Atari 400 😃
Enjoy rally racing games but generally suck at games like WRC. So loving this return to more casual / arcadey take on the genre. Great expansion for me!!!
A fun addition to the game overall. I agree with the 8/10 score and ultimately, I have enjoyed every single DLC for the Horizon series to date. I do love me some Forza Horizon...
After this DLC I will not be buying Ultimate bundles going forward. What a waste.
Do the cars handle similar to Dirt 5 rally races? I’m not bad at that.
@hypnotoad arcade nut here! Still one of the best games ever made
I actually prefer time trials to racing against other vehicles, so I'm enjoying this very much!
Forza is a great game, but after playing GT 7 in VR I just cant play any other racing game. Its just so much better its hard to describe.
I really do hope MS goes into VR this generation, so many IPs on Xbox would be awesome in VR!
@pip_muzz it’s an arcade racer. Horizon. It stands to reason that the DLC Rally or otherwise would be arcade. Horizon is very much the “fast and furious” of driving games. Massive budget and accessible. Fun. Not to be taken seriously. Nothing in a single horizon game has been anything but arcade up to now. They were never gonna go full sim.
@Feffster 100% agree. People sit down play it on a difficulty where they nail it all as quick as possible so they can come on line and moan (boast) they’ve done it all in an afternoon.
I’ve sunk 100s and 100s of hours into all the Forza Horizons (and Forza MS to be honest) and have not completed a single one. I’ve been “champion” in a few but still so much to do in all of them. Only the original Horizon have I pretty much done it all.
They are games that keep giving and giving if you allow them.
This dlc sounds huge. As bigger than racers used to be…. If it is a bit “barer” than the main map that will be welcome as I’m still daunted when I see so much to do in 4/5.
@Stocksy - I’m glad it’s not just me mate! Series X has got me back into gaming and over the last 2 years there’s hardly been a week when I haven’t played FH4 and/or 5. I especially love the changing seasons in FH4 and the way the weather can change dramatically over the course of a single race. I haven’t ‘finished’ either, and doubt I’ll ever get there. Off topic, but GRID Legends is also worth a look if you are into your racers - cheesy storyline aside, there’s some fantastic racing when you ramp up the difficulty.
Not quite the same handling as Dirt 5, but still fairly easy, fun and accessible (especially if you go into the settings and tweak the handling to your preferences).
Try these settings:
Braking: anti lock on
That should get you about as close to Dirt 5 as it can get.
Just need to set the Drivatar difficulty to whatever level is appropriate for you 👍
Improvements over the base game...
Crowd noise and cowbells make for more atmosphere (base game has a dead feel to it).
Tracks have more twists and turns making for more interesting racing and overtaking opportunities.
Small changes which have made a HUGE difference... Hope this acts as a pointer to the next FH base game.
@Feffster yeah really enjoying Grid legends. Not started story but doing the career stuff. Great game.
There is no snow in 5 right?!?
I was hoping for snow in this expansion as Rally and snow is a must!
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