Forza Horizon 5

Despite next-gen consoles still being as rare as hen’s teeth, last week saw the much-publicised release of one of Xbox’s flagship titles: Forza Horizon 5.

The racing series may be long-established, but, for gamers, this is one of the landmark titles which demonstrates the full visual capabilities of the Xbox Series X.

And while the graphics are no doubt incredible (if you have a 4K screen, check out the detail of the landscapes in the official trailer alone), for me there was something a tiny bit amiss – an Uncanny Valley of sorts – but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what.

On rewatching, it became obvious that it was the cars – not the rendering itself, but their motion and connection to the environment around them.

The official Gameplay preview from E3 highlights it best – for me there’s an almost ‘lightweight’ retro Micro Machines feel to how the car and road interact – or, to be fairer, maybe something closer to the otherwise excellent TOCA 2.

Given that the only racing title I’ve played since returning to gaming in the last few years is the exceptionally detailed F1 series, I looked back to other high-realism childhood favourites Grand Prix 3 and Gran Turismo 2. Sure enough, even in online clips, these hold up much better than the floating nature of Forza Horizon 5’s vehicles.

That said, one should never judge a book by its cover – or a game by its trailers – maybe the immersion and controller response negates this visual oddity. If only there was some stock of consoles available to find out…