Get a Head Start in Forza Horizon 5

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We are just weeks away from the release of Forza Horizon 5 – Microsoft’s latest entry in the open-world racing series. If you’re anything like me you’ve been eating up every morsel of news dropped about the new title, racing the previous games until your tires have gone bald, or both! If that’s the case, I’ll show you how to put that manic energy to productive use to help give you a solid jump off the line come release day.

Xbox Game Pass

First suggestion – make sure you’re subscribed to the Xbox Game Pass if you’ve not already done so. Forza Horizon 5 will be a Day 1 Game Pass title. You can certainly purchase the game outright if that’s your preference, but Game Pass for me has proved to be a pretty good value. It’s also worth mentioning many of the add-ons for Forza Horizon 5 are discounted for Game Pass holders. So if you’re serious about upgrading your game, it may not be a bad idea to have Game Pass just for the DLC discounts.

Learn to Drive Stick

If you do have Game Pass or any of the previous Forza titles from either series, I would recommend investing time in learning how to use manual transmission in the game. Automatic is fine, but learning and getting comfortable with your setup and changing gears manually will shave several seconds off your times in most cases.

But speaking of your setup…

Check Your Controller

There’s really not a bad way to drive a car in-game. Some folks prefer a bit more immersion and control through a wheel and others lack the space needed or simply prefer controllers. Wheel-makers like Fanatec or Thrustmaster have announced or released new product lineups in the last couple of months. What this translates into is many sim racers buying new hardware and selling their old setups. This boost to the used market helps ensure that there’s something for everyone at pretty much every price range, though you may need to be patient.

Fanatec Wheel

The Fanatec ClubSport Wheel GT Forza Motorsport

You, of course, can also choose to buy new wheels from retailers – with the added benefit of a return policy you can utilize if it doesn’t meet your expectations or space constraints. The new Thrustmaster lineup hasn’t yet been released, so you may expect to see clearance prices on some of their items. Logitech wheels haven’t been updated as recently, but they still go on sale fairly regularly.

I’m currently between wheels, but that’s okay because my personal preference for playing a fun, arcade-ish racing game like Forza Horizon is an Xbox controller. However, I really do enjoy playing it on my Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. The main features there are the ability to adjust the tension of the thumbstick as well as having paddles underneath the controller where I map my shifter buttons.

Forza Rewards

Last is the Forza Rewards program. Once enrolled, you can log in weekly to claim bonuses across most of the Forza games that are based on how much you’ve driven, completed, or achievements earned in previous or current Forza titles. This is perhaps Forza’s best-kept secret, which is a shame, because literally every week you simply log in, click a button, and get free money sent to your player account.

This has been a weekly ritual of mine for years and has given me tens of millions of in-game credits that I’ve used to buy castles in Forza Horizon 4, work on completing my garage in Forza 7, or just being able to feel free to purchase the car that you need an upgrade it the way you want without having to be overly conscious about needing to win more races to restock your coffers.

Sadly the program is being retired in mid-2022 and that Forza Horizon 5 won’t be part of the program due to balancing issues. However, the Forza team has said that it will be replaced with “a newly curated set of Loyalty Rewards“. What exactly that is remains to be seen.

Forza Horizon 5 is shaping up to be a gorgeous game that I’m hoping retains the thrill and charm of the previous entries. ¡Vamos!

Forza Horizon 5 early access drops on November 5, with the regular release on November 9.

Josh (aka P53ud0Nym, aka jozNaz) got his start in gaming playing his uncle’s NES and his friend’s Sega Genesis. At the age of 14, he got a job, rode his bike to Kmart, and bought a Game Boy Color and Pokémon Blue. Josh enjoys RPGs, shooters, racing, and adventure games as well as teaching his two kids the ways of the Force.

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