A Busy Gamer Guide to Forza Horizon 5

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Forza Horizon 5 - Playing Horizon Arcade

I've seen a number of "how to"/getting started guides for Forza Horizon 5 but they generally miss the mark. As someone who played Forza Horizon 4 pretty much every day for 4 years (and all of the other games in the series), I understand how things work pretty well and - despite its many flaws and bugs at and well after launch - I find myself continually drawn to this evolved open world of driving and racing.

There is a LOT going on in Forza Horizon 5, so this is a bit longer than your usually tips article (feel free to skip to your area of interest). There's something for everyone, so boot it up and give it a try. When you want to know more, come back here and learn how to get the most from it.


Rev your engine
First up if you're new to the series: There's a bunch of stuff you need to do before you can start unlocking the full game and all of its fun little side paths. Follow the tutorial until you unlock your first house, and then things will start to open up.

Once they do, here's what you need to know to succeed regardless of your preferred path:


Forza Horizon 5 - Turning on and off Rewind
To rewind, or not rewind... The rewind feature can be turned off and on in settings under Difficulty at any time. I personally try to avoid rewind as it's a crutch and can ruin you for other racings games. Better to live with your mistakes except: when doing a very difficult challenge (say, a race against difficult drivatars where one small error could lose you the race) or trying for a bonus board in a hard-to-reach place. There are many races where rewind will hurt you, such as The Trial, or it's unavailable, such as The Eliminator, Horizon's Battle Royale.


Find your favorite car. Then find another. Build a fleet of well-tuned vehicles in different classes. When you get a new car that looks like it's worth a whirl, take it for a short test drive. Odds are the car will handle poorly. Maybe it's hard to keep straight when accelerating, or it goes to pieces when you veer offroad. Go to your home or a festival site and get a tuning using Find Tuning Setups (this is where having a 5 million+ buffer of credits at all times comes in handy).

Forza Horizon 5 - Tunings

Look for a tuning that is rated highly and/or has characteristics that you like. For example, GRIP. Most cars do really well at races if they grip the track well, and some grippy cars even do pretty well off-road. Grip isn't ideally suited to drift challenges, but for an all-purpose vehicle that does well in most situations it's usually what you want. That said, if your car isn't handling well, go back and find another. If you've been saving up your credits, you should have no problem buying 2-3 tunings for a dozen or so cars. And parts often overlap different tuning setups, so future tunings for the same car may be cheaper.

Once you've tuned your car, select a new design that reflects you and then mark it as a favorite so you can find all of your tuned vehicles quickly. Use the Y button when viewing your cars in the car select screen to see only favorites and any other filters you need to home in on the vehicle that suits a given challenge.


Getting credit (and XP, points, etc)
Know your currencies. There are five core currencies in FH5:

Credits - Hoard at least 2 million at all times in case you need to buy a car and upgrade it. I aim to keep 10 million just in case I need a pricier vehicle and upgrades for it.

XP - This is your overall level and how other drivers will identify your experience with the game. Once you hit a cap, the level will cycle back to 1 and you will gain a subscript number. So if someone is level 10, they just started out, but if the 10 has a small 3 next to it, they are very advanced in the game.

Accolades - These points are earned by completing accolade challenges, which pop regularly at first and sometimes deliver bonus rewards (before you go on a car spending spree, see which ones you might get for free by doing a mini challenge). Each milestone gives you a token to unlock another festival event under Horizon Adventures (I recommend Rush, so you gain access to lots of PR Stunts, and save Street Scene for last as this can be pretty tough).

Forza Horizon 5 - Horizon Adventure
Did I say there were only five currencies? Horizon Adventure tokens make it six, though they only persist early in the game. Pick the events you enjoy most first (Apex for Road Races, Baja for Dirt, and Wilds for Off-road). Eventually you will earn them all and then unlock entry in the Hall of Fame.

Forza Horizon 5 - Skill Points

Skill Points - These car mastery points are earned by banking style points from doing stunts out in the world and can be used to unlock bonuses on individual cars. Save your points for the cars you use the most. Assuming it's the same as Forza Horizon 4, expect there's a cap of 999 points - so once you break 900 you might start spending these a bit more regularly or you'll stop accumulating them whenever you tap the cap.

Forza Horizon 5 - Forzathon Points

Forzathon Points (FP) - These are perhaps the most coveted and hard to earn points in the game, and can be spent on rare vehicles, emotes, and clothing items in the Forzathon Shop (don't waste them on wheelspins - you'll get plenty of these for free). Check the shop daily as sometimes they change out mid-week, especially around holidays.

Earn FP by accessing the Festival Playlist.


Playing the playlist
Forza Horizon 5 - Seasonal Playlist
Regarding the FP points in this section, these are the standard amount earned. If you buy the house La Casa Solariega, all of your FP are DOUBLED. Plus, you'll have a home you can fast travel to for free that's centrally located (see next section for more on that).

Here's what a typical playlist contains (these vary weekly and by season):

Daily - These earn you 10 FP plus a Playlist progress point. Oh, did I say there were six currencies? Really there are seven - though Playlist points expire at the end of each 4-week season.

Weekly - You'll need a specific vehicle each time. Use it to complete the three challenge steps and earn 80 FP and 5 Playlist Points.

The Trial - This won't unlock until you gain entry in the Hall of Fame (just keep progressing and spending festival event tokens until you have them all... and then collect enough accolades to crack the Hall of Fame). This is the toughest thing in the game, and I avoided it for years. Now I'm beating it routinely. Not because I'm a great racer; I'm OK. But because I understand how it works. You're racing "unbeatable" drivatars so it's critical you have a great tune for your car. It may take several tries. You will probably need better racers than yourself to win, but always remember it's a team sport. Do not team kill - if you run a fellow racer off the road, you will fail. If a faster racer on your team wants to pass, let them by. Try to keep ahead of as many opponents as you can but do not overreach beyond your skill or you'll likely fail. I ran one race recently where everyone playing was in it for themselves, and we lost. A little later in the day I was teamed with a bunch of pros and we won it easily in two races. Do not quit if you fail the first race; sometimes this is the hardest one and the other two are much easier. Also, you can win with just two people but the pressure will be on for you to perform. Oh, and if you miss a checkpoint, never use rewind. Wait to be reset on the track. If you rewind, you may still miss the marker on the second try and you'll be even further behind.

Seasonal Playground Games - These team-based challenges like Flag Rush, King, and Infection can be tough but stick it out and you'll earn the points regardless of whether your team wins. That's right, this is one of a few places where you get a participation reward!

Horizon Rivals - This earns you 4 Playlist Points per week (so really 16 across the season) so it's worth doing. All you need to do is post a clean lap on the specified track. Your first lap usually sucks, so do one more with a running start... and if you bump a wall, keep going until you get a clean run.

Horizon Tour - This one also grants you a participation ribbon, so always do it. It's just three co-op races. Just be sure to match the specs. In some cases you may need to wait for an Anything Goes round to randomly pop up so you can drive a specified vehicle.

Seasonal Championships - There are three of these each week, each with three races in the series. To win you need to beat Highly Skilled Drivatars, so this one of those times you might want to turn Rewind back on. If you aren't coming close, try another tune or even another car. Look for recommendations online if you're stuck. These aren't generally required to get most of the playlist prices but if you want the big seasonal prize, you'll need to do 3-4 of these per month (maybe pick one a week?) and then complete most of the rest of the challenges. Oh, and I've lost progress when I've quit and come back, so I'd recommend you beat all three races in one sitting, just to be safe.

Horizon Open - These vary wildly, but sometimes you only need to complete them which means, yes, a participation ribbon!

PR Stunts - These are usually pretty achievable with the right tune for the specified car.

The Eliminator - Usually you only need to be in the top 30 to earn the playlist rewards, which isn't that hard. Get a decent car and avoid other players until you get down to 30 or fewer drivers remaining. If you sit still, you won't be visible on the mini-map. Higher level cars aren't always better - stick with a good multi-purpose (on road and off) that you can drive. I hate Battle Royale games, and I actually got to 2nd place early on and then won one right after I published this guide. Near the end, all unfinished head-to-head races are cancelled and the remaining cars are pitted in a free-for-all to a distant finish line. In the event I won, I beat one much faster car, won that car, and used it to get to the final checkpoint first, using roads when they aligned with my target (as the car wasn't as good off-road) and risked collisions with rocks only when needed. I overshot the goal, turned around, and quickly jumped on it before anyone else showed up.

Forza Horizon 5 - Horizon Arcade
Arcade - There are new Arcade events every 15 minutes: a drift challenge, and one from these categories: Air, Chaos, Speed, Wreckage. You'll get 3 Playlist Points per week for doing one, but each event completed grants you 30 FP. The game launched with this broken but it has since been patched to allow scaling of challenges to the number of players. If you are in an Arcade session alone and know you what you're doing, you can generally clean up in 5 minutes or less. If people join you, it can become tricky to finish if someone bails unless there are a decent number of people actively helping. Remember that these challenges are constrained by time, so taking extra seconds to back up for a speed trap run or super danger sign jump isn't usually the best strategy.


Why drive when you can teleport?
Forza Horizon 5 - Fast Travel home for free
Fast Travel for free - One of the houses you can get in the game, Buenas Vistas, offers you fast travel to any road on the map, but at a cost (10k in credits, regardless of distance). To bring down the price per trip (and eventually get it to free), smash fast travel boards.

Until you have free travel, know that you can always travel to a festival or home for free by selecting it in the Cars and My Horizon menu respectively (don't use the map as you'll get charged for it). At this writing, the game forgets your home nearly as often as it remembers it, so you may need to reset it periodically (easy to do when fast travel is free, but a nuisance when it's not).


Forza Horizon 5 - Photography
What else can you do in the game?
Forza Horizon 5 is bursting with creative opportunities If you're a graphic designer, you can create liveries (aka skins) for the cars. If you prefer level design, you can make Event Lab challenges and create Super7 challenge cards. If photography is your thing, you can spend time collecting the most amazing shots (though truth be told, I'm a former pro and find even my greatest and most entertaining snaps get little to no notice). And if you're mechanically inclined, you can build those fantastic tunes we need to beat the trickiest weekly challenges.


Join the club
If you're looking for low-pressure comradery, look up the Busy Gamer Nation (BGN) club once you get far enough into the game to join one. In FH4, our club nearly broke the Top 100 - but we're more about sharing clips on how to get that hard-to-reach bonus board, the odd glitch or stat, and occasionally bumping into each other in game.

Busy Gamer Nation club on Forza Horizon 5

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This page contains a single entry by Gamewatcher published on February 13, 2022 4:49 PM.

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