Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels expansion is a wild ride

Arcade racing just got hotter. A new Hot Wheels expansion for Playground Games Forza Horizon 5 is available today for players who own the base game. Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels puts players behind the wheel of unique race cars based on the popular die-cast toy series. Players can roam a massive fantasy amusement park built from the brand’s signature orange track segments in the first of two game expansions.

Horizon Hot Wheels Park

The Hot Wheels DLC assumes that the organizers of the in-game Horizon Motorsports and Music Festival have built three giant floating islands connected by a vast, full-scale orange plastic Hot Wheels track. This all floats in the clouds above the Mexico version of Forza Horizon 5. Look, the Horizon series has always been the wacky, arcade branch of the Forza family of racing simulators – try not to think too much about the impossible physics of it all.

The new Horizon Hot Wheels park is huge and contains three biomes – Giant’s Canyon, Ice Cauldron and Forest Falls – which surround the Horizon Nexus hub. What does not appear in the published map That’s how vertical space is: the way the 200 kilometers of track spins around itself can be dizzying and fun to navigate and explore. However, the winding nature of the map means that often getting to the next event or stunt can take much longer than expected; reaching a race that is right next to you on the map might end up taking you halfway through an entire section. Luckily, Fast Travel is free in the Hot Wheels park, even if you haven’t unlocked it in Forza Horizon’s main campaign.

The expansion introduces a variety of different track surfaces in addition to the classic Hot Wheels orange sections. There are magnetic segments that keep the cars fixed to the surface during low speed reversals or high speed direction changes. Races feature slippery ice sections, water channels, rumble strips, and wind throwers and blowers. Occasional breaks in the characteristic plastic walls of Hot Wheels track segments allow players to mix things up and explore the snowy, arid and lush floating islands.

10 new cars to unlock

The game features 10 new cars as part of this DLC pack, including four large-scale Hot Wheels toys – the Baja Bone Shaker, the Deora II, Bad to the Blade and, the very first Hot Wheels die-cast vehicle, the COPO Camaro. Details like the giant metal flakes in the paint complete the “life-size toy” look. On the Xbox Series X, they look fantastic – more so when examined in detail with the ray-traced graphics of the Forzavista showcase mode.

Trio of DLC cars inspired by Hot Wheels toys

10 new cars are introduced in the expansion, including the Deora II, Bad to the Blade, and the Baja Bone Shaker. (from left to right)

playground games

Players enter the Horizon Hot Wheels park for the first time behind the wheel of the Bad to the Blade, one of the fastest vehicles in the DLC pack, propelled directly into the clouds from a full-size version of the rubber band from Hot Wheels. car launcher. After scouring the map, reaching speeds well over 300 mph and getting a feel for the park. The player is then dropped into the Baja Boneshaker, a raised Class B off-road truck with a chrome skull theme.

From there, the player’s access to vehicles is locked to Class B and below until they complete enough missions and tasks to rank up, unlocking faster and more capable Class A cars and , optionally, S1, S2 and X-tier rides. However, the game is not limited to new Hot Wheels cars; Any of the hundreds of class-appropriate vehicles unlocked in the main campaign are also accessible, from supercars to cult classics. (The game discourages picking Class C or D vehicles, though, as they’ll likely struggle to maintain speed on the steep inclines and loops of the Hot Wheels track.)

A story of speed

The Hot Wheels Campaign includes new Hot Wheels Missions: A Story of Speed. Over five chapters, players discover the history of the Hot Wheels brand, the culture behind it, and the people who helped bring it to life. while completing themed races and challenges. The new map also sees the return of seasonal stunts like Speed ​​Zones, Drift Zones and Danger Zone Jumps and the addition of new piñata balloons to find and destroy. Players who enjoy creating custom courses will also be delighted to find over 80 new tracks and stunts to assemble in Horizon 5’s Event Lab.

Hot Wheels Deora II speeds to victory

Horizon Hot Wheels Park is a sprawling map filled with over 125 miles of track, but somehow it feels emptier than Horizon 4’s Lego expansion.

Playground Games, Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Along with new content, Hot Wheels also has new accessibility features. There’s a new stunt steering assist setting and a new roll meter in the heads-up display, similar to what you’d see on a fighter jet, which helps players orient themselves when the course twists and bows under them. The Hot Wheels map also features a slightly wider default field of view in third-person camera modes and separate FOV sliders that allow players to customize the viewing angle separately from the base game. Normally I prefer a first person view of the cockpit when racing, but third person is definitely the way to go for this expansion given the massive superchargers or speed stacks of Hot Wheels cars blocking the view on the hood and the wildly curved course.

One thing I wish Playground Games had added with this DLC is a new radio station or at least new songs on Horizon 5’s current six virtual channels. The current playlist is already starting to feel repetitive.

Available today for Xbox, PC and Cloud

The Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels expansion is definitely fun. But despite the massive map, it somehow feels smaller and emptier than Forza Horizon 4The expansion of Lego – especially with the lack of AI traffic. The Lego DLC felt nearly all of the content in a game with dozens of races, challenges, and a brand new radio station – one that only plays Everything’s Awesome on repeat, but still. Admittedly, all of my play took place during a preliminary evaluation period with no access to online play, so hopefully once players start filling up the map and seasonal events start rolling in each week, the Horizon Hot Wheels park will start to feel less empty.

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is available for owners of the base game to download today for $20 from the Xbox and Steam digital storefronts or included as part of the expansion pack included as part of the Premium Edition of the game for Xbox, Windows PC and Microsoft consoles. Cloud gaming beta.