Ultimately, the Forza Horizon series has always been about positivity, and an unabashed love for the singular thing that is driving. Infectiously so, which makes Forza Horizon 5 the most polished entry, in terms of overall structure and presentation, to date.
For a genre steeped in keyboard shortcuts, understanding tech trees, the importance of a build queue, and multi-tasking so you can turn that gold into gold-plated armour, Age of Empire IV's easy-to-learn interface and systems go the opposite route to what you'd expect when throwing the word ‘streamlined' into the mix.
Being placed in a world akin to a setting kids might be whisked away to if they were transported to a nightmarish version of their own imagination -- by that interdimensional beast that lives underneath their floorbirds -- it's, yeah, terrifying.
In the end though, by not committing to either the sim-style of TIE Fighter or the arcade-action of Rogue Squadron – the middle-ground falls a short of brilliance. Most campaign missions follow a similar flow, rarely delving into sheer cinematic spectacle or pure sim-like protracted and intense battles. But there’s no denying that when played in VR Squadrons often feels like a dream come true - and when it stays on target, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Underneath the beauty, there’s a morality tale that slowly unfolds amid the sometimes overblown spectacle. An element that was present in the original but feels more prevalent and potent here. The ending backs an even bigger gut punch this time around.