The first expansion for Forza Horizon 5, Hot Wheels, is now available to play for those of you who bought the pack or have it included in the Premium Edition of the title.
Featuring 120 miles of the classic orange track (as well as some blue; more on that later), the expansion adds a unique map location floating on an island in the skies above Mexico, along with ten new cars — including some from the Hot Wheels Legends Garage — and a bunch of new Achievements.
GTPlanet has been participating in a special event preview for the expansion, taking in everything that the new world of Hot Wheels has to offer.
Hot Wheels Island
So… first things first, the map is a bit of a strange one. It’s an island in the sky, floating five miles (according to in-game guide Alejandra) above the surface of Mexico below and accessed by an icon just near the Gran Caldera volcano.
There’s a large concrete and steel superstructure which supports three “biomes”: the lush “Forest Falls”, the arid “Giant’s Canyon”, and the snow-covered “Icy Cauldron”.
Each sits on its own separate pod, separated by a gaping chasm to the land below, with a small structure called the “Horizon Nexus” in the center of the map; this holds the Festival Outpost and a car park.
Each of these four locations has an absolutely crazy amount of track laid on it, and between each, taking you around and through the various features. That includes waterfalls, mountains, canyons, lava and really, really big trees.
You can also drive on the landscapes, though there’s no defined paths to do so outside of Cross Country-type races; you will need to explore to get all the collectables though.
As for how it got up there… well, let’s just assume that there’s some Wakanda-level shenanigans going on near Guanajuato. And yes, it’s possible to fall off, but you will be reset after a short while plummeting through the sky.
Hot Wheels Gameplay
The first thing you’ll need to do is an Expedition to “discover” the Hot Wheels location. For those of you familiar with previous expansions in older Horizon games, this essentially consists of a quick tour of the map — although you’ll be fired up to the location with a launcher pad, using the new Hot Wheels Bad to the Blade, for the purpose.
Thereafter, the expansion has something that the core game is sorely missing: progression. You’ll start out only able to use the slowest cars — which in this case are B Class (601-700PI) vehicles — through a series of events until you reach a qualifier that allows you to use the next grade of cars.
In total there are five levels: Rookie (B), Pro (A), Expert (S1), Elite (S2), and Legend (X). Each comes with its own bank of races and PR Stunts, and although you don’t have to use the Hot Wheels cars you’re gifted each time, you’ll be locked out of any faster machinery you have in your garage until you advance to a higher level.
Along with the 18 race events and 21 PR Stunts, there’s a new Horizon Story which — obviously — is centered on Hot Wheels. There’s also 25 more bonus boards and 20 floating “Tank” pinata balloons to smash.
Every activity earns you “medals”, akin to Accolade Points, which are required for progress to the next stage. There’s “Minor Missions” — discovering locations, smashing bonus boards, hitting PR Stunt targets — that earn 2-5 medals, and “Major Missions” which earn 25-150 medals for completing races, story chapters, and special tasks.
You’ll also receive bonus cars, horns, and clothing items for completing the various challenges — all Hot Wheels-themed, of course.
Hot Wheels Cars & Tracks
Across your time on Hot Wheels island you’ll receive a total of 15 vehicles, covering all the cars that are unique to the expansion and five you’ll be able to collect through S9 and S10 Playlists and Wheelspins without the expansion.
The cars not in the base game are:
- 2021 Hennessey Venom F5
- 2020 Sierra Cars #23 Yokohama Alpha
- 2019 Brabham BT62
- 2018 Chevrolet Hot Wheels COPO Camaro
- 2018 Subaru WRX STI ARX Supercar
- 2013 Hot Wheels Baja Bone Shaker
- 2012 Hot Wheels Bad to the Blade
- 2006 Mosler MT900 GT3
- 2000 Hot Wheels Deora II
- 1993 Schuppan 962CR
In addition, the Hot Wheels 2JetZ, F-5 Dually, Mustang, Nash, and Rip Rod are also given for task completion.
It’s not required to use the Hot Wheels cars for the events, however in the early stages at least the cars are tuned to the top of their respective classes and are an easy and efficient way of passing the challenges.
The track itself consists of five different types. There’s the regular orange track, which appears to have the same levels of grip as the asphalt roads of Mexico and is also available for EventLab creations on the main map. Ice track has an icy sheen to it with serious grip reduction, while Magnet track keeps you firmly anchored to the road surface even if you stop dead while upside-down.
That leaves Water Flume, which has water running downhill in the center and is marked by blue sections on the main map, and a short section of halfpipe track near the Nexus which shows up as a thick red/orange/yellow band.
In addition there’s “hazards”. These consist of acceleration pads which give you a massive boost, aero track which use giant fans to reduce air pressure and increase top speed, rumble track which will have you bouncing about, and four dragons. Thankfully these just screech at you, rather than being full Hot Wheels Unleashed-style obstacles.
One thing to note particularly is the areas marked as orange with a white dotted line. While most of the track is impossible to exit or enter, these are sections that allow you into or back from the environment around you — and are important when it comes to exploration and collectibles. Other, unmarked areas also allow you to fall off the track.
There’s a fair bit of the track that’s at crazy angles — through banking, steep climbs and drops, loops and corkscrews — and a new “Roll Indicator” gauge (which you can, thankfully, turn off) shows just how far off the horizontal you are; there’s also Skills for this, called “G-Forza”. For the most part it doesn’t affect your cars quite as much as you’d think though.
While we were able to get some of the X Class machinery to misbehave, cars tend to stay pretty much glued to the track surface, as if vertical inertia is massively reduced in the Hot Wheels location.
However it’s not sufficiently reduced to allow anything below 700PI access. You’ll notice all your C- and D-Class cars have an exclamation point in your garage while in the Hot Wheels park, and selecting them brings up a warning that they may have difficulty. That’s shorthand for “they’ll fall off loops”.
Finally there’s also dedicated Horizon Open and Horizon Tour events for Hot Wheels. Both work exactly as in the main game, only on the Hot Wheels courses — making the drive between circuits in Tour quite a good deal less interesting than in the core game!
Even with that in mind though, there’s plenty to be getting on with in Hot Wheels, with around 8hr of additional content if you’re really hammering through it — plus new Hot Wheels Playlist activities and all the new pieces for EventLab too.
If that all sounds like your kind of thing, the expansion is available from today, July 19, at $/€19.99 (£14.99).
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