Forza Motorsport vs Horizon – Which Is Best?
Things can get a little confusing when it comes to understanding which Forza game is best for you. We’re explaining the differences in this guide.
Since you’ve found this article, we imagine you’ve been trying to work out the difference between Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport.
Both games are part of the Xbox Game Studios franchise, they look similar on the surface, so they must be pretty much the same game then, right?
Well, not really.
Whether you’ve known the Forza franchise for some time, looking to dabble in racing games for the first time, or are a seasoned racing driver with many sim titles in your collection, you’ll notice the differences pretty much straight away.
The Forza Horizon games are more likely to appeal to a younger audience or those that are looking for some four-wheel tire-shredding fun.
With the latest game in the series, Forza Horizon 5, set in Mexico, the game allows you free-roam of the deserts, jungles, and ancient Mayan ruins at your will. It’s a visually stunning free-roam racing game that is predominantly designed for fun.
Whether it’s shredding your tires in a Mexican metropolis or blasting buggies through the desert, Forza Horizon 5 delivers.
The freedom to drive, to desperately dodge traffic, and cause chaos is undoubtedly appealing to all ages.
Forza Motorsport, on the other hand, takes itself more seriously.
It’s helmets on and time to focus as we’re given access to drive on the world’s most iconic circuits in some of the finest road and racing cars ever made.
Whilst this may seem much less interesting after the antics of the Forza Horizon game, that’s certainly not the case.
Forza Motorsport isn’t a hardcore simulation racer by any means. It’s a fantastic introduction to the world of leaderboards and serious racing but it never forgets that its sole purpose is enjoyment.
It blends the seriousness of an advanced racing game and timed laps with a platform that’s easy to get to grips with. It’s the perfect game to get more involved and start making your lap times tumble.
The vast majority of racing simulator titles require a wheel and pedal set-up to get the most out of the game, but both Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon have been optimized to work on a controller.
We’d go as far as to say they’re the best racing options available on PC/Console for maximum enjoyment when a controller is your only option.
The games are forgiving in this regard and won’t punish you for the severe movements a controller will force you into.
For those looking for a little more realism, a wheel and pedal set-up are still beneficial for both Forza Motorsport and Horizon, but the controller may well be the quickest option to get around.
Consequently, it makes both titles a great option for anyone working on a budget or looking to play with friends.
It’s super simple to jump straight in and an essential option for an entry into racing games without being intimidating.
One thing that sets both titles apart is the insane amount of tuning and customization available to each vehicle.
Both titles are exceptional in terms of the insane amount of tuning and upgrades available to each vehicle.
Here at Drifted, we’re no strangers to tuning, and love nothing more than potential engine swaps and aspiration changes all the way through to fiddling with the suspension and the finer details of finding the perfect aftermarket wheels!
Forza delivers big here and you can fine-tune every aspect of your favorite rides beyond imagination.
Alternatively, if you’re only interested in being fast, you can download other people’s tunes and liveries, so the hard work is done for you!
Both Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon experienced numerous bug issues following their release resulting in some criticism from fans.
However countless updates later and refinements from Turn 10 and Playground Games have ensured both titles are stable and pretty much flawless in their current state.
These now extremely well-polished games are a hugely popular choice for both Xbox and PC gamers alike.
In this guide, we’re going to put the two latest games in each series head-to-head, discover their differences, and solve the key question of which title is likely to be best suited for you to check out first.
Forza Horizon vs Forza Motorsport – Content
If content is king, it’s difficult to determine who is on the throne.
Each title offers a huge range of options but neither is lacking when it comes to choice.
If we look at just cars alone, Forza Horizon 5 boasts 620 different vehicles to choose from but Forza Motorsport 7 blows that out of the water with well over 800 cars available.
FH5 is a ‘sandbox’ game and consequently has no shortage of different game modes to offer. Coupled with an abundance of cars, there’s a lot going on.
Game modes are triggered by driving to set points on the map, often being one of the most enjoyable elements of the game.
In-game AI is based on real data from other Xbox users. This really adds to the ‘Horizon Festival’ vibe and it’s great to see your friends out there too, even if they’re not real.
Anything you can think of is available with FH5. Off-road rallying, drifting, and street racing are all regular features alongside a full story mode to progress through.
Many environmental factors are also in play with changing seasons and various extreme weather phenomena.
If you want to avoid the grind and get straight to the fun stuff then check out our Horizon 5 cheats and money glitches.
FM7 doesn’t shy away here either. Whilst having its limitations set by circuit and track racing, there’s no shortage of iconic venues and plenty of cars to boot.
Topping out with over 800 vehicles available and plenty of the world’s most prestigious race tracks, there’s a good reason why this game has maintained its player base throughout its lifespan.
Fairly limitless customization and tuning options allow for continued enjoyment. Making sure the set-up for your cars is just right before getting out on track to top the leaderboards can become a matter of obsession.
Game modes like ‘Rivals’ are great once career modes have been exhausted and multiplayer lobbies are always well-populated. There’s endless fun to be had racing with others through class restricted, drifting, endurance, and many other options besides.
Forza Horizon vs Forza Motorsport – Open-world vs Tracks
The open world offers no limitations, but it can become a little confusing when looking to progress through the game.
It’s not necessarily clear what to do next, with lots of icons vying for your attention the main objective can get lost in the mix.
With that said, the map is detailed and easy enough to work through and a sat nav style navigation system is used to direct you to waypoints for your next challenge.
FM7 offers a fantastic selection of some of the world’s most iconic racing circuits and some decent fantasy circuits as well.
With 33 different locations and over 200 configurations beyond that, there’s plenty to keep even the most seasoned racing drivers happy.
Track-based racing also allows for a more normal progression, with career mode and online racing earning points.
Points mean prizes and this will allow you to collect cars and build up your in-game garage.
Forza Horizon vs Forza Motorsport – Vehicles
FH5 boasts an impressive garage of 534 vehicles (at the time of writing), to put this into a little perspective, the latest GT only offers a mere 437.
Whilst both these numbers are impressive, FM7 is a clear winner with a whopping 800+ different playable vehicles available.
With options spanning some of the most iconic eras of motorsport, FM7 features everything from 60’s F1 legends, World Rally Championship winners, and some of the finest road cars ever made.
FH5’s garage is undoubtedly impressive, but it lacks the sheer volume that FM7 is able to offer.
Forza Horizon vs Forza Motorsport – Playability
Perhaps surprisingly, we found the gameplay to be better on FM7 than on FH5.
Careers, Leagues, and Rivals are consistently entertaining single-player modes and that’s before we’ve started on the multiplayer options.
Generally, this is where most people will spend their time and there’s an excellent amount of consistently populated lobbies to keep you busy.
With refined production cars that feel true to life, FM7 is a great option for enthusiasts and has a rewarding learning curve to master before getting the most from the game.
FH5 doesn’t offer this level of detail, with most cars feeling largely similar in how they handle on the road.
FH5 does run the risk of monotony and long-term playability may suffer through a lack of variation.
The breadth of available content in FM7 is a key factor in its playability. The luxury of choice from 30’s race cars, numerous eras of F1 to iconic rally champions all available to race on anything from short circuits to the Nordschleife.
FM7 is a much closer match to the likes of Project CARS 2 or Automobilista 2 in this regard.
Is Forza Horizon or Forza Motorsport better?
It’s time to weigh up which experience the two have to offer is likely to be better suited for your interests.
If we were to put it simply, FM7 is more suitable for serious racing fans whilst FH5 is great for pure entertainment.
Whilst not being a game designed for kids by any means, FH5 is certainly marketed for a younger audience.
Being set around a festival, the opening scenes see your cars dropped into wild locations via cargo plane so it’s clear that realism isn’t necessarily a key part of the game’s vision.
It’s not a complete arcade game though and requires a higher skill level than the likes of Need for Speed.
Bouncing off the walls won’t help you win a race, but we’re not sure working on your breaking points would either.
FM7 requires a level of patience to learn the handling characteristics of each car with some further fine-tuning within different setups to achieve the fastest lap times.
It’s a satisfying challenge that brings the most out of the cars available.
When it comes to looks, neither title disappoints.
FM7 has been upgraded throughout its life to keep it looking fresh. Consequently, both games are in full 4k and offer 60 FPS.
FH5 is a newer title and does tip the scales as a result. Whilst FM7 certainly looks good, FH5 looks seriously impressive. The world is rendered in stunning detail and cars look genuinely life like at times.
If you’re into using the in-game camera tools, FH5 will have people complimenting you on your photography skills.
When it comes to online, FM7 is the clear winner for us.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the sofa after a long day or hop in a racing seat for the full experience, there’s such a wide variety of lobbies available that every style is accounted for.
Due to the game’s ability to retain its player base, there’s never a shortage of people to play with either. Twenty-four-person lobbies can be brilliant when they’re full and a one-minute cool-down between rounds means the racing comes thick and fast.
The simplicity of the lobby system makes it a perfect option for playing with friends, anyone can jump in with you and be on track within a matter of minutes. So long as everyone’s behaving, it’s one of the best multiplayer options available.
Dedicated drifting options are available across several lobbies.
The more focused can enter a points-based lobby and compete with others on speed, style, and angle of drift. We probably prefer the open lobbies, linking up drift trains and sliding around corners with friends is where the fun’s really at.
With no limits on time or traction, there’s no need to stop.
FH5 provides a less mature experience. Rammers are frustratingly present in FM7 but nothing like FH5.
The respectful rules of racing that are (sometimes) observed in Forza Motorsport have completely disappeared, and a more ‘Mad Max’ approach to driving seems to be more popular.
It’s a frantic dash to the finish and whilst enjoyable, FM7 is the obvious choice between the two for online racing.
FH5’s arcade style of driving has been tailored around a pickup-and-play approach. It’s been designed to be as much fun as possible, as quickly as possible.
Drifting has been factored into this and getting the tail out is both simple and satisfying.
An open world allows for fewer restrictions, and you can draw lines anywhere on the map doing so in between traffic making it all the more entertaining.
FM7 requires a greater learning curve, what’s simple in FH5 requires a fair bit of practice in FM7.
Skidding off the track isn’t too difficult, but controlling it will take some time to perfect. Patience is rewarded though and nailing your first drift is worth the wait.
If you’re looking to get started, check out our how to drift guide before choosing the perfect car.
Once you’re driving sideways, have a look at our FH5 base drift tune and Horizon 5’s best drift cars for the full experience.
FH5 can be a lot of fun and the effortless nature adds a nice dimension to the driving model.
However, the points-based system and tandem/train drifts with friends make FM7 the better long-term option in our opinion.
So ultimately, this is why we’re here. This is the core element of the franchise but both titles have a different approach.
FH5’s open world allows for a much greater variety of styles.
It’s refreshing to be able to switch between supercars in the city, vintage rallying through the jungle, or dune buggies through the desert. Horizon 5 provides an excellent addition to a lazy day of ‘no thought required’ racing.
For dedicated car or racing enthusiasts, the novelty of this will likely wear off over time, and if you’re like us, you’ll soon find yourself back in FM7’s tire-shredding drift lobbies before you know it.
Whilst there’s certainly a time and place for FH5, the lack of feeling and variation through the cars means it can get boring quite quickly.
If you’re looking for serious racing, FM7 unsurprisingly offers much more.
It comes down to personal preference between arcade chaos or adapting to different motorsport disciplines and driving styles.
Real-world tracks with much more realistic physics or open-world environments with no barriers? It’s answering this that will determine which is the title for you.
If you’re looking to master racing in FH, check out the fastest drag cars available to work your way up the leaderboards.
Forza Horizon & Forza Motorsport – What’s Next?
The Forza Motorsport series were typically released on alternate years, but that hasn’t been the case more recently, as the arrival of next-gen consoles held things back.
What was assumed to be called Forza Motorsport 8 was delayed several times after an initial teaser back in 2020. Now a more concrete release date has been confirmed.
After premiering two stunning trailers back in June 2022 during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, the release date is being targeted for Spring 2023 with an official title of simply, Forza Motorsport.
The game will be available on Xbox Series X|S and PC platforms and will be a day-one addition to Xbox Cloud Gaming and Xbox Game Pass.
Forza Motorsport has been built from the ground up and will be powered by an overhauled ForzaTech game engine.
With upgraded ray-tracing support, improved AI, and physics promising far more realistic simulation elements it certainly looks like it will be worth the wait.
Whilst we don’t have too many details before the Forza Motorsport launch next year, it sounds like Turn 10 and Xbox Game Studios will be making a big move away from the titles that have gone before it.
By combining the core elements of what Forza Motorsport fans have grown to love, and the power provided by next-gen consoles they’re hoping to bring massive upgrades and expansions to the franchise and attract even more racing fans into a passionate and growing community.
Whilst FH5 would still be considered a fairly new title, eagle-eyed internet sleuths have discovered that FH6 may well already be in development.
With Playground Games advertising a position for a ‘Level Designer to join our Forza Horizon team’ to work on ‘our next AAA title’ it’s probably safe to assume another addition to the open-world racing series is on its way.
Playground Games still have a dedicated team working on FH5 though and content has been released steadily throughout the year.
July 2022 saw the release of the official ‘Hot Wheels’ Forza Horizon 5 DLC content, which takes the carnage of the base game to a whole new level.
Most recently, on 8 Nov 2022, Update 14 also saw the inclusion of the ‘Donut Media’ content to the series.
There’s plenty going on to keep things interesting in Mexico, while the FM7 content has gone somewhat stale in comparison as we await the upcoming Forza Motorsport release.
Which Forza Should I Get?
So, with all things considered, which game should you go for?
The cars, customization, graphics, and audio quality – they’re all irrelevant when comparing the two. They’re much too alike to be a deciding factor.
FM7 has stood the test of time extremely well and FH5 is still new enough to look and feel fresh.
Both titles have had their issues with bugs, sometimes major, but those have been ironed out to create a flawless experience with both games operating as intended.
Multiplayer matchmaking was a particular problem in the early days, but this now works seamlessly.
They’re equally accessible to all ages. FH5 may be marketed towards a younger audience and at times can be immature, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable and appealing for those looking for the ultimate arcade racer.
FM7 requires patience and probably a greater interest in cars and the world of motorsport, however, it’s not so difficult as to make it inaccessible.
It plays extremely well and has several different game modes to keep the less dedicated happy.
Forza is traditionally an Xbox console franchise and whilst it is now readily available on PC, all titles retain their roots as controller-based racing games.
It beats Assetto Corsa, Project CARS 2, and Automobilista 2 hands down in this regard, with those titles being engineered toward a wheel and pedal setup for the full experience.
Forza doesn’t rely on this to get the most out of the game and both FM7 and FH5 play well whatever your preference.
Forza Horizon 4 is also available on Xbox GamePass and still stands up as a really fun, open-world racing game.
Based in Edinburgh, it offers some fantastic cityscapes and country lanes to get the most out of the vehicles on offer.
Whilst it has similar drawbacks to FH5 when it comes to driving physics, it’s well worth checking out. You can have a look at our previous comparison to FH4 in our FH4 vs FM7 comparison guide.
FM7 is capable of being a serious game. With such a high level of detail awarded to setups, tunes, and racing itself, it’s a brilliant place to not only learn the ropes but get lost in the finer details and become a master race engineer.
It’s more of an entry-level title than the likes of Project CARS 2, Assetto Corsa, or Automobilista 2 but is a near-unrivaled route into the world of sim racing with an excellent balance of skill level and interest.
FH5 is a brilliant, brains-off racer to help you unwind at the end of a long day. It’s great fun to just chill and cruise around the streets and back roads of Mexico.
It can be genuinely relaxing at times and allows you to quickly turn up the energy as soon as you feel the urge.
It doesn’t allow the same level of focus as FM7 but simply isn’t designed to create the same racing experience.
FM7 offers a fantastic semi-serious racing sim package, best played on a controller.
If you’re looking for the greatest circuits the world has to offer, the most iconic cars, and some bangers thrown in too, then FM7 is simply a must.
If you’re still questioning which is the right choice for you, Microsoft has got you covered.
Both games are available on Game Pass so you only need to be dictated by the availability of your hard drive.
If you’ve only got space and time for one, you’ve got everything you need to make the right choice.
Which Is Better – Forza or Gran Turismo?
Now this question is always bound to ruffle a few feathers.
Forza Horizon doesn’t really come into the equation when comparing titles against Gran Turismo Sport unless you’re looking for all-out fun. In which case, Horizon is king.
Gran Turismo is a more serious racing game and targets the same audience as the Forza Motorsport series.
Both titles have pros and cons – Forza wins regarding content, however, Gran Turismo edges things when it comes to a more serious and better-looking experience.
This is helped slightly by Gran Turismo’s more recent release date, but FM7 still holds up perfectly well.
At the end of the day, Gran Turismo is only available on PlayStation and Forza Motorsport on Microsoft and this is usually the deciding factor on which title is a must-have.
Gran Turismo doesn’t make me crave a PlayStation just to play it, but the reverse wouldn’t be true either.
If we’re forced to choose, the huge garage and amount of circuits available tips the balance in Forza Motorsports’ favor.
If you’re looking for the full breakdown, check out our in-depth Forza vs Gran Turismo comparison.