In this day and age, getting to visit other countries to see the sights is an unlikely occurrence. However, thanks to video games, we get to see these locations all from the comfort of our couch. The Forza Horizon series is known for its drop-dead gorgeous locations, but it’s also managed to cement itself in racing aficionados’ hearts as one of the best racing experiences in the industry. For a series that is considered a masterpiece each year, it’s hard to imagine how the game could get better. And then Playground Games delivered Forza Horizon 5 and we knew it should earn the Shacknews Best Racing Game of 2021 award.

This year, instead of the lush fields of Great Britain, the fifth entry in the series takes players to the varied landscape and biomes of Mexico. In its celebration of cars, trucks, and basically all things with four wheels, Forza Horizon 5 gives players the ultimate location to explore. The fictionalised version of Mexico manages to take the beautiful land and push it all a bit closer together, with desert dunes, lush forests, and city streets the playground for those with a taste for fast vehicles.

But beyond the stunning visuals, Forza Horizon 5 manages to deliver a racing experience that is unparalleled. Players can enjoy a more relaxed and arcade-like approach to the driving or dive into the settings and create a driving setup that falls more in-line with real-world racing.

On the racing side of the equation, it’s not just lap-based racing either. While some of the best moments are no doubt driving along The Goliath track to see every inch of the map, there are countless other activities players can do that will help push them through the game. Whether it’s chuckin’ sick doughies on the sand or seeing how much air you can get (or even smashing through billboards), every action is rewarded with some XP. By earning XP, you’ll be leveling up your character, unlocking new rewards, and accessing new vehicles.

Forza Horizon 5 manages to give fans of the series another reason to jump into the driver seat. The team at Playground Games continues to deliver a high quality experience with so much on offer. There’s a lot of good things to say about this game, and if you want to read more, go and read Chris Jarrard’s glowing review. Congratulations, Forza Horizon 5, you have won the Shacknews Best Racing Game of 2021 award.

Watch the Shacknews Awards 2021 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2021 article for all of the awards in one place. We will be announcing our Shacknews GOTY 2021 on December 31.