So, you like driving games? Don't bother with Forza Horizon then...
Why the Crew is on the top of the world.
For a couple of months, I use my laptop for gaming. And I wanted to start playing a casual open-world racing game again. I used to play Forza Horizon (FH from now on) 2 and 3, but I am only able to buy FH4 and 5 on my laptop. And, honestly, I don't like FH4 for a couple of reasons, and that's also why I didn't buy FH5 (besides that, it's too expensive). That's when I suddenly remembered that I had another open-world racing game on Xbox: THE CREW
Playing the Crew got me wondering why people bothered with the Forza franchise because frankly, the Crew is just so much better.
The biggest selling point of the Crew is its map, which is -there's no other word for it- enormous. The map is the United States of America and has everything any driver can wish for. Unlike FH, it has enormous stretches of motorway, plenty of mountain passes. But it also has twisty coastal roads with fast corners, alternating with complex, slow, tight corners. It even provides race circuits like Sebring International Raceway and Laguna Seca.
The Crew map - The Crew Wiki Fandom
This game brings open-world race gaming to a whole new level, it reminds me of Test Drive Unlimited. The joy of endless driving, not knowing where to go, and without driving the same road every half an hour is unheard of these days. This game basically combines the maps of FH2,3 and 4, while doubling their potential.
The season based system of FH4 is quite useless, I always found myself wanting to drive in the snow while it's summer. In the Crew, you can choose whether you want to drive in the snow or not, there's a whole area with eternal snow. Something like FH3's Blizzard mountain but then on the actual original map, and you're actually able to access it when you just started playing. Because Ubisoft didn't pull the Crew out of the store as Microsoft did with FH, FH2 and FH3. You can even try the free trial!
But... the number of cars
Yes, FH might have hundreds of cars while the Crew only has around 60, but that's not the point. One of the reasons why I don't like FH4 is that you're able to make money fast. And from what I've heard of FH5, this even got worse, where's the joy and satisfaction of saving up for a car you really like and want and finally being able to buy it. To drive thousands of kilometres (for the imperial users: thousands of miles) with and enjoy it. You don't get bored with the car because you keep driving the same pieces of road over and over again.
Secondly, why bother about the number of cars, if the first thing most FH players do is put the poor thing in the shop and upgrade the hell out of them. Throwing out everything that's original and ruining how the cars are supposed to feel. Until the only difference between your RS6 and Chiron is how your car looks like in third-person or cockpit view. But, since I actually like driving and have a gaming wheel, I use bonnet view, so for me, there'd be no difference between the said cars.
Oh, and did I mention the game has motorcycles?
Cars doing nyom over a bridge - Ubisoft
This is another point where the Crew has an immense advantage over the FH franchise. The storyline of the Crew is just astonishing, It's not just driving around, winning races and running your own festival, or becoming the festival's best driver, you really feel like archiving something. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it easily can be turned into a movie or tv series and everyone would love it.
But FH has more realistic force feedback
Yes, that might be true too, the game is simply older. Force Feedback (FF) might be better, but it's still way off from games like Assetto Corsa. Both games are still arcade-style games, apparently, they need to be accessible for the majority of people. You don't notice the less good FF, since you just can't be bothered about it, you have the whole of the USA to explore! In your favourite car! Also, why bother about realism if you use a third-person view...
TX Racing Wheel Leather Edition - Thrustmaster
I'm struggling to get the point of new FH's over and over
Don't get me wrong, FH is a great game. Well, 2 and 3 are, but why would you buy the new version every 2-3 years, spending hundreds of euros/dollars/pounds/etc. Is the game improving so much? Is it because you get bored with the map and having all cars and 200 million on your bank account? Is it the new cars, which they could've just brought out in an update/car pack?
There's plenty of great games that haven't had a new number written behind the name in years, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and GTA5 for instance. Their basis, the map is amazing, and all other things just got better with updates and DLC's. And the Crew is heading the same way.
To conclude my conclusion, you're better off with the Crew if you just want to drive. And if you need realism to really push your cars too, get both the Crew and Assetto Corsa and you'll still save money compared to buying FH.
edit: With special thanks to @Arran Angus the Crew is available on the Playstation, while FH is not.