Forza Horizon 5 is actually here, and players are finally able to explore Mexico behind the wheel of their favorite car. While Forza Horizon 5 makes waves as the best Xbox racing game right now, its Xbox Wireless Controller counterpart is turning heads as one of the most tantalizing limited-edition gaming accessories in recent memory. After unboxing it and getting my hands on its racing-inspired rubberized grips, it didn't take long to fall in love with this controller. The Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller is certainly a mouthful, but this accessory is pretty enough that I almost feel bad about using it to speed around Mexico.
The FH5 Xbox controller isn't just a must-have for Forza fans and Xbox collectors; it's also just a really nice controller.
Unboxing peak performance
Another average day of tireless work was not-so-abruptly interrupted by the absolute silence left behind by FedEx gently placing a package outside my door before disappearing without knocking. After thanking the FedEx ghosts for another successful stealth delivery, I immediately cut into the cardboard enclosure to reveal a mass of protective brown paper hiding a very colorful box. I knew what I had — finally, the Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller was within my grasp.
Before I had even peeled the little plastic sticker to open the box, I stopped to admire what is admittedly a pretty box, with the colorful control standing tall on a sandy surface on a sunset-embraced beach. When I did open the box, however, I found that the picture on the front did not do the controller justice. I'm typically not a fan of yellow (pink and blue are great, though!), but I do not jest when I say this controller is bloody gorgeous.
Vivid blue and pink paint patterns splatter across a translucent yellow casing, interspersed with the neon pink, blue, and even pearlescent white controls. A gently inlaid Forza logo nearly vanishes into its yellow backdrop, while a Horizon logo proudly decorates the back. A rumble motor, peeking from behind the semi-transparent casing, is half-painted red, foreshadowing a secret that only reveals itself when playing games.
This is a striking piece of hardware, and those responsible for designing it should rightfully be proud of their accomplishments. I've seen many incredible limited-edition controllers from both Xbox and PlayStation (and even own the Cyberpunk 2077 controller), but I'm comfortable calling this my favorite controller since the Sea of Thieves Xbox One controller. The Forza Horizon 5 controller also boasts of some unique features and details that help it stand out from the pack — even when disregarding its vibrant appearance.
The first element that many are likely to notice immediately upon picking up this controller are the racing-inspired perforated grips that replace the already-improved versions on a standard Xbox Wireless Controller. I had my doubts about how well the texture favored by many real-world racing steering wheels would translate to a gaming controller, but those concerns were instantly dashed.
These grips are slightly soft, cool to the touch, and offer a surprising amount of, well, grip! It makes the FH5 Xbox controller feel more comfortable in hand compared to the standard affair, which is already one of the most comfortable controllers around. Rather than a purely aesthetic change, the controller's grips significantly add to the experience, a revelation that honestly surprised me.
Other than the fantastic grips, the rest of the Forza Horizon 5 controller is pretty standard, with the updated D-pad, textured triggers and bumpers, integrated Share button, and generally excellent design and ergonomics of the Xbox Series X|S controller all present and great. Build quality felt great to me, with little-to-no creaking or concerning gaps anywhere, and setup was expectantly simple and seamless. This is one of the best Xbox controllers, but better.
Of course, there are also other details to note with the Forza Horizon 5 Xbox Wireless Controller. Other than the almost-hidden Forza logo, the controller's unique translucent casing allows for an alluring effect not possible with opaque plastic (please, everyone, more translucency in tech). The left-hand rumble motor in the FH5 controller is clearly visible behind the plastic, and is also painted a bright red across one side (a likely homage to how many brake calipers in high-end cars are painted red).
As you might've deduced already, this means you can witness the rumble motor spin into action while playing games, a visual that promptly caused me to crash my very expensive Porsche into a house because I was distracted. It seems like a small thing (and it is in the grand scheme of things), but watching the red-streaked rumble motor rev up while driving down a busy road in Forza Horizon 5 highlights how nothing on this controller feels out of place; every detail matters.
The Forza Horizon 5 Xbox controller is already worthy of its asking price for those who value the marriage of aesthetics and function in their accessories (or just want to add a beautiful piece to their collection). Still, Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios decided to sweeten the pot by adding some in-game goodies for Forza Horizon 5. The box includes a redeemable code that gifts you three DLC items to use in Forza Horizon 5 that pair with the controller.
Enter: the exclusive 1932 Ford De Luxe Five-Window Coupé Forza Edition car, Color Pop shirt, and Color Pop emote.
The 1932 Ford De Luxe Five-Window Coupé Forza Edition is clearly the highlight of the in-game DLC, as it's an exclusive edition with a unique livery inspired by the controller and some sweet performance upgrades. While this car's generally poor handling and instability make it a poor choice for most races, it is a lot of fun to tear across the Mexican landscape with its powerful engine roaring in the wind. It's a good-looking car, and is pretty much exactly how you'd expect it to look when compared to the controller it pairs with.
There are also some cosmetic items for customizing your character, which are a little less interesting. The Color Pop shirt is fun, if a little basic. The Color Pop emote, on the other hand, is quite a lot of fun, and sees your character twirl around a colorful baton before firing a ton of confetti into the air and watching it in wonder.
Overall, the DLC included with the Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller isn't as impressive as what comes in something like the all-encompassing Premium Add-Ons Bundle, but it's still a lovely perk that isn't at all expected with these kinds of game tie-ins or limited edition accessories. The car, especially, is a fantastic addition to anyone's car collection, and looks right at home on the Forza Horizon 5 car list.
Limited edition hardware coinciding with major video game launches is nothing new. Halo Infinite even has an enticing Limited Edition Xbox Series X and controller that's already much sought after and nearly impossible to obtain. The Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller manages to stand out from the crowd with a stunning visual design and a handful of upgrades and details that make it better than the standard Xbox controller, rather than just a simple reskin.
It can be difficult to find the Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller, but it did just get more stock at some retailers for its release. If you're able to pick the controller up, it's a great accessory that complements Forza Horizon 5 wonderfully. It would also look brilliant in any collection, I imagine, although my personal collection is limited to Cyberpunk 2077's controller. Of course, this controller is genuinely good in general, to the point where it's a quality accessory for any Xbox or PC player, even if you're not necessarily a Forza fan.
I'm going to use this as my primary controller moving forward because of its quality grips and the cute little details like the translucent case and visible rumble motor. I'll also probably find myself gazing at it a little too often, as pictures don't do the vivid colors justice. Simply put: this controller perfectly embodies Forza Horizon, and that's just fun.
Makes you go fast
One of the best Xbox controllers
The Forza Horizon 5 Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller is gorgeous from every angle, complete with adorable details that make this one of the best special Xbox controllers of all time. Also, it's scientifically proven to make your cars go faster (or something).
The unchallenged champion
The best open-world racer
Playground Games has delivered their latest masterpiece with Forza Horizon 5, which features the series' most diverse map and largest car list yet. Forza Horizon 5 somehow fulfills its ambitious promises to be the best open-world racer right now, and one of the best racing games in general.
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Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.