In Horizon Forbidden West, the game’s protagonist, Aloy, continues her quest to address the existential threat to humanity, which she brought to light in the previous instalment of the series. As Aloy delves deeper into uncovering the secrets of a world overrun by robotic creatures, Guerilla Games’ Forbidden West maintains the essence of its predecessor Zero Dawn and therefore is exactly what you can expect from it, only more polished.
The lore surrounding the Old Ones, initially introduced in Horizon Zero Dawn, receives extensive expansion, serving as a compelling and intriguing backdrop for Aloy’s motives and actions. While its story deeply engages players, the pacing in Forbidden West feels somewhat uneven throughout the game because so much of Aloy’s relationships and goals depend on the overarching narrative of the game.
However, this uneven pacing does not detract from the amazing gameplay experience. As an open-world action RPG, there is something for everyone in Horizon Forbidden West. Its world-design features a large variety of biomes and ecosystems within a post-apocalyptic setting called the Forbidden West. With lots of things to do and the presence of the game’s prototypical robotic creatures, Forbidden West is an exploration a joy. Discovering hidden caves, ancient ruins, and scenic vistas is a highly rewarding experience, and helps bridge the gaps between main story missions.
Another aspect in which Aloy’s adventure excels lies in its improved combat mechanics. Forbidden West provides players with a wide arrange of weapons and tools, enabling creative strategies in battle against both humans and robotic animals. Few video games can match the satisfaction of its satisfying bow gameplay, ranging from precision shots to more heavy barrage attacks.
Of course, what distinguishes Horizon games from other open-world titles are its robotic adversaries. These formidable giant metal creatures not only introduce puzzle elements to the game but also deliver wonderfully captivating battles. Guerilla Games has expanded the variety of creature types, each with distinct behaviours, strengths, and weaknesses. Encountering and confronting these robotic enemies in the Forbidden West offers heart-pounding gameplay, demanding careful planning and skilful execution.
As one of the first exclusive games for Sony’s latest generation of PlayStation consoles, it should come as no surprise that Horizon Forbidden West boasts stunning visuals. It is worth taking moments to take in the breathtaking landscapes that seamlessly transition between lush forests and arid deserts. Additionally, weather and lighting effects provide depth and immersion to the environment.
Guerilla Games also showcases the power of the PS5’s next-gen hardware through the graphical fidelity of the game’s character models. Animations, both in combat and during dialogues, appear lifelike and natural. Players can furthermore choose from numerous customizable outfits and weaponry, all meticulously detailed and beautiful.
The beautiful graphic presentation of the game’s characters is complemented by solid voice acting. Ashly Burch voices Aloy’s character brilliantly, portraying the ongoing struggle Aloy faces to find her place in a post-apocalyptic world. Aloy’s allies, however, deliver a mixed performance, and NPCs often lack memorability, occasionally resorting to repetitive dialogue.
Another area where Horizon Forbidden West shines a little bit less bright is its soundtrack. While the game’s music enhances tough and tense fights, adding to their immersion, the overall score feels somewhat lackluster in other areas of the game. It is not necessarily bad, but it does not consistently captivate or elevate the atmosphere, emotional moments, or gameplay.
In summary, Horizon Forbidden West takes everything that made Horizon Zero Dawn great and refines it, delivering a visually stunning and incredibly enjoyable experience. As an open-world action game it fulfils the promise of exciting exploration and engaging combat. What truly sets Forbidden West apart from similar games in the genre are the robotic creatures that populate the ravaged world, constantly presenting new challenges and thrilling encounters that demand creative and tactical approaches.