Horizon Forbidden West brings back robotic dinosaurs in a familiar, yet new and exciting way – Review
A breathtaking and unforgiving environment awaits in the Forbidden West.
Horizon Forbidden West follows in the footsteps of its 2017 predecessor with similar gameplay, a new open world, and a story that weighs heavily on your shoulders. While there are other open-world games out there (looking at you, Dying Light), none create an immersive atmosphere quite like the team at Guerilla. Every moment in the world of Horizon is one that is met with amazing imagery and a fight for survival.
As you make your way across the Forbidden West, you will meet interesting characters, fight in grand battles, and unearth ancient artifacts. While some might have a hard time dealing with the mass number of machines that exist in the world, others will find the life of the world exhilarating.
Sticking with the formula
Horizon Forbidden West stays true to the structure and loop that made the original great while adding to Aloy’s capabilities in every way. This time around, Aloy has new tools at her disposal to explore new parts of the world, solve new puzzles, and take down even deadlier threats, like robotic raptors. Sticking with this formula helps Horizon Zero Dawn veterans feel at home, while at the same time changing just enough to keep them engaged and wanting more.
Despite all of the new pieces of gear, Guerilla has kept things simple. There aren’t a million button combinations that need to be performed — unless you want there to be. Accessing your Igniter to burn away some crystals or throwing out your glider to gently coast down the side of a mountain is simple. While exploration can be fun, it wouldn’t be an action game without the, well, action. Combat is rich and exciting — at no time are you ever truly safe, unless you are in a settlement. Machines can strike at any moment, so you best be prepared. A variety of weapons, such as different bow types, tripcasters, spears, and more, are at your disposal. You can even knock a weapon or two off a machine and take it for a spin. But don’t think for a moment things will be easy. When you least expect it, a machine can come out of the brush and end your journey with a single blow.
You will always have something to do in the immersive world of Horizon, from side quests, contracts, and errands, to relic puzzles, cauldrons, and crafting. If at any time you feel malnourished, stop by a settlement to grab some food; you’ll be glad you did. Stay in a settlement for a while and customize your gear; try out new armor and weapons and upgrade them to fit your playstyle.
But some of the more monotonous tasks are good reminders of open-world fatigue, and it can quickly catch up to you. Contracts and other quests can seem neverending when you are trying to grind for the next stage of the main story. The side-quests, while mostly good, can sometimes have lackluster stories and dull requests like gathering materials. But at its core, Horizon’s main story keeps you on your toes by consistently introducing new areas, like cauldrons, the base, or different biomes that make you feel excited instead of bored.
And the story goes on
Horizon Forbidden West continues Aloy’s story six months after Zero Dawn as she tries to find a backup of the Gaia system after Sylens ran off with Hades. The world still feels as fresh and new as it did during the original. No matter where you turn, you will always discover something you haven’t seen before. Maybe you missed something when you explored the ruins or maybe you didn’t notice the green crystal waiting at the bottom of the ravine. No matter where you go, the world feels alive just as Gaia intended.
The main story of Forbidden West is carefully crafted and doesn’t fail to live up to the expectations that its predecessor left everyone with. You can truly feel the emotions that Aloy goes through as she desperately tries to save the world before the corruption consumes it. One minute, you will feel the anger that Aloy exhibits when talking to Sylens and the next you will feel moved as she tries desperately to walk off the pain from a taxing fight against an enemy she has never seen.
While the difficult combat might not be for everyone, fans of open-world RPGs will fall in love with both the world and the story of Horizon Forbidden West. Despite some middling side-content, Horizon still holds its own against every other open-world game on the market.
The world of Horizon is fun to inhabit — never before has a forest in a game felt like a real forest. The fights are intense, and the environment feels like a real threat at all times. Even as you get stronger, early-game enemies can still kill you if you aren’t prepared. Be careful when you enter the world of Horizon, because you may never come out.
8.5 / 10
|+||A truly beautiful open world that feels tangible|
|+||Stays true to the original concept for the best|
|+||In-depth systems and customization that let you play how you want|
|–||Difficult combat that may turn some people away|
|–||Missions outside of the main story can be lackluster and add to open-world fatigue|