‘Horizon Forbidden West’ game review: Aloy returns in this thrilling and satisfying next-gen title

Guerilla Games’ sequel “Horizon Forbidden West” is packed with engaging stories and gameplay in a stunning world powered by the powerful Decima Engine

Guerilla Games’ sequel “Horizon Forbidden West” is packed with engaging stories and gameplay in a stunningly designed world

There are few games that do justice to doomsday/post-apocalyptic stories while still giving the player the full experience. 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn did just that, following a young outcast Aloy who stumbles upon a tiny Dorito-like laptop called Focus that scans and reveals secrets about the world around her.

Through this, she discovers that she is a clone of famed roboticist Elisabet Sobeck who created terraforming technology to help save the planet after it was ravaged by a plague. Many humans in the “Horizon” games live prehistoric lives and reject technology because of the destruction it has caused to a world now overrun by robots and divided into various clans fighting over resources.

Forbidden Horizon in the West (2022)

Developer: Guerilla Games

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Price: ₹3,999 on PlayStation 4 and 5

Aloy’s journey in Horizon Zero Dawn – set in the year 3020 – has taken her across the eastern United States, encountering various people – friend, foe – as she learns of her origins and how the world was born. Since turning 19 in Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy in Horizon Forbidden West has been more firm in her beliefs and less confident than herself. Although she’s still a warrior at heart, she more closely resembles her genetic background, Sobeck – this can be seen in her body language and her interactions with characters across the western United States (the West forbids ).

A whole new open world

Aloy – voiced by mythical quest‘s Ashly Burch – has quickly become a favorite of gamers around the world, leading to some awesome cosplays over the years. Horizon Forbidden West brought more notable names such as The matrixCarrie-Ann Moss as an integral character in the story and Black Panther star Angela Bassett as a formidable rebel clan leader. Poldark actor John Hopkins returns as the burly Erend and John Wick Actor Lance Reddick also returns as Sylens, seeker and founder of the Eclipse cult that killed Aloy’s guardian Rost in Horizon Zero Dawn. Meanwhile, video game veteran Noshir Dalal – known for Death Stranding, Red Dead Redemption, Halo Infinite and Deathloop – portrays the warrior Kotallo.

A screenshot from the 2022 video game

A screenshot from the 2022 video game ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ | Photo credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Enemies in “Horizon” games are both machine and human type. While human enemies have their interesting personality quirks and political alignments, my personal favorites are robots based on our real-world animals such as Striders (horses), Tallnecks (giraffes), and Snapmaws (crocodiles and alligators). And, lucky for us, for Horizon Forbidden West, we’re getting 22 new machines, including the giant Slitherfang cobra, the bat-like Dreadwing, and the plesiosaur-style Tideripper. Just like the previous game, you can also learn how to replace some of these machines and use them as mounts or allies in your battles.

Introducing a new but familiar world to players in Horizon Forbidden West must have been as much a joy for Guerilla Games as it was for me to experience them. For example, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is engulfed in overgrowth and shrouded in ominous fog, Ivanpah’s solar power facility in Nipton, California has been turned into a desert clan settlement, and Las Vegas is drowned in the desert sands.

While the appeal of Horizon games is its story, the hook is its combat mechanics that will make you sweat. Horizon Forbidden West includes new combat features such as Valor Surges, which turn Aloy into a killing machine in the heat of battle. You can inflict more damage but the pace quickens to test your reflexes. As the battles get harder and harder, keep an eye on your med kit and health potions and update your skill tree as much as possible to learn more techniques and improve Aloy’s responsiveness.

A screenshot from the 2022 video game

A screenshot from the 2022 video game ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ | Photo credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

While most side quests in games are likely an afterthought for players once they complete the main story, don’t sleep on those in Horizon Forbidden West as you work your way through the main story. While breaking the pace of gameplay, these are integral to improving Aloy’s skills, exploring the world, and building allies that grant you rare weapons that will come in handy against powerful enemies in the main story.

Boost in technology

Horizon Forbidden West marks a new chapter for developer Guerilla Games and its Decima engine. While Horizon Zero Dawn was gorgeous, there were some weird body movements and weird skin finishes for some characters. Its sequel, however, finally has the graphical boost the game deserves; environment textures look grainier, while machine metal and human skin textures look more realistic. This all looks gorgeous on a 4K UHD TV, so I recommend experiencing it the way it’s intended.

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Whether it’s the hypnotic hymns of the Utaru Tribe Chorus game, the score, or the immersive sound design, Horizon Forbidden West makes the most of the PS5’s Tempest 3D audio technology. If you don’t have a PS5 but do have a gaming headset, now’s the time to put it on and feel surrounded by a cornucopia of environmental chaos like a blizzard or sandstorm, the subtle nuances of a conversation such as sighs or grunts and the sounds of weapons and machinery clashing in battle.

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Like any open-world game of this scale, at launch there were few bugs such as characters disappearing into walls or falling from the sky when approaching a given area. While these didn’t disrupt gameplay, they’re easily fixable, so we’ll be on the lookout for a patch update soon.

Horizon Forbidden West has the right balance of cutscenes, helpful side quests to break up the intensity, and open-world gameplay to keep the marathon player alive in players, addressing some of the issues that occasionally popped up in the first game. approximately 57 hours of gameplay in Horizon Forbidden West, so I suggest you take your time like me, because there is a lot to discover to further enrich the experience. Is there room for additional DLC or scenarios? We hope!