Horizon Forbidden West (PS5) review: Guerrilla endlessly expands his horizons

As far as I’m concerned, there are only a few fictional heroes who have an unerring moral compass. Heroes who know exactly what to do in any morally complex situation, because their gut feeling always makes them make the right legal decision. Characters like this can come across as a bit pedantic, with their clever “I know what’s right” attitude, so writers usually choose heroes who are less confident, and a bit less virtuous. After all, the gray area between good and evil is very attractive to many.

On the other hand, I like characters like Captains Picard en America, Wonder Woman, Superman, Seth Bullock / Raylan Givens, Ned Stark or Leslie Knope. Famous list of honest and honorable main characters, which Aloy could join in my opinion. Although the player in Horizon Forbidden West has little input regarding the safety of this heroine (the game has a casual dialogue option), she is still a beacon of integrity. And her good nature is tested again in the Forbidden West…

The environments are beautiful and versatile, from barren deserts, snowy peaks, and overgrown ruins to villages built into satellite dishes.

Oh, Aloy is determined, with her great confidence, her lack of tolerance for nonsense and unbridled dread. A hairstyle that bounces and wavy more than ever, because from a physics perspective, Horizon Forbidden West is a lot…more unpredictable than its predecessor. So let me start with a little follow-up to the fantastic open-world sci-fi game from 2017, in which a post-apocalyptic primitive civilization in the 31st century confronts the legacy of their ancestors: a corrupt artificial intelligence that, once again, wants to destroy humanity. Aloy’s skill has greatly increased in this segment, as she can now move underwater, quickly reach higher positions with her grappling hook, fly her glider, and there are more helicopters that, Uncharted-stilo, can climb freely. This doesn’t seem like a flaw, nor should it be, if developer Guerrilla had made it a smoother player experience…

What makes Horizon Zero Dawn so good is the epic battles with robot animals, the original development in the open-world genre, the beautiful and colorful characters and the deep story full of layers and twists that I can hardly get at at one point in time. still followed. All these things come back in Part 2, even to the point where I had to read myself to understand somewhat what the deal was with GAIA, HADES, and all the other computer software with Greek names. But, as befits a classic sequel, all of these goodies come in greater numbers with a much greater variety of side orders, more types of bots, up to 10x upgrade options, more weapons, and yes, as we mentioned, more ways to move through an area. Mega toys.

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Unfortunately, this is also accompanied by an increase in defects, which leads to a decrease in the control of Aloy. Sometimes it seems as if Horizon Forbidden West can barely keep up with the sheer amount of possibilities in terms of gameplay, so your main character is often in conflict with their environment. Aloy: “Then, I’ll run past this place…” The Game: “Unfortunately, we must inform you that despite visual evidence to the contrary, it is not possible to enter here.” Aloy: “Okay, I’ll apply here…” The game: “There’s nothing here to stand on, but we’re still trying to agree to your request.”

Move over, gewent

I love in-game games and Machine Strike is one of the games that approaches Gwent as one of the most entertaining in the game that the player plays through his in-game character… eh. if you know what I mean. For this board game, you can unlock different pieces, based on the dinosaur robots that Aloy is fighting against. Each has its own special skills and bonuses that you have to use smartly in a grid based play area where things like terrain affect your attacking and defense power. It reminds me a bit of Into the Breach or Fight of Fire Emblem and it managed to distract me from saving the world. But hey, priorities, right?

In the end, I don’t find these kinds of flaws, which are obviously the result of ambition, very significant. Sure, it can be frustrating if you wait three times for a Tallneck to complete its round and feel the game fail again. And yes, in the midst of a fight with the Slaughterspine – one of the spicier fighting machines – falling behind a thorny branch isn’t ideal. Fortunately, though, Horizon Forbidden West offers such a massive amount of content, such as so many story missions, cinematic plots, dialogue, and locations, that the lack here and there can’t spoil the overall fun.

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Guerrilla also knows how to dance around the usual open-world pitfalls, by not making it quite clear four hours later what to expect in the next ’80s in both side and main content. No, the story may still be roughly linear, but there are enough surprises to keep the grind from hitting like a Rollerback’s tail. For example, after ten hours of play, a number of non-secondary characters are introduced, with voice work by less minor actors. After another ten hours, I was inundated with a completely new rule which also changed the structure of the game somewhat. The Forbidden West will not be a predictable region!

If you’re expecting a more compact experience like Ghost of Tsushima, you’ll be disappointed after a few dozen square kilometers and a few dozen activities.

This excess of the game can be very overwhelming. If you’re done putting question marks on the map after the massive number of Assassin’s Creed and GTA’s, Horizon Forbidden West can sometimes use “?” be too much for you. Many of these activities are fun enough, including dungeon ruins, spy vista points, and recurring covers like hill climbs and challenging hunting grounds. But you don’t quickly get an overview in this game, and not all of the side content is relevant to the big picture, so inevitably comes the point where it’s just sandbox-style finalists. And I’m not talking about one list, no, these are Todoist, Listonic, Wunderlist, TickTick and Lists To Do all rolled into one game! For someone who buys only a few games a year, this is of course far from a problem. But if you’re expecting something less from Valhalla, but more from a more compact experience like Ghost of Tsushima, you’ll be disappointed with a few dozen square miles and a few dozen activities.

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Despite the fact that Horizon Forbidden West is just too broad and too scattered to me and the plot is sometimes based largely on many rather abstract concepts, these are complaints based mostly on lack of time…, patience. For my need to play other games as well and not having to be married for months with one monster game doesn’t always seem to respect my time equally.

At the same time, I cannot deny the beauty and diversity of the environments in the Forbidden West, from barren deserts, snowy peaks and overgrown ruins, to villages built into satellite dishes and caves in the depths of green forest waters. Or how intense the action is again, whether you’re up against a screen-filling Dreadwing or a group of Quen warriors. How diverse and diverse the cast of characters is, from Matthew McConaughey-esque Travis Tate to hilarious cowardly Vuadis, secret strangers and the amazing Hekarro, all eerily close to the movements and facial expressions of the actors who played them. With the sparkling centerpiece of course Aloy, that gentle-hearted legal person, who could easily compete in character with Greek myths and gods and even Captain America.


I’m sure it’s a bug that will now be fixed, but for hours and hours while playing Horizon Forbidden West, I listened to the same eternal loop for a few minutes of music. A slow, atmospheric rhythm alternating now and then with the flute, something that sounds so familiar to me that it could have done well in the previous part. Even now this tune haunts me when I wake up and sleep, I’ve heard it many times, so I hope you survive this garter episode. Anyway, it ensured I was able to judge the music less well, hence this sideshow.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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