Review of Horizon Forbidden West

"The wait is over and your journey out into the Forbidden West begins!" - Guerrilla Games

With Horizon Forbidden Dawn having a satisfactory ending, fans did not expect a sequel to the game. Regardless of our expectations, a new sequel was released: Horizon Forbidden West. This game continues Aloy’s journey after she basically saved the world by herself. 

Horizon Forbidden West’s Plot

Horizon Forbidden West’s story starts with a plague that is ravaging humanity: the Blight. In hopes of finding a cure to the plague, Aloy travels to the “Forbidden West”. Shock. It’s called the “forbidden west” because of the unforgiving lands of California and the aggressive Tenakth tribe that inhabits it.

Friends from the previous game: Erend and Varl accompany Aloy on her treacherous journey. Furthermore, Horizon Forbidden West focuses more on human emotions and explores the depths of each character and their relationships. Creating more unrest in the group, allowing for more character development.  During the long journey Aloy takes into the new territories, the stunning graphics are flaunted everywhere available. . This distance helps humanize Aloy and provides a reason for them to strengthen their bonds.

Horizon Forbidden West’s look and feel

Forbidden West had a step up in the visual department. Step up is an understatement, it’s more of a leap. Even the new God of War dulls in comparison to the use of lighting in Horizon Forbidden West. Don’t let the game’s visuals distract you though. In comparison to the previous game, Forbidden West explored a lot more of the beautiful Sci-Fi lands. The in-game world compared to the real world is much more compact. This isn’t a bad thing as it allows the game to have a more concentrated amount of significance.

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Aloy’s movement is much more complicated and faulty in Horizon Forbidden West. Although you can fine-tune movement settings more than in the previous game, the mechanics are much more difficult. Aloy now behaves more like a human, making mistakes and missing jumps even if you are aiming flawlessly. This adds to the humanizing effect Guerrilla Games clearly aims to achieve.

Combat Mechanics

There is no getting around it. Fighting is much more difficult to master in this sequel. However, once you do master it, the flow is much more watery and satisfying. As mentioned before, Aloy is now prone to make more mistakes just like us in the real world. This makes mastery ever more challenging.

While it may be boring or tiresome to fight other human enemies such as the ones from the Tenakth tribe: the fights against robot enemies showcase the new combat mechanics. Tough enemies that are usually tiresome can now be satisfyingly defeated using just a few traps from your wide range of equipment. Combat has a lot more depth in Horizon Forbidden West due to the new elemental weakness and strength factors.

Closing thoughts

although the movement mistakes that Aloy makes can get very redundant and unnecessary, the game is overall very enjoyable. Even though there isn’t as much emphasis on the action, the storytelling in Horizon Forbidden West is top tier as it explores each character in more depth than ever before. Not to mention, the breathtaking graphics (especially the new lighting) are levels ahead of most games so far. It’s clear that a lot of effort and budget was put into the development of Horizon Forbidden West. Hopefully, the next installment (if there is a chapter 3) will continue to build on the enriched characters explored during this game.

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