Horizon Forbidden West review: An amazing world that’s easy to get lost in

I didn’t really like Aloy, the main character of Forbidden Horizon West. I think she’s the least interesting of the cast of characters around her, and her serious but aloof nature doesn’t really appeal to me. And although the world Horizon present is intriguing, the story built for it falls victim to a few late-game twists that defy explanation. And yet, despite being less than enamored with the story and characters, which is why I mostly play video games, I willingly and enthusiastically spent 64 hours over two weeks hunting, exploring, crafting and fight and I would do it again with pleasure.

This review contains minor spoilers.

Forbidden Horizon West resumes six months after the end of Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy, faced with a new threat to the planet, leaves her friends behind and heads west in search of the clues she needs to save the world. One of the most impressive things about West forbidden ā€” and what immediately sucked me in was the world itself.

There is a fascinating continuity. You can, at any time, start at the bottom of a sandy gorge and simply climb until you’re on top of a snowy mountain, then drop back down and find yourself in a jungle swamp. A lot of my playing time came from this type of exploration. Since the actual plot left a lot to be desired, I was basically just making my own game. form and mini-quests where I would rescue random travelers from a bunch of machines before continuing my journey. Then, on top of any peak, I’d take a bunch of photos, damn moved to tears by the skybox, before descending on Aloy’s paraglider – excuse me, shield – take a lot more pictures because holy shit this game is beautiful. (A quick note about me: I love the sky. Looking at a sky – real or rendered – makes me very emotional, and Forbidden Horizon West has some of the best skyboxes I’ve ever seen.)

It may be because we are still in a pandemic, which makes outdoor activities almost prohibited. Or it could be because I’m currently covered under a foot of snow. But even the facsimile of going somewhere or seeing a color other than icy white gives me a capital ā€œEā€ emotion. I often stopped the quest I was working on to soak up the natural beauty of the world, impressed by the incredible power of my PS5. There’s a moment early in the game where Aloy is standing on top of a tower in the rain, and I could see the individual raindrops slapping on her breastplate and hear the “plink plink plink” sound coming from the DualSense. It was a sensory experience unlike anything I’ve seen before and definitely speaks for west forbidden be a true “next-gen” console experience.

My fascination for west forbidden extends beyond its technical beauty to the inhabitants of the world itself. I am intrigued by the animal-machines that roam the earth to meet certain ecological needs and by the way humans have organized themselves in this post-apocalyptic world, blissfully ignorant of the knowledge of the civilizations that preceded them. Once again, I’ve created a game within a game. Aloy, instead of the self-tortured clone of Elizabeth Sobeck, becomes a wandering wanderer – learning the songs of the pastoral Utaru people or the creation myths of the warrior Tenakth. She had righted the wrongs that afflicted them before vanishing at the end of the duty, moving on to the next village.

The machines that roam the land make each encounter a self-contained puzzle that really clicked for me. You could, if you wanted, brutally force your way to victory by taking them down with the arsenal of weapons Aloy has at her disposal. Or, you can try to solve the puzzle presented by the enemy. Each machine has different strengths and weaknesses. By using the west forbidden version of a smartphone called Focus, you can scan your enemies, reveal information about what kind of elemental weaknesses it has, and whether or not it contains components needed to upgrade your gear. Then, in combat, you can maximize that knowledge to defeat enemies efficiently and profitably. I had a lot of satisfaction using elemental effects to my advantage, dealing single-digit damage to enemies with the weakest status effect arrows before unleashing holy hell once their elemental resistance was fully depleted. When I didn’t want to deploy flaming arrows, I also had the biggest stealth kick to blast my way to victory. I could leap from tall grass, deploy one-hit attacks, or destroy my targets with a hugely satisfying “boom” by setting traps in the path of an unsuspecting – and honestly rather stupid – enemy. There are many ways to kill in West forbidden, and all are fun.

Shooting a machine stealthily makes for satisfying kills.

Even though I don’t care about Aloy as written, she controls like a dream. I appreciate that west forbiddenThe platform doesn’t require you to press a button to lock surfaces; she clings to it naturally. And I love the way she climbs, sometimes breaking her body like a wet towel to jump between horizontal surfaces, while other platforming “heroes” (cough nathan drake cough) have to wave their arms around like dirty plebs.

Platform puzzles are fun to complete but can be frustrating and obtuse. There were many points where I got stuck longer than I thought was acceptable because the path forward didn’t make sense in the context of the puzzle or was just invisible. If I’m in a ruined building, trying to reach an inaccessible ledge, the way to reach that ledge must be inside the building or its immediate perimeter, not too far outside the building to be completely invisible or missing to the player. I’m convinced the devs don’t see heaven because of a puzzle that required me to interact with a switch that was both too far from the puzzle area to be considered relevant and didn’t issue an interaction prompt until I was almost over it.

I wanted to like the plot of west forbidden. Some of his best moments reminded me Mass Effect 2. Throughout the game, you “recruit” people to help you in your quest to save the world. In the first quarter of the game, you unlock a Normandy SR2 base of operations that your companions are slowly turning into a cozy home. There you can chat with the friends you’ve accumulated, learn more about their people and their motivations, find out more about the world before Zero Dawn, or just relax playing the game. wes forbiddent equivalent of chess. You can even accept personal quests such as Mass Effect 2Loyalty missions that help your companions grow. (Don’t worry, failing to complete one of these quests won’t result in an unsuspecting death on the final mission.) My only wish is that your companions could actually accompany you in the field beyond their errands. personal.

Horizon Forbidden West review: An amazing world that's easy to get lost in

Kotallo is one of my new favorite companions.

There was one companion I couldn’t make time for during the day: Erend. I felt bad because he had been one of Aloy’s OG friends since the first game, but I found myself more drawn to new people. There’s Zo, the cool black woman who refuses to meekly accept death at the hands of the biological plague like the rest of her people, or Kotallo, the prickly Tenakth who hates you when you first meet but soon comes to terms. respect you as a valuable ally. In the final mission of the game, you are paired up with Erend, and I felt better because we would finally have face-to-face time. But I quickly realized that I was right to neglect it. Erend. East. The. Worse. Throughout our time together, everything he did was bitchy. When I was hiding in the grass for a stealth kill, he kept nagging me, “Aloy, ready when you are” or “Aloy, can we kill ’em again.” When I turned around, he was nagging me, “Aloy, let’s go already.” Erend made me wish there was no friendly fire in west forbidden.

There are many things that have frustrated me west forbidden‘s story that I will not reveal because of spoilers. There’s a particular relationship presented as the “heart and soul” of the game, but I didn’t derive any heart or soul from it. Aloy, even at her best, keeps her friends at bay and carries that tortured, “woe to me, I have such a burden” vibe. The story reveals that Aloy is honest about her genetic ancestor Elisabet Sobeck, but even presented with this information, Aloy doesn’t seem to learn from it. His interactions with his companions do not become warmer. You aren’t asked to interact with their dialogue like you can in other conversations in the game, so you can’t joke with them or confide in them. When she speaks with them, it sounds like a maintenance check similar to “I’m asking you how you do to perform the bare minimum of friendship.” Meanwhile, her friends fall for each other or trade barbs across the base, while Aloy herself seems estranged.

In the final mission of the game, the story takes an extremely hard left turn. There are sudden but inevitable betrayals, and those the game casts as the bad guys are supplanted at the last minute by bigger, more powerful villains. It’s a case of power creep that becomes absurdly comical when you realize you and all of your allies are armed with metal-clad sticks and stones. It’s good that I didn’t play this game for the story, it would have let me down.

Open-world games tend to overwhelm me because I’m the type of person who likes to keep my inbox zeroed and my notifications cleared. When I see all the little symbols indicating the 51 million different things you can do, find, or fight on a huge map, I feel a panic attack coming on. In this spirit, Forbidden Horizon Westhis shouldn’t be my kind of game.

But after finishing Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, I was looking for something to occupy the time that this game occupied in my life. I needed something meaty that entertained me without asking me to invest too much emotion. I wanted something that I could play without being totally mentally present as I recovered from Endwalker’s emotionally delightful, and Forbidden Horizon West fully met this need. It was the video game equivalent of the post-coital cigarette that I can’t wait to smoke for another 60 hours.

Forbidden Horizon West will launch on February 18 on PS4 and PS5.


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