Home Game Reviews Horizon Forbidden West: Aloy’s Adventure is Worth Every Minute

Horizon Forbidden West: Aloy’s Adventure is Worth Every Minute

Horizon Forbidden West Review

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Horizon Forbidden West Feature
Horizon Forbidden West Feature Picture

Title: Horizon Forbidden West: Complete Edition
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Released: February 18, 2022 (PS4/PS5), March 21, 2024 (PC)
Platforms Available: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC Game
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Article Reading Time: 11 minutes

The Return of Aloy

Open-world action RPG adventure games have had it rough lately. You may have an excellent narrative title with a nice story but many technical problems… Or it involves insane grind and repetitive tower taking, resource gathering, and repetitive activities. Yes, I’m looking toward Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry, but I’m also looking at Dying Light 2. That’s why it’s great that I’ve completed around 50 hours in the world of Horizon: Forbidden West and I can tell you straight away that this title is a godsend for sci-fi lovers. If you liked Zero Dawn, you might get used to a few things, but you’ll love every change, and if you’ve been avoiding Horizon – maybe now is the time to get interested in the franchise.

In Horizon: Forbidden West, you take on the role of Aloy as you try to save the world. You do this by searching for ways to find a backup to the terraforming system that should have saved the planet long ago. As nature begins to wither, areas become uninhabitable, and everyone realizes that something is failing somewhere. Aloy searches for the backup of the central GAIA system as far west as the West, where she meets many new characters. She will become involved in the war of several tribes in No Man’s Land, helping various settlements defend themselves from the raids of Regalla, a powerful warrior who has learned to control machines. It’s up to you to traverse the territory, find Gaia, survive, and restart the system.

WePlayGames.net Youtube Channel: Forbidden West – Aloy Riding Charger

Continuity and Familiarity

As this is the second part, it’s natural to expect some limitations. However, Guerrilla Games has managed to maintain a sense of continuity that I haven’t experienced in a sequel before. Aloy hasn’t lost most of her abilities from Zero Dawn. Sure, she’s lost some equipment – but this loss is story-justified. Her spear, armor, and abilities are largely consistent with Zero Dawn, which creates a comforting sense of familiarity. Those who played the previous installment won’t feel defenseless and can start mowing down machines the old-fashioned way right from the start. And newcomers will get a fresh start, which I absolutely recommend, by the way.

Skill Trees and Combat Styles

The tree is divided into 6 parts – Warrior, Woodswoman, Hunter, Survivor, Scout, and Machinist. It’s up to you which tree you choose. You’ll be able to open everything before finishing the game anyway. However, if you prefer stealth, you’ll likely be invested in the Scout, like me. It’s just far more complex. For one thing, the abilities in the tree multiply with the proper armor. You can use special weapon techniques and different modes that allow Aloy to be invisible, be stronger at close range, or do an energy blast all over the place. When you get into a fight in Horizon, you must use your wits and available arsenal to figure out how to escape the fight or face the enemy. Either hack and slash ranged or stealth style. The choice is yours.

Machines and Tactics

The combat system is still the best that today’s games offer. It’s far more complex in Forbidden West, or at least it feels that way. 43 unique machines await you. That’s double the size of the original. But it should be added that there are still variants, so there are even more in the final version. The concept is simple – you can find a classic machine and “cutting edge.” But you can also find a Blowback that comes in fire, acid, and frost variants. You can go about each of them differently. And that’s why it’s more important to use focus before and during a fight. Focus now pinpoints weak spots more accurately and explains what happens – when. You’ll be more mindful of tearing off components and trying to figure out the Achilles heel of each of the machines. The parts that fall out are then needed to upgrade armor and weapons. So you want to avoid just willingly beating a robot senselessly and losing important components. The top versions of the robots, then, of course, offer better rewards.

WePlayGames.net Youtube Channel: Forbidden West – Aloy Killing Slaughterspine

Melee Combat and Weaponry

Melee combat is enhanced with combos and special attacks that can be worked through on the training grounds. These act as an extended tutorial. Your spear has much better functionality and helps Aloy become a more dangerous melee character. Still, most importantly, it allows you to change the combat style. Although against larger machines, you’ll still have to use conventional weapons. Of course, traps, bombs, and smoke grenades are available. As you progress through the map, you’ll notice many resources around you that you can use to upgrade your weapons at designated stations. Weapons, depending on their rarity, offer various bonuses. And the difficulty of making ammunition depends on finding more exotic components. The properties of your arsenal can then be upgraded even further through coils. Also, various weapons have additional modes that allow you to fire a volley of arrows at once, for example, or an even more accurate piercing shot from a distance. Getting to such upgrades is not just a matter of opening the skill tree. You often need to find a group of machines, but the quest system is happy to help you with that.

Exploration and Environmental Interaction

Just to find points and places around, shoot a hook and pull yourself in. The hook will also come in handy when exploring the environment, solving puzzles, or removing obstacles. The improved focus view will also help; now, it is better marked with where to climb and jump. Again, the Tallnecks help open up the field, but beware. Each one is original. Forget about walking up to each one, climbing the “tower,” and that’s it. Each Tallneck is a separate mission that doesn’t repeat itself. And I was surprised at how much effort the developers put into surprising the player. In order to control the machines in the West, you have to get their override codes in the so-called Cauldrons/Cauldrons, just like in Zero Dawn. But again, as with Tallnecks, each one is different. Each one is original, and you’re in for some truly exceptional puzzles. And if you pass the Cauldrons, you might even tame a Sunbird like me and fly over the beautiful landscape. Some of the best missions are underwater, and I’m so glad the developers tried this experiment. I used to dread swimming, and I hate water missions in games. But wow, these missions were designed to be really catchy, and exploring the world underwater was a pleasant diversion to look forward to.

Unique Side Activities

Side activities include races on the mounts or the “Strike” mini-game, which is like Gwent from the third Witcher. It plays surprisingly well. You collect pieces, which you then use to play a miniature tactical turn-based X-com on the battlefield. The base game is very similar to Into the Breach, although Guerrilla has gone to great lengths with the rules and devised their own attacks and characters for Strike. You can also cook – or rather, have food cooked for you, and this will grant you upgrades for a few minutes – like better stamina or a chance for a critical attack. You can often trade unusable resources for in-game currency at merchants and buy the necessary resources.

WePlayGames.net Youtube Channel: Forbidden West – Aloy Overiding Tallneck

Visual and Audio Experience

You can see the artistic design for yourself. The game offers an incredible audiovisual experience. I can’t say anything against the music because it is breathtaking. And I like almost everything about the graphics: the design of the sci-fi elements, characters, and landscape. The way the DECIMA engine can render so many flowers, trees, and objects in one shot is breathtaking. However, we must also be critical. Although DECIMA is an exceptional technology. The developers shoot themselves in the foot by allowing a choice between Performance Mode and Resolution Mode on the PlayStation 5. Performance needs to work on getting the game to 60 frames per second at the cost of lower image quality. While resolution means 30 FPS, but with higher sharpness and clearer textures. This is where my split comes in. Where not otherwise stated, you’ll see shots from performance mode throughout the review. I’ve tried the resolution mode, and sorry, once you’ve tried both modes, you’re stuck with performance – the only thing missing is any mode in between. Something like Dynamic Resolution Mode, which, while it won’t be 60 FPS, won’t have that much lower resolution either.

Performance and Accessibility

I see the bigger problem not so much in the occasional glitch or some bug in the animation but in the notification of Aloy’s actions. To give you an idea, Guerrilla Games apparently created special Aloy comments on what you should do and how to navigate the environment after player feedback. Aloy comments so often that you already know when she can jump somewhere, that she is about to scan something etc. . And she de-facto spoilers the procedure for you without you having to figure it out yourself. But some things can be turned off: the accessibility settings are something we can appreciate. Combat can be made slower, and you can activate an automatic targeting system. You can have your lives automatically replenished when you have berries or open your shield when you fall from a great height. It’s not just the handicapped who will welcome this; these accessibility options are essential for everyone to enjoy the game.

WePlayGames.net Youtube Channel: Forbidden West – Aloy Overriding Tallneck Underwater

A Comprehensive Sci-Fi RPG

Guerrilla Games have undoubtedly embarked on quite a journey with Aloy to surpass themselves and their previous legacy. After all the half-optimized and unfinished AAA titles, it’s nice to have a developer to rely on to deliver a comprehensive game, in English without lootboxes or microtransactions. Horizon interprets sci-fi RPGs in its own way: the decision-making structures are still linear and there is only one ending to the game – but sometimes that’s an advantage. The writers don’t have to deal with millions of combinations of decisions and focus on a quality narrative that oozes with serious themes and manages to be timeless. You can still influence the lives of individual characters on a local level throughout your playthrough. New hazards and imaginative change when converting Boilers or Tallnecks is a sign of creativity you’d be hard pressed to find in open world games today. It’s clear that there was an incredible effort behind Horizon Forbidden West to make a first and foremost action RPG that players will have fun with. And then tackle the grind.

Engaging story to the various cliffs, valleys, lakes and ocean depths to the exceptional machine design and clever character upgrade system. Zero Dawn evolution game is more enjoyable to play, the AI enemies on the higher difficulties offer a challenge for seasoned players for hours on end, and the 60 FPS gives the combat system a juice I missed when reviewing Horizon Zero Dawn back in the day at 30 FPS. Horizon: Forbidden West build and expand on the excellent foundations of the Horizon franchise. It expands on them with themes from well-known and new characters, explains the details of an incredibly gripping sci-fi story, and offers a fantastic experience in a dying world that only you and Aloy can save.

Where to Buy Horizon Forbidden West: Complete Edition

  1. Steam (PC): Available for $59.99. Purchase it directly from Steam Store
  2. Epic Games Store (PC): Priced at $59.99. Find it on the Epic Games Store
  3. PlayStation Store (PS4, PS5): The Standard Edition is available for $19.99, and the Complete Edition is priced at $59.99. Both editions are currently on sale until July 4, 2024 or free on Play Pass Extra subscribtion. Check it out on the PlayStation Store

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