Horizon Forbidden West – Review

Horizon Forbidden West follows on from the first game “Zero Dawn” and continues the story of Aloy and her quest to save earth. After beating Zero Dawn in the first game, you might have thought that all was good with the world, it is not, as there is now a new threat in Hephaestus and this sees Aloy heading to the West and meeting new tribes and threats.

I really enjoyed the first Horizon game, it was up there as one of my favorite games, I loved the story, and how it was delivered, the world that had been created was fantastic and vibrant and I loved every minute of exploring it. The same has to be said about Horizon Forbidden West, you get a glimpse of the first game when you start playing, and then after a while, it opens up into the new west area of the game, and my word the size of the map is unbelievable. 

Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release: 18 February 2022
Reviewed On: PS5

After finishing the main story, I will say that I didn’t concentrate on just the story, I did a fair bit of side missions and other quests along the way, and I hadn’t even opened all of the map, there were still big areas that were left undiscovered. 

One thing I will say is that the world is absolutely beautiful, even in performance mode, some of the vistas that you get to see, the way the lighting is done, it’s simply breathtaking. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say I don’t think I’ve played such a stunning game, there are games that come close, but in terms of the amount of detail that there is in Horizon Forbidden West, it’s unparalleled.

The story as well follows wonderfully from the first game and tells the next part of the story, and what I liked about the ending was that it has either set up the DLC or the next game. Personally, if I can see the direction they’re going in then I can see it being the story of the next game as I think it would be too large for a piece to bring out as DLC unless they were to bring it out in several stages, but again, to get the full effect of where they’re going, I think it is more likely to set up the next game in the series.

Speaking of the ending, I honestly felt I was a part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with there endings of endings. Every time I was thinking that I was at the end and this was going to be the final mission, something happened and another one would show up. I was engrossed, so I had no problems with it and as I was playing, even though I felt like I was on the last mission when the next one came up after, I always felt that it was the right direction to go to make sure the story being told here came complete circle.

Another thing that I loved about Forbidden West was how the machines had been updated, slight variations improved the ones that were reintroduced from the first game and the newer machines introduced as well gave a bit more spice to the game as well as the intention that the west is meant to be this foreboding and unforgiving place. 

For those who have played the first game, the skills tree and most other things such as inventory will be familiar, and if you haven’t played the first game and are coming straight into this one, what kind of savagery is that? 

The skills tree in the game is split into different categories such as hunter, survivor, warrior, etc, and what I liked about this was that it allowed you to play and upgrade Aloy as you saw fit, it allowed you to tune it to your gameplay, my personal preference was to unlock most of the hunter skills first and then I checked through the others to see what was beneficial to me such as extra health, etc. I was really a trapping person, so didn’t upgrade that skill tree much.

The inventory system is pretty much the same as the first game, once you’re full on certain items, they then go to your stash for you to pick up at a later date if you need. It has its benefits and its drawbacks, the benefit is that if your inventory is full you can still collect items, especially high-ranking items and they will go to your stash, which again is handy as they tend to be near workbenches, the drawback being if you need them there and then you’re going to have to find the nearest stash box.

I personally couldn’t recommend this game highly enough, if you haven’t played either Zero Dawn or Forbidden West I would highly recommend you play them, they are some of the best storytelling that I’ve had the privilege of playing. (Also, if you haven’t played either game, start with Zero Dawn, things will make much more sense)

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