Friday, Mar 24, 2023

Horizon Forbidden West Review: Leaping to Greater Heights - Game Informer

Reviewed on PlayStation 5>Also on PlayStation 4>Publisher PlayStation Studios>Developer Guerrilla Games>ReleaseFebruary 18, 2022Rating Teen> Horizon..

Horizon Forbidden West Review: Leaping to Greater Heights - Game Informer

Reviewed on PlayStation 5>Also on PlayStation 4>Publisher PlayStation Studios>Developer Guerrilla Games>ReleaseFebruary 18, 2022Rating Teen>

Horizon Zero Dawn was only the introduction to Guerrilla Games’ fascinating world and the unlikely hero she would do anything to save it. Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. It features novel mechanics and fascinating lore. Guerrilla Games takes the best from the previous game and borrows popular features from big-name series like Uncharted, Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed. It's a game that is both fun and full of wonder. While Zero Dawn was a solid proof of concept, Forbidden West proves Guerrilla Games still has many compelling and thought-provoking places for Aloy to go on his adventures.

Six months after Zero Dawn, Forbidden West begins. Aloy's discoveries have brought her more questions and threats, which forced her to travel west in search of answers. Forbidden West has a few familiar characters and plot tie ins from the original game. This makes it difficult for newcomers to the series who wish to embrace the story. Guerrilla's writers have mastered Horizon's rich history and dive into sci-fi elements. These are the most captivating aspects of the sequel. The most enjoyable part of the game was putting together Aloy's story. However, certain revelations and "ah-ha" moments don't feel as satisfying without knowing the context from the original game. Although the overall story kept me interested, certain parts felt rushed and Regalla, a villain, was not given enough time.

Aloy's last entry was solitary. Forbidden West places other characters at the center of her success. It is refreshing to see a change in pace. Varl and Erend return to their characters, while newcomers such as the brave Zo and the tragic warrior Kotallo can show more of their personalities. Their backstories also explain their tribe's beliefs and values. Aloy creates a home base to make these new relationships more real. It was great to see the base grow and discover new areas. I wish I had more time to spend with them. It was so much fun to be with them and hear their banter.

The world is the main star of the show. Forbidden West is a technological marvel with stunning vistas, vibrant underwater corridors and lush jungles. Each locale is unique; you'll see Las Vegas. The Traversal system has been improved with smoother climbing mechanics. Also, the Shield Wing is a futuristic umbrella that allows you to descend from great heights. The world's constant senses of discovery kept me hooked to my controller. Forbidden West is an even bigger game than its predecessor. It offers a huge variety of quests and interesting items. Side quests that are story-oriented add so much to the game's lore that it was hard to resist one. They provide great insight into the tribes and were a great way to get to know them. I was forced to choose between two flawed characters who were trying to lead a tribe. Another side quest had me fighting the most dangerous combination of machines flying above a Sunhawk.

Side content allowed me to unlock new locations and dungeons. This doesn't include the extra activities such as clearing rebel camps, climbing Tallnecks in order to see more of the map, or exploring Cauldrons in search of new machine overrides. It was overwhelming and dense, but I felt fulfilled. Side quests are rewarding and well worth the effort. These pursuits produced some of my most valuable weapons and armor. I enjoyed going back to settlements and seeing how their inhabitants had changed. As an added bonus, I would be able to open more side quests.

Combative battles are still intensely adrenaline-pumping events. The satisfaction of defeating monstrous machines is never lost. Expect more destruction and larger setpieces in fights. I enjoyed the variety of locations, including close-quarters fighting and rocky areas with lots of cover. This kept the game fresh and gave me new ideas to think about. Forbidden West lets you play your way and offers many options to gain an advantage over machines. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach. The creativity I had was amazing. For example, you could shoot weapons from machines and use them against your enemy. Or create chain reactions with certain elements to cause huge explosions. However, I didn't feel a growing sense power over time. This is partly due to my disappointment with the skill trees.

These abilities are more like perks than upgrades. You can, for example, unlock the ability set traps faster and more potent potions. This is in addition to weapon techniques that guarantee a knockdown shot or increased shredder damage. Valor Surges are special attacks that you can tactfully unleash and the best addition to skill trees. I wish there were more of these capabilities to explore. Once I had unlocked and upgraded the Radial Blast, which triggers an AoE shockwave, there was no other ability that felt as valuable. Others include dealing more damage using melee attacks for a short time and a damage absorb energy shield. Despite this, I found the skill trees so insignificant to my success that my skill points piled up to 10 without ever touching them.

The game has many worthwhile enhancements that improve the experience. These include a cleaner HUD and less inventory management. Aloy's ability to focus on climbing points and to tag machine parts in a different colour for easier targeting were my favorite enhancements. This is a great way to find key upgrades resources as certain components of your weapon and armor are critical. As a result, upgrades require a higher time investment and I became tired of fighting the same machines over and over again. I had some minor issues with performance and poor A.I. I had some issues with pathing and checkpoints but they were not major problems that caused me frustration. It was amazing how fluid the game ran considering its size and scope.

Horizon Forbidden West sets Guerrilla Games new standards. It surpasses its predecessor and takes Horizon's fiction into new places. This world rewards you for your efforts. It's a fun experience with jaw-dropping moments, memorable fights, and a lot of laughs.

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