Almost 5 years ago, Guerilla Games released Horizon Zero Dawn which in my mind is one the best games on the Playstation 4. Aloy’s latest adventure is finally here in Horizon Forbidden West, out now on Playstation 4 & Playstation 5.
Taking place around 6 months after the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, Forbidden West begins with a recap cutscene of the events of the previous game before Aloy heads off where she must rebuild a super-AI called the Gaia in hopes to save her world. This is the part where I say, if you’ve never played Horizon Zero Dawn, I strongly suggest you go back and play through that first. Let’s continue.
For those who have played the first game things will feel instantly familiar. If it’s been a while since you played, the game does do a great job at teaching you how to navigate the world early on before the game really starts to open up, and boy do I mean open up. The world map in Forbidden West is massive and jam-packed with plenty of things to discover and do.
As for new arrivals, not only are there returning machines, there are plenty of new machines for Aloy to defeat. Just like in Zero Dawn, scanning the machines with Aloy’s focus will highlight different components and provide you with information on their weaknesses. It is then up to you to decide how you are going to take them down using everything you’ve learned, the abilities you have, and the gadgets you’ve collected.
Aloy is once again equipped with her signature bow and spear, but as you progress through the game, there are a lot of other new weapons and gear for you to discover. These include the new “Spike Thrower” which will explode shortly after it makes contact with an enemy, or a new gadget called the “Pullcaster”, which allows Aloy to solve environmental puzzles, or to make use of grapple points to get too hard to reach places. That’s right, puzzle mechanics are back much like they were in Zero Dawn. Solving these puzzle areas will reward you with resources and relics.
Something else new are “Workbenches”. Aloy can now upgrade her weapons and gear using workbenches located around the world. Upgrades will require the right resources, so I highly recommend searching and picking up everything you can as you play, but don’t worry, Aloy can carry an insane amount of stuff, if her backpack gets full, items automatically get sent to her stash which you can then receive and use at a nearby workbench.
Outside of weapons and gear, there is a new skill tree for Aloy to invest in giving her various unique moves and abilities. These can be unlocked using skills points that are earned by leveling up or completing certain quests. The skill tree consists of 6 different trees. These are Warrior; which focuses on melee and combos, Trapper; which focuses on mastering traps as well as specific weapon upgrades, Hunter; it’s here you’re are able to upgrade your bow and Aloys concentrating ability, Survivor; which focuses on healing abilities and potions, Infiltrator; where you’ll focus on your stealth ability and moves to evade enemies, and lastly, Machine Master; where you can upgrade your mounts to have them run faster, do more damage and improve their abilities.
Graphically, Horizon Forbidden West is easily the most gorgeous-looking game I’ve ever played, especially on the PlayStation 5. The scale of Forbidden West is crazy. The game’s lighting, shadows, character models, and the environments themselves are all on a level of detail I’ve not seen in a video game.
The game also gives you the choice of two graphic modes. “Performance Mode” which delivers 1800p visuals while targeting 60fps, or “Fidelity Mode” which aims for 30fps at a native 4K resolution. We mostly played in Performance Mode for that sweet 60fps, as the game still looks phenomenal in this mode.
With all that said, Horizon Forbidden West is easily my current contender for game of the year. It’s got everything you need, an interesting story, satisfying combat, and visuals so good you’ll be forever in “Photo Mode”. Horizon Horbidden West is a must-own for anyone with a Playstation 4|5.
Horizon Forbidden West is out now on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.
- Visually beautiful
- Attention to detail
- Satisfying combat
- Massive world to explore