Horizon Forbidden West Review

Horizon Forbidden West: Navigating Beauty and Narrative Depths


Horizon Forbidden West, the highly anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, promises a vast open world teeming with beauty and challenges. In this in-depth exploration, we delve into the game’s strengths, weaknesses, and the captivating journey it offers to players.

Image of Horizon Forbidden West gameplay and landscapes
Image Credit: WIRED

The Protagonist and Narrative Nuances

Aloy, the protagonist of Horizon Forbidden West, serves as the lens through which players experience the game’s rich narrative tapestry. However, opinions about Aloy vary among players. Some find her character less compelling compared to the vibrant cast of supporting characters, citing her serious yet aloof demeanor as a potential drawback. Despite this, the allure of Forbidden West’s world remains a driving force for many players.

The story of Horizon Forbidden West picks up six months after the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, plunging players into a new threat that threatens the planet. Aloy’s journey westward in search of answers and solutions sets the stage for a sprawling adventure filled with discovery and exploration.

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The Allure of Forbidden West’s World

One of Horizon Forbidden West’s standout features is its meticulously crafted open world. From sandy gorges to snowy mountains and lush jungles, the game offers a seamless and immersive environment ripe for exploration. The sheer scale and diversity of landscapes invite players to embark on journeys of discovery, uncovering hidden treasures, platforming puzzles, and engaging in mini-quests along the way.

Exploration becomes a central theme as players navigate the intricacies of Forbidden West’s world. The freedom to ascend towering peaks, survey breathtaking vistas, and interact with diverse ecosystems adds layers of depth to the gameplay experience. Whether scaling mountains or gliding through the air with Aloy’s shieldwing, players are treated to stunning visuals and a sense of wonder that fuels their exploration.

Technical Brilliance and Immersive Gameplay

Horizon Forbidden West’s technical prowess shines through in its attention to detail and immersive gameplay mechanics. The game’s visuals, particularly during moments of rain or dynamic weather, showcase the power of next-gen consoles. The ability to witness individual raindrops ping off Aloy’s armor or hear the subtle sounds of nature adds a level of realism that enhances the overall experience.

Inhabitants of Forbidden West, both human and machine, contribute to the game’s rich tapestry. The machine animals that roam the land offer self-contained puzzles, requiring players to strategize and utilize their surroundings to overcome challenges. The intricate combat system allows for diverse approaches, whether opting for stealth kills, elemental effects, or strategic maneuvering to gain the upper hand.

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Character Dynamics and Emotional Investment

While Aloy’s journey forms the backbone of Forbidden West’s narrative, it’s the interactions with supporting characters that add emotional depth to the experience. Companions and allies, each with their own motivations and backstories, offer personal quests and loyalty missions reminiscent of RPG classics like Mass Effect 2. The camaraderie and growth among these characters provide poignant moments that resonate with players.

However, not all character dynamics hit the mark. Certain companions, like Erend, may come across as less engaging compared to new additions like Zo and Kotallo. The game’s narrative twists and character arcs, while ambitious, may falter in execution, leading to moments of disconnect for some players.

Gameplay Diversity and Challenges

Forbidden West’s gameplay diversity shines through in its myriad combat options and platforming challenges. Players can choose between stealthy approaches, tactical engagements, or utilizing environmental elements to outsmart enemies. The game’s combat mechanics offer a satisfying blend of strategy and action, allowing players to tailor their playstyle to suit different encounters.

Platforming puzzles, while enjoyable, may pose occasional frustrations due to their obtuseness. Some puzzles may require trial and error, leading to moments of confusion or extended periods of exploration to find solutions. Despite these challenges, the overall gameplay experience remains engaging and rewarding.

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Narrative Critiques and Pacing

Horizon Forbidden West’s narrative journey is not without its flaws. Some players may find certain story elements, particularly late-game twists, to be jarring or lacking in cohesion. The game’s pacing, while generally well-paced, may suffer from moments of unevenness or rushed exposition.

Additionally, character interactions and emotional depth, while present, may not reach the same heights as other narrative-driven experiences. Aloy’s evolution as a character, while central to the story, may leave some players wanting more in terms of personal growth and relational dynamics.

Conclusion: A Diverse Journey of Exploration and Adventure

Horizon Forbidden West offers a captivating journey through a visually stunning world filled with diverse challenges and discoveries. While the narrative and character dynamics may have their shortcomings, the game’s technical brilliance, immersive gameplay, and sheer scope make it a compelling experience for fans of open-world adventures. As players navigate the beauty and narrative depths of Forbidden West, they embark on a quest that blends exploration, combat, and emotional resonance in a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Horizon Forbidden West

1. Q: What is Horizon Forbidden West?

A: Horizon Forbidden West is a highly anticipated open-world action-adventure game developed by Guerrilla Games, serving as a sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn.

2. Q: What platforms is Horizon Forbidden West available on?

A: Horizon Forbidden West is available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, offering players a next-gen gaming experience with enhanced visuals and performance on the PS5.

3. Q: Who is the protagonist of Horizon Forbidden West?

A: The protagonist of Horizon Forbidden West is Aloy, a skilled hunter and explorer who embarks on a journey to uncover the mysteries of the Forbidden West and save the world from new threats.

4. Q: What is the gameplay like in Horizon Forbidden West?

A: Horizon Forbidden West features a blend of exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving elements. Players can engage in strategic battles with robotic creatures, explore diverse landscapes, and uncover hidden secrets scattered throughout the game world.

5. Q: How does Horizon Forbidden West compare to its predecessor, Horizon Zero Dawn?

A: Horizon Forbidden West builds upon the foundation established by Horizon Zero Dawn, offering enhanced visuals, expanded gameplay mechanics, and a deeper narrative experience. The game introduces new regions, enemies, and challenges for players to discover and overcome.

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6. Q: What are some key features of Horizon Forbidden West?

A: Some key features of Horizon Forbidden West include a vast open world filled with diverse environments, dynamic weather systems, improved combat mechanics, engaging character interactions, and a compelling narrative that delves into the mysteries of the post-apocalyptic world.

7. Q: Can players expect any DLC or expansions for Horizon Forbidden West?

A: While official announcements regarding DLC or expansions for Horizon Forbidden West have not been made, Guerrilla Games may consider post-launch content based on player feedback and ongoing support for the game.

8. Q: Is Horizon Forbidden West suitable for players new to the series?

A: Horizon Forbidden West is designed to be accessible to both newcomers and fans of the series. The game provides introductory elements to familiarize new players with the world and mechanics while offering a continuation of the story for returning players.

9. Q: What is the reception of Horizon Forbidden West among players and critics?

A: Horizon Forbidden West has received generally positive reviews from both players and critics, praising its stunning visuals, engaging gameplay, and immersive world design. However, opinions may vary based on individual preferences and experiences.

10. Q: Are there any notable technical aspects or advancements in Horizon Forbidden West?

A: Horizon Forbidden West showcases technical advancements on the PlayStation 5, including improved graphics, faster loading times, enhanced audio design, and immersive DualSense controller features that enhance the gaming experience.

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