It is fairly uncommon for PlayStation exclusives to have antiquated game mechanics, and Horizon Forbidden West is no exception. Although there are many new features, don’t expect to see anything ground-breaking here. The PS5’s DualSense controller adds a new level of immersion to the experience, making it feel more like you’re actually playing the game. Every jolt and emotion you feel in the game is mirrored in your hands. Running through shrubs produces mild rustling vibrations, whereas leaping from high places produces an abrupt shock. Even in archery, where the adaptable triggers are tense to press when the bowstring is tightened, it may be felt.
In Zero Dawn, one of the most common criticisms was that Aloy could only climb using yellow-colored handholds that were placed in certain locations in the world. There has been some progress in mountaineering and exploration despite the fact that man-made structures remain the same. To get to the top, Aloy now clings to rocks and cracks instead of using handholds, which feels more open and natural, but isn’t exactly what you’d expect from an Assassins Creed game.
As soon as you press the Focus button (R3), a scan is launched that identifies climbing ledges that can be grabbed onto. However, they can only be found in areas that the game’s creators want you to visit. When looking for loot or exploring new areas, you may rest assured that the outline markers have been strategically placed. This is less immersive and too easy when you consider the excitement of discovering new places.
The open-world approach of this game will be beloved by fans. The environment is alive, swarming with cleverly engineered devices that lurk and wait to strike people at every opportunity. Interactive set pieces in which the AI people strive to fight off these animals can be found on a regular basis. From a distance, it’s a rather entertaining scuffle. You can even take command of the conflict and be rewarded with rare items by jumping right in the middle of it.
With the help of the outside world, this can be further developed. There are numerous ways to uncover additional dungeons and lore, which can lead to substantial rewards, by visiting cities and settlements and talking to people. If one of the characters is rambling on for too long, you can stop the chat short and return to those dialogues at a later time. For a short-term boost in productivity, go no further than the local market for merchants, traders, and chefs who can whip up a tasty lunch.
Upgrades for weapons and apparel are also available at these conveniently located stations, as you might anticipate. If you don’t have the raw materials you need to upgrade, you can establish ‘Jobs,’ which the game calls ‘Projects.’ As a player, Aloy can track and obtain certain things for crafting without having to roam aimlessly. These are player-specific missions. To solve the problem in most other games, the player is forced to go back out and search for the missing component. However, in this case, the game explicitly tells you where to go.
A diving mask is handed to you that allows you to go deep-sea diving for an endless amount of time in the later stages of the game. Despite the constraints, I appreciate that the game doesn’t prevent you from going back to places you’ve already explored.
Combat is by far the most exciting aspect of this game. More than ever, machines are behaving in ways that have never been seen before because of the disease. Even the most vicious of enemies can be halted at times. A frenzied scream and pounce ensue when you get too close, and you believe it’s just a free shot until their eyes start burning red. Here, you might roll out of the way and use your spear to chip away at the enemy. Allowing the focus to slow down time, whip out your bow and aim for weak places, you can inflict great damage.
Aloy has the ability to create acid and arrows on the fly, which are extremely powerful against large machinery. You can corrode their metallic body or blow them to smithereens with a well-placed shot on one of the canisters protruding out of their butt. If done correctly, the skill tree can provide a wealth of options on the field.
As a bonus, you can use the new “Valor Surge” to unleash a rain of arrows of fire. Think of it as God of War’s Spartan Rage mode, which increases in strength as you battle. With the help of tribal warpaint and an adrenaline rush, Aloy may run amok like chickens with their heads chopped off, slamming into everything in her path.
A look at the visuals and audio of Horizon Forbidden West
Even though I had to give up some FPS to do so, using PS5’s Resolution option for this game was the right call. The 30 fps helped the game feel more cinematic, despite some visible stutters here and there. Forbidden West’s environment is breathtakingly gorgeous, bringing you on a relaxing journey through its glorious panoramas and crumbling city ruins, overflowing with stories that have yet to be written.
The grit and attention to technical detail in such iconic settings as the moss-covered Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, lush jungles, and stormy deserts show just how much effort and passion went into this production. Aloy’s peach fuzz (facial hair) can be seen sprouting from her skin when the camera is turned at certain angles or when the photo mode is activated.
Simply by clicking on the game’s main page, you can hear an angelic chant that evokes memories of the first game while also feeling fresh and new, as a sequel should. Joris de Man is back, this time working with the duet ‘The Flight’ to create an original score that incorporates elements of classical music with tropical rhythms to fit the game’s tribal concept. Immersiveness is ensured with 3D Audio, which allows you to hear distant machines’ footsteps thudding with clarity, evoking memories of the Jurassic Park films.
Horizon Forbidden West is a joy to play thanks to a well-crafted landscape and a fighting system that keeps you on your toes. Aloy’s development and ideas are developed skillfully in a way that feels humanistic.