“Horizon Zero Dawn” was a smash hit for the PlayStation 4 when it was released in early 2017. Its story, gameplay and unique setting made it one of the most successful games of the past generation. Its sequel, “Horizon Forbidden West,” delivers all the promises it made and then some, but not without hitting a few bumps on the road.
The visuals are breathtaking. Guerrilla Games utilized the full power of the PS5 to bring the most graphically stunning console video game to date. From the water, to the sky, to the detail on the faces, it is a technical marvel to behold.
Gameplay has also been improved upon, especially in regard to melee combat. One of the biggest criticisms of the original game was that its melee combat was too basic and not well refined. Guerrilla took that to heart and overhauled the melee combat system. Now, it is all about chaining combos taking victory in the Melee Pit.
Speaking of which, Forbidden West gives you more to do in the world including the Melee Pit, where you can test and improve your up close and personal combat skills. There is also the arena where you can challenge dangerous machines to earn valuable equipment, a new strategy mini game called Machine Strike, racing with machines and a bevy of new side quests. In short, there is always something to do.
The story is also an improvement and continues the story of Aloy and 31st century Earth and its tribal humans excellently. Here, six months has passed since Aloy’s victory over HADES in Zero Dawn and now with her destiny fully realized, she ventures out to fix the world before a red blight destroys all life.
Finally, the machines, both new and old, are a sight to behold. Make no mistake, they do not hold back. It makes combating them nerve racking and exhilarating, making each dodge and roll and arrow shot key to staying alive. Some machine highlights include the raptor like Clawstriders, the Plowhorns and a new big bad, the Tremourtusk. Each brings a unique challenge, making you really think about the arsenal you bring to the table and your strategy when you are venturing out in the Forbidden West.
Now, while there is lot of good, there is also a small handful of bad. There have been some graphical bugs, photo mode bugs and some others beyond the graphical that can be somewhat annoying to deal with. However, those do not distract you as much as you’d expect.
Overall, Horizon Forbidden West is a worthy successor to Zero Dawn. Everything from the first game has been improved upon and made better than ever and while you may run into some hiccups, it is nothing some patches won’t fix in the near future.