By Juan Calvillo
Guerrilla Games has crafted an engaging, expansive and exciting sequel in the, so far, exclusive PlayStation title “Horizon Forbidden West.”
Set months after the first game, the events of this title lead Aloy, the protagonist of the Horizon franchise, into meeting new characters and threats in an entirely new area of the world.
The Horizon games are set in a future where mankind has been defeated and machines roam across what remains of the world. Humans have become tribe-like and superstitious.
In “Horizon Zero Dawn,” the story’s protagonist, Aloy, battles an artificial intelligence designed to destroy the world. As the story progresses, Aloy learns more about her mysterious past and how she is destined to save humanity.
“Horizon Forbidden West” continues Aloy’s story as she makes her way into the west. Over the span of dozens of hours, players learn more about this world’s past and how Aloy plans on fixing it.
Players will encounter new groups and tribes of peoples, more powerful enemies and dramatically different areas than they have in the series.
Aloy is voiced by Ashly Burch. The character is the definition of a conflicted hero. While the world seems intent on making her the focus of world changing events, it’s the smaller moments where Aloy’s character shines.
Aloy’s kindness, stubbornness and courage make rooting for her a simple task. Yet, it’s the moments where Aloy interacts with Sylens that are the most enjoyable. Sylens, voiced by Lance Reddick, is an interesting character and a thorn in Aloy’s side as well as a helpful hand.
Reddick is great at making his character sound just the right mixture of superior and menacing.
Booting up “Horizon Forbidden West” on the PlayStation 5, the game is also available on the PlayStation 4, gives players the first glimpse into what the PS5 can actually do. The game is beyond beautiful.
The environments run the gamut of arid wastelands, lush jungles and futuristic underground bunkers. Character models are detailed and the attention to minutiae is a sight to behold. While the time spent playing this game does not include the highest possible settings for a game of this type, the game was still awe-inspiring. On the gameplay side of things, “Horizon Forbidden West” keeps the mechanics of the first game.
Players can take down their enemies either through stealth or they can battle “guns blazing.” Luckily, Guerilla Games has made some additions to vary the gameplay.
There are additional weapons that expand the ways Aloy can battle and take down her enemies. New gadgets give players interesting ways of traversing the game’s lush world.
Players can use stealth to take down smaller enemies in their path with their staff. In addition, new special abilities have been added to use long-range weapons as part of the stealth option.
The larger mechanical beasts take more of a beating and highlight the newer weapons that are at the player’s disposal. The choice to play battles stealthy or full tilt is fun and the game handles both styles well.
The climbing mechanic has been refined with attention being paid to not only where Aloy climbs, but also how she looks while doing it. Traversal is just one of the updated mechanics in the game.
The inventory system and item creation is streamlined which allows for less time spent inventory managing.
“Horizon Forbidden West” has an interesting story and fun gameplay. It is rated T for teen and available now for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.