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Horizon Forbidden West Review

With Horizon Forbidden West, the Amsterdam studio Guerrilla Games has made a sequel to the largest game production in our country. This sequel surpasses the predecessor Horizon Zero Dawn on almost every front.

There are few media productions in our country as large as those of Guerrilla Games. The 360-strong company released the PlayStation 4 game Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017, in which you as the young hunter Aloy try to discover why the ordinary world once perished in a world full of robot dinosaurs.

Zero Dawn was not only the biggest game from the Netherlands, but also counts internationally: the game has now been shipped more than 20 million times, making it one of the bigger hits for the PlayStation 4.

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Horizon Forbidden West is a full-fledged sequel five years later. It’s a game that builds fairly directly on what made Zero Dawn so good, where you have to sneak, climb, and fight.

This time Aloy has to go to the far west, on the hunt for an artificial intelligence that threatens to destroy the entire world.

Combat is again a fairly risky activity. Mindless ramming on it rarely works: instead, you have to set traps and figure out exactly which weak spots to hit. It makes the game more thoughtful than many other action titles.

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Horizon Forbidden West Review

Horizon Forbidden

More vertical through the grappling hook

That sneaking and fighting feels very much like in Zero Dawn, but exploring the game world has been further explored. Aloy now has an grappling hook that she can use to, for example, pull down walls and torpedo herself up.

That grappling hook ensures that the game world has become more vertical, although you can only use it selectively. He only works at certain gripping points that are sparsely spread around the world.

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More useful is a kite that allows Aloy to float down, making it easier for her to get safely from high points.

Best PlayStation 5 game (Horizon Forbidden West Review)

We tested the game on the PlayStation 5 – there’s also an edition for PlayStation 4 – and on this new console the world looks beautiful. Colorful fields, dilapidated buildings and complex fog and light effects bring to life a world that you normally only expect in expensive Hollywood films.

It’s the most beautiful game we’ve seen on the PlayStation 5 so far.

That is also good to see when you meet new characters. As with many other PlayStation games, they have been played by actors in suits, which makes them appear more realistic. High-quality textures and detailed eyes make them all look very human.

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Horizon Forbidden West Review

Side missions are important

Although you can choose to play only the main story of the game, it is almost a shame to only do this. Forbidden West is full of side missions that add extra shine to the fictional game world: you’ll learn more about the main characters and how the peoples of Horizon survive.

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That’s true of many games, but Horizon creates something unique with the post-apocalyptic environments and robot dinosaurs. The world itself is almost more interesting than the game’s story, with all the references to how humanity tried to survive after the modern world went down.

Smart to finish Zero Dawn first

The story of Forbidden West follows very directly the events of Zero Dawn. That’s good news for fans of that first game: you’ll discover exactly what happened after the end and also meet many of Aloy’s friends, who will tell her at length what they did.

On the other hand, the game is inaccessible to newcomers. Guerrilla has made a video that attempts to summarize all the events of Zero Dawn, but the story full of apocalyptic artificial intelligences and warring factions can hardly be summarized in that way. Interested parties should therefore play part one first.

Forbidden West’s story embraces the sci-fi of Zero Dawn even further and generally feels like a good action movie. The twists and reveals are fun, but in most cases you can see them coming pretty quickly.

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Protagonist Aloy is the least strong element – you notice that her story in Zero Dawn was already finished and that the writers don’t know exactly what to do with her – but that’s only a small criticism in an otherwise phenomenal game.

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Conclusion

Horizon Forbidden West is basically similar to its predecessor, but is grander and more immersive. In addition, it is the most beautiful game that we have played on the PlayStation 5. This makes Forbidden West a world-class achievement of this Amsterdam studio.

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