Horizon Forbidden West is quite possibly the best video game I have ever played and experienced in my entire life. While The Last of Us Part 2 from Naughty Dog set the bar extremely high, the team at Guerilla Games has surpassed it.
Horizon Forbidden West is more than just an interactive game you play, it’s an experience. And, one that I will not soon forget. The game draws you in with its intriguing story, stunningly beautiful visuals and highly polished gameplay.
I can undoubtedly say that from start to finish the game is near perfect in every single aspect and a masterpiece. I hope you enjoy this spoiler free review!
Horizon Forbidden West Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PS5
Developer(s): Guerilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
ESRB Rating: T(Teen)
A majestic and dangerous new frontier
One of the best elements of Horizon Forbidden West is its story. As a result, I won’t spoil anything for you. Instead, I’ll give you an overview of what to expect. Horizon Forbidden West’s story plays out like an academy award winning movie.
The game begins with a recap from Aloy’s previous adventure with all the important details to get you caught up. Forbidden West’s story takes place not too long after Horizon Zero Dawn. The land is dying, storms and an unstoppable blight are ravaging humanity all while new machines terrorize the landscape. Humanity, as we know it, is hurtling towards extinction.
It’s up to Aloy to uncover the secrets behind these threats and restore order and balance to the world. Along the way, Aloy reunites with old friends, makes new alliances with warring factions and unravels the legacy of the ancient past. What makes Forbidden West’s story so intriguing is the excellent writing. From the way that the story unfolds, to the conversation between characters—both friend and enemy—it is like watching and participating in an interactive academy award winning movie. Within minutes of playing I was fully vested in the characters and the near impossible task that lay ahead for Aloy.
Familiar, yet polished gameplay
If you’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn, the gameplay in Forbidden West is very similar. Your Focus, a small augmented reality device that you wear, is still an important tool that you will rely on quite often. It allows you to scan the environment for resources and objects to interact with. In addition, it allows you to scan your enemies to gain important information including their strengths and weaknesses.
In addition to the game’s main quest, there are numerous side quests that can be optionally completed to flesh out the story. While I didn’t play and complete every single side quest in the game, there are a surprising amount of side quests that I did play and complete that were meaningful. Between the game’s main quest, side missions, errands and salvage contracts you can easily spend 50-60 hours playing.
Moreover, these side quests give you the opportunity to earn additional skill points to further expand Aloy’s capabilities. Skills are broken up into six different categories including Warrior, Survivor and Machine Master to name a few. Additionally, by collecting machine parts and resources that you find on the land you can craft ammo and further upgrade your weapons and outfits.
Hollywood style production values and presentation
When it comes to presentation, again, Horizon Forbidden West does not disappoint. The game’s graphics are among the best I have ever seen in a game. The amount of detail and the crispness is phenomenal. The character models are life-like and the way their clothing and hair move in the wind is nothing short of breathtaking.
There are two graphics modes to choose from: favor performance and favor resolution. I spent the majority of my time playing in Favor performance mode, which provides 60 frames-per-second. I spent a minimal amount of time in Favor resolution mode, which offers 4K resolution and a very noticeable lower than 60 frames-per-second. With that being said, regardless of which mode you play in, you will not be disappointed with the visuals.
Additionally, Horizon Forbidden West features a plethora of accessibility features—something I am very happy to see. Options range from Quest Pathfinding, to Button Layout & Customization, to Co-Pilot—a feature that allows you to use a second controller with mirrored controls.
Horizon Forbidden West sets the bar extremely high that all other AAA games will be measured against
The team at Guerilla Games has done an outstanding job with Horizon Forbidden West. From the moment you begin playing until the ending credits are rolling on the screen, it’s an exceptional experience. The game’s story is superbly written and has you on the edge of your seat always wanting more. The characters you meet along your journey are all unique in their own way and help tell Aloy’s tale.
The game features two graphical modes that both look and play amazingly. The amount of content included will keep you busy for a good 20-25 hours for the main campaign alone. And, for those looking to see and do everything you can easily spend in access of 50 hours doing so.
As a big fan of narrative driven games, it doesn’t get any better than Horizon Forbidden West. Without doubt Horizon Forbidden West will be in many top lists for Game of the Year 2022 this fall.
Interested in getting a sneak peak at Horizon Forbidden West before launch? Join me Thursday, February 17 at 9:30am ET over on my Twitch channel for a 2 hour live stream.
+ Intriguing narrative that is superbly written
+ Top notch voice acting
+ Incredibly detailed graphics and environments
+ Loads of content included (50+ hours to see and do everything)
+ Polished gameplay
+ Numerous accessibility options
– On occasion Aloy’s hair acts unnaturally
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5