[GAME REVIEW] Horizon Forbidden West—Solid Action RPG with Great Visuals

If you’ve ever played Horizon Dawn Zero, which was released in 2017 for PS4 and 2020 for PC, you will of course think that the game is already one of the best visuals of its time. Well, this time, Guerrilla Games together with Sony have released a follow-up series entitled Horizon Forbidden West which certainly brings many changes.

For now, this action RPG is still exclusive to the PS4 and PS5 consoles. That means, there is no certainty whether this game will be released for PC or not.

Well, what is the author’s impression of playing this cool game? Is he already worthy to continue the big name of his older brother who had been revered? Before playing it, it’s a good idea to read the Horizon Forbidden West review below.

1. Comes with a more complex plot

Facing enemies in the game Horizon Forbidden West requires different strategies. (doc. Guerrilla Games/Horizon Forbidden West)

Okay, briefly, the author will give an overview of the plot of the first series first. In Horizon Zero Dawn, you will play a character named Aloy, a young woman who was adopted by the Nora Tribe. With intense training, he becomes a strong knight, tough, and has quick reflexes. Unfortunately, there are several parties who want to kill Aloy and seem to know all about his secrets.

In addition, Aloy also has to face another reality that is no less bitter, namely the presence of technology that is able to eat organic elements. Well, predictably, Aloy and the remnants of human civilization must struggle in the midst of the apocalypse created by these predatory robots. The protagonist must defeat Hades, the figure behind the emergence of the technology that causes the apocalypse.

If you have time to finish it, you will also be presented with a big plot twist which reveals that Aloy’s comrades in arms were also involved in the creation of the technology called The Eclipse. At the end of the Horizon Zero Dawn story, it is also explained that the story scenario of the game does not end there. In other words, it’s clear that the developer will make a sequel.

Well, in the newly released Horizon Forbidden West, we will find out that what Aloy accomplished in the first series was only a small part of the real problem. Here, Aloy returns with all his might to investigate a mysterious plague that makes organic elements die quickly. It also causes humans to experience hunger.

Again, Aloy must struggle to defeat robot enemies who are far more intelligent, complex, and flexible. Yup, the author feels that this second series is indeed more difficult and majestic. In fact, the first game has become one of the best games for the AAA class. The second apocalypse experienced by Aloy’s world is also related to the story at the end of the first series.

That’s why, in order to better understand the overall flow of this game, it’s a good idea to play Horizon Zero Dawn first. Well, Horizon Forbidden West itself will bring us to focus more on the West, an area that Aloy believes is a place that has answers to all problems on Earth. Aloy’s journey this time will feel fresher, more attractive, and of course challenging.

The existing story or plot will feel more weighty because the developer has included various new things, for example new tribes in the West which are certainly different from the East. Unfortunately again, there are types of tribes or troops that can control robots or machines from The Eclipse’s descendants. So, if you are curious about what is really happening on Earth, you must play Horizon Forbidden West on your favorite console.

2. More solid adaptive gameplay

Horizon Forbidden West has a more solid mechanism
Horizon Forbidden West has a more solid mechanism. (doc. Guerrilla Games/Horizon Forbidden West)

For gamers who have played Horizon Zero Dawn before, playing Horizon Forbidden West of course still feels adaptive. However, the developer has also succeeded in making the game mechanics more gripping and solid. The natural conditions faced by Aloy are even more intense, for example areas of rocks or cliffs that we can explore with the pullcaster technique.

Yes, pullcaster itself is a new technique injected by the developer and will allow our characters to move flexibly in steep zones. Then, how do you get Aloy to move freely in steep and high places? You don’t need to worry because the developer provides many climbing points in each area explored by Aloy.

The adventure presented in this game also feels more massive when compared to its predecessor. We will obviously be more and more liberated by our choices in getting to a certain point. Climbing, swimming, diving, hanging from large trees, and walking can conventionally be done in the same area, depending on the type of region.

Oh, yes, in this series, Guerrilla Games as a developer also improves Aloy’s mindset. Yup, Aloy is made smarter, smarter, and smarter. You can quite easily learn the types of machines based on the technology. This is very important because players will also be required to move tactically and not make rash ambushes.

One thing the author pays attention to is the battle mechanics. Apparently, Horizon Forbidden West is able to present a combat system that is much more solid and diverse than the first game. Best of all, playing it with a PS5 stick makes everything even more intense, concise, and exciting. Don’t forget the skill tree which is very crucial in this game.

Although it looks simple, the skill tree is very useful for unlocking various new abilities that Aloy has mastered. Something that probably won’t be forgotten is the Valor Surge mechanism. What’s that? Here, Aloy has various types of Valor Surge, a special ability and power that can change the course of the fight.

Although the author rarely uses it, the ability of Valor Surge can easily repulse stubborn machines. The condition is, your character must have enough energy to take it out. It seems that making our character into a reliable fighter here can be done in ways that are fun and meaningful.

Despite the greatness of the embedded mechanism, of course the author still gives a thumbs up to the open world mechanism that is offered. Yes, it feels very distinctive and filled with all kinds of beauty. The existing robots and machines are also made no less magnificent, especially giant-sized machines, such as the Tideripper, Slitherfang, Stormbird, Thunderjaw, Tremortusk, and of course Fireclaw.

3. High-end visual and audio quality

Horizon Forbidden West has stunning visuals and audio quality.
Horizon Forbidden West has stunning visuals and audio quality. (doc. Guerrilla Games/Horizon Forbidden West)

Not enough to present the best plot and gameplay mechanics, Horizon Forbidden West still displays very good visuals. When compared to how it looks on PS4, playing it on PS5 will obviously bring us to a much more stunning visual experience, especially if you play it on a 4K resolution screen. The existing world has been described almost perfectly by the developer.

Starting from plants, soil, sand, rocks, clouds, water, NPC characters, to machines, everything is visualized in a really elegant way. Yup, in the author’s eyes, Horizon Forbidden West has been able to appear as the best game representative for the PS5 at this time. The movement of giant robots is also made a scene like animated Hollywood films.

Returning to the mechanics of the stick on the PS5 which is no less good, for the author, moving the bow and arrow is more exciting and weighty thanks to the Adaptive Trigger feature. With a beautiful high-end display, setting targets becomes more realistic. This beautiful reciprocal mechanism will definitely make gamers more excited because the environment in which Aloy is located becomes more lively.

How about the audio? Just as good! Almost all sounds, audio, and music that can be heard in the author’s ears can be enjoyed comfortably. If you use a good headset or maybe have a capable home theater, the resulting audio quality is even more kicking like a box office movie. Facing massive monster machines can also be translated with bombastic audio.

With a wide and beautiful zone, the developer seems to intend to show off as well as give a warning to other developers that Horizon Forbidden West deserves to be a new benchmark for contemporary games. This is indeed undeniable because it is supported by a series of facts that all spoil our eyes and ears.