It seems that the lost boys have found a home: if in fact i Guerrilla Games, developers behind the famous Killzone saga who first published the game under the name of Lost Boys Games, know how to do one thing, it's reinvent itself. After having had an iconic Sony exclusive FPS, 4 years of hiatus allowed these guys to churn out Horizon Zero Dawn, one of the cornerstones of PlayStation 4. After 5 years, now it's the turn of Horizon forbidden west, cross-gen chapter coming to both Sony consoles and that we will analyze in this review.
We certainly can't say that Aloy and companions are instead accepted in their home: after the events of the first game, the problems are many. Beaten ADE, the machines are still out of control and the Earth is dying, hit by a serious plague. The solution seems to be hidden in the Forbidden West, an area under the control of the Tenakths and which hides a series of very interesting mysteries. But how can one person's journey save the entire planet Earth?
The narrative thread
Tense like that of Aloy's arc, the narrative thread of Horizon restarts exactly 6 months after the events of the first chapter: Aloy is still grappling with his crusade to save the world, even as it continues to rotate and with that things move on. The friends and companions met in Zero Dawn are still there, ready to help a reluctant Aloy who feels the weight of the Earth on her shoulders. During the game, the plot follows the good things done in the first game, proposing one intriguing story, full of twists and, this time, even more advanced (thanks to not being the first chapter of a game).
In practical terms the main story maintains the qualities - for better or for worse - that it had shown in Horizon Zero Dawn: maybe the Guerrilla Games tried to revolutionize something, but what came out was a sort of clumsy attempt to update. . Let's take for example the choices in the dialogues: as in the past, they have also been reinserted in Forbidden West, but the weight they have and the amount put into the game is so light that removing them would not have caused any damage.
In reality it is likely that everything is due to the power of the main plot: the story, as demonstrated by the success of Zero Dawn, has really conquered the hearts of gamers, and sometimes it is better to do well what you have, rather than homologate the rest of the title. This is also noticeable with regard to the secondary missions, which are part of a sort of macro-quest division (as seen in The Witcher), but which in the end do not involve major changes and remain a simple character development tool - as well as the discovery of subplots. On the contrary, the latter in themselves are pleasant, and the care in creating them was a lot, making them definitely of quality. The accuracy used to manage the "collateral" content should also be considered, interesting for those who want to find out more but not vital for the continuation of the plot.
The right bow
We tried (for the review) Horizon Forbidden West by testing every single piece of gameplay, trying to understand the difference between the various applicable game styles. During your adventure, in fact, you can choose whether to rely on pure stealth, or maybe engage enemies face to face. In both cases, you can place yourself in front of (or behind) them with a bow and arrow, or perhaps using various kinds of traps, or even opting for melee, taking advantage of the verticality of the game map (thanks also to the grappling hook, new addition of this chapter).
As for the quantity of weapons and armor, everything has increased: the possibility of opting for new weapons, combined with the care taken to prepare various types of gameplay, will allow you to adapt your style based on the weapons chosen, always inserted in the comfortable wheel of choice. What Guerrilla did in the plot, he has also replicated in the gameplay expanding the good that had been done previously.
This therefore means having a wider gameplay, which is also reflected in the game map: there are in fact more side missions, more collectibles, more details to discover and, consequently, more items to unlock. So if you loved the open world of Horizon Zero Dawn, with Forbidden West you will still have it, and more. As already mentioned, unfortunately, the secondary plots, except in rare cases, do not shine that much, but they let themselves be played pleasantly and do not fall into the trap of fetch quests, indeed offering fun interactions, especially with the environment.
To further expand the game - making it lean more towards the RPG than the simple action - are the ability (to be unlocked and chosen) and the statistics in the game, which will give more "tactics" to the clashes. The skill trees are one of the most interesting news, and the choice of enhancing the skills that can be activated manually allows you to have further attacks that you can unleash at the right time. Everything is obviously seasoned with one verticality greater, which in the course of the game will be discovered more and more by offering the player a series of approaches that are not at all obvious. However, the real management of situations remains in the hands of weapons and armorIn fact, it is vital to choose the right equipment for the right fight, each one with pros and cons that will surely be taken into consideration as the adventure progresses by the player.
An excellent quality
Horizon Forbidden West is technically an excellent product. The care of the game world, the details that you will be able to see while traveling in the Forbidden West and (above all) the faces have an immense quality. Some shots may even make your skin crawl from the level of detail (and count that Horizon Forbidden West during the review was tested purely in the performance mode). Even the work done with regard to facial expressions is of the highest level, you will notice it immediately with the main protagonists (a little less with the secondary ones, but it is normal).
Another advantage of the game is the way in which the visual quality is shown on the screen: every colore and each detail goes to improve what is already well done in Zero Dawn, thanks also to the power that PlayStation 5 is able to deliver. Speaking of the difference in the game between the two platforms, in practical terms PS5 allows uploads faster, an improved experience thanks to the Dualense and haptic feedback (one of the best ever seen on Sony's console), and a system of shine more cared for. Other than that, the game also runs well on PlayStation 4, but of course the quality with a capital Q can only be seen on PlayStation 5.
Il dubbing of the game is of high quality, and the dialogues manage to express the depth of the title script. Every word is said in the right way, and during the excited phases we did not see the presence of technical problems capable of undermining the pathos expressed by the actors (and the voice actors).Review
- Horizon Forbidden West (Tested on PS5) 9.5 Final grade
Horizon Forbidden West brings us back to play the role of Aloy, struggling with the salvation of the Earth. The adventure is enriched by being a sequel, especially as regards the plot - always intriguing and pressing - and the gameplay - deeper and with a greater turn towards the action RPG. The macro-quest setting, already seen in some cornerstones of the genre, sins only for the depth of the secondary missions and for the in-game choices to be made (which will be of little use). For the rest, Guerrilla Games has found the right balance on many things that in Zero Dawn were unbalanced (but that worked very well), producing a respectful sequel to the first (in qualitative terms) and able to excite, making us embark on this journey towards the West Forbidden.