Horizon Forbidden West finally launched, and Sony’s latest sci-fi open-world RPG game is already in good graces with the critics, despite not being an all-too original game. Namely, Sony took a working formula and combined it with an “if it ain’t broke” approach to delivering a fantastic game that fulfills Guerilla Games’ promise from five years ago. But that’s not to say the game is without some criticisms too.
Built upon the solid foundations of its predecessor, Horizon Forbidden West is bigger, more comprehensive, and shinier, and the critics have already established that we’re discussing one of the major gaming highlights of the past year. Not a full day has gone by since its release, and the game’s developer, Guerilla Games, is already being laureled for creating a game that’s nothing short of phenomenal. As reported by PC Gamer, Horizon Forbidden West takes everything great about its predecessor, like captivating places and rich open-world environment, and turns it into a better, more entertaining experience filled with jaw-dropping moments and unforgettable conflicts.
The newly released Horizon Forbidden West picks up some six months later after the original game’s events, in which Aloy travels through the post-apocalyptic United States searching for answers on how to stop killer machines. So, basically, its gist is pretty much the same, but the shades and smaller shapes have changed. There are bandits to defeat, weapons to collect, map objectives to clear and traverse, layered with the in-game mechanics and abilities laid out by the previous game. There’s nothing bad in the perceived sameness between the predecessor and the sequel; the original game was a masterpiece, and the same can be said for the sequel.
Sure, Guerilla implemented new gameplay systems into the sequel, like the paraglider and a grappling hook, among several other traversal methods and minor gameplay mechanics, but the game feels and plays just like its predecessor. And not everyone’s happy about it since it feels more like a visual spectacle that relies heavily upon a well-trodden path. Some less-impressed critics have stated that, despite being an accomplished game in terms of technical achievements and sheer visual fidelity, Horizon Forbidden West is a more difficult game to love than the original, which offered a more genuine gaming experience.
Ultimately, the general consensus is that Horizon Forbidden West is a fantastic release that takes full advantage of PlayStation 5’s processing power, offers minor innovation in terms of gameplay elements, and expands the already well-conceptualized narrative. The game’s downside is that it feels too similar to its predecessor, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how well the original game has performed.
However, the hunger for innovation, both within the series and the open-world RPG genre, is becoming more apparent. Some of the less positive criticism seems based on precisely those sentiments. Horizon Forbidden West was released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 without a clear indication of whether the game is coming to PC or not. For the time being, the game is a PS4/PS5 exclusive, though considering Sony’s new field trips to the PC market, we may be discussing a timed exclusive.