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Horizon Forbidden West review
by Christopher James Manglos

I really enjoyed this game. The game mechanics are great. However, while the story is interesting, the writing is incredibly bland. I can easily recommend this beautiful and fun game to anyone, but it falls shy of exceptional based on the narrative failings.

Other reviews8

Everything about this game, the story, the visuals and the acting is top notch but I just can't get over how bad the gameplay is. There is a lot of cool stuff going on kit wise but I swear to god Aloy spends most of her time face first in the dirt because of how knockdown works in this game. I also feel like half the time the camera is right up on her because of how fights tend to play out just making for a very odd combat. Even on easy some of the enemies take forever to kill. The way you swap weapons and have 19 different ammos is also insane. It's one of the best looking and technically advanced games out there with weapon mechanics and menus from a game made in 2009. It got to the point I just turned it to story and had a much better time with it. The story and world is where this game shines for sure. There are some really good characters and acting to back them up. I will say I think the Zenith story stuff is pretty dumb, at least the fact they are like Marvel characters. The Nemesis stuff is also just boring. I think there was a direction they could've went that wasn't so goofy but here we are.
pretty much what you expect from a sequel... more machines, deeper gameplay mechanics and the ability to fucking fly
Alloy is quit well soldier!
«Blew my mind»
For background I loved the first one. Gave it an A+. Its my second favourite “Ubisoft” style open world game ever (behind Far Cry 4). Yes I know it’s not Ubisoft but I’m talking about a big open world game with a bunch of icons on the map to clear. The far cry, assassins creed, watch dogs style of game that many other companies have also done. I thought the gameplay felt great, and the progression was well done. I thought the story was kind of video gamey but was still fun and interesting. But a major part of what I loved about the first so much was how in awe I was with the presentation. The graphics, animation and overall art style to this robot world was incredible. It really did blow me away and I think it was the best looking game ever made at the time. So now, me playing Forbidden West in 2023 and being a bit more used to higher quality graphics, I wondered how much the sequel would “suffer” because I didn’t think I’d be as impressed by the world this second time around. And based off my first impressions from the first few hours of the game I was correct to a certain degree. I highly doubt I give FW an A+. But that doesn’t mean the start wasn’t strong. I’ve actually really enjoyed the start and I might still say once again it’s the best looking game ever made, although TLOU and a few other games are in the discussion so it may not be the clear winner this time around. But the game looks incredible, so far feels really good, and I’m in on the story set up.

Im now at the point where it really opens up and I’m loving it. There’s a ton to do and at this point I’m enjoying all the different types of missions. I plan to do all of them. Not the collectibles but all the different missions, errands, rebel camps etc. I’m also enjoying hunting different robots for parts for upgrades and animals for pouch upgrades. It’s a great game. Great open world Ubisoft clone. Definitely an A- and lots of room to climb as I’m super early on.

This game is definitely better than the first. That doesn’t mean it will for sure reach the rank of the first, because time and originality play a factor. But the improvements are noticeable. The glider is a good addition. The game opens up relatively quickly which was nice. The skill trees are solid. The number of weapons seems quite high. The upgrading system is enjoyable. It reminds me of far cry 4 which I loved. The story set up has been interesting. And I forgot how epic the gameplay is. You get in a big fight with humans and robots and you can have some very intense battles. I haven’t cared too much about the story for the side quests. They seem fine but usually I am speeding through because I want to get to the next thing. I’m fully invested right now. If HFW can maintain this level of play then it’s in for another really high rank. 

Still loving it. The gameplay loop of pick a side quest, hunt some robot Dino’s for upgrade materials along the way, maybe clear a rebel camp or relic if it’s nearby, is working very well. This game does a great job of making the question “what to do next” a hard one because there are a lot of good options.

I cant remember if it was in the first one but the focus showing where you can climb is very well done. It’s a seamless way to tell the player what’s climbable and what isn’t while still maintaining a “real” world. Most games have colour coded systems in place, which HFW also has for some climbing points, but it allows the world to look more real when not everything you can climb is yellow. Plus it helps you find where to go next a lot of the time. The other QOL feature this game does well is how easy it is to create “jobs” for buying or upgrading new weapons. Rather than having to flip back and forth to see what you need and where you can get the game does a great job of flagging those locations and showing you exactly what you need using the focus, map, and quest descriptions. A huge part of this game is hunting big robot animals in a semi monster hunter kind of way and this system makes it easy to pick and choose which robots to hunt and how you need to hunt them.

So far I have nothing but good things to say about this game. My only critique is that I find the different tribes problems boring a lot of the time. I don’t really care about their stories. Even saying that, they aren’t awful. The writing and voice acting is decent just not good enough to slow me down to pay attention to them. They are still probably better than Assassins creed odyssey’s side quest stories or Ghost of Tsushima. At least on par. It’s just not at the level of games like the Witcher 3, RDR2, or GOWR which very few games are.

I’m 35 hours in but it feels like I’ve played half that amount of time because time is flying by. I’m loving HFW. It’s at least an A and has earned the Top Tier status. I really didn’t anticipate I’d like the sequel this much but it’s so fun. The variety is incredible. The world building is incredible. The gameplay is incredible. The presentation is incredible. The main story is good so far. Side quests are decent. I have very few notes for this game. It works very well and I’m loving it.

45 hours in. Still really liking it and I still have a surprising amount of stuff to do. I’ve been taking my time with this one because I’ve been really liking it.

I love Alloy’s sass. She’s annoyed with all these different religious societies and their ignorance (they are ignorant in the game, it’s not just me putting my own opinions in there). I love it. One group thinks she’s a part of their prophecy because she looks like the images they have from the past. A living Ancestor they call her. Then the religious leader claims he’s Ted Farro’s essence and shows his evil religious dictator vibes. Then we find out Ted Farro tried to live forever with cell regeneration mutations but it doesn’t work and he’s found as this groaning mutated abomination that the religious leader burns causing the vault to self destruct! The Leader gets crushed with a giant Ted Farro statue head on his way out. It was fantastic. The only thing that would have been better is if they let us see the mutated monster Ted Farro. This game is made for atheists who get frustrated when people believe in religions that just don’t add up. It gives you these little mini power trip fantasies where Aloy gets to show/tell these people that their views are wrong and she can prove it. 

This main story is actually great. I keep liking it more and more. Varls death was pretty good. I love the immortals. I liked tilda. It’s a fun sci fi story and the production value is great. 

I was wrong. This is an A+. It’s better than Zero Dawn and it’s one of my favourite games ever. A well crafted, well rounded game with peak production value that also happens to be my favourite genre and plays with themes and topics I enjoy.

Just finished the main campaign. I really waited a long time. 55 hours. I didn’t do everything before the final mission but I did most of it. The ending isn’t very satisfying. They don’t resolve the Zeniths they just go sike it’s an even bigger threat. But I am surprised that I’m actually happy they are making a third. I would have thought two would be good but I’m pretty confident I’m going to be ready for another one of these in about 3 or 4 years. 

It’s funny how as soon as I finish the final mission in a big open world game like this I’m ready to call it quits, even when I intended to do all the side content before beating the final mission. The story conclusion always seems to make me ready to move on. It was the same for God of War Ragnarok. 

Alright I’m calling it. I did a few more side missions but I’m not going to do everything 56 hours is a great runtime. Loved this game. Maybe the greatest “forgettable” game of all time?

Final Score: A+
A game that's so often exceptional that it more than makes up for whatever faults it has. Whether you're running around the gorgeous open world, exploring mysterious ancient ruins, having tense conversations with megalomaniacal Silicon Valley execs, or soaring through the sky, it's all done at an incredible level of fidelity and artistry. Even the story, which already seemed played-out in the original, manages to keep something special reserved for each turn, making story missions worth looking forward to.

- Exceptionally well written, modeled, and acted characters. Even chats wide side characters seem to be fully motion captured, with multiple camera angles. Dialogue is well edited and never overlong.
- Gorgeous, expansive open world. While the scale of the game is overwhelming at first, it's all perfectly manageable by the end.
- Detailed, well-thought out story and lore. Everything happens for a reason, every character has a motivation, every technology has an origin. While naturally being "fantastic" sci-fi, a great deal of thought has been put into how and why everything works, which is something I absolutely adore.
- Incredible monster design. Continuing the legacy of its predecessor, HFW simply refines the formula which created their legendary "robot dinosaur" opponents. They all look amazing and include a variety of bits to harvest and disable for tactical reasons.
- The little things. If you've cleared an area before its quest starts, Aloy and the characters she's talking to respond appropriately (enemy bases don't magically repopulate when the quest for the area starts). Characters have tiny, split second facial expressions which express how they feel about things rather convincingly. When you're flying, birds will sometimes form up and fly with you. Every little thing adds up, and it feels extraordinary.

- Aloy will not allow you to think for yourself. If there's a ledge she can jump to, an item she can interact with, or a door she should be going through, she will tell you. This isn't such a problem in the open world, but in "dungeons" she will peppily spout off the "answer" to climbing puzzles before you can even start to think about them, which is absolutely infuriating.
- Combat, especially when engaged with 3 or more enemies, feels impossible. The camera doesn't work well in these situations, and Aloy's moveset certainly doesn't. By the very end of the game you're capable of handing these situations relatively well, but controls and camera are still a big issue.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of my (if not the) favorite games.  Horizon Forbidden West takes that amazing core and expands it in every way.  I did like story and the path Guerilla took with it.  I was constantly intrigued with the next steps even more so than the previous. Weapons, melee, Skill Tree, inventory management, graphics, etc. were al improved and made extremely better.  The map is beautiful and the new mechanics (grapple and parachute) are fantastic to experience.  Even the mini-board-game "Machine Strike" was appealing, although jarring to gameplay.  Hope they put this out as a mobile game.  If you liked the previous, you'll like this more.

With that said there were some items that fell short.  The Hunting Grounds made no story sense, where the previous game tied them into a story line that made sense, these feel like "we had them before...guess we should keep em...".  The Arena more than made up for the lack of story tie in for the Hunting Grounds, so I wish they focused more on the Arena and dropped the Hunting Grounds.  Melee was head and shoulders better than Zero Dawn, but the way they tied in the new "combos" was awful.  The Melee Pits and Enduring were probably the worst part of the game in general. This goes to a large narrative of "forced gameplay"...but won't expand on that. 

Even with these issues, it is still a fantastic game to play!
«Can’t stop playing»
«OST on repeat»
god game