Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel to the fantastic 2017 game, Horizon Zero Dawn. Just like its predecessor, it is a wonderful blend of genres that I can best describe as post-apocalyptic tribal fantasy/science fiction. That may be a mouthful of a description, but it is nothing compared to the breadth of content that Guerilla Game’s newest entry holds for players. From a gorgeous open world packed with quality side content to the range of options when it comes to exploration and combat, Horizon Forbidden West is bursting at the seams with things to do. This being said, this is very much a sequel to Zero Dawn, so one will need to play the first game to truly understand the plot.
The story of Horizon Forbidden West picks up 6 months after Zero Dawn, with Aloy searching for a backup of the GAIA system, an artificial intelligence used to help terraform the earth. Aloy learns that HADES, the malevolent AI that she had defeated in the first game, may have survived the battle. What’s more, the ‘red blight’ is spreading across the land, destroying plants and animals. Unfortunately, with options of finding a backup of GAIA exhausted, Aloy travels to the lands called the Forbidden West at the behest of an old ‘friend’. Thankfully for Aloy, the Carja tribe is holding an embassy with the tribes of the Forbidden West, which she plans on attending. From there, she hopes to be granted passage so she can continue her search.
Gameplay is similar to the first game, with an open world filled with side quests to do and robot dinosaurs to fight. Side quests are often well-done, self-contained stories that have depth and help you learn more about the world and the struggles of its people. Combat, much like the first game, has Aloy using a bow, spear, and various other traps and contraptions to take down the rather robust variety of enemies. When fighting the mechanized enemies of Horizon Forbidden West, you can also target certain parts (such as a fuel tank) to make combat easier and harvest the broken parts for crafting better equipment.
Horizon Forbidden West is a great time, with one of the best open worlds ever crafted. It builds on its predecessor in virtually every appreciable way, granting greater mobility and immersion. This being said, this entry is not standalone and is very much a sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn. I strongly recommend Horizon Forbidden West and look forward to further iterations in this unique and wonderful universe.