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Horizon Forbidden West: A Totally Biased Review

 A Look at Guerrilla's Smash Hit

what I hate about Horizon Forbidden West


I'll admit I'm biased. I originally played the first Horizon (Zero Dawn) upon it's release, knowing that the game would be something special. I had seen it advertised at conventions in the past and had a strong feeling that if Sony was going to pump millions of dollars into its advertising, the game would be phenomenal. I was right, and so when the second was announced, the only action I cared about was procuring the game so I could stream it on Twitch. Because of the first game, I'm heavily biased about the second. But that doesn't mean I still can't have a critical eye for Horizon: Forbidden West, and so before I jump into the positive aspects of why I make sweet love enjoy this game, I'd at least like to provide what I hated. Which, admittedly, isn't a lot.

What I Hated About Horizon: Forbidden West

Lens Flares

For anyone that has picked up a Horizon game, you'd probably think it had a lot of influence from JJ Abrams. The game's visual style is absolutely impressive, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. Patch 1.08 even addressed some of the game's "shimmering" issues and reduced strange rogue lens flare. That visual addition was too much for me to ignore. Often times I'd be in the vacinity of machines that I'd just pass by and I'd see their distracting blue eyes flicker at me in the corner of the screen. Lens flares, in my opinion, should be used sparingly at best and were heavily overdone. Less, in this specific case, is more.

Jumping

It's not hard to see that HFW took some influence from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Seen as the latter game released just after Zero Dawn (thus overshadowing it's release--just like other games that overshadowed Forbidden West), it took a few game mechanics and wrapped them into the new Horizon. One of the game mechanics that didn't really work well for FW was pushing the game into a more "open world" kind of genre—although I'd argue it wasn't much of an attempt. Aloy just has more places to jump, and at times jumping was more of a chore than a method of getting to a platform Aloy needed. As with lens flares, jumping mechanics should be used sparingly at best. Use them as methods to get places instead of attempts to seem like a more open-world development effort.

Lore Overload

I really regret not playing Zero Dawn again before playing Forbidden West. Another aspect I really dislked about both games is the heavy-handed lore that includes hundreds of characters, several world terms, and names I can't remember for the life of me. Imagine my surprise when Erend showed up in Forbidden West (not a spoiler, I assure you) only for Aloy to greet him immediately. I completely forgot who he was. Chalk it up to not having a refresher of the original Horizon, but I suppose lessons learned in that regard: if a game has a bunch of lore, play it again before the sequel.

What I Didn't Hate About Horizon: Forbidden West

Admittedly, it was much easier to discuss what I disliked about FW. Why?
Because the game is a near-perfect, near-masterpiece achievement of a game. And that's enough for me to be streaming it for, honestly, weeks. I intend to 100% the game soon on PS5.

If you'd like to stop by my stream and see my shenanigans, feel free. I stream mainly weekends, 10 AM PST. Here's a little preview of my stream.



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