Horizon Forbidden West Review: A 2022 GOTY Contender or a Disappointing Sequel?

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Horizon Forbidden West Review: A 2022 GOTY Contender

On today’s episode, our host, Sebastian Mauldin, talks about Guerrilla Game’s newest release, Horizon Forbidden West.

Is this the game of the year for 2022? Should you play Horizon Forbidden West? Is this a good single-player experience?

Tune in for the answers to these questions and much more!

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Sebastion Mauldin


Sequels are kind of hard to pull off, right? This is especially true in video games. The sequel has to recapture in the magic of the first one, but be innovative enough that the sequel feels fresh and warranted. It's a tricky balancing act to pull off. That was the challenge horizon Forbidden West faced. When Horizon Zero Dawn launched, it felt like a new concept with fresh gameplay and a gorgeous open world to dive into. It was one of the best games of 2017. So did Horizon Forbidden West pull off the tricky balancing act, or is this too much of, more of the same? That is the question I'm going to answer right after the intro. DJ start the intro. This is the single Player experience, the podcast that helps single player gamers manage their video game backlog. I'm your host, Sebastian Malden, and my main quest is to help you manage your ever growing video game backlog by letting you know which single player games are worth your time and money so that you can have the best single player experience. Now, without further ado, let's start the show. DJ Cut the. Right off the bat, I'm gonna answer the main. Yes. I think the developers Gorilla Games managed to pull off that tricky balancing act, but maybe just maybe not to the degree that most people wanted. Horizon, forbidden West provides a lot of fresh features, environments, and enemies, but isn't the thunder jaw size step forwards that many people were hoping for? All that said, this is a breathtaking open world game that has way more going forward than against it. Let's dive into. Let's first talk about the combat. It's been five years since the release of Horizon Zero Dawn, and one of the big questions going into Horizon for Forbidden West was what new ideas would Gorilla Games bring to the combat? I'm happy to report that Gorilla understood the assignment. This sequel horizon, forbidden West, squares you up against so many new animal mix that aim to tear you apart. And I'm not gonna lie, Minnie will probably succeed. Ish. New mechanical bees presents new strengths and elemental weaknesses, and you'll probably need every tool at ELO's disposal just to survive. Thankfully, you have many new weapons and traps to utilize. Just like in the first game range combat here is incredible, absolutely impressive. You have many new types of bows and arrows. You have spears to throw and all the classic weapons from the first game come back into play as a result. There are so many different ways that you can approach fighting both the humans and the mech enemies in this game. The stealth in this game is also amazing. Hunting down each individual foe or causing them to stumble into one of your well place traps is so rewarding. It's such a good experience to slay an enemy and then cause confusion amongst your foes while you're just simply hiding it in the grass, going unnoticed. I also wanna shout out and state that the dual sense controller takes the experience of playing this game to another level. The controller really makes you feel the tightness of pulling back your bow or winding back to throw a spear. This is a game that kind of takes advantage of some of the things that the dual senses has to offer and does it in really thoughtful ways. Now let's talk about another aspect of the combat, and that's the Meli Combat. The Mely in this game feels like a solid idea, but it's extremely hard to use. This is because it is a combo based mely system with pauses in between the button inputs. Let me use a common combo for an example here. You start this combo by pressing R one, R one, R one, and then you have a slight pause before you have to enter in R two. That would be a problem here, considering you're only given a absurdly small amount of time to press R two. If you do it too fast or too slow, then you fail at executing the combo. The timing has to be absolutely precise, and this feels like a mechanic that feels well thought out, but not necessarily well executed, if you know what I mean. speaking of the Mely combos in this game, this game also has mely pits where you're tasked with executing specific combos against human opponents before that time limit that they give you runs out due to how challenging it is to actually execute a combo. This is by far the weakest, most frustrating part of the video game as a whole. I would've skipped this entirely if it wasn't required to earn this game's Platinum Trophy. I'll be honest, I love up close and personal combat in video games. It's often one of my favorite mechanics of video games that offer Mely combat. But the Meli combat in horizon forbid West feels so bad and so hard to use that I often forgotten using the Meli system entirely and just stuck to what I know. And that's the great range combat that is offered by this game. So in the third game, I would love to see this redone, just build that new Mely system from the ground up because what you have here doesn't feel very well executed. If I'm being. Now let's segue into the graphics. In the presentation. I cannot stress this enough, horizon forbid. West is one of the most beautiful, absolutely the most gorgeous games that I've ever seen. Everything from Aloy to the machines you encounter to the various environments that you explore is absolutely breathtakingly. Gorgeous. Do yourself a favor and play this on a very nice tv. You'll get lost in looking at the environments like this. Newy Mountains, the detailed planes, and the beautiful coastal beaches. This game is a feast for your eyes. Matter of fact, the characters themselves are a visual treat as well. Aloy and her companions are incredibly detailed, especially when you see them decked out in their mechanical armor. I cannot stress this enough. Horizon. Forbidden West is the most gorgeous and beautiful games that I've ever seen in my entire life. I've been playing games my entire life, and I've never seen a game that looked this damn. So let's segue and talk about the story of the game as opposed to the first game horizon. Forbidden. West's weakest aspect is in fact its narrative and horizon. Zero dawned gorilla came outta the gate swinging. With this story, we got to meet Aloy in the intriguing post-apocalyptic world that she lives in, in horizon, forbidden West. At the start of the game, we are introduced to a mystery that leads into the premise of the overall. While the mystery itself is intriguing, it sets the tone off for the story to be a slow burn as opposed to the swifter paste that was in the previous game. Another critique of the story is that it often feels like the middle installment of a trilogy. There are parts even in the middle section of the game where you can tell that this is building towards a third game as opposed to telling its own story. It's not the end of the world or anything to that magnitude, but it often had me expecting a cliffhanger ending that would launch us into wet lies next for the franchise. I was often thinking about what was coming next as opposed to really just settling in and enjoying the story that was in front. All that said, the game story is a good installment to the series. While it does have its flaws and it's a bit of a slower process, it does expand on the lore and the world building, while also providing some interesting new antagonists for us to square off against. Now let's talk about the game's characters. Even though the narrative can be a bit flat in some aspects, the same can't be said about the game's characters. The characters of the main story often shine, especially Ashley Burch as Aloy and Angela Bassett es Regla. In many of the side missions that you encounter, you'll also meet some interesting characters that introduce you to some memorable stories. I cannot shout out enough how many stories I came across that really resonated with me. There were a couple of stories, especially side stories in the game that resonated with me more so than the main quests itself. I also wanna shadow how diverse the characters are in this. You encounter several different tribes with many people from all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds, and me as a chocolate man, it warmed my heart to see this display of diversity. Now let's talk about the game's exploration. One of the best parts of Rise of Forbid West is exploring the new territories of the Forbidden West. There's so much to do and see in this game, you're still able to hunt machines and wildlife to upgrade your resources and your arsenal. This game has scores of new machines to hunt and strip for resources. So gamers who love the art of collecting will have plenty to do here. One of the best improvements to the game is this climbing mechanic. You can now use your focus to quickly scan the area, and you're presented with numerous highlighted handholds that you can climb on. The results aren't quite as smooth as it could be, but it works. While it's not breath of the wilds, climb anywhere mechanic, it's a solid step forward and it offers a far freer way to actually climb on mountains and different surfaces in the. The game also has a new glide mechanic. You can jump off of tall surfaces and use your broken shield to basically glide down towards your next destination. It's a really cool feature and a awesome way for you to see all the environments that horizon has to offer while you're simply floating down from the highest peak that you've managed to climb onto. Now, let's talk about the underwater hits and miss. Another cool new addition to the game is the ability to dive deep underwater. This gives you new places to see and explore, and there's also a sizable amount of main missions, side missions and treasure hunting that occurs underwater. At first your time underwater is limited to basically how long Aloy can hold her breath, but thankfully, the game grants you with a means of breathing underwater halfway through the game. This game gives you so many areas underwater to explore, and it's a visual showcase as well. The underwater areas look absolutely gorgeous. but unfortunately, the game doesn't allow you to fight underwater. Instead, you're relegated to an underwater game of H Arctic killed by an underwater me. That's sad because overall, you spend about 30% of this game underwater, and you have no means of actually fighting any of the enemies that you encounter underwater. They could at least let you have some form of underwater weapon, but I digress. It's one of the few flaws of this. Now let's talk about the game skilled tree. In horizon forbid West, you can spend your hard-earned skill points on multiple skilled trees. Each skilled tree has its own area of expertise, like Meli traps and the Mount. For example, the skilled trees also have the valor surges that you can unlock. Valor. Surges are the special moves that you can use during battles. To use these moves, you must first fill up your valor meter by getting hit or attacking your enemy's weak spots. Some valor surgeries are better than others, but I found that overall it really didn't have a major impact on most BA battles I fought to begin with anyways. So should you play Horizon Forbidden West? The answer is an emphatic guess. While it does have its flaws, like its narrative and its lack of underwater combat, it shines in all other. If you like open world games with tons to do, then this game should be at the very top of your list, especially if you have a PS five. I cannot stress this aspect enough. There are tons, and I mean tons of things to do in this game. You can go hunting the critters that roam the forbid west. You can hunt down the machines that you encounter to better equip your armor or better equip your gear. You can ride the mounts that you encounter and race those mounts against other racers in the game. You can also do the hunting challenges where you attack different mounts with different types of gear that you have at your disposal and different types of ammo. You can also do the mely pits where you have to basically do the mely challenges that I talked about earlier. You can do the main stories, the endless amount of side stories that you encount. this game has its own mini game version of Gwe. There are so many things to do and I haven't even named them all. So overall, while this game does have its flaws, it's still engaging and fun. It's also a spectacle to see in square off against these giant mech beasts that you encounter. Horizon forbid. West is a beautiful example of a AAA open world rpg everything from its visuals to its gameplay, to its immensely deep and dense. Explorable open world feels very polished and blends in together to make a must play title for all PlayStation gamers. I cannot stress this enough. If you have a PS five and you love Open world RPGs, do yourself a favor and play horizon. Forbidden. In this show, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that's gonna be your chill and relaxed game. And another game that's going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you're not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games. So, where should Horizon Forbidden West be in your video game backlog list? This is a tricky one. Well, I do think that the narrative is the weakest point of the game. It is strong enough that I think it will still keep you engaged. So I definitely think it's strong enough to be your primary, main focus. But I don't really feel like it fits well to be your chill and relaxed game that is, unless. Playing the game with the sound off and listening to music or watching something else on, on another TV or something like that, whereas like the pallet cleanser spot is a bit and conflicting as well. I'm conflicted on that one because while it could be a good pallet cleanser game, it also has very dense and deep controls. I feel like once you kind of get out of those controls, it's a little bit of a challenge to get back into 'em. So honestly, I would probably just recommend this to be your narrative, primary narrative focus game, and just kind of stick with that. If you can just focus on this game and kind of play it to your heart's content and let something else be your pal cleanser game or let someone else be your. Your game that you kind of chill and relax with, then this is gonna be a very fun experience. You can do everything this game has to offer in around probably like 60 hours. I ended up getting the platinum at probably around six 70 hours, but I was doing a whole bunch of like hunting that isn't necessarily entwined with you getting the platinum, if you know what I mean. So that's my video game recommendation. I'd recommend it for the primary. The primary narrative. In your video game backlog list. So that is the game recommendation of the week that you should consider adding to your backlog. If you want me or my community of gamers to give you feedback on your backlog list, then join us in the single Player Experience Discord server. Once you're in, feel free to share your video game backlog list our talk about good single player game experiences that you've had lately. The link to join the free single player experience Discord server is in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode, and I hope to catch you in the next one. Peace.

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