Horizon Forbidden West Review – Squad Goals

Horizon Forbidden West can be daunting in its size and scope. That feeling only grows as you uncover its map, collect gear to fill in its giant arsenal of weapons and armors, or unlock a huge number of special moves, skills, and passive buffs from its expansive, revamped skill tree. But while it casts an imposing shadow, Forbidden West often keeps its focus on characters and their stories, and that approach works to break the enormity into smaller chunks and give your adventure stakes that matter. The game is continually compelling not because developer Guerrilla Games filled it with a huge amount of stuff to do, but because so much of that stuff is thoughtfully constructed and sometimes even emotionally engaging, instead of just feeling like items created to add as many map markers to the world as possible.

Forbidden West picks up almost immediately after the end of its predecessor, Horizon Zero Dawn, and its DLC add-on, Frozen Wilds, and it expects you to be very familiar with protagonist Aloy’s adventures from back in 2017. It’s set in the distant future after the world as we know it has ended and humans have reverted to a tribalistic society scattered across the ruins of the United States. And roaming all around the world are giant robotic animals, some as big as dinosaurs, that kill humans on sight.

The big issue driving the action is that, although Aloy defeated the rogue artificial intelligence Hades in the last game, it left lasting damage to the planet’s biosphere. Aloy is hunting for ancient tech to fix the problem and stop a blight that’s creeping across the land, threatening everyone with slow starvation, and the search takes her into the Forbidden West. A whole bunch of major and minor players from Zero Dawn are involved in some way or another, including Sylens, the semi-antagonistic voice on Aloy’s radio throughout the first game, and it’s easy to get a little lost in exposition and dialogue if you’re not up on all the events, relationships, and machinations that took place in Forbidden West’s predecessor.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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