The sequel to 2017’s best open world adventure is finally here and it hasn’t disappointed, according to most early reviews. Horizon Forbidden West capitalizes on what made its predecessor so great. The world is gigantic, beautiful and full of interesting things to do.
The negatives within Forbidden West seem few and far between. Swimming sections that aren’t that fun, some technical issues and a story that makes frequent callbacks to the original are some of the issues that critics have pointed out. They don’t takeaway from the overall experience, however, including how fluid the moment-to-moment gameplay is.
While many outlets chose not to score the Forbidden West, they still had a positive response to the adventure.
Horizon Forbidden West review round up
Here are some of the reactions to Horizon Forbidden West. Try it out for yourself on Feb. 18.
A triumphant combination of enthralling combat, top-tier creature and character design, and a captivating open world, Horizon Forbidden West is an absolute blast and fantastic showcase for the power of the PS5. Although the return of a couple of familiar series trappings and a noticeable lack of freeform climbing never threatens to derail the enjoyment, it does leave it falling frustratingly short of something revolutionary.
In the end, this is Aloy’s story: She continues to be a headstrong protagonist, and I say that admiringly. In Forbidden West, she takes no shit — but she also learns valuable lessons about accepting help, and about acknowledging the grief that comes from growing up as an outcast. She goes to bat for the people she cares about. Forbidden West homes in on the contrast between her convictions and those of Dr. Elisabet Sobeck, the creator of the Zero Dawn project that set the whole series in motion, and the character from whom Aloy was cloned. Where Sobeck took the destruction of humanity as an assumption, and worked to repopulate the Earth, Aloy fights for the survival of those who are alive today. Even as the story throws in twists and additional characters that alter the scope of the threat she’s up against, her steadfast resolve remains. Getting to play as her — in such a beautiful and densely packed world — is a journey I won’t walk away from anytime soon.
I thoroughly enjoyed Horizon Forbidden West, and I suspect anyone who loves open-world RPGs will thoroughly enjoy it as well. But despite getting a kick out of fighting robot dinos, despite the enthralling time sink of “Machine Strike,” despite finding myself ravenous to return to this rich, inspired open world, I can’t shake how plainly Forbidden West misses the one philosophical throughline that helped its predecessor ascend to greatness: Sometimes, the question is more interesting than the answer.
Overall, though, Horizon Forbidden West does a lot more right than it does wrong. It might be jam-packed with stuff to see, do, know and remember, but when its many systems come together, it can be a beautiful, exciting and delightful open-world experience. The story that drives you through the frontier is often well-told and does well to center actual characters rather than audio logs, and while the map is littered with icons, it’s much more often that they’re fun, skillfully crafted diversions than random busywork to fill a checklist. There’s a huge amount to do and see in Horizon Forbidden West, and the great majority of it is worth doing and seeing thanks to strong writing, great visuals, and some marked improvements to the series’ underlying ideas.
Horizon Forbidden West reaches a new high bar for Guerrilla Games. It does more than surpass its predecessor; it takes Horizon’s fiction to captivating places and builds a rich world that rewards you for the effort you put into it. Mostly, it’s an entertaining experience, complete with jaw-dropping moments and unforgettable fights.