Horizon Forbidden West (PlayStation 5) Review

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Horizon Zero Dawn by Guerrilla Games was one of the most well-received games on the PlayStation 4, therefore a sequel was unavoidable. After five years and a console generation, Horizon Forbidden West is now available for $69.99. It expands on everything that made the first game so good, with a new and larger world that has greater verticality thanks to improved climbing (and falling) mechanisms. Horizon Forbidden West follows the same open-world, spear-and-bow-wielding, machine-hunting approach as its predecessors, but with more variation to keep the game fresh even after a few dozen hours. The action-adventure game (available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5) outperforms Horizon Zero Dawn by a wide margin, earning it our Editors’ Choice award.

Bottom Line: Horizon Forbidden West includes everything that made Horizon Zero Dawn such a great action-adventure game and improves it by adding additional environmental variety and mission verticality.


  • Huge, dense universe
  • There are numerous missions to enjoy.
  • Climbing has been improved, and new tools have been included to make it easier to scale the different vertical locations.
  • Even if it isn’t a quantum leap from the first game, it looks beautiful.


  • Even with the day-one patch, there are some stability difficulties.
  • The sidequests in the Cauldrons are a pain.


Games PlatformPlayStation 5
Games GenreAction
ESRB RatingT for Teen

The Gameplay of Horizon Forbidden West

The game takes place a few months after Horizon Zero Dawn and stars Aloy, the lone huntress from the previous game. HADES is no longer a world-destroying menace as a result of the events of the last game, but Aloy still has a lot of problems to solve. The land is infected with a peculiar crimson rot, and environmental calamities and ferocious robot attacks are becoming more common. Aloy’s hunt for a solution takes her far west and through a far greater territory than she has previously explored.

The action is seen via the eyes of a third-person character, and the gameplay is virtually identical from Horizon Zero Dawn. The R1 and R2 triggers unleash light and heavy spear assaults, respectively, while the L2 trigger focuses your ranged weapon (pulling the R2 fires it). By pressing square, you can crouch and hide in tall grass, while pressing circle allows you to perform a battle roll with a large invincibility window. When you push and hold the right analog stick, a pulse is sent out, highlighting items you may acquire and surfaces you can climb, while pressing and holding the stick puts you in scanning mode, allowing you to tag threats and detect interactive objects.

Aloy carries her machine-controlling spear as a melee weapon and can also add bows and other ranged weapons such as bomb slingshots and javelin launchers. From the sluggish draws of sharpshot bows to the tripwire tethers of tripcasters, each weapon feels different to use. Different forms of elementally augmented ammunition are used in different weapon variations to exploit the machines’ vulnerabilities to specific elements.

Unlocking this Horizon Forbidden West trophy also plants a real-life tree -  Polygon

Horizon Forbidden West‘s elemental ammo isn’t simply based on a weapon’s tier, and a weapon with a greater rarity in the game’s loot system may have different alternatives than a weapon with a lower rarity. Thankfully, you can equip up to six guns at once and swap between them quickly by pressing and holding the L1 trigger to bring up the weapon wheel.

Your spear has a limited range. Because many robots are devastating up close, you’ll have to juggle ranged weapons frequently. You’ll also have to cope with ammo shortages while fighting, having to make shots on the go if your quiver runs out. Simply select the weapon and press the X button to generate arrow bundles and whatever else your weapons demand using the weapon wheel. You’ll be able to create new photos with the resources you have in seconds. Because the weapon wheel slows time while in use, you’ll frequently reload just as a robot is charging in for an attack. Healing operates in a similar way, with a medical bag containing a limited number of heals that allow you to quickly regain health, even while in fight.

You also have a certain number of resources, like as wood and chemicals, that you can use to make shots. It’s simple to keep arrows stocked because wood is plentiful and easy to transport. Still, you can only fire a certain number of explosive shots before returning to a shelter or town to replenish your supplies.

Inventory management, on the other hand, isn’t a problem. Any item you can’t carry on-hand is instantly sent to your stash, an endless storage box accessible at various safe places across the world, regardless of what you pick up. Pressing and holding the square button while your stash is open immediately fills your inventory with the maximum number of resources required for constructing various ammo kinds, as well as refilling your medical berry pouch, adding to the convenience. It’s essentially magic, similar to ammo making, but it spares the game from having to deal with some extremely annoying item juggling.

The majority of enemy engagements involve direct combat, although you can exert control over the battlefield by using stealth and traps. Once you learn how to hide in tall grass, you may sneak up on machines and angry humans for a silent kill, or even tame a machine to fight with you. Setting traps is beneficial, and you can do so by using a tripcaster weapon to lay tripwires or by placing various elemental traps that function as land mines, which you can also craft from the resources you acquire. You may greatly soften up a machine herd or enemy camp with proper strategy before they even realize you’re there.

Changing Directions

Aloy receives a few new toys to play with, like the pullcaster and glider, in addition to guns and traps. The pullcaster is a grappling hook that Aloy can use to blast up to special grapple locations and pull objects closer to her. Aloy’s descent from tremendous heights is slowed and controlled by the glider, which is an energy dome. Considering how much more climbing Aloy performs in this game than in Horizon Zero Dawn, and how much more vertical the landscape is as a result, those two things are critical.

Aloy has full Assassin’s Creed-style movement and can climb practically anything. She can scale a wall or a rock if there are any handholds. Any climbable surface is highlighted with yellow lines and points when the right analog stick is pressed, indicating exactly what she will stick to if she jumps towards it. You’ll find something to climb no matter where you go, yet there are still plenty of cliffs and buildings you won’t be able to mount. This is a good idea because restricting climbing in some areas creates strong borders and barriers in the terrain, as well as allowing for environmental riddles in ruins.

The Can't-Miss Side-Quests Of Horizon Forbidden West

The pullcaster and glider both contribute to the game’s more vertical architecture by making Aloy’s ascent considerably easier than it would be otherwise, albeit the pullcaster isn’t quite as effective or exciting as it could be. It can only attach to specific spots in the environment, allowing for more environmental challenges in the ruins. The ledges you can zip to and those you can’t in the open world, on the other hand, appear to be completely random. Because mountains have fewer grapple sites than ideal, you’ll have to rely on climbing for upward progress.

On the other hand, the glider is incredible. It’s only The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s paraglider, but there’s a reason it worked so well in that game, and why its principles should be standard in every game with a lot of climbing. You’ll want to descend fast to continue exploring once you’ve reached a high point and done whatever you need to accomplish there. Climbing back down without the glider would take exactly as much effort as climbing up, and would be annoying as a result. Even in the last game, Aloy could rappel from certain high locations, but with the glider, you don’t have to look for those telltale yellow outcroppings just to get to the ground. It also allows you to glide long distances and reach places you wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.

Badlands that are bigger and bolder

The Forbidden West is enormous, covering numerous ecosystems and housing hundreds of attractions. You’ll visit several towns, each having its own layout and architecture, as well as forests, swamps, deserts, and freezing mountain ranges. Ruins, machine gathering sites, and enemy camps abound throughout the game world. The majority of map locations are rather basic hunting or resting spots, but the geography is diverse enough that most of the areas you visit will feel at least slightly unique.

There are also other intricate locales where difficult sidequests can be completed. These usually entail exploring a dungeon-like environment, solving riddles, and uncovering secrets. Except for the Cauldrons you can conquer to increase the types of devices you can override, they all feel quite unique. They’re a carryover from the previous game, and they’re unnecessarily long, repetitive grinds.

Horizon: Forbidden West, screenshots - 9to5Fortntie

The biggest and most interesting set pieces are found in the main missions. Each major plot point in the game has its own set of locales and objectives, which usually involve a difficult battle against a gigantic machine or other hazardous foe in an exciting battleground. Almost every large quest pushes you to the limit of your exploration, then encourages you to go even beyond for your next big objective. It serves as a reward for completing the preceding critical assignment in under an hour.

Simply completing the main story will take at least a dozen hours, assuming you can push through the game’s more challenging adversaries later on without the equipment, skill points, and experience levels (which boost your maximum health) that sidequests provide. Even if you aren’t a completionist, you may easily pour 60 to 80 hours into the game thanks to the various sidequests and areas of interest.

Again, it appears to be fantastic.

Horizon Forbidden West is a PlayStation 5 game that performs well in general. It looks nice and lets you choose whether to prioritize the game’s resolution or framerate. The latter option keeps the game at a steady 60 frames per second while displaying excellent quality throughout the action. The facial details and motions of the characters are extremely outstanding, approaching realism (more so with Aloy and major characters than minor questgivers and vendors). Machines are intricate and complex, with several sections operating independently and flying off when struck by powerful blows. The scenery is extremely stunning, with diverse biomes and weather effects, as well as numerous obvious landmarks visible from afar. Sunsets in particular are breathtaking.

Horizon Forbidden West (for PlayStation 5) Review | PCMag

It’s not a new or jaw-dropping presentation, and the general degree of detail suggests that the game was made for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Given how good Horizon Forbidden Dawn looks, that’s hardly a complaint. Plus, regardless of platform, an open-world game of this magnitude is unlikely to achieve the visual environmental polish of the Demon’s Souls remake or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. On the PS5, Forbidden West still looks wonderful, but not as fantastic as the original game.

Although a day-one patch has smoothed over some of the rougher edges, stability is a concern. Characters would become stuck in their attack animations and slide across the map before the patch. The texture pop-in was also evident. Those bugs appear to have been resolved, although the game still crashes on occasion. I never lost much progress because to the generous automatic checkpoints and several campfires for saving your game.

A New and Better Horizon

Horizon Forbidden West is a worthy successor to Horizon Zero Dawn, introducing a number of interesting concepts and placing them in a broader world. The fundamental gameplay remain mostly unaltered, but the better climbing and considerably more vertical terrain design gives an exploring experience similar to Breath of the Wild. A larger number of intriguing, diverse biomes and sidequests also helps to avoid the open-world repetition that plagued the first game. As a result, Horizon Forbidden West receives our Editors’ Choice award and is a PlayStation 5 must-have.

Bottom Line: Horizon Forbidden West includes everything that made Horizon Zero Dawn such a great action-adventure game and improves it by adding additional environmental variety and mission verticality.


  • Huge, dense universe
  • There are numerous missions to enjoy.
  • Climbing has been improved, and new tools have been included to make it easier to scale the different vertical locations.
  • Even if it isn’t a quantum leap from the first game, it looks beautiful.


  • Even with the day-one patch, there are some stability difficulties.
  • The sidequests in the Cauldrons are a pain.

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