Aloy has conquered land. Air, sea, and my heart this timein Horizon Forbidden West.
I’m not thrilled. When Guerrilla Games stated. That Horizon Forbidden West will have underwater gameplay. I knew I was in the minority. But I’ve had a stupid lifelong phobia of giant monsters in deep bodies of water. And games in these environments actually terrify me.
Forbidden West has won me over. Despite my thalassophobia. The underwater surroundings are dangerous. Packed with massive mechanical creatures. but they’re also beautiful and rich, enticing Alloy to discover new aspects of her world. Swimming is undoubted. One of my favorite hobbies in Forbidden West. From the sunken ruins of Las Vegas to a volcanic hot spring buried underneath a mountain. Then there’s the matter of Tall necks.
Aloy Must restore GAIA
In it, Aloy must restore GAIA, a planet-wide AI system that will rid the lands of a devastating disease. She has a Focus, which allows her to scan enemies and environments for information.
Forbidden West is gorgeous, and some of the landscapes in the game left me breathless. Aloy travels to the southwest and west coast of the former United States, crossing snowy mountaintops and sand dunes. There’s something special about sunsets in the southwest; they burn brilliant reds and purples in the thin desert air.
The game’s narrative arc covers class warfare on an extreme scale, with egocentric trillionaire technology leaders at its core. The new friendly characters have distinct personalities, backgrounds, and skills, and they’re incredibly charming. My personal favorite mount is the Bristleback. A big warthog-like machine with a plump booty. And the ability to harvest metal shards as it waits for Aloy to finish a mission.
In Forbidden West, Aloy develops a breathing apparatus that allows her to dive infinitely and explore vast underwater landscapes. Underwater, it feels like Aloy is flying around an alien planet. And these moments are so quietly engaging. I almost forget to be scared of the giant murderous dinosaur robots. They are also swimming around. The most memorable underwater environment in Las Vegas, submerged but still soaked in neon coral with crumbling escalators leading nowhere and buildings cracked through with algae and seaweed.
Forbidden West’s world is an Open-World
with side quests and interactive moments scattered around an expansive map. Aloy can use the Shielding and Pullcaster to cover large gaps and leap from mountaintops, giving her more room to roam. The tools are reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and they add a delicious layer of mobility and puzzle-solving to Aloy’s journey.
Any area that looks climbable generally is, allowing Aloy to scale mountainsides and abandoned buildings with relative ease. Pressing R3 on the DualSense highlights areas that Aloy can grab onto in yellow, and there are usually multiple ways to reach the same destination. This led to one instance. Where I got stuck – while hunting for valuables. I scaled an old tower and crouched through a crack in its facade.
When I triggered my Valor Surge, a special ability connected to my skill tree selections, instead of putting on camouflage, I entered a strange type of developer view, where Aloy was invisible. I was able to correct this by switching to a different weapon, which brought Aloy back into view. Aside from that, these flaws seem minor and haven’t tainted my overall impression of the game. I’m lowkey infatuated with these lanky loaves. Much like in Zero Dawn, and I’ll take every opportunity to climb all over them.
In Many respects, Forbidden West is a Triumph.
The plot moves quickly as Aloy makes her way to the Pacific coast, and the world feels alive and full of surprises. The landscapes range from flooded, neon-lit factories to vast deserts and dense rainforests, all with changing weather and time. Throughout it all, Ashly Burch, Aloy’s voice actress, conveys an emotive, complicated narrative of survival, collaboration, and progress while exhibiting great range.