Wednesday, May 18

‘Horizon Forbidden West’: Seven aspects in which it improves on its predecessor in its first three hours


It was very clear to us with the first installment of Aloy’s adventures, ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’, that there was little left to improve technically. The absolutely captivating visual effects and the peculiar and careful design of the game went hand in hand with precise and varied exploration mechanics, improvement of the character and his arsenal and combat. It was one of the must-have titles on Playstation 4 and rivaled ‘God of War’ in its ability to squeeze the hardware.

Its sequel arrives on February 18 as a game halfway between the limitations of PS4 and the possibilities of PS5, and Guerrilla Games shows that it has thoroughly analyzed what was working well and what needed to be improved, and that is why this new installment of Aloy’s post-apocalyptic adventures has so much in common in aesthetics (although that may change in the future, when Aloy leaves the areas near her home, which we already know) and in mechanics with its precedent. It is a way of acknowledging that his previous work was already very remarkable.

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We have had the opportunity to access a gameplay exclusive of the game of three hours and a series of data on the same thanks to the companions of Gamepro, Y with him we have been able to get a more approximate idea of ​​what elements he reformulates from his precedent and how it improves it. These are the seven points (so far) in which we have perceived that it turns around what was proposed in 2017.

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new weapons

Of course. The arsenal is largely renewed, and in this first part of the game we can already start to savor it. These are some of the ones that will give us new possibilities in combat:

  • poison arrows: Interact with gas tanks on enemy machines, producing damaging explosions.
  • Spear Shooter: Though slower than arrows, spears deal considerably more damage, and explode on hitting enemies if hit in the right place.
  • metal disk: Aloy goes full discus thrower with this lethal and fast weapon that slices up enemies, and that is reminiscent of the ax from ‘God of War’ due to its effects.
  • floating mines: Located on enemies. After exploding, any attack, no matter how dangerous, will be interrupted, leaving them stunned and at Aloy’s mercy.
  • Smoke bomb: Distracts enemies and makes it difficult for us to become a clear target.
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Each weapon, equipped with special attacks

Each weapon comes equipped with its corresponding three special abilities, whose use is indicated by the yellow stamina bar. When it is complete we can select one of these “powers” on the attack wheel and unleash them. One we’ve seen is, for example, the ability to shoot three arrows at once instead of one, or shoot into the sky and rain down arrows on enemies.

graphic luxury

Although obviously, the visual leap is not absolutely radical, if a notable improvement in particle effects and fluid representation, fire and atmospheric effects is detected, where the title attests to what the PS5 is capable of achieving. It shows in the final bosses, in the constant 60fps, in the integration of Aloy on stage -spectacular in the levels of infiltration and platforms-, in the drawing distance and, of course, in the realism and naturalness of the characters and their faces.

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More imposing final bosses and arenas

Agree that the bosses of the first ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ were already spectacular, but we have witnessed some combat in this first installment that rivals them and that even makes us tremble when thinking about what the game will have in store for us later. In this case it is about the fight with a gargantuan robotic snake, the Slitherfang, in a combat arena that requires a combination of different attack and defense strategies and, above all, different pieces of the arsenal to achieve success. Arenas are a topic that Guerrilla will talk about in the future: side missions of varying difficulty that consist of facing bosses in closed environments that we have already defeated.

Best melee combat

Undoubtedly one of the most improvable aspects of the first ‘Horizon’ has been thoroughly renewed here. You no longer have to keep your distance from enemies, but we will be encouraged to approach them and engage in dog-face combat thanks to the many skill upgrades that we will have at our disposal: strong attacks, breaking shields and protections, combos and a long etcetera.

In general terms, the combat is more strategic, requires a more rational use of the arsenal and more studied improvements. Of course, without ever neglecting the direct and affordable approach to action, if ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ is perceived as requiring the player to study and use their resources when it comes to enhancing weapons and exploiting their possibilities, as it happens with the distinctive special attacks.

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procedural escalation

The ever-controversial theme of climbing, and which draws criticism in games that have exploration elements for how developers often implement hints about edges or ledges to lean on, is refined here with procedurally generated cracks. Our spotlight will highlight them so we know where to grab, with a visual and signal style reminiscent of ‘Assassin’s Creed’, but possibly it is a voluntary option, triggering realism and difficulty if we let ourselves be carried away by our intuition.

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more pots

Exploration and combat are also greatly enhanced with artifacts that aren’t necessarily weapons. Leaving aside the promised possibility of using machines as mounts, and that we have not seen, among the most striking novelties – which undoubtedly testify to the effort that Guerrilla has made when designing the scenarios with greater verticality and multiplying the options to when approaching them – there are, for example, the shieldwing, which allows you to glide from the heights, in clear response to what we already saw in ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’.

Also seen in other games, but here executed in a much faster and more aggressive way, is the hook, which allows us to rise to the heights or approach different points of the scenarios. We can also reformulate free falls, reaching inaccessible platforms. This last possibility is quite spectacular., with leaps into the void that transform into the opening of new secret spaces. Finally, there has also been talk of a diving mask, the great novelty in terms of exploring the world of ‘Horizon Forbidden West’, to which we have not yet had access.



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