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(LTTP) Horizon Forbidden West is one of the most disappointing sequels I've ever played.

im probably gonna wait till Black Friday to pick it up. Im dragging my feet on finishing the Frozen Wilds DLC from the first game.

HZD it took like 20 hours for me to start liking it. I thought it was boring and i really didn't like the combat. But eventually the story picked up and got great. And i stopped using stealth and melee attacks and just focused on the gadgets and ripping off parts of the enemies and started having fun
 
Sequels.

They exist to advance the story and to provide us with more time with the characters we love, all whilst advancing the game's design and offering more for the player to do with intuitive new design elements and using the faults from the first game to deliver numerous improvements that wildly enhance the game experience as a whole.

We all know some sequels that did just that and more: Assassin's Creed II, Uncharted - Among Thieves, Mass Effect 2, Silent Hill 2 and many more.

So in the lead up to Horizon Forbidden West you can imagine the excitement heading into the game's launch, the graphics were wildly improved upon, the combat looked snappier, the story looked ambitious and the new explorable areas looked like exactly what fans of the first game were desperate for if Aloy ever returned. But after spending 45 hours in the world of Forbidden West and having recently acquired the Platinum Trophy, I can't help but feel like Forbidden West is nothing but a series of missed opportunities and half assed game mechanics thrusted into a sequel that feels in some ways more like a DLC.

Let's start with the story, Forbidden West was always going to suffer story wise after the excellent narrative in the first game, you have already solved a lot of the mysteries about this world by the end of the first game so you're having to retread across already covered plot points and the writers have to drop in bigger threats to up the threat levels so that Aloy isn't OP upon their arrival. The problem with this is, the game seems to lack any feeling of urgency, the villains aren't compelling, the stakes aren't bigger than the first game and most characters show NO signs of development, the largest culprit of this is Aloy herself, she has remained the same wooden shell of a protagonist from the first game and hasn't changed at all heading into this game. Come the end of the game I felt like nothing had changed in the world except from one bad guy being taken out and another appearing to set up another game.

Horizon Forbidden West also has a tendency for setting up intriguing scenarios, only to either end them lacklustre or just ignoring them flat out. One has to be near the end of the game where you go into a certain characters "Tomb" under the ground, it uses environmental storytelling, atmosphere and tension to amazing effect to set up a monumental story in the wider narrative of the series and a potentially epic conclusion to one of the game's biggest plot points, but instead the devs cocktease the player and end it abruptly in disappointing fashion when the payoff they needed to utilise was (LITERALLY) right behind a door. After that point I felt robbed of a pivotal moment in the game's wider narrative and what could've been the highlight of the game, nothing ever came close to that moment again for the rest of the game.

Also fuck this game for using the most predictable trope in narratives by having the big baddy go from wanting to kill you, to apparently wanting to help you and being your best friend, to only wanting to actually kill you all along in their masterplan once you help them get to where they wanted to be, it was cheap.

Enough about the story, what about the amazing improvements to Gameplay? The advancements to quest design and mission structure?

There aren't any. The most credit I could give is the slight improvements to melee combat and the ability to eventually use a flying mount. Every "advancement" here feels like it was forced in to appease the crowds who compared the game to BOTW. Fine you enjoy gliding? here's a glider you never use that we actually will sometimes script it's movement and speed so you can't get to areas you should be able to get to. What you like grappling? Here's a grapple that stops momentum and is only useful for moving certain blue boxes and opening blue vents. You want to climb everywhere? Well tough how about only being able to climb 60% of the time and us on purpose making easily scalable areas impossible for Aloy to climb so you have to play through our shitty puzzles.

Every advancement is a setback to the overall design philosophy of the game, it doesn't add anything genuine to the game, it just adds more steps to solving problems. Most of the in-game activities haven't been improved, Cauldrons are worse with nothing new aside from some awful "timed" climbing puzzles that consist of you waiting for an animation cycle to end. What seem like cool additions like Ruins and Arena Challenges end up being recycled bore fests and don't go far enough to justify them being there. You are given a multitude of weapons and outfits but barely any of them feel useful and it always seems like you're given them way too late as your current gear set far outlevel what you've been given.

Also quest design has not improved at all, almost every quest in the game follows this path:

1) Follow NPC and have a slow trailing section where you talk exposition
2) Go to area and scan around using your detective vision, I mean eagle vision, I mean Focus.
3) Follow path of tracks using Focus
4) Short climbing/Puzzle section
5) Fight against robots/humans

And repeat, again and again and again, maybe the order of these 5 pillars may change slightly, but you generally do the same thing with some optional crappy stealth mechanics thrown in for good use. This game is a jack of all trades but a master of none.

This isn't a completely terrible game however, some of the environments, particularly further west are breath-taking and worth exploring, the sheer amount of things to do will make any Ubisoft fan cream in delight, the amount of content on offer (albeit not enjoyable or unique) do make up the price of admission in terms of price per hour of gametime. The robot designs are truly amazing as always and you can tell in some ways they did try to improve the game with how they approached the larger Rebel Camps, trying to make copy and paste content multi faceted. And for all my hate on the game, some missions are truly memorable like the one I mentioned in the "tomb". But all of this just makes the game's shortcomings all that more frustrating.

Now I want to stress that I am not calling this game a bad one, in some ways it is a good one, and in some ways it could've even been a great one. I just come away from this game extremely let down given the fact that this took 5 years to develop (3.5/4 if you take out time for COVID) and it hasn't even answered the problems of the first game, let alone improved upon them majorly or utilise elements from more successful and more intuitive titles like BOTW. In general this game feels like a more polished Ubisoft title and I'd give it a 7/10 if I was reviewing it officially, but overall this game just feels like a missed opportunity to create something special when Guerilla had all the pieces right at their disposal, all they had to do was put them in the right places.

TLDR FOR THOSE WHO HATE MY WALL OF TEXT: Horizon Forbidden West is a disappointing sequel as it fails to build upon any of the pillars of the gameplay, severely misses in the narrative and gameplay variety department, and a lot of it's "new" mechanics come off half assed in terms of implementation once the novelty wares off. I hope they nail Horizon III as I want to love this series so bad but it just isn't meeting it's potential.


I read everything, and while I haven't played FW, I played and destroyed ZD on the highest difficulty to boot, on my first playthrough. Seemed Ideal, and in retrospect, it was.
I appreciate your take. It was easy to take your opinion serious because your description of the first game, while somewhat brief, was accurate as fuck. Also describing what we usually expect from a sequel. :messenger_horns:
 
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DonJorginho

Member
I read everything, and while I haven't played FW, I played and destroyed ZD on the highest difficulty to boot, on my first playthrough. Seemed Ideal, and in retrospect, it was.
I appreciate your take. It was easy to take your opinion serious because your description of the first game, while somewhat brief, was accurate as fuck. Also describing what we usually expect from a sequel. :messenger_horns:
Thank you very much my man, not just for the gold but for the classy response and understanding.

I knew this wasn't gonna be the most universally appreciated post I'd ever make but this was something that was eating away at me throughout my entire playthrough of this game. And as someone who wants the best from these talented developers, I thought it would be wrong for me to let it go undebated just because it might potentially disrupt the hornets nest seeing as this is a VERY popular game on here.

Surprisingly the responses have been better than I expected, a lot more respectful and encouraging responses like your own have come about compared to the more immature "didn't read, HFW is amazing" responses that I've had. But hey ho, that's the internet for you.

I've always liked your account and your posts, seem like a top guy, sometime I'll repay the golden favour 🥂
 

Hobbygaming

has been asked to post in 'Grounded' mode.
I read everything, and while I haven't played FW, I played and destroyed ZD on the highest difficulty to boot, on my first playthrough. Seemed Ideal, and in retrospect, it was.
I appreciate your take. It was easy to take your opinion serious because your description of the first game, while somewhat brief, was accurate as fuck. Also describing what we usually expect from a sequel. :messenger_horns:
If you enjoyed the 1st game I say give it a try, some people do have the opposite view like this one from today on Twitter

 
The first game had a better Story. But mechanically FW had improved, its not an opinion, its a fact

Story wise its to be expected since the first game really didn't make much room for a higher stake story than the first, mechanically wise they kept the "if its not broken, don't fix it" rule, but just adding some minor improvement in every subtle details, I personally liked the underwater segment.

Its overall a good sequel, but whether it fits your scope of a good sequel that's a different story, not every game has to be GoW3 - GoW 2018 level of difference, but a GoW1 - GoW2 level difference is enough at least for most people.

The main game loop "problems" you've mentioned are also prevalent in the first game, and other type of open world game in this type of formula, if you don't like this formula the game is not for you. Like someone mentioned, the universally acclaimed Witcher 3 doesn't differ from this game loop, although its a 2015 game, but most people todays still don't find that game to be outdated.

And lastly graphic do matters.
 
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TheInfamousKira

Reseterror Resettler
HZD is my downtime game, I haven't played it before, but from what I gather it's kind of harmful playing it for the first time in 2022, given that open world games kind of just build on each other, so there's a lot that was probably new and exciting in HZD but feels like old hat if you've played other games in the same genre released afterward.

Which is to say, on topic, that one of the most troubling things I hear parroted by a lot of people about HFW is that it's basically another helping of the same meal on a fancier plate. I really enjoy the world in Horizon, and the presentation and performances are all great so far, but I don't know if I can play essentially two of the same game that feels lifted straight out of the mid 00's in a row.
 

SCB3

Member
I agree, its a fantastic looking game but for me the gameplay is stuck in the past especially when it comes to climbing, Aloy can get stuck on everything in a bad way, can only climb certain yellow markers, except sometimes no, its rocks

I actually made this post last week detailing my thoughts:

Finally went back and finished it this week and have a few thoughts

  • Its a stunning, beautiful world, I love the Art Style and world building is great
  • Character Models are very nicely detailed, especially on PS5
  • The amount of Combat options is fantastic
  • Robot Dinosaurs!

But thats it, the bad side

  • Gameplay is outdated, even something like Uncharted 2 or 3 does this kind of platforming better and thats if I limit it to just "Follow the Yellow" climbing games
  • Its really buggy, the amount of times I've missed a jump for no reason or gotten stuck in something is ridiculous
  • The Difficulty of some of the bosses at the end, the final boss just sucks and amounted to "Shoot Plasma Arrows, then Acid and avoid the bullshit 1 shot attacks that always nearly hit you"
  • The Story is very mixed, there are times where its great and some of the Side Mission especially are good, but you meet the Future guys early and then never again until the end for example, theres no sense of "Why Aloy is doing this now"

Overall, worth playing, not as good as Zero Dawn imo but a sequel with fresh new gameplay is very much welcome, 6/10

That final boss also sucks on Hard
 

Kenneth Haight

Gold Member
There is some really constructive criticism in here that I hope guerrilla listen to. I echo the comments about just using a bow 99% of the time. Ask ally no need to use any of the other weaponry unless on the high difficulties. But this is mostly a game people will play once for the story.

It’s a fantastic game and don’t want to shit on it too much, it’s one of the best looking games but some of the climbing mechanics etc are iffy. Awkwardness of Aloy is off putting at times but also charming. It’s a solid 8 though.
 

skit_data

Member
I don’t agree, I think it does pretty much everything better than the first.
Sure, the melee combat could’ve been better and the intrigue is pretty weak compared to the first but overall it’s a better game.

My biggest gripe with HFW is that it introduces
the flying mount
way too late into the main campaign.
 
Game is up there with some of the best Ubisoft open-worlds ever created. I platinumed it and can't wait for more DLC content. I agree that it's a safe sequel with terrible story.
 

DonJorginho

Member
I don't disagree with you.

It just comes across as console warring to me.

To a point where PPL are ready to reach for their wallets.

I might be wrong and person might have different intention, i dunno.
I can assure you bro I'm no console warrior.

I hate warring and love gaming on all platforms, I own a Switch, XSX, PS5 and even sometimes do basic emulation on my Phone when I get a minute.

I hate that people are always trying to justify one plastic box over another and I love when all the big three are doing their best and challenging eachother with their quality of output.

I'm sorry if this post came across as warring, it was simply just my raw and honest opinion after a game I was so hyped for failed to deliver for me, if you like the game or think it's a masterpiece that's more than fine and I'm glad you hold it in a good light, I'm not here to police opinions, just offer my own.
 

Bitmap Frogs

Mr. Community
I just dislike the way combat is handled, everything just rushes at you and the feel of strategically disarming the mechanical colossus doesn’t exist anymore.
 
It looks very good at last!

That said, loved the original. Each new area was a new layer to a cool universe. The new one? Each new area is some whacky new society, Alloy fixes things and moves on. They do nothing with it from that perspective.

It needed to take notes from Star Trek on how to make that compelling.

I'm probably 14 hours in but that's how its going.
 

Barrico82

Member
If you said a terrible game or WRPG game i would have little bit agreed but as a sequel, to HZD, no they imrpoved alot of things, the side quests are day and night compared to HZD i dont need to remined you about the first Couldron quest giver in HZD in a village that was built after the red raids all that quest giver could shed lights on was the Couldron .. Really !

That doesnt mean they didnt make wrong steps, for me the main story is OK my issues lies mainly with Aloy constantly talking to herself way overdone, i hated the new climbing system and the need to push the focus, i hated the upgrade system for weapons especially with the random stuff from random machines, for the main story i didnt like some of their moves like the Far zenith but overall it was OK

But they also did so many right steps, in the side quests, it fleshes the world the tribes the history of the world and the history of the tribes, i liked the representation aspect, there is a side mission with Autistic person, Alzheimer person and they went to represent differnt festivals around the world from Eid to Valentines day.

I wish in the third one they cut the craps with the upgrading system and make it lean, without the crapy random things

Overall decent sequel not great or revolutionary but certainly not a bad one.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
Yea...

30 hours in and I'm kind of meh on the whole thing where as the first was one of my favourite games of the generation.

I'll see it through because I don't finish many games and it's enjoyable enough. Curious where the story goes but if it's a cliffhanger ending. Blah.

I find her incredibly awkward in some of the cut scenes. Her facial expression feel weird at times. The dialogue throws me off too. Like I'm expecting accents or a certain kind of voice. Its bizarre to me in some instances.
It's a trilogy, so yeah...
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
I have to agree, mostly. Horizon Forbidden West is *not* a bad game. Its a very *good* Game. But that is all it is. Good. Nothing about it is spectacular. Its graphical fidelity has already been beaten. Its art direction has already been surpassed - which shows that putting all your eggs into what essentially amounts to “15 minutes of fame” is utterly idiotic. The focus should be on a well told, engaging narrative (which the game fails at, its at best a passable bland adventure) with amazing gameplay that is simple to pick up, difficult to master (which again, the game fails to do) with having a world that is tightly designed with no wasted space or pointless side content, everything should mesh together well (Which… well you get the picture).

If someone rarely plays games or rarely plays these types of games, I am sure they are going to have a blast! However those of us who have played a crap ton of games for years or decades? Who have played tens to hundreds of these kinds of games? There is nothing here that is above, “good”.
By who exactly?

because i can't think of many open world games with noticeable better graphic or with so much beatiful and diverse biomes (please don't say ER, it's dark fantasy vs luxurian post apaocalyptic scifi).
(and the tweet miss a lot of other locations like vegas or plainsong etc.)


Even the dinobots are still pretty unique.
 
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tommib

Member
I will never like these games. Things look tacky. From the colour pallet to her haircut and the formulaic dinobots. Very corny stuff.
 
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Sosokrates

Gold Member
I wonder what is next for Guerilla?

I wouldn't mind a return to the killzone franchise (killzone on PS5 🤤) or something new.
 
I got the platinum a couple days ago for this, some thoughts:

Game was way too bloated. Hundreds of little icons with tons of dinosaurs each, getting around was a chore when you're constantly getting spotted and attacked by 4-6 enemies. Unless you use fast travel, which i ended up doing a lot. Sometimes less is more, and this game should've had way less.

The dinosaurs were cool, but sort of similar to the first game. None of the new ones really stood out, mechanics-wise, my favorite still is the thunderjaw. "Apex" dinosaurs are just slicker reskin versions of the same thing, kinda cheap.

Voice acting was good & plentiful, and there weren't any mmo type fare sidequests which i appreciated.

The areas were pretty unique, and all the biomes stood out. My favorites were the jungle biome and the underground las vegas areas.

Aloy still has an annoying personality where she refuses to listen to anyone and she's always right, even though she's most often not.

Climbing & platforming mechanics suck ass. Terrible implementation, i just.. can't there's no saving graces here. You can do the same jump five times in the same way and only nail it once. Terrible, how did this get by playtesting?

Combat is good, as long as you're in an open field. If there's any climbable things nearby, Aloy will keep grabbing onto them midcombat. Enemies are super spongy, which is why i eventually turned the difficulty down as i kept getting bogged down in endless fights with more and more patrolling enemies joining in on an on-going fight i didn't ask for, and since i didnt plan on walking crouched from bush to bush for the entirety of the game i settled for a more normal difficulty.

Story was pretty good, with a lot of revelations from the old world and interesting cast, i hate that they set up yet another continuation though, don't think they can milk this world anymore without it looking like yet another rehash.

Overall, decent game, but the series should've ended here.
 
I loved the first game to death, played it twice.

Yet, I can’t even find the motivation to finish FW. I’ve tried twice now and dropped the game after a day or two of playing. It’s pretty, but something is off, can’t put my finger on it but it’s missing something and it feels different to play. Also the new skill trees are horrible and a step back imo.
 

Hoppa

Member
I haven’t finished it but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played so far. Couldn’t give a shit about the story honestly, I zoned out and lost interest a long while ago and I usually play while listening to music or podcasts now lol. Story could be good but honestly some of the side characters have more charisma than Aloy
 

Lupin25

Member
By who exactly?

because i can't think of many open world games with noticeable better graphic or with so much beatiful and diverse biomes (please don't say ER, it's dark fantasy vs luxurian post apaocalyptic scifi).
(and the tweet miss a lot of other locations like vegas or plainsong etc.)


Even the dinobots are still pretty unique.

The diversity is insane, as well as the underwater sections.


But honestly, if someone’s not enthused by the gameplay loop they’ll never truly be satisfied.
 

Filben

Member
I like the glider, I like that you can climb on more occasions, I dislike that I can't on other occasions.

Urgency is in fact missing as in 99% of open world games. No excuse though, but the reason why I usually don't play a lot of them.

Aloy is fine and is really pissed when things go her way of if something or someone tries to get in her way or hold her back and it's really underlined by facial and body expressions. As the gameplays not conveying any urgency, at least Aloy is and often says she's focused on the mission and can't be bothered with other things (and then you have open world design and quests of course that creates this dissonance... open world yay!).

Also, I love swimming and diving and underwater exploration in games and way too few do that. So this is a great improvement.

Overall, it's an improvement in every aspect save the story maybe. Zero Dawn was a 7/10 for me, FW is a 8/10 now.
 

chixdiggit

Gold Member
Climbing & platforming mechanics suck ass. Terrible implementation, i just.. can't there's no saving graces here. You can do the same jump five times in the same way and only nail it once. Terrible, how did this get by playtesting?
Is the climbing & platforming different than the first game? Because while I really liked Zero Dawn, I wasn't a fan of the auto climb where you just hold in the direction you want to go and the game does all the work for you. I mean you really couldn't even fail in the first game that I remembered.
 
I personally thought Forbidden West was a better and more enjoyable game to play than Zero Dawn but one that played it a bit too safe in terms of story and characters, which were both disappointing. It definitely looks stunning visually as well so overall I am happy with the game as it improves on most things from the original but I hope that the developers can innovate a bit more for the inevitable second sequel.
 

rofif

Gold Member
Now not liking a game, and wanting to talk about it in a forum dedicated to all things gaming, is console warring.

For fucks sake.
yeah it's taking a bad turn recently... but it's the whole internet.
Being critical about something, is a good thing. It can only make the next thing better
 
Both Horizon games to me are solid games which I enjoyed but they’re totally forgettable imo. They feel like games made by a think tank. A bit soulless like a tired Ubisoft franchise a decade after they created it.

I hope GG move on from the series and create a new FPS or other genre IP.
 

Lunarorbit

Member
I got close to half way through and then elden ring came out and I haven't felt the need to go back. This actually happened to me with the first game too. I like the game (even bought a brand new LG oled aftwr I started playing) but it's a little rote like you said op.

I'll definitely finish it but I'm not in a rush too.
 

Swift_Star

Member
Now not liking a game, and wanting to talk about it in a forum dedicated to all things gaming, is console warring.

For fucks sake.
yeah it's taking a bad turn recently... but it's the whole internet.
Being critical about something, is a good thing. It can only make the next thing better
That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying that giving gold was warring, not the critique of the game itself.
 

Swift_Star

Member
And that is still stupid.

They guy who gave me the gold has literally played the first game, an Xbox console warrior wouldn't do that would he now?
You’ll have to ask the guy that made the statement, I’m just clarifying it because you all got it wrong. 🙂
 
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klosos

Member
I played 7-10 hours of HFW and then put it down. After the amazing visuals( they are spectacular btw) they start to wear off , i just felt the meat and bones of the game was lacking and i didnt have the desire to carry on.

Glad lots of people do enjoy it tho , but just wasnt for me.
 

Alebrije

Member
Horizont is about gameplay and having fun chasing those mechanical animals , explore cauldrons and hidden áreas...as most videogames story is basic ,simple and not interesting. I found the ending a little stupid but the game in general is great.

People expecting a great story should go to read books ..it's not that videogames can not have great plots or stories but most of developers are focused on performance.
 

yamaci17

Member
Now not liking a game, and wanting to talk about it in a forum dedicated to all things gaming, is console warring.

For fucks sake.
of course, how dare you not like a game. you must hate the platform. otherwise you would like it. unfathomable, right?
 
Completely agree - I was looking forward to it so much. Maybe it’s also bc BOTW came out in between games - but man… really was disappointed. And I truly hate the platforming parts of it
 
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