How do you improve upon one of the better sci-fi stories in recent video game memory? You go off-the-rails, of course! Dutch developer Guerrilla Games clearly hit Amsterdam’s finest pot shops while rolling up the plot for Aloy’s sophomore outing in Horizon Forbidden West, as – spoiler alert – this narrative involves clones, off-screen ancient monstrosities, and even a giant planet munching AI. Did we get your attention yet?
Alright, so it’s all a bit silly, but the PlayStation first-party made improvements in the right areas, too. The side-quests, generally involving the contemporary tribes that occupy the Earth, provide interesting insight into how they view the world around them; regardless of whether they worship or fear the machines, it’s genuinely fascinating to see how nature shapes the perspectives of the various clans.
It also plays like a high-quality action game, which isn’t all that common for an open world RPG – well, it certainly never used to be, anyway. The exploration could still use a better climbing mechanic, but the feel of laying traps and shooting off elemental arrows is fantastic, and there’s a lot of depth to the combat system that expands as you add more skills and armaments to your arsenal.
And it’s all wrapped up in a package that, frankly, looks outstanding. With subsequent patches, Guerrilla Games managed to get this sequel running at 60 frames-per-second in reconstructed 4K, and it’s a feast for the eyes. All of the locales sing, but a special shout out must be reserved for the sandy shores of San Francisco – honestly, if it wasn’t for the deadly, man-eating robots we’d want to visit for ourselves.
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