2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the most successful Action-Role Playing Games around. By 2019, it had sold over 10 million copies, and it has continued to move units, and the titles has even made a PC appearance since its initial PS4 launch. Naturally, the game is receiving a much anticipated sequel in Horizon Forbidden West next year.
Another Huge Cross-Generation Game From Sony
While Sony was adamant in the past about strongly believing in “Console Generations”, and proper next generation games, the PS4’s success, along with semi conductor shortages and “scalpers” have forced the company to rethink its policies. For 100 plus million dollar budgeted titles, Sony needs to tap into the larger PS4 market in order to turn a profit, as PS5’s remain largely scarce.
As its stands, the company’s upcoming biggest releases: Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok will make an appearance on both the PS4 and the PS5, effectively making these games ,cross-platform, entries hindered by the lowest common denominator hardware wise.
It shouldn’t be much of problem for the time being, as Horizon Zero Dawn remains one of the most stunning looking open world games around. Horizon Forbidden West will likely continue the tradition of strong visuals if the game’s trailers are any indication.
Horizon Forbidden West Goes Breath of the Wild
Ironically, Breath of the Wild went head to head with Horizon Zero Dawn back in 2017. Both games were released within a week of each other, and Nintendo’s Action-RPG did better commercially and critically. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild introduced a few elements that made traversal easier, and its game world more accessible to players.
Forbidden West takes some cues from Nintendo’s masterpiece introducing its own form of gliding traversal, and free form surface climbing. Aloy can now “para-glide” with her shield from higher ground and ledges much in the same way that Link did in Breath of the Wild.
In truth, playing Horizon Zero Dawn right after Breath of the Wild felt restrictive by comparison given the amount of freedom introduced by Nintendo in that title.
Guerrilla Games aims to correct this and it introduced some new elements to Horizon’s game world. The company described the ‘Shieldwing’s’ use, and how fun it is to utilize in a recent blog post:
“The Shieldwing was always a team favorite, it provides not only the most exhilarating way to return from an epic climb but also the most picturesque! This tool is invaluable with having so much more verticality, where backtracking down the same trail holds less of an appeal as on the way up.’
From what we gathered in the blog post, a wide amount of surfaces will be climbable. While the system is not likely to be as “open” as Breath of the Wild’s ‘climb everything’ mechanic, I expect a much greater degree of freedom here, and the Forbidden West’s world to be much more enticing (over the original game) for it.
Finally, Horzion Forbidden West will also include a ‘Pullcaster’ tool. Again, this feels like another Zelda inspired move as Guerilla introduces a ‘hookshot’ device that can allow Aloy to quickly travel to certain hooking spots, and to pull and manipulate objects by cleverly using the device (which might not be all that dissimilar from Link’s ability to pull and manipulate items in Breath of the Wild).
“The Pullcaster is a mechanical wrist-mounted device with two separate functions. The first function is a grapple mechanic, allowing the player to swiftly and easily ascend the environment and providing a dynamic traversal/escape option to the player toolkit. When grappling, the player can activate the launch — throwing them into the air, where they can grab a higher ledge, fire their bow, glide, strike-from-above or even grapple to a further point.’
‘The second function of the Pullcaster is a winch, meaning the player can dynamically manipulate, move and destroy the objects in the environments. Think about pulling a hidden loot chest from a ledge, or tearing open a vent to create a new climb path.” – David McMullen, Lead Systems Designer at Guerrilla
Forbidden West’s Gameplay is Shaping Up to Match its Incredible Storyline in Greatness
Guerrilla Games came from Killzone (a first person shooter) into the open-world action-RPG genre with Horizon Zero Dawn. As a freshman effort, the game was fantastic. It featured one of the best (if not the best) storyline within an open world game that I have seen, interesting and fast-paced combat, and wonderful world to explore.
However, it would have been unrealistic for gamers to expect Zero Dawn to match The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild blow for blow in terms of gameplay brilliance, and innovation (as Zelda had been around for 30 years at that point in time). That said, Forbidden West aims to provide a larger scale of exploration, and dynamic interactivity with the game’s environment in order to take this series to the next level, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.
Horizon Forbidden West is expected to arrive on all PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles in February 2022.
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