Horizon: Forbidden West – State of Play (5.27.21)

Yesterday, we got our first look at Horizon Forbidden West. The livestream began at 5 pm Eastern Time, but I tuned in a few minutes early to get prepared (and take notes). The first thing I noticed was how unbelievably gorgeous the pre-show countdown was. It featured a collection of simple landscape footage from the game. I was just staring thinking, Damn, this game is going to be breathtaking!

If PS5 had dynamic themes, these would be the perfect background videos. I wasn’t able to find any of the videos online on their own, but these images below show off the marvelous landscapes of Horizon Forbidden West from the pre-show countdown:

Horizon Zero Dawn was definitely one of my top five AAA games of the PS4 generation (along with Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima). I already feel that Horizon Forbidden West will be much larger in scale when compared to the original, Horizon Zero Dawn — because of the inclusion of the deep seas. Horizon Forbidden West will be to Horizon Zero Dawn what James Cameron’s Avatar 2 will be to Avatar — since both add oceans to these already beautiful worlds.

In case you missed Horizon Zero Dawn, the story takes place in one of the coolest worlds ever built in video games. The first game was already stunning to look at. The Horizon games take place in a post-apocalyptic/pre-historic world — which may sound counter intuitive. The game takes you 100 or more years in the future, and society as we know it no longer exists. Pre-historic robotic creatures have taken over the world, and although they are made of enhanced technology, humans now live simple, tribal lives.

When Guerrilla Games announced they were about to show off 15 minutes of actual gameplay on a PlayStation 5 I kind of wanted to look away. I’m already 100% sure that I will be pre-ordering this game. I did end up absently watching the gameplay video while working though. I did want to get a little taste, but I don’t want to ruin gameplay if it’s something I will be playing later.

Any time I see a video saying “Check out the first 20 minutes of gameplay,” I don’t want to watch it. I may skim through and watch a few seconds if I know nothing about the game just to get a feel for it. If I watch a video showing off the opening of a game, then if I actually end up playing that game I’m going to be less interested when my brain tells me, you’ve seen this before.

I’m not the kind of person who let’s a spoiler ruin my day. I’m also not someone who openly searches for them. I do enjoy going into a movie or game blind. Of course, when it comes to something brand new you may need a small trailer or some short gameplay footage to figure out, Is this for me? While watching the Horizon Forbidden West gameplay I sort of blocked out what was going on and looked around at different details on screen.

I did notice some of the neat new additions to the game. The biggest update is adding the open waters (as I mentioned earlier) and the Robo-Dinos that live down there. With Aloy now able to explore the depths for long periods of time (thanks to a diving mask), I’m sure we’ll see some tunnels and deep sea diving adventures.

We got to see some combat footage with Aloy using her bow and some upgraded weapons. She also has some new accessories to help traverse the world. The Pull Caster sort of works like Batman’s grappling gun, and will pull Aloy towards rocks, walls and objects. The Digital Shield/Glider is reminiscent of Link’s glider in Breath of the Wild, but also works as a shield (and might have some other perks).

The game is coming exclusively to PlayStation consoles (both PS4 and PS5). It’s exciting that more people will be able to play this way, but I hope it can still reach its full potential on the PlayStation 5. The original game was released over four years ago, which means technology has changed a great deal over that time, especially with new next-gen hardware now available.

Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart is coming exclusively to PlayStation 5, because the PS4 cannot handle the technology behind the game (it will rely heavily on the PS5’s SSD). I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Horizon Forbidden West will be available on both PlayStation platforms. I just hope it won’t be holding the game back since they’ll have to think, Will this also work on the last gen?

Either way I’m very excited for this game, but in the meantime there are still games to play so

Well, I guess it’s time to go replay Horizon Zero Dawn (with the PS5 upgrades).

Horizon Forbidden West will release on PlayStation 4 & 5 some time in 2021 (according to the Guerirlla Games site).

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