‘Horizon Forbidden West’ game review: A thrilling sci-fi adventure with breathtaking visuals

‘Horizon Forbidden West’ is a modern-day classic meant to be experienced and taken its sweet time with

Updated - April 02, 2024 12:17 pm IST

Published - April 02, 2024 11:27 am IST

Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One of this decade’s most thrilling gaming developments is the decision by Playstation to bring its exceptional titles to PC. While the start may have been a bit bumpy, those with the hardware to run these titles are in for an exhilarating treat. Games like Spider-ManDeath StrandingGhost of TsushimaHelldivers 2, and The Last of Us all run superbly, harnessing the expanded graphical prowess of PC. Now, the highly anticipated Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to the outstanding and unique Horizon Zero Dawn, is the latest addition to this lineup. It brings with it the wonderfully tropical Burning Shores DLC, all in an excellent PC port that runs smoothly and looks stunning, especially if you are lucky enough to have a Steam Deck. 

Horizon Forbidden West opens soon after the events of the first game, leading Aloy to search for GAIA, a backup of the planet’s biosphere created by her precursor, to help restore the planet. Her search takes her into the Forbidden West, where a warring tribe faces civil war. Amidst all this chaos, there is a group of mysterious ‘visitors’ with the same goals as Aloy and friends, as she faces off against their technological might as well as a planet of rogue bionic dinosaurs.

The world-building of the Horizon series is second to none, as humans have regressed back to their tribal ways of hunting and gathering, as gigantic machines in the form of dinosaurs and animals large and small roam free. If you have not played any games from the series, please start with Zero Dawn first because it unfolds beautifully as you discover the secrets behind the mechanoid creatures. Forbidden West similarly takes that baton and uses it to unfurl the secrets behind the visitors. This is better conveyed by playing through them than by watching a story so far. All the while, prepare for your jaw to drop multiple times. 

Aloy is an annoyingly sullen protagonist at first glance, but that can slowly grow on you. As her character develops gradually, she has never been able to shake off her stern, rigorous upbringing as an outsider of her clan. She focuses only on saving this world, like a nomadic futuristic Greta Thunberg. Aloy comes from pure curiosity, mirroring that of you, the player. A harsh but beautiful world experience through her and the friends she makes along the way is a terrific story.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition
Developer: Guerrilla, Nixxes Software
Publisher: Playstation PC
Price: ₹3999 on Steam, Epic Games

The world itself is sculpted with love, beautiful vistas after vistas, filled with majestic sights, and many of the creations, both friendly and unfriendly, are a sight to behold, with all their exposed exoskeletons covered in parts you can strategically remove. The action is like a puzzle, as you determine the best way to take them down using traps and carefully aimed elemental arrows to disable their functions. All of this works very well with a mouse and keyboard, so if you do not own a DualSense 5 controller, do not sweat it. Unless you want to use that tremendous haptic feedback from the game. 

Those with the Steam Deck and a PC will be in for a treat. Umpteen settings guides can get the best performance, visual, and battery life out of your handheld, so you can experience the game on your commutes and return to it when you’re back on your PC. 

If you have a superb graphic card, Forbidden West looks incredible, especially if you have a widescreen monitor, which gives you a larger panorama of the vistas. The port is flawless and very well-optimised. Even if you have a humble graphic card, lowering the quality makes the game playable while looking great. Again, if you have the hardware, every scene is nothing short of breathtaking, with an incredible level of detail that makes the world pop. 

There is no fence to sit on when it comes to the Horizon series; there is no excuse not to jump into the entire saga at this point with Horizon Forbidden West out and optimised to the tee. This is a modern-day classic meant to be experienced and taken its sweet time with. 

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