Horizon: Forbidden West – conservatism hidden under a beautiful setting

From the shot of mechanized nature to the silhouette of the protagonist, Aloy. A hunter, a treasure hunter, a heroine like Miss Croft’s successor. In line with modern tradition, virtual sexiness has been reduced to the necessary minimum, emphasizing the strength of character. A sign of those times. Sales in excess of 10 million copies necessarily forced the construction of a follow-up. At the same time, let us mention that Zero Dawn does not in any conceptual aspect appear to be a revolution.

It is a collection of contemporary solutions written by colleagues. From Ubisoft to Crystal Dynamics and even Core Design itself. The exploration of forgotten ruins belonging to our civilization reminded me of the conceptual thresholds of classic Tomb Raiders. The rest of the concept is hidden under the cloak of a beautiful visual sphere. But it was already, but will come back more. A month before Horizon: Forbidden West’s debut, I have a little reflection – do I want more of the same in the form of a thicker technical layer?

Over compromises

Horizon: Forbidden West - Aloy

February is the shortest link of the year. What if this month serves the hottest period of major premieres? All unmet expectations for the past year – the current 2022 compensates almost at the beginning of the calendar trail. Horizon apart from the further journey, Aloy discovers another stronghold of humanity, The City, and the genre constellation From Software, Elden Ring. Difficult and easy choice. Two sequels and a new beginning for Miyazaki. So why are sequels difficult? The authors of the original must make a lot of effort using the same systemic basics. The nature of the modern recipient has become mass complaining as soon as the foundations of the Internet crowd appeared. People rarely remember that the gaming industry went full circle a long time ago, but it’s not entirely wrong. Today we want to receive as many fresh solutions as possible, regardless of the genre origin.

Horizon from the very beginning did not seem to be something specific, but a pastiche of modern solutions. He is another follower of the mixing principle since Far Cry 3 (2021, Ubisoft Montreal). The narrative and artistic layer constitute a manifesto against the exploitation of mechanisms. Zero Dawn creates a unique world, governed by machine law that simulates living fauna. Forbidden West doesn’t seem to be leaning out any more. It is a safe sequel that puts the charm of the message. This is the role of the sequel – to develop what we already know. Forbidden West naturally promises new locations, with a flourish going beyond the areas of ancient San Francisco. “The presence of America’s top landscapes is coded in Horizon’s DNA,” says Benjamin McCaw, one of the producers of the studio’s new game. In his opinion, the fragment of the terrain in the demo version from the State of Play summer captures only a scrap of the complete content. The developer has made a nifty maneuver with regard to Zero Dawn. The hit from 20217 does not offer the recipient of underwater exploration, which translates into the implementation of this mechanic in Forbidden West.

The studio will intensify the underwater environment, making the ecosystem not only a visual spectacle of marine fauna, but offering an optional narrative. Numerous flooding suggest a long air time for underwater escapades, thanks to the oxygen mask the player gets an unlimited presence under the ocean surface. Guerilla Games will soon be offering a game presentation for the previous generation of the PlayStation family. The team has to take care of absolutely top quality on both systems while Mathis deJonge is already pointing to the obvious advantage of the PS5 in a minimal aspect. “One of the biggest advantages of the current developer job that I am experiencing is the impressive loading speed” – so nothing more than what we already know. The question is whether, in the light of the international threshold, Horizon Forbidden West will become a benchmark title for PS5 as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart?

Over divisions

Horizon: Forbidden West - landscape

The quality privilege messed up Sony’s pricing policy a bit. Just take a look at the fresh PlayStation Store promotion. Games strictly for PS5 offer a promotional price almost similar to the premiere price. Madness. We will not buy Forbidden West in accordance with the new price standard for less than PLN 349 in pre-release orders. The price of the PlayStation 4 edition is probably in the range of PLN 100 lower, offering a visually similar experience to Zero Dawn. Now let’s convert it into the prices of the competition in Dying Light 2 Stay Human and the charming Elden Ring. As a reminder, these are also “big” games aimed at both generations of consoles. Guerilla Games promises a sequel that is much more ambitious than its predecessor. I am inclined to believe. Do not kid yourself. The main factor that causes a slight high on Aloy’s hunting adventures is the perspective of admiration of the visual sphere. Tropical locations, new types of machines, Dual Sense haptics and smooth gameplay thanks to SSD. Everything connected with the same patterns known earlier. Only this and so much.

To many readers, this sounds like complaining about “more of the same”. Horizon: Forbidden West is an obvious blockbuster expansion to the delight of players waiting for powerful visuals. Neither the Elden Ring nor the DL2 will come close to this level. Although I choose these two positions before the Forbidden West fence. Is the recipe for hiding conservatism most often the appropriate cosmetics of the luminaire? It’s been a common trend in Sony games as far as I can remember. A brilliant historical example is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009, Naughty Dog). A sequel outclassing its predecessor in terms of technical, artistic and narrative, but based on exactly the same level of solutions. Horizon: Forbidden West is another equally impressive continuator, but Sony has got us used to high quality. The company, however, on average manages to persuade players to its own greed. Please remember that, Mr. Ryan.

About Steven Mark

Fan of video games and new technologies, I am editor in this environment for several years already. I like to share my passion through news, tests and other files. I also love wrestling and Marvel Comics.

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