However, the opening time is a bit hectic, apparently because Guerilla was afraid that many new players would jump into Forbidden West without any knowledge of the first game. The first 60 minutes are spent summarizing the basics that were laid in Zero Dawn, which I honestly appreciate because my memory tends to suck, even when it comes to games that I recently finished. Yet even with this time being used, anyone in Horizon for the first time faces an intimidating amount of crazy names and concepts thrown at them. After all, this is a post-apocalyptic game where tribal peoples live next to colossal machines roaming the landscape. You can definitely get lost, but I highly recommend watching a video that summarizes all the important points so that you don’t feel too lost when words like Zeniths, Zero Dawn and Focus are thrown around.
Forbidden West is a fairly direct sequel, which takes place several months after the end of Zero Dawn. Aloy is now on a mission to save the world and stand in the way of the secret Zeniths. So Aloy has to travel far to the “forbidden” West (which is actually not forbidden) to find what she needs to restart Giaa and restore all the different sub-functions. Overall, there’s a bigger sci-fi scoop on the story and an overall stronger writing that doesn’t tend to rely as much on main exposition bits, rather than spreading the mumbo-jumbo over the 30 to 70 hours it may take to wrap up Forbidden West. Other things also make the story more fun, like a more filmy flair that brings the cutscenes to life, and a lot of movement during the dialogue scenes to help you stay invested.
Whereas in Zero Dawn, it was often two heads talking to each other, the characters will now get up from a bench and walk around while talking or making silly gestures. Meanwhile, their impressive facial animations and really excellent voice acting are among the best in the business.
Horizon: Forbidden West offers exactly what I wanted in many ways; a bigger and better Zero Dawn. Most of the rough edges of the first set are ground and then polished to a brilliant shine. Smooth action are better than ever, some of the most entertaining and downright cool action in the game today. The story is a lot of goofy fun with strong performances. The open world is full of interesting things to do. It’s beautiful. Yes, it’s also a very safe sequel that doesn’t quite nail the ending because she’s busy setting up a third game. So it’s definitely not perfect. It has flaws, and you could definitely criticize it for being yet another great and successful third-person game from Sony. But if that seems fair to you, Forbidden West will undoubtedly be in talks for the best game of 2022.