Horizon Forbidden West: Release Date
Horizon Forbidden West will be released on February 18th, and while Sony has spent most of its time presenting the next open-world blockbuster on the PlayStation 5's powerful next-gen technology, the game will also be released on PlayStation 4 systems. To demonstrate this, Guerrilla Games has released a — very brief — video showing the game operating on a vanilla PlayStation 4 for the first time.
Guerrilla Games has almost exclusively displayed video of the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel on the PS5 since it was initially revealed in June 2020. PS4 Pro gameplay was shown in a short blog post at the end of January, but base PS4 gaming has been limited until now (a scant nine days before release).
The 22-second sample isn't the finest representation of how Forbidden West would perform on Sony's least powered machine, nor is it a very visually taxing moment. It's comforting to know, though, that a console released in 2013 can run a AAA flagship title for its next-gen successor while still looking good.
With Horizon Forbidden West on the horizon, it'll only be a matter of time until gamers can get a clearer look at how the game performs on older hardware. In any case, consumers are better off purchasing the PS4 version of the game (which costs $10 less but includes a free PS5 update due to player criticism).
Trailer for Horizon Forbidden West
Sony's State of Play: Horizon Forbidden West
We got our first glimpse of Horizon Forbidden West in action thanks to a vertical slice of gameplay video displayed during Sony's PS5 State of Play event; you can see the entire thing below. It starts with Aloy hiding from the new Clawstrider machines, which are velociraptor-like and push her to flee rapidly.
Several new elements were introduced in this initial action scene, like Aloy's Focus device's rapid scan mode, which immediately marks up handholds she may grasp to traverse the landscape. Aloy also receives a new grappling hook device, which allows her to zip to designated anchor points.
We also saw the addition of undersea exploration, which may include identifying areas to help Aloy navigate strong currents. You won't have to come up for air because she's wearing a breathing mask.
Later, Aloy's new fighting skills, which feature lengthier melee combos and an activated power-up for her spear — replete with dramatic super move animation — made quick work of a tribal miniboss, were showcased during an encounter with human adversaries.
The battle against the mammoth-like Tremortusk and its human masters, which serves as the game's conclusion, is a symphony of Horizon Forbidden West's new techniques. There's grappling, new explosive spear and movement-slowing sticky bomb weaponry, and Aloy's Shielding glider: a hard-light parachute that appears to be as helpful for escaping a crumbling structure as it is for more tranquil navigation.
The second portion of the trailer depicts Aloy fighting a Tenakth rebel force, a Western tribe whose inhabitants are only briefly seen in Horizon Zero Dawn. However, there will be some familiar characters along for the voyage, like Aloy's pal Erend, who plays the moustachioed damsel in distress in this image.
Playing Horizon Forbidden West
We know from Horizon Zero Dawn that the Forbidden West is a perilous portion of North America that lies outside the Carja tribe's territory and is populated by bloodthirsty robots. Horizon Forbidden West is set on the West Coast of a post-apocalyptic America, as evidenced by images of gleaming beaches and hilly terrain, as well as views of a broken Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco landmarks like the Ferry Building and the Transamerica Pyramid.
Horizon Forbidden West's total size will be “a little larger” than its predecessor, but it will make use of PS5 SSD technology and eliminate the need for hardly any loading screens, according to game director Mathijs de Jonge.
Speaking of beaches, the video showed Aloy driving beneath the water and exploring submerged structures while dodging crocodile-like robots in some type of cobbled-together dive gear. Climbing snow-capped mountains and discovering tunnels rich with long-lost technology appears to be part of the game.
There will also be over 40 different animalistic robots to fight, including the Bristleback, Burrowers, Clamberjaws, and Slitherfangs that have been featured in the videos thus far. Horizon Zero Dawn, on the other hand, only has 26 metal monsters to contend with. This is all very exciting since the battle against the robots in Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game.
Along with slaying robot dinosaurs and beasts, you'll be able to take control of them and utilise them as an amount to traversing the open area once again. That won't be the only trick you have up your sleeve; Sony has released a detailed look at Aloy's talents as well as a glimpse at the environment she'll be exploring.
Aloy can jump and zip to out-of-reach regions, as well as drag items towards her, thanks to the Pullcaster, a grappling hook-like gadget. Horizon Zero Dawn has a lot more dynamic range of movement, therefore this should give a much more dynamic range of movement.
The Shielding is similar to the paraglider in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, except instead of fabric and some sticks, it is powered by an energy shield. It enables Aloy to glide down from heights where jumping would kill her, allowing players to explore the open world in new ways.
According to a PlayStation Blog article devoted to Horizon Forbidden West's gameplay, Guerrilla's ambition is to expand the combat concept from Zero Dawn without entirely reworking the essential underpinnings.
Bo de Vries, the community's leader, explains: “Through talents like melee combinations and Valor Surges, we sought to bring more depth to the game and raise the skill level for players. Players who spend some time honing their fighting abilities will discover several effective and fashionable methods to dispatch their foes.
“Second, we wanted to accommodate a wide range of playstyles and place a strong emphasis on player choice. Players can change their strategies by using different weapons and clothes that can be modified at a workbench. Finally, we wanted to create monsters that were difficult to defeat and encouraged players to use all of their powers and skills. Throughout the game, gamers will be kept on their toes by a new group of machines as well as sophisticated human foes!”
A redesign of the opponent AI is another significant upgrade to the fighting system in Forbidden West. This will make human foes, in particular, much smarter, which was one of Horizon Zero Dawn's major flaws. The intelligence of robot animals will be increased to enable them to explore the terrain more realistically.
In a new gameplay sample, new underwater foes have been shown. While Aloy now can dive beneath the sea's surface, her opponents do as well, with mechanical animals that can strike on land and in the water.
Horizon Forbidden West's immersive nature will also be enhanced by the PS5's DualSense controller.
Guerrilla's chief systems designer, David McMullen, remarked, “The DualSense wireless controller is strongly featured throughout our mechanics.” “From the scratch of debris as you push a container to the sensation of an unwinding winch as you pull with the Pullcaster – with enhanced adaptive trigger tension as you pull!”
We've also added extra tactile dimensions to increase both the gameplay value and the feeling of being a part of the world Aloy is moving around in; these can be as subtle as grass brushing around you to indicate you're entering stealth grass, or as loud as the adaptive trigger popping as you reach a maximum draw with a bow. When you're out of ammo, we even use the lack of adaptable tension to aid convey.”
The narrative of Horizon's Forbidden West
A new teaser for Horizon Forbidden West sees Aloy travelling to the United States' West Coast in search of a cure for a disease that is afflicting the world's flora and crops, perhaps starving the world's budding human population. The predicament is made worse by the increasing aggression of the world's robots.
Trend and Varl will be her returning companions, so she won't be going it alone. Sylvans, the mysterious and ethically problematic character, has returned. He had caught the essence of killer AI Hades after Aloy prevented the AI from initiating a procedure that would destroy life on Earth for the second time when he was last seen. We don't think we've heard the last of Hades.
But a more serious foe will arrive in the form of Regalla, a renegade at odds with the Tenth clan, and Aloy appears to be caught in the centre of the conflict.
There were also clues that additional ancient AIs were present, as well as a possible ancient human that lived until the third millennium via cloning or cryostasis. Expect the technology of the ‘Old Ones,' aka pre-apocalyptic mankind, to intersect with the plot of Forbidden West's 3040 around the 2040s, as well as the phantom they left behind.
PS4 – Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is a PlayStation exclusive, but it won't only be available on the PS5: it'll also be available on the PS4.
This raises the question of whether the game's cross-generation nature will limit its possibilities in terms of visuals and performance. However, based on a video of Horizon Forbidden West running on the PS4 Pro, it appears to be a pretty great game.
The PS5 version of Horizon Forbidden West is expected to deliver the definitive Horizon Forbidden West experience. However, with PS5 restocks still few, it's reassuring to know that PS4 owners won't be left with a significantly diminished experience.