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Video GameHorizon Forbidden West Review
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Posted: 21 months ago, last updated 7 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Horizon Forbidden West is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure where you explore an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life. The story of Aloy continues as she sets out to investigate a plague terminating from an arcane frontier known as the Forbidden West.

Vicious storms and an unstoppable blight ravage the scattered remnants of humanity, while fearsome new machines prowl their borders. It's up to Aloy to uncover the secrets behind these threats and restore order and balance to the world. Along the way, she must reunite with old friends, forge alliances with warring new factions and unravel the legacy of the ancient past – all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a seemingly undefeatable new enemy.

As you fight, hunt and explore your way through the land, you discover hostile regions ravaged by massive storms that are occupied by new deadly machines. This takes the premise of the first game and plays it out in broader locations: lush valleys, dry deserts, snowy mountains, tropical beaches and ruined cities, both above and below the water.

On PlayStation 5 haptic feedback via the Dual Sense controller adds to the experience. The tension of the bow as well as the feel of the landscape you are walking through are expressed through the controllers tension triggers and rumble feature.

Progress into the mysterious western frontier grants not only a larger map but new secrets about the world. You discover messages and artefacts from the Old Ones, lying beneath the ruins. This takes you to a ruined version of San Francisco and the Yosemite Valley.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 18/02/2022

Price: 43% off

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Adventure, Role-Play (Action, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Shooting and Traversal)

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: Guerrilla (@Guerrilla)

 

ListsLists

DurationDuration

Play Time: This game will take between 22 hours and 33 hours to complete.
 

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

 

BenefitsBenefits

This game has helped players develop their Disposition as part of the following pathways:

This game has been the inspiration for the following activities:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 16 for strong violence. Violence is similar in style to that found in 'Zero Dawn', with Aloy and her companions fighting both mechanical dinosaur-like creatures and enemy tribes. Blood is shown but no graphic injuries. Cinematic scenes feature more realistic violence than the violence found in general gameplay, including tribes shooting each other using bows and arrows and scenes of execution at spearpoint. The game also includes some bad language, including '*!@?*', '*!@?*', 'dick', 'goddamn' and 'screw'.

Rated for younger players in the US. Rated ESRB TEEN for Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence. From a third-person perspective, players traverse post-apocalyptic environments/landscapes, complete quests, interact with characters, and engage in combat against enemy tribes and robotic creatures. Players use slingshots, bows, javelins, and spears to kill enemies in frenetic combat. Puffs of blood are depicted as human enemies are hit; blood stains also appear underneath bodies in some environments. Players can also perform stealth attacks (e.g., spear impalement) to eliminate enemies discreetly. Cutscenes depict additional acts of violence: a character impaled by swords or spears; a character crushed to death by a statue. The game depicts drunk characters stumbling around, and in one area stating, “I'm inebriated”; one cutscene depicts Aloy drinking beer from a mug; several background characters are seen drinking alcohol in taverns. The word “sh*t” is heard in the game.

Skill Rating

13+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Young players need to be able to traverse the huge world, both following a map as well as navigating the best route when climbing. You also need quick reactions for battle where you must switch to the best weapons to deal maximum damage to enemies. It's fast-paced and demanding. There are prolonged story elements of the game that while optional are a key ingredient of why players enjoy this experience.

Our Game Pathways reveal how 19-year-olds play this game:

CostsCosts

Horizon Forbidden West usually costs £59.99 to £79.99. 

Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West Digital Deluxe Edition (PS4 And PS5 )

There are the following additional costs associated with this game:
  • In-Game Purchases: Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.
 
This game offers players the opportunity to connect to their storefront, where they can purchase subsequent DLC expansions, which some parents or carers may want to be aware of. Parents, carers or other responsible adults should check to see what is being offered before making any purchase on behalf of a child. It should be noted that the game can still be played without the need to purchase such items. 
 
It's important to set up your accounts and devices appropriately. More information is on our Financial Resources page.
 

AccessibilityAccessibility

Our Horizon Forbidden West Accessibility Report documents 34 accessibility features:
There are five difficulty settings from Story Mode to Very Hard. You can adjust the damage Aloy deals and receives to/from enemies. The Easy Loot option makes it easier to accrue loot with less targeting required. You can adjust how much the game slows down when equipping with the Weapon Wheel and turn on Aim Assist. You can increase the duration of slow down to aid aiming with your bow.

You can specify which actions use toggles and which use holds. However there are still some actions in the game that require a hold, and can't be switched to a toggle. You can use Gyro controller motion to aim, Jibb Smart suggested some ways to optimise this: In Gameplay tab, turn off Aim Assist; In Controls tab set Deadzone to 0 and map firing to face buttons to reduce bumping..

Although you can adjust the subtitle size and opt for a background on the text, this is only around 1/30th of the screen at largest. Also you can't change the subtitles in the game until after the first cutscenes. Other text (like conversation choices) are smaller than the subtitles and don't always have a background.

There is a Focus mode you can use that depicts humans and machines in bright colours. This helps identify threats with pop-up information, as well as how to target them. It's a useful mode, but does have to be triggered to access which can be difficult during fraught combat. You can adjust the camera shake and motion blur settings, and customize the game’s HUD to control what information is visible.

You can get the game to automatically do things when you need them. This can automatically enable the slow down, auto sprint, auto heal (when below 50% health), and auto glide when you fall from heights. You can also turn on climbing annotations rather than having to trigger the Focus mode.

You can opt to use markers for your selected quest destination and dynamically place waypoints. The waypoints are quite subtle, although you can opt for breadcrumb trails to help you find your way to main missions. There is also a compass at the top of the screen that depicts the direction to points of interest and glows when you have arrived at a main quest.

There are vibrations that "mesh well with the footsteps, jumping, climbing and new mechanics like prying open doors, with the adaptive triggers enhancing the feeling of drawing the bow as well," wrote Sightless Kombat in his review. The vibration also signals when you are in grass areas that will hide you if you crouch. These can be disabled as required and don't overdo feedback (the dreaded endless-vibration-raindrop some games signpost).

Along with extensive tutorials that you can access throughout, there are pop-up reminders on how to use abilities, weapons, or engage with certain enemies. There's also a Story So Far screen when you return after a break.

The game offers a new-to-PlayStation Co-pilot more where a second PS4 or PS5 controller mirrors controls. This enables a second player to jump in and offer assistance without having to take over the controls.

A closer look at the accessibility features is on the PlayStation Blog.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

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Our experts have hand-picked the following board games that offer a similar experience or theme to Horizon Forbidden West., or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 16 or ESRB TEEN games.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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