Horizon Forbidden West is set to launch on Friday on the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, bringing a much-awaited sequel to the 2017 hit title Horizon Zero Dawn. The game will pick up about six months after the events of the original game, allowing gamers to explore the vast world and re-engage with both human enemies and deadly animal-shaped robots. While the game is coming to both PS5 and PS4 consoles, gamers on current-gen consoles (that’s PS5 now) will have a much better time playing the game, including reduced loading time, 3D Audio, and DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Sony has yet to reveal any plans to bring the popular game to PC — after all, Horizon Zero Dawn took five years.
Sony’s Guerrilla Games enjoyed the success of a blockbuster title in Horizon Zero Dawn almost five years ago. Part of the reason for this success was the fantastic open-world design with excellent graphics, and the focus on combat and tactics. This means that players have always had to keep their wits about them as they fought various kinds of enemies in the game, especially the dangerous robots — or Machines — using various combinations of melee weapons, arrows, and quick moves to destroy them. And from what we’ve seen of Horizon Forbidden West’s gameplay so far, it looks like things are going to get even more exciting.
While it’s not imperative to play the first game, those interested in Horizon Forbidden West should acquaint themselves with the story if possible. (There is a tiny recap video at the start of the new one, for what it’s worth.) Here’s the gist: set in the post-apocalyptic 31st century where few humans have survived, Horizon Zero Dawn ended with the protagonist, Aloy, finally figuring out what happened to the world. However, she has no time to rest due to the Red Blight — a new threat that is coursing through the planet. To put a stop to it, Aloy must venture into the wild unknown Forbidden West. If the name doesn’t already give it away, the sequel is located on the west coast of the US.
During the new game, Aloy will travel to the post-apocalyptic ruins of San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the Yosemite Valley — gamers will recall that the original game was set in Colorado and Utah. Gameplay also shows users how combat has been improved, and the red-headed protagonist looks better than ever on the PlayStation 5 as she tackles one robot after another in both ranged combat using a bow and arrow, as well as melee combat with her staff. And while Aloy may have triumphed over the evil artificial intelligence (AI) Hades during the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, there are bigger otherworldly threats lurking in Horizon Forbidden West — you will just have to wait until the game is released.
Horizon Forbidden West release date
Horizon Forbidden West is scheduled to release on Friday, February 18 on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. The game is expected to unlock at midnight local time globally. This is a worldwide release, which means gamers in India can start playing Horizon Forbidden West at the same date as their counterparts in other countries.
Horizon Forbidden West download size
Horizon Forbidden West is a massive game and involves a large 98GB download on the PS5. Pre-load has been available since last Friday (February 11), which means gamers can have Horizon Forbidden West ready to go when the game unlocks on Friday.
Horizon Forbidden West price
The new Horizon game is priced at Rs. 3,999 for the Standard Edition for PlayStation 4 and Rs. 4,999 for the PlayStation 5.
The game will also be available in Special Edition for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, priced at Rs. 4,999 and Rs. 5,999, respectively. The Special edition includes the game and a Steelbook case to hold a physical copy of the game, a mini art book, digital soundtrack, along with a Nora Legacy outfit and Nora Legacy spear that will unlock during gameplay.
Horizon Forbidden West PS5 upgrade
Before you jump on that Rs. 4,999 PS5 version, here’s something you should know. Sony has previously clarified that gamers who purchase the PS4 version of Horizon Forbidden West will be eligible to upgrade to the PS5 version at no extra cost.
Gamers who play on PS4 will also be able to transfer their saves over to PS5, so progress will not be lost when switching over.
The free PS5 upgrade for Horizon Forbidden West was a concession Sony made in response to fan backlash over different pricing for PlayStation exclusives that will be sold on both PS4 and PS5. Going forward though, Sony won’t offer free upgrades.
That means PS5 owners will have to pay Rs. 4,999 for the likes of Gran Turismo 7 and God of War Ragnarök.
Horizon Forbidden West gameplay
If you have played Horizon Zero Dawn, the gameplay for Horizon Forbidden West will not feel radically different. However, Guerrilla Games have had five years to bring improvements and the game promises important ones, where movement and combat are concerned.
Unlike the first game, players can now use a grappling hook (Pullcaster) to quickly move across the map, along with a futuristic looking glider (Shieldwing). Gamers will also be able to upgrade the protagonist’s weapons, using a workbench, and improve skills via six skill trees (up from four in Horizon Zero Dawn) — Warrior, Survivor, Infiltrator, Machine Master, Hunter, and Trapper. The game will also feature Valor Surges, rare abilities which Aloy can use to help beat a specifically difficult foe.
Horizon Zero Dawn came with its own set of robots, some resembling animals and dinosaurs, and they appear to occupy a central role in Horizon Forbidden West too. The developers have already teased the arrival of several new machines that Aloy will face off against, including underwater and flying robots, such as Tideripper and Sunwing, while Shellsnapper could prove difficult to be a difficult opponent with a powerful shell to protect itself. Other new machines include Bristlebacks, Burrowers, Clamberjaws, Clawstriders, Chargers, Rollerbacks, Slitherfangs, Snapmaws, Tallnecks, and Tremortusks.
Meanwhile gamers who pick up Horizon Forbidden West for their PlayStation 5 will be able to take advantage of near-instantaneous loading due to the device’s SSD storage and vastly improved graphics. Though reviewers who have played on both PS4 and PS5 say they didn’t notice much difference in load times across console generations.
On the PS5, Horizon Forbidden West players will have the choice between 4K resolution and a 30fps target, or a more performance-oriented resolution (checkerboard 1800p) at 60fps. Other useful features on the PlayStation 5 include haptic feedback and adaptive triggers on the DualSense controller.
Horizon Forbidden West also features 3D Audio on supported headphones and stereo speakers, Gadgets 360 can confirm.
Horizon Forbidden West trailer
The cinematic trailer of Horizon Forbidden West was released on February 11, and it shows Aloy exploring the Forbidden West as she attempts to uncover the secret behind the new threats to the world, including the Red Blight.
The gameplay trailer for Horizon Forbidden West came out eight months ago, and showcased 14 minutes of gameplay during Sony’s State of Play on May 27. Gamers can get a good look at how the game will look like, without spoilers regarding the story.
Horizon Forbidden West review
In our review of Horizon Forbidden West, we found that the game looks and runs great on the PlayStation 5 — and has an excellent background score. The new navigational tools and the Machine Strike mini game are great, and the robots have been well designed in the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. However, the world does feel a little artificial and gamers are forced to grind to level up.
At the time of writing, Horizon Forbidden West had an OpenCritic rating of “Mighty”, with a top critic average rating of 89 and 94 percent of critics recommending the game. The Gadgets 360 review is part of the top critic average on OpenCritic.
On Metacritic, Horizon Forbidden West has also has a score of 89, with generally favourable reviews based on 100 critics’ perception.
Horizon Forbidden West PC release date?
While Horizon Zero Dawn was eventually brought over to PC in 2020, there is currently no word on if or when Horizon Forbidden West will be launched for PC gamers. Sony did take three years for Zero Dawn to move from PS4 to PC, as I noted previously, so it’s fair to expect a similar wait.
That said, Sony has become more proactive in porting PlayStation exclusive games recently. Titles such as God of War, Days Gone, and Death Stranding have all made their way to PC in the past couple of years.
On the other hand, there’s the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection — which released on the PS5 last month and is headed to PC later this year. PC gamers had to wait even longer with those Uncharted titles.
All things considered, it is highly likely Sony would port Horizon Forbidden West to PC at a later stage, but there is no announcement from developer Guerrilla Games regarding plans for a PC version.