Reviewing what I said about Horizon Zero Dawn at the time, I remember my words that as much as these giant metal dinosaurs caught my attention, the fear of encountering a more generic game than necessary left me with feet of lead brought .

However, the result gave me an excellent game that I enjoyed from start to finish and almost without thinking twice I arrived at Horizon Forbidden West with the same illusion. It was hard to guess that Guerrilla Games is now promising us more and better that he wouldn’t be leaving just as excited.

A manual continuation

Aloy’s essential adventure from the first game is followed by an almost identical tonic. For those who haven’t given it a chance yet – badly done – this is about saving a post-apocalyptic world ruled by metal machines shaped like animals and dinosaurs.

To do this we’ll go from here to there, completing missions, hunting bugs based on elemental damage with an RPG touch and using the parts we scrape from their robotic corpses to improve the bow, the traps, the quiver or the jacket in which They store small herbs that you collect out there to heal yourself.

Horizon Zero Dawn was a fresh and fun adventure that capitalized on the element of surprise and reconciled us with guerrilla after a franchise, Killzone, went completely astray. Honestly, it was hard not to come out clapping. Very good ideas, very well implemented.

Horizon Forbidden West does not achieve the same result. It’s still a fun adventure, yes, but aside from living off rent and the tech junk that gets tagged every time you climb a hill and see how far its landscapes shine, it’s far from fresh and it puts more stones than what is necessary on the path that leads to surprise.

The good side of the coin

With Horizon Forbidden West I find it very tempting to stick to the parable of the two sides of the coin. One of these seems outstanding to me, which, without reinventing its own wheel, continues to sharpen a set of playable ideas that were great back in 2017 and still are today.

I’m talking about the game in total freedom, something more typical of the endgame than the main adventure. If you get lost looking for a dinosaur to kill to get the part you need to upgrade your Captain America shield – we’ll get to that in a moment – and you get lost five times along the way to get into a cave or to hunt another bug knowing how much you will enjoy the confrontation.

I would devour a survival kit in this world without thinking. A game in which the situations that arise set the pace and shape your story. From the moment you were secretly about to get a mount and a giant hippopotamus attacked you from behind until you decided to climb a giant mountain to check what’s on the other side and some pterosaurs get interested were to check what sounds your body makes when you hit the ground.

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There is a Horizon Forbidden West that is very entertaining. An adventure in itself to go through without rushing to save the world or find out what fate awaits its characters. An experience that, as it sheds the corset of the best and tries to grab your attention, will make you surrender to the effectiveness of its mechanics and the awe of its landscapes and the beasts that inhabit them.

Horizon Forbidden West’s journey west

Unfortunately, there is another side to this coin. It’s the one that, as in that original angst before I sit down at the controls of the first adventure, grabs the Excel spreadsheets of the good Triple-A manual to tick some boxes this franchise didn’t need at all.

In addition to a plot that surprises with the succinctness of her campaign, the somersaults she performs – both to prolong the adventure and to hint at a third part – are a thorn in the sides of Aloy and her squad. It’s difficult to say more without falling into spoilers, so it will be fair that he insists on going much further than necessary with one leap of the shark at a time.

And besides, the pool he jumps into is lava, and before he falls into the lava, the shark’s head explodes, and the parts of the head are tiny fire sharks that survive the lava, and… Anyway, a collection of ideas and twists that don’t even cross your mind and get stuck with a giant shoehorn.

I feel really bad because Aloy is a character who’s cool in everything, and I think there were many more avenues to explore before wanting to get caught up in such a mess of stories. I like it better when the tribes and lost worlds are the focus, and that’s why I enjoy the first part of the game a lot more.

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The bitter side of the coin

But you like the story or you don’t like it, and that’s a matter of bias where my preferences can totally differ from yours. And in reality, the storyline of Horizon Forbidden West is far from being the highlight of this other side of the coin. I worry a lot more about adding things just because I’m adding new things instead of actually using them.

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Two very clear examples with which you will perfectly understand what I mean. Two great additions to this part that have covered much of the game’s promotion: rock climbing and parasailing. Let’s start with the first because it’s the easiest to visualize.

It was said at the time that the climb would be completely free, and indeed some of the presentation videos showed how using the spotlight marked various points on the walls for Aloy to grab onto to add a verticality that would have been in the previous installment requires yellow anchors stuck into the stone to ascend.

The result, I’m afraid, is very different from this feeling of freedom. In fact, you can have a perfectly flat wall that’s perfectly climbable, and a few feet away a building full of cracks and ledges that you can’t climb.

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Ideas that lack cooking

Are you looking for a strategy to attack an enemy by catching them off guard from a high position? That would be cool, yes, but first make sure all those walls you see around you that seem to scale perfectly are actually real. Far more often than I’d like to, I’ve found that this perceived freedom was limited, and only the hook managed to make a difference in that regard.

It gets even more complicated when you see the game automatically go back on its promises and return to the yellow markers when it’s time to advance the story or understand the escalation in a mission to offer a challenge it doesn’t would give. offer some freedom when climbing.

In other words, the level design has not adapted to the possibility of having freedom in this mechanic, so a very interesting option ends with clipped wings to avoid problems where the player falls out of the fold. .

The other example is that of the Paravela. They spend a large part of the game not understanding why they add this option when the descent from great heights has been more than solved with the fantastic rappel, which in addition to being much more spectacular is also faster.

At a strategic level it doesn’t work for you and as a displacement tool it’s a nuisance, but since it’s something you’ll need when the end of the game comes, if you can access it with what we dreamed of first rate and we didn’t have a -wink, wink-, well they sneak it in like it’s part of the experience.

I didn’t count more than two or three jumps where I had to use the paraglider to get from A to B due to the level design. So the general feeling is that of having stumbled upon half-exploited ideas that could have contributed much more if the adventure had taken them into account.

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The Disc Launcher, one of its best innovations

A clear example of this are the new weapons. They are a delight and this is where the novelties shine the most, but I admit to having gotten over the end without having tried any of them. The game never invites you to do so. There’s no enemy you attack with this type of weapon to gain an advantage, so in the end it’s just another matter of taste that doesn’t detract from value beyond providing variety.

In my case, I couldn’t help but cling like a limpet to the Captain America-style puck, a saucer you throw and can throw back with more power if you retrieve it boomerang-style on its return .

It’s such a fun option that the rest seemed like a step backwards, and I only went back to them when the situation called for it because I needed other elemental damage that I didn’t have active on the aforementioned disc launcher at the time .

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Also, despite three or four fights against these big bugs that are more stimulating, the game burns its new giants too quickly. They soon discover that there’s nothing that beats that cobra, crocodile or mammoth, and with the trick the others have already learned, the fights lose momentum.

In general, the new creatures tend to be small and agile, making it tedious to fight against large groups of creatures like monkeys – damn monkeys – that won’t stop moving from here to there while you…