Aloy has returned.
Our favourite post-apocalyptic hero has returned from Zero Dawn, as they head toward the Forbidden West. PlayStation and Guerrilla Games gave us our first look at gameplay from the upcoming title, and SHEESH; It feels like Aloy has taken a breath of the wild! This is definitely a pun, as we run through the 14 minutes of gameplay shown today.
The preview begins with Aloy looking for everyone’s favourite thicc-boi, Erend. This quickly descends into the revelation that a new tribe, the Tenakth, can ride machines, which creates a world of trouble for Aloy. Her trusty bow and spear return, but prove useless against these new, decorated machines.
She attempts to escape against the backdrop of a picturesque beach, by showcasing the first of her new abilities; Smoke bombs. The classic evasion tool of any good action game can now be used by Aloy to escape to safety. Throwing it down and creating a gorgeous cloud of chaos, she quickly sprints away.
Another tool that further assists Aloy, is the Pullcaster. If the Tripcaster was one of your favourite weapons in Zero Dawn, then the Pullcaster makes a lot of sense. Supplying Aloy with the means to maneuver through the environment in new ways, she simply aims at new markers on the map, which pull her toward it. This is used in succession with the smoke bomb, as she’s got to show off what she’s been up to.
Which is why we see the Diving Mask next. Diving from these new highs into the depths of the ocean, Aloy has created the ability to stay underwater for long periods of time. This looks as gorgeous as you’d expect with blue tinted seas lit up by ray-tracing. This is also thanks to oceans being pure and clean, simply because mankind barely exists anymore.
She climbs ashore to find thicc-boi in the grasp of the Tenakth, who then introduces her to a new machine known as the Tremortusk. Yes, the Horizon series continues to find dumb words that shouldn’t mash, to create terrifying machine names which work. They don’t fight yet, but I assume the introduction was to inflict excitement within us, and terror within thicc-boi.
Coming upon a camp, Aloy meets an enemy thicc-boi, who isn’t as nice as Erend, and definitely has more armor. Engaging in mortal combat, this fight exists entirely for another new abilty; Valor Surge. Inserting a capsule on her spear, Aloy causes a large area of effect attack, and then immediately shanks bad thicc-boi with an arrow, cause DYSTOPIA!
Then we run into a beautiful jungle.
While I think it’s to avoid the murderous intent building up within Aloy, it leads to the reveal of ANOTHER new ability; The Shieldwing. Look if you didn’t know, gameplay trailers are much like teaser trailers; They get you talking! And they tease! And this one has definitely got us talking. The shieldwing allows Aloy to glide thanks to energy, because I mean sure. I just laugh at this as she uses a massive, loud Glinthawk in Fortnite to glide, but apparently could’ve just made an energy umbrella instead.
NOW WE FIGHT THE TREMORTUSK.
After overriding a new mountable machine, thus forcing us to have an emotional tie with it, we find it quickly dispatched as we cannot have nice things in a dystopia. Aloy demands revenge, and quickly takes out Tenakth rebels who were mounted on the tremortusk as payment. She then sets about using skills we’ve used before to take out Dumbo, as the preview ends on a cliffhanger. “A storm is coming“. But we won’t know what this is until release.
TITLE SCREEN AND CREDITS.
Overall, my feelings are excitement over the changes to the gameplay of Horizon. This is where the pun in the title comes from. It would be naive to not see the clear inspiration Breath Of The Wild has had on the title, but this is a good thing! Improving quality of life through adapting features that MAKE a game good, is always appreciated. How Aloy can move through her vertical environment, and do so more quickly is a great way to change the game we’ve played. And adding new ways she can fight, only improves on it further. Yes, the graphics are stunning, but it’s not the only reason Horizon Zero Dawn is beloved.
It was a fun game at its core.
So building on that is going to make it feel like a fresh new game, not only in how it looks, but how it plays. While the lack of a release date gives an air of “delayed until 2022“, I can appreciate Guerrilla taking their time. Especially as I kept missing them somehow making this for the PlayStation 4 AND PlayStation 5 consoles.
I rate it. It looks like Horizon but updated to improve upon an already great experience. And if this is the case, I’m sure the Forbidden West can bide its time a little more, to deliver us something great.