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Horizon Forbidden West - Grapple + Glider = Aloy 2.0


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Really enjoying this so far. Gorgeous world, cool worldbuilding and machine combat remains a joy, especially at 60 fps. And none of the lengthy load times that plagued ZD. Playing on Ultra Hard and that seems a nice difficulty so far. Wouldn't call it ultra hard but it's early days.

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Ordered this with Play-UK on ebay. It was apparently posted last Monday. Expected Date of arrival - 25th Feb. What a shit show. Preorder but don’t receive it till a week after launch on Elden Ring Day. Won’t be using them again!

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 I'm coming from Dying light 2, whose conversations feel like they were written by a fifteen year old incel, comparatively this is really well written. 

 

Who else immediately chased down Petra and had that drink?

 

One thing, have they done away with nighttime? Or is the day night cycle really slow? Or do they not have nighttime early on? I hope we can still hunt at night :)

 

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3 hours ago, Cyhwuhx said:

I've been playing this for a while now, enough to get out of the Daunt and into the game proper. Some observations:

 

  • Although Zero Dawn basically was the premise and the big what-happened question, that's now completely out of the way and the result is... better? I mean the sci-fi trappings are pushed back a bit and the result is an atmosphere I'd more compare to a Saturday morning cartoon. More than once this game reminded me of the new She-Ra reboot on Netflix. There's light-hearted banter, witty remarks, and some real nice moments. You'll kind of dislike Aloy to start with, but it's clear there's an arc in progress here. Again, She-Ra. Sans magic power sword and flying unicorn. Obviously.
  • The above is also in large part because of the animated conversations that are not even comparable to Zero Dawn. OK, maybe in structure and selection about what to talk about, but all of these are animated and voice acted in a way that just sells the entire damn thing. In Zero Dawn I mostly evaded the RPG bits because they were so dry. Here, I'm a few hours in and I've got favourite NPCs. That's a new one, totally unexpected, and clearly the result of some great writing, excellent animations, and some fun characterisations. Again, no sci-fi, but all the more a Saturday morning cartoon vibe. I kind of wish "urgh, self-inflicted" becomes a catch phrase to give but one example. But yeah, with the RPG bit pulled up to scratch, this is suddenly way more rounded than just a nice robo-dino combat simulator.
  • Which is still there. The combat that is, and it's still what you expect and know. You may want to bump up the difficulty a bit if you've rinsed HZD. On Normal it feels a bit on the easy side. Dodging and carefully dismantling machines bit by bit is still incredibly satisfying. Humanoid combat is still iffy, but that's mostly because spear combat is still mindless button mashing and there are now enemies that really don't give a shit about projectiles and pretty much require the use of the spear. Considering I have yet to unlock multiple spear moves, this is probably down to me.
  • Gear is... a mess. Whereas HZD had a limited arsenal and allowed for customization of said arsenal, this wants to play the loot cycle game. You can buy multiple armors and weapons, each sporting different 'specialised' versions, all upgradeable in a Tsushima kind of way, unlocking sockets for stat boosts. It's not bad, but I find it gets in the way of the rest of the game.
  • Connected to that is the loot. Oh god, the loot. There's so much loot. You wouldn't believe how much loot there is. Where in Zero Dawn you were mercifully limited by your inventory space, here surplus stuff automagically moves to your stash, PS5 Demon's Souls-style. If there's even a tiny speck of OCD-adjacent behaviour in your mind, this will break you. You can keep picking up everything. Done with a battle? Scan and your surrounding will light up with icons and colours like its Christmas. Most of which will require a long-press to pick up. It's so much work that I want to get rid of as quickly as possible, that I don't even pay attention to the items any more. Just pick it up and let God sort it out whenever I need to buy/upgrade anything. Can't upgrade/buy? Then deploy the Aloy-hoover in the outside world for half an hour and presto, you'll probably have enough resources. Now this doesn't break the game, but it does alter the flow a bit and I feel the loot-angle was not exactly the one Horizon needed to lean into. YMMV.
  • Music is still... shit? I mean there's a main theme and all, but I'm definitely of the Japanese ABABC tune school of music and this is just the usual Western ambient dross that doesn't get my blood pumping at all. There's one "tune" that is a bit more recognizable and that's played during the climbing challenges which is this brooding, dangerous theme, while you're doing an Uncharted-style press-forward-to-climb bit which is the exact opposite of dangerous. I don't know, it's not my thing.
  • The reviews seem to imply the mines/dungeons are a big part of side-quests now and that would be a shame, because so far they feel very similar. Might be different in the actual Forbidden West area.
  • The graphics are amazing. The outdoor stuff is already insane, but really I can't stress how good the character models look in conversations. It has that squeaky clean uncanny valley at times that HZD suffered from as well, but in general it's simply amazing.
  • At the end of the day this is a open world ARPG. Over the past ten years, I've only played Ghost of Tsushima in that genre and I loved every bit of that, this surprisingly I might add, is looking to beat my fondness for Tsushima. I really didn't expect that considering HZD's aftertaste.

Again, keep in mind this is based on the early starter area (think the Embrace+Eastside in HZD), it might still change a bit, but I feel this is a very, very solid game so far. I do get the grievances of the Eurogamer review, but having put a few hours into it, that also feels incredibly nitpicky (in the way that I myself tend to dissect Metroids).

 

If you simply want something to show you the power of the PS5 while being a good game, get Horizon Forbidden West. If you want the best game however, may I suggest Returnal? 😜

 

Great write up!

 

The loot scares me. One of my biggest problems with HZD is the abundance of just shit. I finished the game only buying a couple of things and upgrading gear once. It is just overwhelming, and disappointingly unnecessary. 

 

Still excited to play just to see the world though, so no doubt again I can overlook daft open world trappings. 

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25 minutes ago, Danster said:

One thing, have they done away with nighttime? Or is the day night cycle really slow? Or do they not have nighttime early on? I hope we can still hunt at night :)

 

Apparently the day/night cycle only kicks in after you've exited the Daunt area.

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Aloy is a chatterbox compulsive hoarder.  So far I’ve spent the vast majority of time picking stuff up. Not even looking at it, there’s so much stuff. 
 

I know I’m part of the problem as I could leave this shit but I’ll inevitably need it to upgrade weapons at some point to finish the game. I dread to think what her house looks like, it’ll be that guy from Afterlife. 

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Just left the daunt and oh my goodness I'd not even zoomed the map out until now, good lord I'm gonna be here a while!

 

That whole sequence of leaving was utterly incredible, I'm totally blown away with this visually and the battles are fantastic. Forgot how much I liked the first game. 

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6 hours ago, Cyhwuhx said:

I've been playing this for a while now, enough to get out of the Daunt and into the game proper. Some observations:

 

  • Although Zero Dawn basically was the premise and the big what-happened question, that's now completely out of the way and the result is... better? I mean the sci-fi trappings are pushed back a bit and the result is an atmosphere I'd more compare to a Saturday morning cartoon. More than once this game reminded me of the new She-Ra reboot on Netflix. There's light-hearted banter, witty remarks, and some real nice moments. You'll kind of dislike Aloy to start with, but it's clear there's an arc in progress here. Again, She-Ra. Sans magic power sword and flying unicorn. Obviously.
  • The above is also in large part because of the animated conversations that are not even comparable to Zero Dawn. OK, maybe in structure and selection about what to talk about, but all of these are animated and voice acted in a way that just sells the entire damn thing. In Zero Dawn I mostly evaded the RPG bits because they were so dry. Here, I'm a few hours in and I've got favourite NPCs. That's a new one, totally unexpected, and clearly the result of some great writing, excellent animations, and some fun characterisations. Again, no sci-fi, but all the more a Saturday morning cartoon vibe. I kind of wish "urgh, self-inflicted" becomes a catch phrase to give but one example. But yeah, with the RPG bit pulled up to scratch, this is suddenly way more rounded than just a nice robo-dino combat simulator.
  • Which is still there. The combat that is, and it's still what you expect and know. You may want to bump up the difficulty a bit if you've rinsed HZD. On Normal it feels a bit on the easy side. Dodging and carefully dismantling machines bit by bit is still incredibly satisfying. Humanoid combat is still iffy, but that's mostly because spear combat is still mindless button mashing and there are now enemies that really don't give a shit about projectiles and pretty much require the use of the spear. Considering I have yet to unlock multiple spear moves, this is probably down to me.
  • Gear is... a mess. Whereas HZD had a limited arsenal and allowed for customization of said arsenal, this wants to play the loot cycle game. You can buy multiple armors and weapons, each sporting different 'specialised' versions, all upgradeable in a Tsushima kind of way, unlocking sockets for stat boosts. It's not bad, but I find it gets in the way of the rest of the game.
  • Connected to that is the loot. Oh god, the loot. There's so much loot. You wouldn't believe how much loot there is. Where in Zero Dawn you were mercifully limited by your inventory space, here surplus stuff automagically moves to your stash, PS5 Demon's Souls-style. If there's even a tiny speck of OCD-adjacent behaviour in your mind, this will break you. You can keep picking up everything. Done with a battle? Scan and your surrounding will light up with icons and colours like its Christmas. Most of which will require a long-press to pick up. It's so much work that I want to get rid of as quickly as possible, that I don't even pay attention to the items any more. Just pick it up and let God sort it out whenever I need to buy/upgrade anything. Can't upgrade/buy? Then deploy the Aloy-hoover in the outside world for half an hour and presto, you'll probably have enough resources. Now this doesn't break the game, but it does alter the flow a bit and I feel the loot-angle was not exactly the one Horizon needed to lean into. YMMV.
  • Music is still... shit? I mean there's a main theme and all, but I'm definitely of the Japanese ABABC tune school of music and this is just the usual Western ambient dross that doesn't get my blood pumping at all. There's one "tune" that is a bit more recognizable and that's played during the climbing challenges which is this brooding, dangerous theme, while you're doing an Uncharted-style press-forward-to-climb bit which is the exact opposite of dangerous. I don't know, it's not my thing.
  • The reviews seem to imply the mines/dungeons are a big part of side-quests now and that would be a shame, because so far they feel very similar. Might be different in the actual Forbidden West area.
  • The graphics are amazing. The outdoor stuff is already insane, but really I can't stress how good the character models look in conversations. It has that squeaky clean uncanny valley at times that HZD suffered from as well, but in general it's simply amazing.
  • At the end of the day this is a open world ARPG. Over the past ten years, I've only played Ghost of Tsushima in that genre and I loved every bit of that, this surprisingly I might add, is looking to beat my fondness for Tsushima. I really didn't expect that considering HZD's aftertaste.

Again, keep in mind this is based on the early starter area (think the Embrace+Eastside in HZD), it might still change a bit, but I feel this is a very, very solid game so far. I do get the grievances of the Eurogamer review, but having put a few hours into it, that also feels incredibly nitpicky (in the way that I myself tend to dissect Metroids).

 

If you simply want something to show you the power of the PS5 while being a good game, get Horizon Forbidden West. If you want the best game however, may I suggest Returnal? 😜

 

Along with the auto-highlight advice, I'll throw in that there's an option to tap triangle to collect, not hold it. 

 

(On PS4) go to Settings > Controls > Menu Hold Actions Hold/Toggle and set this to 'toggle'. 

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Forgot to say this nails the thing I loved about The Last of Us where you go into an encounter with a plan but something goes wrong and you're running for your life, getting a shot off where you can, snatching a second to craft ammo. Like Hollywood shit. 

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Oh wow I’m playing this on Hard and they have changed up the combat loop from Zero Dawn - you basically have to use elemental attacks or hit weak points in order to meaningfully damage even the lower level machines, that’s why you get given the sling so early. Already feels a lot more in-depth. 

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29 minutes ago, Steve McQueef said:

"What if Aloy's internal dialogue was all external?"

 

"Genius!"

 

"I know, right? Let's break for lunch."

 

Even being deep underwater cannot stop her. :lol: 

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You can tell this game has been affected by people waiting for Elden Ring, but I’m still surprised how few impressions there are here. The game is utterly fab btw.

 

One thing though, that moments pause during cutscenes when the camera cuts is really starting to annoy me, it’s only a fraction of a second but it isn’t half noticeable.

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Been playing this a ton over the weekend and it’s fantastic. More of the same sure, but there’s been a number of new mechanics that keep it fresh and the world building and visuals are top notch. 
 

 

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I dunno it was annoying me yesterday, the environmental puzzles just feel like extra guff that wasn't required but i'm going to play more today. It feels very much like a last gen game to me and not a massive step up from the first. Basically everything Cavalcade said about it I agree with.

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Had a go last night playing the intro and feels very much like a sequel to the first game so far - that’s not a bad thing of course but not had me socks knocked of yet. It’s nice to be hanging out with Aloy again. The climbing has really dated hasn’t it?!

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