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    Horizon Forbidden West

    Game » consists of 2 releases. Released Feb 18, 2022

    Aloy ventures to the west coast of what was formerly America in this sequel to 2017's Horizon Zero Dawn.

    HFW Hype//Discussion Thread

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    Avatar image for mellotronrules
    mellotronrules

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    #1  Edited By mellotronrules

    we're just inside a month away from this game's release so i figured it was high time to start an all purpose thread. HZD is easily my #2 game of the ps4 era, and defo my favourite 3rd person open-world game to date- so a cautiously optimistic positive vibe is really starting to simmer in my brain. i think it's also positioned well for a release date (no BOTW blow-out, though i suppose the Elden Ring lads could distract quite a bit a week later when that drops).

    i just completed an ultra hard NG+ run in HZD to get a story refresher before Forbidden West drops (not a humble brag, i only really noticed merchants being more expensive)- and one thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the story hooks they clearly left at the end of HZD that i didn't pick up on at the time. yes there was that goofy Sylens post-credits scene where he captures HADES in a magical techno lantern, but i had completely forgotten about the colony ship that's referenced in collectables that supposedly blew up before Project Zero Dawn launched...and i'm thinking that story element will be further developed.

    Forbidden West also seems like it really has potential to be something great as HZD was such a solid foundation of good systems that could use refinement- the human combat/stealth was middle of the road, and the inventory got pretty tedious.

    any other hopes/dreams/fears/wooden facial animations you'd care to express?

    edit: also curious on what the platform breakdown is for most folks. i'd love to play this first on a ps5, but alas i'm still relegated to my ps4 slim. i don't have FRAMERATE FEVER like a certain member of the bombast this past 1.25.22, but i'm guessing it won't be outstanding on my aged lil ps4 bud.

    edit the 2: also it was praised at HZD launch, but good lord what a great villain Ted Farro was (or maybe somehow is?)- utterly believable as a tech bro that 'wanted to change the world' with unchecked money plus ambition that doomed us all.

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    Nodima

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    I also just recently played the game for a third time, though only on Hard and from a fresh save having already done an Ultra Hard NG+ my second time around (and first playing Frozen Wilds).

    Things from Frozen Wilds that I'm excited to see expanded on: number one is the use of companions during combat. They emphasized companions with elemental affinities throughout Frozen Wilds, and while this was clearly in part because they otherwise made some incredibly difficult encounters (those three Frostclaws are no joke and that final Fireclaw can run upwards of 20 minutes if you're not catching the peripheral hints or using your weapons appropriately) it does add a nice wrinkle to the combat as enemies can get pulled away from you and allow you to assess the fight a little more.

    I was also a little worried prior to this second replay that the new game would be far too concerned with tribal politics (and, to be fair, the story trailer does mostly concern itself with...tribal politics) but re-familiarizing myself with Frozen Wilds makes it clear there's still plenty to do with the Actually Interesting Part, the 2040s-2070s timeline. I had forgotten the game's sense of humor despite already playing it twice, and I really, really enjoyed how tightly woven the historical narrative of The Cut, aka Yellowstone National Park, was. I really hope they use that structure as a guiding light for all of Forbidden West because Zero Dawn could feel more than a little meandering at times.

    But I hope they can maintain that delicate balance of humor and pathos because they walked a pretty tight rope in Zero Dawn. It very easily could've slipped into the more intentionally "edgy" attitude of Deathloop or Cyberpunk 2077 but instead felt closer to a Control, Death Stranding or Last of Us-type world, you could just tell all those people leaving notes lying around existed in a specific time and place of the United States and post-modern society. Except, y'know, funny usually.

    On this replay, partially because I wasn't afraid of the world at all anymore, I was wandering into places I'd forgotten I had no reason being until much later and the game would lock me out of despite icons appearing on the map. Hopefully they're able to tighten all that up. Lastly, I really hope that they're able to nail the equipment and inventory this time as the original game has a bit of an Outer Worlds problem where there is a ton of stuff to collect, hoard and never be quite sure if you'll ever have a use for it. It was clear, for example, they thought players might want to carry multiples of certain outfits or weapons with different perk sets attached but in practice that just wasn't necessary. On your first playthrough most of the robots are so intimidating that you really feel a need to plan your attack from fight to fight, but by this third playthrough you're just so confident in your abilities and knowledgable of what weapons are useful for what that it felt a little rote. A little more Witcher 3 influence in terms of fight prep would be cool.

    In any case, I haven't been this excited for a game since Red Dead II. Even if it's a comparative let down to the original I find it hard to believe this won't be my game of the year.

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    mellotronrules

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    #3  Edited By mellotronrules
    @nodima said:

    ...they otherwise made some incredibly difficult encounters (those three Frostclaws are no joke and that final Fireclaw can run upwards of 20 minutes if you're not catching the peripheral hints or using your weapons appropriately) it does add a nice wrinkle to the combat as enemies can get pulled away from you and allow you to assess the fight a little more.

    you can say that again- the frostclaws were no fuggin joke. despite this- i really think the enemy/combat design in that first game (and as refined in the DLC) was such a triumph. i understand it wasn't for everyone, but it really did reward creativity and adaptability if you availed yourself of all the tools. my first playthrough i was all about ropecasting to crowd control and then tearing to expose weakpoints- and then this second playthrough i had great fun exploiting the fire/freeze/corrupt weapons. the larger enemy encounters were so rad- and based off those elephants in the trailers, i'm hoping there's plenty more of that.

    @nodima said:

    But I hope they can maintain that delicate balance of humor and pathos because they walked a pretty tight rope in Zero Dawn. It very easily could've slipped into the more intentionally "edgy" attitude of Deathloop or Cyberpunk 2077 but instead felt closer to a Control, Death Stranding or Last of Us-type world, you could just tell all those people leaving notes lying around existed in a specific time and place of the United States and post-modern society. Except, y'know, funny usually.

    yeah, there was a decent amount of subtle smart-assery/sarcasm in some of aloy line reads that i really hope is maintained. the other thing that resonated on a second playthrough was the amount of melancholy in that first game's narrative. of course, it's post-post-apocalyptic or whatever, so there's probably an intrinsic amount of sadness in knowing humans were the architects of their own demise. but those audio logs detailing the experts and their trauma, elective euthanasia, mourning the loss of biodiversity and Sobeck's contempt for Farro's worldview...it all felt thoughtful and ever-relevant on a second pass.

    i'd certainly be down for more of that.

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    Mezmero

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    #4  Edited By Mezmero

    I'm extremely curious how it will turn out as I feel they have a lot to prove with this next game. I liked the first game okay but some of the ass-backward design elements prevented me from outright loving it. I could forgive some of that stuff since a) it was the first game of this franchise and b) there was such a long development history that they couldn't react fast enough to trends of open world games at the time of its release. I will have far less leniency for this next game since they had a good amount of success and acclaim as well as game design in general jumping ahead even further. I also fear they might have blown their wad on the most interesting parts of the narrative/world-building so I'll be super impressed if they do anything AS good as the first game's big reveal, though in fairness I didn't even play Frozen Wilds to know if that did anything cool(pun intended).

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    glots

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    #5  Edited By glots

    Been excited for it since the reveal and reading through IGN's preview to find out that they've improved on a bunch of things that were lacking with HZD, I'm now even more excited.

    https://www.ign.com/articles/horizon-forbidden-west-hands-on-preview-ps5

    Loading Video...

    It does need to do a whole lot storywise to reach the heights of the previous game, but luckily I also really enjoyed the pretty world and combat too, so I think I'm ready to settle for just an okay story too, even if it wouldn't hit me as hard as HZD's.

    It's also been enough time since I really sunk myself into a good open world game, so I'm ready for one of those now too.

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    rorie

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    #6 rorie  Staff

    Super looking forward to this but alas, no PS5 yet. Guess I can wait.

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    Shindig

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    It's like work from home but in reverse.

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    BaneFireLord

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    #8  Edited By BaneFireLord

    I was pleasantly surprised by HZD after all the prerelease coverage made it look like a generic Ubi-alike and thought the story was a knockout. Very interested in the new one and have more-or-less avoided coverage of it, so I'll be going in mostly blind which is something I've never accomplished before with a big game I care about so this will be exciting.

    Did Frozen Wilds have any important narrative beats? I never got around to it and wonder if I should go back and play it before Forbidden West launches.

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    Nodima

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    @banefirelord: Frozen Wilds mostly involved efforts to preserve wildlife at Yosemite, though obviously you’ll learn there was more than meets the eye going on there. It also gets a little more into the GAIA subsystems than the game proper, and they recorded extra voice lines to weave that into the main narrative so I’m sure it’ll come up at least in passing.

    If all you did is the story missions it’s not huge, like 6-8 hours maybe, but there’s a lot of Banuk lore via side stories if you want it.

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    SethMode

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    Personally, I really hope this one does it for me. I've tried HZD literally four or five times and it just never grabs me in any way. I like the way it looks, I like the world building for the most part (although I think that the story is lacking), and it's literally impossible to argue against mechanical dinosaurs. But I just don't enjoy playing it AT ALL, and I honestly don't know why. I'm guessing a lot of it is just a combo of not being into what story there is and general open-world fatigue...but then again, I experienced both of those things and still completed Ghost of Tsushima.

    Either way, I hated AC1 and absolutely loved AC2, so maybe this will be my AC2?

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    Kemuri07

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    @sethmode: Man I think I'm in the same boat. I've tried plenty of times to get into it (I mean I have it for free on Ps4) and I can never get past the prologue. The combination of the gameplay as well as the way the game looks (like I can't be the only one who finds the child version of the main character to look hideously disfigured, right?).

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    mellotronrules

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    @kemuri07 said:

    I can't be the only one who finds the child version of the main character to look hideously disfigured, right?).

    ha, i love the game but that's completely fair. the child version of aloy is pretty terrible- to the extent that when i first fired it up it was distracting and had me second-guessing the praise.

    however you can skip that section after playing it once. and i'd encourage you to power through if you can- taking down a cyber t-rex and robotic death bears is the quintessence of that game to me, and worth tolerating some of the rougher edges.

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    SethMode

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    @kemuri07 said:

    @sethmode: (like I can't be the only one who finds the child version of the main character to look hideously disfigured, right?).

    Oh absolutely. I kind of had forgotten about child Alloy thankfully. Just nightmare fuel.

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    Nodima

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    mellotronrules

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    @nodima: tam, the mad lad. absolute legend.

    but also- my low simmer of hype is starting roll into a boil. i skipped through the gameplay preview that @glots posted to just get an inkling, and it really does seem like there's been some smart refinement.

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    BaneFireLord

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    #16  Edited By BaneFireLord

    Bumping this because I don’t have anywhere else relevant to write about it, but I decided to commit to a full replay of Zero Dawn before Forbidden West hits and the way it drip feeds its reveals about how the world came to be is so satisfyingly unsettling. It feels a little weird to say it considering how relatively upbeat the story winds up being, but Zero Dawn is right up there with Soma, Outer Wilds, and Spec Ops The Line for games that give me a really nasty pit of existential dread in my stomach. By far the most interesting and dread-inducing apocalyptic premise in an industry teeming with apocalyptic premises. Inexorable, hungry robotic extinction is so much scarier than nukes or zombies or whatever.

    Also on PC this thing is absolutely, ridiculously gorgeous. I played the first time on base PS4 on a 1080i TV and pumping it out to a 4K TV at 60 frames a second feels generational. Very glad I managed to snag a PS5 because going back to a base PS4 for Forbidden West would be extremely difficult.

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    mellotronrules

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    ...the way it drip feeds its reveals about how the world came to be is so satisfyingly unsettling.

    yeah, this defo struck me upon a second playthrough as well. i think my first time through i was so preoccupied with the characters, aloy's identity, and solving the mystery of the cataclysm that i didn't pay as much attention to the not-so-subtle environmental conservation subtext (relatedly- i saw @gamer_152 had a pretty rad take on these forums here). i do hope the new game manages to maintain an element of this, because that was one of Zero Dawn's greatest tricks- when you come to the understanding of what the animal-modeled robots are, why they look and behave the way they do, and what this bit of video game science fiction might have to say about our own relationship with the real world's fauna, their role and how we treat them...it's very relevant and meaningful indeed.

    also @banefirelord if you have the time i would absolutely complete the mainline of the DLC. it won't recontextualize any of the info you already have, but it has some outstanding new machines to find and a surprisingly moving brother/sister story. i just went through again last weekend and i had forgotten how good it was.

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    BaneFireLord

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    @mellotronrules: It’s on the docket…I’ve been crunching through HZD the past week and am only a few levels away from being the right level for FW. I hadn’t realized it’s set in Yellowstone, which I used to live close to, so I’m excited to see it!

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    theonewhoplays

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    #19  Edited By theonewhoplays

    The only thing I ended up really enjoying about the first game was listening to the backstory and lore about what happened to the world. The current time plot did nothing for me, nor the gameplay (worst combat 'feel' and upgrade/loot system since Witcher 3) so this one will have to make some serious improvements on all fronts to get me interested.

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    mellotronrules

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    just read that the review embargo is Feb 14th at 8am GMT...curious to see how this goes!

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    berfunkle

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    Ah hell, I'll wait a year to 18 months, and get the game on PS Plus. $70 is steep and I'm in no hurry.

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    Efesell

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    #22  Edited By Efesell

    If anyones getting it on the PS5 remember that you can shave off a little by buying the PS4 version via the web store. Sony really, really doesn't want you to do this and is being a little shifty about it but they are honoring the promise they made for the free upgrade if you are willing to go out of your way for it.

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    BaneFireLord

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    Welp, after spending a bunch of time replaying Zero Dawn over the last month and change to prep for Forbidden West, these reviews don’t make me feel compelled to buy it at full price. Seems like a solid “$30 birthday present to myself” in May.

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    mellotronrules

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    im pretty stoked the ps4 version sounds competent!

    there seems to be some variation in the reviews, but general consensus seems to be 'it's more horizon' which i'm thrilled for since i don't play a lot of open world games and this particular flavor really clicked with me for whatever reason.

    good release for a long weekend in the US!

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    Nodima

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    Reviews are turning out just like I hoped. Same game but more of it with better exploration and compelling characters. Two of Horizon’s biggest flaws were iffy traversal mechanics and bland/borderline unintentional comedy quest givers. Though the latter I find charming in its own way after multiple plays.

    This very well could be my new favorite thing. And it’s totally gonna get MIA’d by Elden Ring, same as Zero Dawn with BotW. Funny how that worked out.

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    BaneFireLord

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    @nodima: I was struck on my replay of Zero Dawn that despite playing second fiddle to Breath of the Wild when it first launched, Horizon has ultimately stuck with me much over the years. I really enjoyed BOTW, but all its generation-defining mechanics don't hold a candle to Horizon's world-building and narrative for my personal staying power.

    By the same token, though I'm holding off on diving in for a bit, I'm certain I'll wind up caring way more about Forbidden West than Elden Ring. Granted, it helps that I don't enjoy From's games at all, and even if Elden Ring gets nothing but 10s across the board, jumps to the top of every all time list, and wins a Nobel Peace Prize I'm still never touching it.

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    FacelessVixen

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    Welp, can't wait for join the hype train for this game in about two or three years.

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    Efesell

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    I know a lot of its timing but it was always weird how those games drew a comparison when they are fundamentally different in their approach to an open world game.

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    BaneFireLord

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    @efesell: They're hardly point-for-point matches for each other, but I always thought it was a little weird (of the Deep Impact/Armageddon variety of coincidence) that BOTW and HZD had similar post-post robotic apocalypse premises with a central goal of removing corruption from machines that affect the environment. Both also have protagonists who are special by basically having iPhones in a low-tech world.

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    Nodima

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    @efesell: In addition to Bane's points, when I finally got to play Breath of the Wild two years ago and never fully felt that magic so many critics did in 2017 despite putting nearly 100 hours into it, I was struck by the realization that so much of what that game does "well" is reject the norms of open world game design. It really is a huge playground for people who want to "express themselves through gameplay" or however you'd like to describe it's blend of systems and spontaneity, but as such it's more than a little directionless despite a quest log.

    In a good year, I play about exactly ten games to completion each year and it's not common that all ten are released that year. I've had hands on Ubisoft games, but other than Far Cry 4 and the first Watch_Dogs, mostly out of a desperate attempt to "get it", have always dropped their games after just an hour or two. I don't like how they feel. But folks in critical circles either disagreed that those games feel bad or simply played a lot of them because they were the games to be talked about and gamers needed to know.

    Without that same professional compulsion, I've completed or played a substantial amount of Horizon, Tsushima, the two Middle-earth games, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the two Spider-Man games, Arkham City/Knight, ME: Andromeda, Sleeping Dogs, The Witcher 3 and Mafia III with some wiggle room depending on if you'd consider the other two Tomb Raider games, GTA V, the inFamous series and maybe a few others "map games" in the Ubisoft sense of the word. To me that feels like a lot of games in that style, but they're also all games that were among my favorite experiences at the times I played them (well, besides Andromeda...) so I look at this style of game quite fondly.

    If I had to add, what, 9 Assassin's Creed games, 7 or 8 Far Cry games, 3 Watch Dogs games and a handful of Ghost Recon reboots to that list? I'd probably be exhausted by the idea of yet another one but bigger as well even if I loved the combat from Horizon just as much as I do today. And I'd probably enthusiastically use Horizon as an example of all that's wrong and Breath of the Wild as all that's right, because it would just feel natural to me. Almost instinctual, I imagine.

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    Junkerman

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    I'm looking forward to this! Its a shame I cant play it until I get a PS5 in... 2023? 2024?

    Makes the competition between Elden Ring and this less of an issue though as I can atleast enjoy that title on my Series S.

    Never checked if there was a PS4 version but... I have no real ambition to try to strangle that thing with a title like this. Especially with all the load times in open world games I dont think I can go back to last gen after having felt the speed of the Series S.

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    mellotronrules

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    @nodima said:

    @efesell: In addition to Bane's points, when I finally got to play Breath of the Wild two years ago and never fully felt that magic so many critics did in 2017 despite putting nearly 100 hours into it, I was struck by the realization that so much of what that game does "well" is reject the norms of open world game design. It really is a huge playground for people who want to "express themselves through gameplay" or however you'd like to describe it's blend of systems and spontaneity, but as such it's more than a little directionless despite a quest log.

    yeah- the interaction between the Horizon games and the the other title(s) they release in close proximity to is uncanny. first with BotW, and next week's Elden Ring- it feels like Horizon is partially doomed to release within weeks of games that will suck all the oxygen out of the critical conversation- but to be fair- it's partially of Horizon's own doing as the devs clearly land on the side of careful, time-tested, deliberate iteration over leaps off the deep end (though i'd argue BotW and perhaps Elden Ring aren't as revelatory as they might seem; though to be fair that's just a hunch with Elden Ring).

    i've entered the zone where i've consumed just enough critical coverage on HFW to where i think i know what i'm getting, and now i'll just experience the damn thing and collect some thoughts here afterwards. but i think @nodima is spot on when they describe the lived-experience of being a games critic vs. a common game playing pleb as being fundamentally different things, and why that helps explain the adulation for something like BotW vs. the original HZD. it just continues to perplex me on a personal level how i could dump 150+ hrs into BotW and come away with a feeling of 'that was good, but unmemorable' while experiencing the 'old and tired' systems of HZD and feel compelled to grab randos of the street and ask them 'HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS OF HZD, BROTHER?'

    tl;dr- different strokes, i guess. but BotW continues to enjoy a (to my mind) disproportionately outsized impact-🔪 fight me 🔪

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    Efesell

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    Breath of the Wild does very little for me, but a large part of it is just... I'm not very interested in a game that just gestures broadly and leaves me to find my own way. I like Tasks.

    I have the same problem with New Hitman. The people who really enjoy that game and sing its praises to the sky are always doin' this rube goldberg shit to make a Piano fall on someone whereas if the objective is Kill That Guy my first thought is Well I Have This Gun.

    Also Breath of the Wild is full of quite a bit of vast empty space with nothing happening that would get shit on in any of the other open world games that people are sick of.

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    peffy

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    I just finished playing Zero Dawn for the first time, and I'm currently halfway through Frozen Wilds. Man I really love Aloy as a character. I've seen some people saying she doesn't have "personality" but I don't get that take at all. She's really sassy to anyone who looks down on her (or women in general), but at the same time she doesn't want to be worshipped as a hero. Maybe this isn't as apparent if you skip optional dialogue. There's a very early conversation where she asks a Carja priest if there's ever been a Sun Queen that was just perfect.

    Besides that, the world building is incredible. The back story of how the world became what it became is so well done (even though I didn't bother to find/read all of the datapoints). As for the gameplay, well I did it on Story mode because I just like running around with minimal friction from combat.. but it was really fun to make the robots explode and headshot the humans.

    So yeah, now I'm quite hyped for Forbidden West. I just don't want to pay full price. Here in Ontario (Canada), PS4 version will cost $90.39, PS5 would cost $101.69 without the free upgrade offer. Maybe I'll jump in after a 20% price cut or so.

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    spacemanspiff00

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    #35  Edited By spacemanspiff00

    @peffy: Not saying its much better but you can actually buy the 80 dollar PS4 version and receive the free PS5 upgrade, unless Ontario is 10 bucks more than Alberta for some reason. I just checked my PS app to verify. I am also a canuck so I feel your pain.

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    Efesell

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    @spacemanspiff00: It seems they finally allow this on the console as well. They were trying very hard for a while to hide that a free upgrade was going to be available. You could only do it on the website, which is kinda shady.

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    spacemanspiff00

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    @efesell: Ohh that is kinda shady, and doesn't surprise me at all. I switched to using the app for all that stuff awhile ago cause its faster than my PS4. I guess it has other benefits too.

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    glots

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    Alex gives this one a real beating on the new Nextlander podcast, dang. I think Dan might too, judging by his tweet (haven’t listened to Fire Escape Cast yet). I guess the Jeffs sorta did too, though each one did still have something positive to say. Vinny was maybe the most positive one.

    It’s not going to stop me from buying the game, but it is interesting to hear a lot of them being down on it, or least on the first hours of it. Still really can’t wait for tomorrow to see for myself…

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    isomeri

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    @glots: I haven't had the time to listen to the podcasts yet, but what's the gist of the criticism from them?

    From the reviews I've seen the amount of mechanics and quests seems overwhelming and nothing about the game seems that original. I'm all for improving a good game and making more of it, but even though I liked the first game I don't think I'm ready for this amount of open world stuff at the moment.

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    glots

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    @isomeri: All of them, even Vinny, definitely weren’t too hot on the opening hours, like mentioned. They sound to be very linear and the story beats don’t seem to be hitting either, plus it really does take hours (I think they include tutorial mechanics into it at kind of a slow pace), before you’re out in the world. There’s also plenty of that open world stuff too that reviews have also pointed out and I guess that’s a thing you either loathe or like at this point.

    Brad and Vinny did sound like they were warming up to the story and are going to keep going because of it, which I think is also the case for Jeffs. Alex I feel like might just drop it, cause he didn’t seem to like any of the side characters either or the world, but he did at least agree with all the others that it’s a gorgeous game to look at. I’m even more scared now that I might end up playing the game in…*gasp* resolution mode.

    I skipped over some parts of the NL podcast just because I’d like to experience a lot of it first myself, but it did sound like all of the crew did like the combat too, but said that managing all of your weapons can be clunky, which is a little shame since that did also happen with HZD, even if I got used to it.

    Probably good idea to wait and hear opinions from the forum folks too if you’re on the fence about it. I’ve been without a big new open world to sunk hours into for a while now, so I think I’m (hopefully) willing to look over some of it’s tropes, as long as the basic gameplay (especially fighting machines) still feels good, the world looks pretty and the story is at least moderately enjoyable.

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    mellotronrules

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    #41  Edited By mellotronrules
    @glots said:

    Alex gives this one a real beating on the new Nextlander podcast, dang. I think Dan might too, judging by his tweet (haven’t listened to Fire Escape Cast yet). I guess the Jeffs sorta did too, though each one did still have something positive to say. Vinny was maybe the most positive one.

    hah, tell me about it! i just finished listening to nextlander and he certainly did not pull any punches. there's no accounting for taste- but by the time he started comparing it to the cinematic masterwork 'waterworld' i kinda felt like he was being a bit flip. but then on the other end of the spectrum are danny and the minnmax crew (ben being the most tepid, jeff and janet seem pretty high on it).

    i haven't played the game yet, so obviously my speculation has no functional grounding- but based on what i'm reading, this really does feel like the sort of game where what you bring in will determine what you carry out. with gerstmann being the exception (he seemed reasonably high on HZD despite practically never mentioning it again after his review)- it feels like if you want more zero dawn, you're gonna get it. and if you don't want to play another zero dawn (thinking of alex and ryckert here)- there isn't anything fundamentally new on offer in HFW. i could also argue there's a certain type of critic that has claimed traditional open world games have been 'ruined' by BotW- but HFW was never going to be that, for better or worse.

    for me my expectations are set at: give me new environments, new enemies with new attack patterns and a serviceable story that doesn't blow it and i'll be happy.

    ps- i know i made a lot of noise about playing this on a base ps4, but since starting this thread i signed up for the sony-run ps5 purchase lottery, and lo! it actually came through and i have a console on the way. so even if you're not a Horizon kid- i'd recommend that lottery if you can wait a few weeks and want the new hardware.

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    Nodima

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    #42  Edited By Nodima

    Yea, Dan wasn’t on this weeks Fire Escape but Mike was having a real hard time articulating positive thoughts so he kept having to double back and say things like “this game is very good, but I’ve played Breath of the Wild, y’know?”

    Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton and Mandy Myers talk about the game just a little bit at the end of their recent Suikoden II pod (Triple Click) and they are over the fucking moon about it though, just non stop giggling and raised voices as they dance around spoilers and talk about what they’ve gotten up to in the game, so there is that.

    This definitely feels like one of those games I’m going to obsess over but most of my pod-buddies aren’t gonna even remember it came out come GotY.

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    Topcyclist

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    @nodima said:

    @efesell: In addition to Bane's points, when I finally got to play Breath of the Wild two years ago and never fully felt that magic so many critics did in 2017 despite putting nearly 100 hours into it, I was struck by the realization that so much of what that game does "well" is reject the norms of open world game design. It really is a huge playground for people who want to "express themselves through gameplay" or however you'd like to describe it's blend of systems and spontaneity, but as such it's more than a little directionless despite a quest log.

    yeah- the interaction between the Horizon games and the the other title(s) they release in close proximity to is uncanny. first with BotW, and next week's Elden Ring- it feels like Horizon is partially doomed to release within weeks of games that will suck all the oxygen out of the critical conversation- but to be fair- it's partially of Horizon's own doing as the devs clearly land on the side of careful, time-tested, deliberate iteration over leaps off the deep end (though i'd argue BotW and perhaps Elden Ring aren't as revelatory as they might seem; though to be fair that's just a hunch with Elden Ring).

    i've entered the zone where i've consumed just enough critical coverage on HFW to where i think i know what i'm getting, and now i'll just experience the damn thing and collect some thoughts here afterwards. but i think @nodima is spot on when they describe the lived-experience of being a games critic vs. a common game playing pleb as being fundamentally different things, and why that helps explain the adulation for something like BotW vs. the original HZD. it just continues to perplex me on a personal level how i could dump 150+ hrs into BotW and come away with a feeling of 'that was good, but unmemorable' while experiencing the 'old and tired' systems of HZD and feel compelled to grab randos of the street and ask them 'HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS OF HZD, BROTHER?'

    tl;dr- different strokes, i guess. but BotW continues to enjoy a (to my mind) disproportionately outsized impact-🔪 fight me 🔪

    Still, don't get this whole take that horizon is this underdog, and breath of the wild didn't deserve all the praise that it got at the time cause its not as revolutionary as people think, and the controls or nitpicky gameplay element #4 makes all the good stuff bad. If you really look hard at BOTW it is actually a good game and did deserve its accolades. If you have to compare horizon obviously people who looked at horizon were impressed by the graphics and cool dinos but after that...it felt like another open-world game that's well polished. Missions are similar and fighting got tiresome. (i still liked it but I've heard those critics.) Witcher 3 and most games suffer from this but id argue witcher 3 is around and you get more mileage out of it if we're just comparing narrative-driven large open-world games and overlooking combat. Most hate dark souls series cause they die a lot and quit but for me, I think after the hump those games provide some great gameplay,

    so my second point is NO ONE at least from what I read SAID the newest souls like game had to be revolutionary. Souls fans are excited for more souls. The last souls like we had were copies like nioh or so on. Is it surprising that people are excited for a series that defined a generation and brought back the nonbutton mashy 3rd person action RPG game in fantasy? Tons of games copied their technique but nothing does it like souls' creator even dark souls 2 didn't feel right. So yeah people are excited but not cause we expect some jaw-dropping experience. I think this is some fake hype set up by people who don't like the series so they can go...see it's not that good when it gets like 89/100 on Metacritic. People who play dark souls aren't stopping their purchase so they can get BOTW2 or Horizon dawn. It's like expecting an RPG released when NBA2023 comes out to take sales from the RPG.

    when I think of a game marketed as a revolution in thought, gaming, experience, not overrated, but will come out making you think THIS IS GAMING...was the hype when death stranding was first announced and trailers were out. I kept looking at comments back then and people were drolling and all i could say was...this isn't for everyone and will release to tons of angry people, its likely scifi heavy and the people who dislike scifi like that will hate it, and the public into scifi will hate it cause its not cleaver enough (they've seen it before in books). Anyway, my rant is about the way hype and backlash happen. Let's keep HZD and Elden ring separate their not really comparable, at least Zelda kinda was but not really. Its like people saying which is better attack on titan or demon slayer (cause their released at the same time like really, a show 6 eps from its ending compared to a show in the early parts of its story with entirely different feels ok)

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    Topcyclist

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    #44  Edited By Topcyclist

    @peffy: spoiler maybe Yeah, I think aloy is great. They resisted just making her lara croft like i expected. It took a while to realize characters don't need to be in your face wisecracking or showcasing their emotions every sec to be likable. People in real life aren't like that yet shows seem to more often than not have super extroverted characters. I think she's extroverted in a way but subtle. I like that she also works in a feminist sorta angle that's modernized IMO for example when that one dude hits on her hard she gets annoyed cause he's just looking at her like meat. Later when he cleans up his act and seems apologetic she warms back up to him. (that reminds me) the side characters have that subtle arc of character too. (said character) later the character seems nervous in voice and manner when around aloy for a while. I think in the quick look jeff took it that the people from the last game were acting weird around him, and I realized he didn't remember that interaction and it holds up to how their last level of companionship was. Aloy also doesn't seem devoid of emotion and gets nervous like a normal kid her age. She tries to be respectful of people and their religion till she has to explain that the holograms and stuff are ____ yadda___. SO she's actually cool. That said yeah hard to argue that other heroines do seem more "fun" and faster like say uncharted's,

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    theonewhoplays

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    Pretty much all impression I've seen makes it clear that if you liked the first game and want more of it, sans the mystery of what happened to the world, this will provide. While if you hated or were lukewarm about the first game, Forbidden West won't change your mind.

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    Nodima

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    #46  Edited By Nodima

    Quick thoughts.

    Made some interesting changes to the controls as well as choices of what abilities you still have and don't have. I miss notching three arrows at a time the most right now. Also kind of weird that they removed the collectibles beacons unless you scan with your Focus, presumably to increase immersion, but moved the side quest and conversation markers from the compass to icons above them.

    Likewise, really miss the cool menu music, especially since if you're in an area that doesn't have a score and you pop open a datapoint it'll stay silent. The previous game's menu score really added a vibe to all those emails and memos.

    They've really upped their investment in the narrative, as someone who was worried about getting too in the weeds on present day stuff these are some pretty long cutscenes.

    That said, the dialogue wheels in this game are actually, like, miraculous? They don't alter the main framing of how these things have worked for over a decade but the conversations are fully animated with cinematic cut aways at appropriate times and some clearly invested voice acting. Just a simple little catch up conversation can practically feel like a full cutscene, it's a far cry from the close/medium one-shot of the previous game let alone the puppet-like performances of Mass Effect or Fallout.

    Lastly, personally I'd say resolution mode is the way to go and I'm saying that after having just binged 50 hours of the previous game at 60fps two weeks ago. While combat undoubtedly feels great at 60fps, there's just a little something extra to the lighting and ground textures that makes resolution mode feel cinematic and lived in while performance simply looks a little more video game-y, I guess is the best I can describe it? Flipping between the two it feels a little silly at first but as a longtime 30fps deviant it only takes about five minutes to readjust and forget the smoothness of the 60.

    Item management is vastly improved.

    I can tell it's gonna be quite a while before this game really reveals itself, though. One enemy lists, uh, at least 10 different variants of itself? This thing's gonna have some long legs.

    Edit after two more hours: I think Machine Strike might actually be a problem. Like, a Triple Triad/Gwent level problem.

    There's Metroid stuff going on here. Seemingly lots of it. Uh oh.

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    Mezmero

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    Yeah it's starting to sound like they didn't learn the lessons I hoped they would from the first game, which is bananas because Zero Dawn already felt like a dated open-world game at the time. Someone who's played it will have to let me know if focus/detective mode has been improved upon. In the first game when you're in focus mode you can't attack and move slower. You could tag enemies but that involves merely placing a small, barely visible chevron on them that persists out of focus mode. Now 4 years before Zero Dawn Assassin's Creed Black Flag made it so that you can highlight the entire outlines of enemies, and Ubisoft just kept that in all their future games and even games like The Phantom Pain followed suit. Could Forbidden West at the very least meet that modest design choice?

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    Nodima

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    @mezmero: No, it's the same system as before. One thing people should know about Forbidden West is that everything new about it is a tweak on the old systems, and you should expect everything to work pretty much exactly how it did in the original game only there's much more of it.

    The two things that are starkly different, I'd say, are that the skill tree is massive and entirely re-worked and every weapon and outfit has a three-tier upgrade path which so far one can only speculate about given the early game nature of the gear to this point but seems to heavily imply some deeply, deeply min/max'd and broken builds in the late game.

    In any case, the only thing new about the Focus is its ability to display the vertical terrain for you, Death Stranding-style, which also acts as a half-press environment scan that marks all the pick ups in your vicinity as well.

    For my part, I never really felt the need to mark enemies outside of the bandit camps in the first game and that was mainly because there were so many enemies and I wanted to stealth as many of them as I could to put off human-on-human combat as long as possible, whereas I always want the machine combat chaos at a maximum, arguably even moreso after being able to beat Returnal this winter.

    But I can see how that would be annoying if you wanted to make the Focus more central to your play style.

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    Mezmero

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    #49  Edited By Mezmero

    @nodima: It's not really a big deal but it is just one of those small things about Horizon's systems that stop me from having the effusive praise for that first game as I'd want to. That mechanic is designed that way to make a task easier for you in the world, but other games have long since figured out how to make those exact tasks easier if the idea is to empower the player character. Aloy should be too badass to have to worry about not attacking in see-dudes-through-walls mode.

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    Nodima

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    @mezmero: One thing I forgot to note is that they do allow you to dodge out of the Focus now, though it's an accessibility toggle for some reason. So you do have a sort of get out of jail card if you found yourself getting attacked in Focus mode often.

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