Horizon Forbidden West’s Combat And Exploration Emphasize Player-Choice

We got a solid glimpse at Horizon Forbidden West’s improved combat/exploration systems during Sony’s State of Play earlier this year. Aloy has unprecedented freedom thanks to new gadgets and visual cues. He can also maneuver freely around the open globe and take down machine and human enemies. The second in a series of developer updates, a recent post on the Official PlayStation blog delves into how Horizon Forbidden West’s various mechanics emphasize player-choice like never before.

This time around, lead systems designer David McMullen and lead combat designer Dennis Zopfi have taken to the main stage to discuss what makes Forbidden West’s gameplay so deep and satisfying. 

Aloy’s movement has become more fluid, with the ability to move freely and even swim underwater. She can also glide and use her Shieldwing to navigate certain areas of terrain. This was not an easy decision. McMullen explains that Guerilla Games wanted players to feel empowered in different ways.

“Our traversal design decisions were always in service of increasing dynamic interactivity with the world around you. It could allow players to create and manipulate their environments with tools like the Pullcaster, or to grapple-launch into a glide with Shieldwing so you are ready for an attack from the top. What excites us most is how our mechanics, new and old, synergistically interact with each other to provide varied and dynamic approaches to any scenario.”

Despite exploration’s newfound ease, Aloy will have to stay one step ahead of her adversaries while out and about. Aloy has the ability to improve her outfits and weapons with the addition of a bench. This unlocks many perks and mods/mod slots as well as skills. The skill tree has been redesigned to mesh with any abilities that might be linked to Aloy’s equipped gear. Aloy uses these features to her advantage in combative engagements. 

Horizon II: Forbidden West

“The goal for the weapons in Horizon Forbidden West was to give each of them a stronger personality, which is also expressed in how you have to handle them,” Dennis explains. “Each weapon has their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the ideal situations to use them in. Spike Thrower for instance is a brand new high-damage weapon. When thrown at just the right time, it makes it easy to hit bigger targets. The Blast Sling can be used to deal elemental damage like fire and adhesive. Each weapon comes with different perks, ammo types, and weapon coil slots to customize them further — though some weapons need to be upgraded first before you can make them stronger.”

Add in Valor Surges – powerful abilities that drain your energy reserves – and you can tailor Aloy’s kit to match any playstyle. 

Horizon Forbidden West will launch for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 in February 18

Are there any weapons you are most excited about in Horizon Forbidden West or other exploration techniques? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments 

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