Aloy gains new abilities + more combat mechanics freedom in Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West is still on the way for a February 18 launch, so it’s time for another look as to what to expect in this long-awaited sequel. Based around the open world of Horizon Zero Dawn, this sequel is a continuation of Aloy’s adventure and is built on the same principles of freedom, with some areas being further expanded, as we’ll see today. The latest PlayStation blog took a deep dive into Aloy’s new abilities, so if you want to learn what makes Forbidden West different from Zero Dawn, then head below the fold where we unpack all that’s changed.

Aloy can now climb freely on and across sections of rocky terrain

To start things off, we’ll talk about traveling through the Forbidden West. David McMullen, the Lead Systems Designer at Guerrilla, said “Aloy can climb freely on and across huge sections of rocky terrain…” when talking about how you can traverse the world in the latest Horizon game. There are also more machine types that can be used as mounts, grapple points can now be found throughout the environment, and swimming underwater opens up a whole new aspect of exploration.

“Our traversal design decisions were always in service of increasing dynamic interactivity with the world around you. This could be to empower the player to manipulate and destroy their environment with a tool like the Pullcaster; or grapple-launching into a glide with the Shieldwing to set yourself up for a strike from above. 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.’

DualSense takes the sensation of playing to new heights

While Horizon Forbidden West is available for both PlayStation 4 and 5, the developers wanted to give those on the latest console something exclusive thanks to the new features found in Sony’s flagship platform. DualSense was one of our favorite parts of the PS5 when we went hands-on, and it really will shine in Horizon Forbidden West. The developers said that the DualSense controller is “heavily featured” throughout the mechanics, and here’s what they had to say about the rest of the update.

“From the scrape of rubble as you push a crate, to the sensation of an unravelling winch as you use the Pullcaster — with the increased adaptive trigger tension as you pull! We’ve also added extra tactile dimensions to increase both the gameplay value and the feeling of being part of the world Aloy is moving around in; these can be subtle as the sensation of grass brushing around you to indicate you are entering stealth grass, or the pop of the adaptive trigger as you reach maximum draw with a bow. We even use the absence of adaptive tension to help communicate when you’re out of ammo.”

Exploration gets an overhaul in Horizon Forbidden West

People loved climbing in Horizon Zero Dawn, and the developers wanted to continue the tradition with Forbidden West. They made large sections of the terrain climbable, essentially covering places where it makes sense visually and narratively. This is said to offer more options for climbing than in Zero Dawn and will likely be a favorite of the community.

Combat is now more personal than ever before

Another aspect of Horizon Forbidden West that was upgraded is combat. The team evolved combat to fit the rest of the game and builds upon the open form of the world, giving players choice and freedom in how they engage. There are new mechanics, enemy types, and weapon variations for players to explore and enjoy. As you come upon a dangerous situation, you’ll be able to access it and choose how to enter, actively swapping combat tactics mid-fight should you need to.

“One entirely new concept in Horizon Forbidden West is the workbench, where you can upgrade and strengthen weapons and outfits. This unlocks new perks, mod slots, skills, and offers a bigger degree of customization, resistances, and new abilities for players!”

9to5Toys’ take

While I don’t have a PlayStation 5, I’m hoping that Forbidden West eventually makes its way to PC much like Zero Dawn did. The mechanics look fun and the upgrade looks great. I’m excited for what’s in store here, and can’t wait to see more as we approach the February 18 launch date. Will you be pre-ordering or waiting for hands-on reviews before dropping the cash on the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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