The Horizon Forbidden West gameplay reveal stream is here, giving us a good long look at the hotly anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. There’s a good 14 minutes of new in-game action, all captured on PlayStation 5 (though the game is also releasing on PlayStation 4). Check it out:
The mixture of in-game footage and cinematics immediately shows a significant step forward in performance capture and facial animations. The opening cinematic sees Aloy finds a wounded Oseram ally, with Erend returning from the first game, but having been ambushed and captured by Raiders that have splintered from the Tenakth tribe and have machines now on their side.
Stepping out from the shaded enclosing, it’s immediately clear that Aloy is on a tropical coastline – it transpires it’s San Francisco – and we see the aforementioned Raiders riding machines, combining both enemy from the first game.
Aloy finds herself pursued by the machines, needing to use a smoke bomb to disengage and run, employing her Focus’ scan ability to highlight the climbing spots that are now more prevalent in the open world, and eventually diving into the water to escape.
Underwater, she has a diving mask that lets you take your time and stay there as long as you want. This employs some of the same dynamics as found on land, as you avoid underwater robots by hiding in the foliage. You can push off from the environment and use water currents to speed your way through.
Combat against humans is a place to show off the more dynamic melee combat. Some of the Raiders have armour and enhanced weapons, but Aloy can pull of a variety of melee combos, has surge abilities that can push enemies back with a burst of energy, for example, and can power up her spear to deal more arcing damage.
Her tech abilities are enhanced with a new Shieldwing energy glider, as well as a Pullcaster grappling hook, both of which can be combined nicely to get around and in combat as well.
It’s certainly handy when fighting the Raiders that have commandeered a Tremotusk and put battlements on its back like a war elephant. Here we see Aloy starting off with mounted combat before getting knocked down by the Tremortusk’s side cannons. Pursued with it firing laser blasts from its head, Aloy evades before using the slingshot to throw slowing adhesive grenades, explosive armour piercing arrows to knock chunks of armour off, and a launcher for explosive spikes that blows up some of the Raiders and their defences.
Eventually those battlements are destroyed, and it’s just fighting the Tremortusk. This is one of the bigger beasts in the game, but there’s also Sunwings, Clawstriders, Stepmaws in water and the seemingly “harmless” Burrowers.
Horizon Forbidden West is due to release later in 2021. We’ve even had it extra-double confirmed a few weeks ago when Wired spoke to Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan and during the interview where it was confirmed that the game was still going to be released this year. This is the latest of Sony’s single-game State of Play streams, peeling back the curtain on soon to be released titles like Returnal and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
There’s no update on the release timing at this point, but we do still know that Horizon Forbidden West will be coming to PS5 and PS4 as a cross-gen release, with free upgrades available for purchasers.