Over the Horizon

Forbidden West is incredible. Why don’t I like it?

So after 30 hours of Horizon: Forbidden West, I think it’s time to accept the fact that I don’t like it. The thing is, I don’t really know why.

Guerrilla’s sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn is about as big as games get; the budget, the marketing, the hype, its backstory and its script, and of course, the size of it – the sheer amount of stuff there is to do in it.

It has so much to love, too. The world is incredible and looks stunning, the enemy designs are remarkable and the production values are as high as they come. I look forward to playing it, but when I do I just kind of end up on autopilot, mindlessly hacking away at enemies and watching relentlessly-talky narrative scenes through glazed eyes.

Indeed, the only time the game manages to squeeze an emotional response from me is when it’s annoying me. I don’t hate it – not at all – but I don’t love it either. To paraphrase a particularly prickly character from TV’s Scrubs; I nothing it. I’m completely indifferent.

But why? I mean, who doesn’t want to play a game set in a spectacular post-apocalyptic world filled with giant mechanical dinosaurs? Have we simply seen this quest-filled, open-world adventure style game too many times now? Does it just have a bit too much… everything?

It’s possible. It’s the exact reason I’ve stayed away from Assassin’s Creed for the best part of a decade after all. But I’m not sure it is that with Horizon. The weirdest thing about all of this is that I don’t see how this sequel is any worse than the first game. And I loved the first game.I’ll play it through to completion, and I’ve dropped the difficulty so it doesn’t annoy me too much as I do. But why do I feel the need to finish something I’m not enjoying? Especially when I have a to-play list bursting with games I’m certain I’ll like more.

Getting a return on my investment (both time and money) is probably a big one. I’ve sunk £70 and 30 hours into this game already and I don’t want it to be for nothing. But I know dropping another 30 hours on it probably isn’t the best solution.

I guess I still hold on to the hope that it’ll all just click at some point. That I’ll love the final stretch and all the effort up until now will be worth it. If it does, it will be.

If so, hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to report back with some good news…

This article is an extract from The Week in Games newsletter.

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