The west holds wonders, but it’s the dangers that are proving all the more exciting. Sony hosted their latest State of Play stream last Thursday, giving viewers a first glimpse of Horizon: Forbidden West’s gameplay, graphics, and story. The long-awaited sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn sees Aloy trek out of her homeland and towards the western frontier. That boundary conceals mysterious new threats and, of course, a bunch of robot dinosaurs.
Viewers who tuned in early were treated to a five-hour countdown of game-engine-rendered footage. The stream slowly panned across the stunning scenery that players will find, from snowy mountain peaks to lush valleys. The game’s day and night cycle was also on full display during the countdown, with robotic dinos showing up occasionally. Game director Mathijs de Jonge appeared on screen after the countdown finished, welcoming viewers and announcing that they had over 14 minutes of in-game and cinematic footage to show. Here’s a full breakdown of the new footage.
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Horizon Forbidden West Gameplay footage recap
The first cinematic features a hurt Oseram man surrounded by dead bodies, being treated by Aloy. He tells Aloy that they were ambushed by raiders with tamed machines from a ruin. Aloy heads off to find her friend and missing camp member, Erend, who has been captured by the raiders. And just like that, we’re into the gameplay.
Aloy walks into a stunning beach scene with ruined skyscrapers in the distance. We don’t have long to enjoy the scene, as she’s quickly ambushed by a pack of Clawstriders – new, raptor-like dinosaur machines – led by one of the raiders. She manages to avoid detection for a while before being caught. The Clawstriders chase her down, but she’s able to use a new set of parkour moves to lose the pack and dive into the nearby ocean.
Thanks to a rebreather that lets her spend longer submerged, Aloy makes her escape underwater, swimming through kelp forests and currents all while avoiding swimming machines. She emerges back onto a beach to see raiders leading Erend on a rope. Aloy soon discovers that the raiders have also taken control of a huge robot mammoth called a Tremortusk, and follows them back to the camp.
Aloy sneaks through the camp, silently assassinating a target before taking the others head on. During the sequence we get a look at her new melee moves, including a powerful finishing blow complete with a flashy cinematic close up. She then makes her way towards a bridge where the rest of the bandits are hiding out, but not before taming a Clawstrider for herself. Aloy rides towards the raiders, but the tremortusk rears its gigantic head and takes out her machine.
Dodging purple laser beams that carve ditches into the sand and gatling guns barely a step behind her, Aloy tackles the mighty beast with a range of new tools. Along with arrows to knock off components, sticky slingshot orbs are launched from her slingshot, tangling the legs of the towering beast. For those riding on top? An explosive javelin or two.
Ducking between cover, Aloy eliminates the Tremortusk riders and moves on to the mammoth’s weak spots. She grabs one of the laser cannons that had fallen off the machine and uses it to launch her own salvo in return, taking down the Tremortusk for good. She then frees Erend, who gives her a map which reveals a massive storm system closing in on their location as the trailer ends.
Despite only being 14 minutes long, the gameplay footage revealed many of the new features in Horizon: Forbidden West. Aloy’s parkour skills are greatly enhanced by several new tools at her disposal. Climbing is quicker than ever thanks to her new Pullcaster, which acts more or less like a grappling hook, targeting fixed locations. Her Shieldwing allows her to safely glide down from heights, similar to the gliders in Fortnite. While underwater, Aloy is able to breathe thanks to a Diving Mask.
Aloy’s new arsenal was also on display. There’s a new emphasis on tactics, with players able to choose between fighting up close or at a distance. Aloy’s spear has a number of new combos to try out, as well as consumables that alter the spear’s effects. Alongside the previously mentioned explosive javelins, specialized ammo for Aloy’s bow allows players to strip heavy armor off humans and machines alike, exposing their weak spots. Sticky grenades can also be fired from her slingshot, dealing damage and temporarily stalling foes.
She’ll need these tools too, as there are also many new enemies to tackle. Sunwings are robotic pterosaurs that attack from the sky, Clawstriders and Tremortusks can make short work of Aloy on land, and the new watery parts of the world are infested with Snapmaws hungrily waiting to take a bite.
The only thing missing from the Horizon Forbidden West State of Play was a reveal of when the game is actually going to launch. It’s set to release this year, but delays have plagued the industry recently and it’s unclear if Horizon Forbidden West will also fall victim. For now, those eager for Aloy’s return can bide their time by enjoying the new gameplay footage once again.
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Nicolas Perez is a journalist who has played way too much Civilization 5. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.