So I am still quite surprised by the fact this first look at actual ‘Horizon: Forbidden West’ gameplay on PS5 via the latest State of Play event is actually happening considering that E3 week is only a few weeks away and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is out in just two weeks almost. But a present surprise it was and here we are, one of the biggest and expected releases for PS5 that did not think we would see until 2022 at the earliest is being showcased, does this mean a 2021 release date and what exactly does the move to PlayStation 5 mean for the sequel to what many including myself view as one of the best games of the PS4 generation, Horizon: Zero Dawn.
It should be pointed out that a LIVE pre-stream went live at 5pm UK BST, and it has been showing the world via what looks like a drone or switching between different cameras, showing different kinds of environments which makes me think this is one massive open world and all with a countdown to the launch of the State of Play, no doubt fans will be going through this with a fine comb to find any clues and secrets but I have to admit, it is a lovely warm up to seeing actual PS5 gameplay.
Game director introduces the State of Play introducing right into gameplay and well…we are jumping right into it with a 14 minute gameplay on PS5 demo:
Ok so no, we did not get a release date which is no surprise having seen the scale and scope of the world in Forbidden West which from the 14 minutes of recorded on PS5 gameplay, is just mind-blowing. Just looking at the size of the area that Aloy can now traverse and the new methods of traversing such as the grapple/zipline to move quickly between structures and the new holo glider that allows leaping from high places and gliding to another just feels so much bigger than the more grounded style of Zero Dawn.
Visually, the new lighting effects were incredible not to mention the showcased ability to now swim and stay underwater, adding a whole new environment to explore and again, those vibrant colours shown in this demon was stunning, already mouth-watering to think this could have raytracing on release and how it will look on my TV. I loved that a lot of the familiar gameplay mechanics have been retained and I would say added to rather than replaced with new ones for example how you would hide in tall grass by crouching is there as is the very popular bow combat system but now with extra elements such as the smoke bomb that Aloy can use to break line of site with machines and humans. Fighting humans can now also include breaking their armour much like you would take out components of a machine animal by shooting at weak points.
The battle with the TremorTusk was incredible, it felt shortened but the variety of attacks that Aloy now has such as a shrapnel bomb with obliterated the human riding equipment on the TremorTusk as well as the glue almost ammo that gunked up the legs of the TremorTusk. It had all the thrills of combat I loved from Zero Dawn but with enough new elements to let me know that I will have more freedom in how to approach objectives which I had hoped would be the case, more new elements than changing the gameplay I loved. All in all what was shown in the 14 minutes of the demo certainly please us fans of the original but just browsing social media after the event ended and I did see a lot of “Ok Now I really want a PS5” which is no surprise, but whether or not the stock shortages for the PS5 impact its release date, which after watching does have me believing that all the developer spoken “will show more closer to release” might have this a 2022 release.
I am very impressed with what was shown and I sense that is probably why this event happened, even just a few weeks before E3 time, this has fans excited and the PS5 being even more desired so job done. It certainly has me very happy to already own one!