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Monday, August 8, 2022

Horizon Forbidden West is open-world gaming done right

Horizon Forbidden West is one of the best PS4 games and best PS5 games. It received our Tom’s Guide Editor’s Choice label for a reason: it’s an all-around captivating experience. In fact, it’s so good that I’ve continued playing it despite having no obligation to. Usually, I stop playing games I review the instant I submit said review. But even as I’m writing this op-ed, all I want to do is peel myself away from the PC so I can fire up my PS5 dive back into Aloy’s world.

Why has Horizon Forbidden West captivated me? On the surface, the answer seems simple. I loved Horizon Zero Dawn, so I should naturally love its sequel. That’s definitely a factor. Like I said in my review, Forbidden West has everything that made the original great. But beyond that, this PlayStation exclusive has more going for it than just being an exceptionally constructed sequel. It’s something that has become rare in recent years: An open-world game that genuinely feels good to sink time into.

Open world games have become a slog

Assassin’s Creed exemplifies what’s wrong with modern open world games (Image credit: Ubisoft)

I used to love open-world games, particularly in the 2000s and early 2010s. The PS2-era Grand Theft Auto titles. Spider-Man 2. True Crime. Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. inFamous. I could go on, but suffice it to say, open-world games were my go-to for a long time. No other genre (if you could call open-world games a genre) outside of RPGs made me feel like I was visiting living, breathing places. If an open-world game came out, I was all over it.

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