Community Review: Everybody Loves Horizon Forbidden West

Community Review: Everybody Loves Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon: Forbidden West is already stacking glowing review after glowing review into its heavily feathered cap. One of the most anticipated games of the year, there was huge interest in the critical consensus when reviews dropped last week. The sequel to Guerilla’s hit post-apoc, open-world action RPG, the game sees Aloy venturing deep into hostile territory. Her mission: stop a deadly terraforming agent before it consumes the entire world.

The game was met with largely positive reviews from games press, including myself. I personally found it to be lovingly made and polished to a perfect shine, but ultimately iterative in nature. The new things it throws into the mix are meaningful but, to me, Guerilla seems more interested in fully nailing down those aspects that already worked. With its fundamentals now perfected, any third game in the series is primed for dizzying success.

I also have the desire to keep playing it beyond the review window. I feel like that’s the true mark of quality. You know it’s good when you chew through new releases for a living and still want to go back to it after.

Over on Metacritic, the consensus was a wide range of scores in the green, from perfect 100’s, 90’s, 85’s and 80’s. Only six outlets scored it below an 80. All of these reviews make fair critiques regarding the game’s weaker side quests, the metric ton of often unnecessary dialogue to chew through, and the way its elemental combat system can be subverted with explosive spearheads alone.

The user reviews told a similar story, with the lion’s share of scores sitting above an 8. At the time of writing, the community reviews sit at 4,222 positive, 229 mixed, and 889 negative. Of the negative reviews, most are complaining about graphics issues the team are already working to address.

But there’s something else we should address as well. As reviews rolled out, Australian outlet Stevivor began to take heat for its review, written by Joab Gilroy. Longtime readers of Kotaku Australia will be very familiar with Joab and his work, I’m sure. I’ve read Joab’s review, and I hope you do too because I think his takeaways are really valuable. Every one of his critiques is entirely fair, and well-rationalised. Naturally, deep PlayStation Twitter did not agree, deciding that both Joab and Stevivor were biased Xbox fans with an axe to grind, which isn’t true and never has been.

The brigading that both Joab and the site’s founder Steve Wright received, all from hardcore Sony fanboys who had not yet played the game, was monstrous. I don’t like using my position on this site to take a swing at fandom. It feels like punching down because it is. But here, a line has been crossed. To issue death threats and target someone’s husband over a review for a video game (again, a game that none of them had played at the time) is beyond the pale.

Reviews are opinions, and you’re free to disagree. That difference of opinion is why we have reviews in the first place. It’s so you, as a player and a customer, can hear a wide range of views and make a decision on whether to carve out the time and 100 of your hard-earned dollars on the experience. But going in on someone like this is never okay.

A pretty shameful week for Twitter’s hardcore PlayStation fandom. We send our love to Joab and Steve and we hope they’re holding up okay.

With that out of the way: it’s over to you. Have you jumped into Horizon: Forbidden West yet? Are you loving it, or did you bounce off it like a poison arrow of a robot meerkat? Hit us with your takes in the comments below.

Comments

  • Here’s a non-review: I haven’t got it yet, February is just too insane, don’t have the time or mental bandwidth.
    I will though at some point, the first game was just too good not to. And if they’re fixing graphical issues in the meantime, all the better.

    • Good non-review. You look after yourself, internet stranger.

      The game isn’t going to degrade over time; when you have the hours and bandwidth to properly enjoy it, it’ll be as great as it is today, only with better graphics.

  • Game arrived yesterday for the wife (present) along with a fancy new purple controller for her to use with it.
    She is both super happy and mildly irritated with me for her Uni starts up again next week and along with her FT job… she is going to be caught in a tug of war over priorities 🙂

    • There isn’t much quite as brutal as the drag of uni commitments when there’s a great game waiting at home. When she can find that spare hour to squeeze in a bit of game time, I hope she has a blast.

  • Herewith be spoilers:

    Spoilers begin:

    They take the one bit of Aussie fauna that doesn’t, as a rule, try and kill us and do THAT to it? ”
    Skippy, you mo-fo, this is why you’re called a boomer *BOOM!!!!!* Eat explosive spear!”

    Spooilers end.

    Having a blast so far, but not making much progress with the main story because it’s all too pretty, and the people are lovely, and wandering about collecting things and occasionally tripping headlong over bits of plot is just what I fell like at the mo.

  • Loving it!! It’s HZD turned up another level with a continuation of the the story that I can’t wait to see play out.

    Aloy <3

  • I am only about 4 hours in and I never played Zero Dawn, but it’s excellent. Such a high level of polish. The last time I had this feeling of roaming freely and constantly finding interesting things and situations was Witcher 3.

    Maybe it’s because of my entry-level 4K TV, but for me the choice between Image Quality mode and Performance mode is an easy one – the fluidity of the 60fps makes a more noticeable difference than the resolution boost. It’s always nice to have the options, though.

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