Stray! Final Fantasy XVI! The Resident Evil 4 remake! Sony’s big not-E3 State of Play showcase, held last night, was unexpectedly packed. But amid the fray flew a kernel of under-the-radar news for a game that’s already out: Horizon Forbidden West received a wave of much-requested features, including a new game plus, in a surprise update.
Horizon Forbidden West, released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in February, is Guerrilla Games’ follow-up to Horizon Zero Dawn. Like its predecessor, Forbidden West is an open-world game set in a post-apocalyptic version of America, 1,000 years from now, wherein you fight a whole bunch of massive robotic creatures. At launch, it received wide acclaim, though players flagged it for a litany of performance issues — nothing game-breaking, more just stuff like randomly shimmery graphical flourishes. (Those have since been fixed.) But once it was over, it was really over.
Patch 1.14 adds a bunch of long-requested features to the game. The big one, of course, is the addition of that new game plus mode, allowing you to replay the game with all of the skills and equipment earned through your initial playthrough. That’s paired alongside a new higher difficulty level, Ultra Hard. I found that it’s only selectable from the start of a new game — either new-game plus or new-game regular. I couldn’t change the difficulty to Ultra Hard on my primary save file. (Fine by me: Horizon’s already hard enough at certain spots!)
There’s also the new option to reset your skills. From the “Skills” tab, click into any tree and hit the Options button. That’s in addition to one of the biggest fan-requested features: transmog, allowing you to retain the stats of equipped gear while swapping its look to something else in your inventories. From the inventory tab, scroll down to “outfits” and press Triangle over the one you want main character Aloy to wear. You’ll then see a small eye symbol on the item’s icon, indicating that you’re wearing it — no hoops to jump through or weird currency systems to deal with.
In this last regard, Horizon follows in the footsteps of a current development trend, where massive open-world games typically don’t launch with this feature but see it added several months after launch. Ubisoft’s viking-themed RPG Assassin’s Creed Valhalla received a transmog feature four months after its November 2020 release. CDPR’s Cyberpunk 2077, first released in December 2020, quietly received a similar system earlier this year, though it’s half-baked.
Horizon’s patch also “fixed” some “issues” that may or may not have needed fixing, your perspective depending. For instance: Tallnecks — the roving brachiosaurus-like robots who serve as waypoints to clear fog of war from the map — will apparently no longer destroy any nearby machines upon activation. Boo.