Guerrilla Games has explained how they’ve changed both the environments and the tools Aloy has at her disposal in Horizon: Forbidden West to give players a range of new abilities in the upcoming game. While there will be a similar amount of freedom as there was in Horizon: Zero Dawn, the developer wanted to offer more ways to explore and experience the world.
There are many new ways Aloy can get across the world. One new addition is the ability to climb “huge sections of rocky terrain” without the need for tribal handholds. The high vault traversal mechanic lets Aloy pull herself on top of any object of jumpable height as long as there’s room to do so. When combined with wall jumping, the ability to leap away from a climbing surface, and the extra grapple points that allow for vertical traversal in more areas, there will be plenty of opportunities to put the photo mode through its paces.
When not climbing, players will be able to use even more mechanical creatures as mounts than the first game to travel larger distances at greater speed. Aloy can also now swim, no longer limited to just merely hiding underwater. Of course, this means Guerrilla Games has rethought level design to give players more options, as explained by Lead Systems Designer David McMullen:
This wide array of new options also posed challenges to how we think about level design. We need to allow for players to outsmart us, using new moves or tools to bypass some of our challenges in clever and unpredictable ways. Traversal puzzles won’t always have a binary solution; we encourage players to experiment and have fun with the new tools. We will offer a variety of challenges, regardless of playstyle or skill or previous experience in Horizon Zero Dawn.
There are new tools to use too. The Pullcaster is the mechanical device Aloy has mounted to her wrist. This allows her to grapple up rock faces, as well as throwing her into the air to strike enemies from above. The device can also be used as a winch to move or destroy different objects within the environment, such as pulling a chest from a ledge or opening a vent. Meanwhile, the Shieldwing allows Aloy to glide down from high elevations as well as having uses during combat.
For taking down enemies, players get new combat mechanics, enemy types, and weapon variation. One thing players now have to bear in mind is that humans and machines will fight together and they’re no longer separate battles. Some enemy factions can also use machines as mounts and players will need to decide which to take out first. Melee and ranged combat are also more closely related. For example, the Resonator Blast means a spear can be charged with every melee hit and when it’s fully powered, a high-powered projectile can be sent their way to deal big explosive damage. There are also a total of 12 Valor Surge abilities with specific approaches to combat. These can be unlocked and upgraded through the skill tree, which now has more tracks and skills as well as the ability to synergize with Aloy’s outfits.
Horizon Forbidden West brings new weapons like the Spike Thrower, which deals high amounts of damage and can hit large targets easily if thrown at the right moment. Other familiar weapons return, like the Hunter Bow, Sharpshot Bow, and the Blast Sling. Weapons and outfits can be upgraded and strengthened at the new workbench, where perks, mod slots, and skills give the opportunity to customize weapons to a player’s playstyle.
Finally, those who play Horizon Forbidden West on PlayStation 5 can make use of a variety of DualSense features:
The DualSense wireless controller is heavily featured throughout our mechanics. From the scrape of rubble as you push a crate, to the sensation of an unravelling winch as you use the Pullcaster — with the increased adaptive trigger tension as you pull! We’ve also added extra tactile dimensions to increase both the gameplay value and the feeling of being part of the world Aloy is moving around in; these can be subtle as the sensation of grass brushing around you to indicate you are entering stealth grass, or the pop of the adaptive trigger as you reach maximum draw with a bow. We even use the absence of adaptive tension to help communicate when you’re out of ammo.
Players can get to try out all of these features when Horizon: Forbidden West releases on PS5 and PS4 on February 18, 2022.[Source: PlayStation Blog]
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