Just as it promised, Sony has pulled back the veil on Guerrilla Games’ highly anticipated Horizon Forbidden West, sharing 14 minutes of gorgeous gameplay running on PlayStation 5.
As you can see in the video below, it’s an immediate feast for the eyes, beginning as Aloy scrambles through dense jungle foliage before stumbling out onto a oceanside settlement, all sandy beaches, deep blue water, and vast rock spires on the horizon, shrouded in clouds. These, Guerrilla later confirms, are the remnants of San Francisco, millennia into the future, and it’s here that Aloy encounters machine-riding raiders, immediately embarking on some nimble combat, firing arrows and hurtling acrobatically around the environment to escape their attack.
This initial sequence ends beneath the waves as Aloy swims through gorgeous coral reefs, kelp, and exotic fauna, fighting the current as she goes. Eventually she reaches dry land and encounters the raiders once more, this time choosing to take a more stealthy approach as she attempts to liberate her kidnapped friend.
With the raiders out the picture, she returns once more to the jungle, scrambling up into the canopy for a better view among the clouds. Here, we get a glimpse of Aloy’s glider-like Shieldwing as she drifts back to earth, then all that remains is a quick sprint on the back of a hijacked machine, culminating in a boss-like confrontation with a fearsome metal mammoth.
It’s a breathless careen through 14 minutes of gameplay, with little time to take everything in. Thankfully, Sony opted to round off its State of Play livestream by inviting Guerrilla Games to break down the action a little further.
In terms of story, Horizon Forbidden West sees Aloy dealing with something of a triple threat; there are the dangerous wild machines that roam the land, alongside a deadly rebel faction and a strange red blight threatening to devastate humanity. As the adventure continues , Aloy, and players, will slowly learn how everything is connected.
As you might expect, Aloy comes armed with a range of new toys for this newest adventure. There’s the aforementioned Shieldwing, for starters, plus the Focus Scanner, which can be used to highlight free-climbing spots around the dazzling environments.
The Pullcaster, meanwhile, is a grapple that can latch onto scenery before quickly retracting, enabling Aloy to rocket across long distances or zip up walls. Then there’s the Diving Mask that lets players stay submerged in water for as long as they like and boost through any currents they might encounter. Additionally, as seen during the gameplay sequence, a variety of machines can be overridden and mounted to speed up overland travel.
Combat, too, has received various improvements and additions. The spear can be used in close-range combat, for example, and grants access to a range of distinct combos alongside a high-damage charge attack. Valor Surges offer their own tricks, enabling players to knock back enemies, among other things.
More can be accessed from the weapon wheel, including a slingshot with adhesive grenades that can temporarily stall machines, bows with arrows that can strip armour and expose weak points, spikes that can be launched into the air and which explode on impact, smoke bombs, even weapons that fall off machines – all of which can be upgraded at workbenches.
Guerrilla says it’ll talk more on that last point at a later date, with further details set to be shared closer to Horizon Forbidden West’s launch on PS4 and PS5. Until then, you’ve 14 or so minutes of gorgeous gameplay to tide you over, so enjoy.