In a recent deep dive on Horizon Forbidden West, one of Guerilla Games' main goals was to evolve the combat significantly by evolving the combat from Horizon Zero Dawn and build on the principles of player freedom and choice within the open world. With Aloy's enemies only having multiplied since the ending of Horizon Zero Dawn, in Horizon Forbidden West there's a lot more challenges for Aloy to handle. Basically, this means that while Aloy's combat is being retooled, it's also not being radically shaken up:
"Our changes to combat design stayed true to Aloy’s identity," said Charles Perain, Combat Designer at Guerilla Games. "First, we wanted to add additional depth to gameplay and increase the skill cap for players, through skills like melee combos and Valor Surges. Players who spend some time perfecting their combat skills will find some efficient and stylish ways to dispose of their enemies. Second, we wanted to cater to a variety of playstyles and really focus on freedom of choice. Through new weapons and outfits, which can be upgraded at a workbench, players can adapt their tactics. Finally, we wanted to design challenging enemies that encourage players to use all their abilities and skills. A whole new set of machines as well as advanced human enemies will keep players on their toes throughout the game!”
To ensure these changes landed and remained compelling throughout the game's campaign, improving the AI was integral in making the combat system a better overall experience. The fluidity of enemies was especially targeted, and Guerilla wanted enemies to more easily travel over rugged terrain. Jumping and climbing especially was what Guerilla wanted to add as a part of their basic behavior. Shortcuts will now be taken whereas in Zero Dawn there would've been a long detour.
Machines can now swim and chase after Aloy underwater, which looks and sounds terrifying. Every action from start to finish displays the fluidity that Guerilla has sought, with Forbidden West's animation focusing on actions, posture, and motion. While Aloy and a machine are drastically different, the anatomy and locomotion turned out to be very similar in their core pillars. Clarity, enemy and player responses and flow and rhythm within a combat scenario are all things Guerilla wanted to improve to ensure that combat provided "increased opportunities for Aloy and her enemies."
This means that whether you want to be stealthy, you can. If you want to analyze your opponents beforehand before efficiently striking, you can also do this. If you just want to run in with a bow and spear and take the world on, well, the world is your oyster but you might not be long for this world either.
If you'd like to read the blog post, be sure to go here. For more information on Horizon Forbidden West, stay tuned to TechRaptor.
What do you think of Horizon Forbidden West's combat? Have you tried the board game? Let us know in the comments!