Horizon Forbidden West Horizon Forbidden West

Gaming

Horizon Forbidden West Review: Back to save us from machines

Aloy continues her journey to the west

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The much-awaited Horizon sequel is here and, right off the bat, we’re telling you that it’s all worth the wait. Guerilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West is the latest must-play AAA title for every current and last-gen PlayStation owner.

If you haven’t played Horizon Zero Dawn, you should start playing now. It’s a fantastic PlayStation exclusive and with Forbidden West already on the horizon (pun intended), you’re gonna need to catch up.

Warning: Slight spoilers ahead!

Horizon Forbidden West is set six months after the end of Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy is again faced with a new threat to the planet and must head… west. This means we get to see more of Horizon’s dystopian future where tribes rule and animals are machines.

The game’s timeline is one of the most impressive things about it. As a suckers for anything tech with a twist, we got sucked into it. Open world games usually get boring after a while and you kinda get tired of exploring every corner, but not Horizon and definitely not in the forbidden west.

This game is meant to be played on the PS5

We played Forbidden West on the PS5 in Performance Mode which provides smooth 60fps gaming albeit not at its sharpest state. If you want to see Aloy’s world in absolute sharpness, there’s the Resolution Mode for native 4K rendering but it runs at 30fps only.

We tried both during the prologue and our eyes got spoiled with the game’s higher framerate option. Naturally, we went on and played in Performance Mode throughout. Good thing the drop in pixel clarity is minor and it’s only noticeable when you look for it.

Since we’re already talking about visuals, let’s get right into the graphics of the game. In one word: stunning. Zero Dawn is one of the best-looking games for the PS4 and Forbidden West is the most visually pleasing PS5 game to date!

Forbidden West runs on Decima — Guerilla Games’ proprietary game engine. The folks there truly know how to get the best quality out of it. The level of detail in Forbidden West is top-notch; it feels like a cinematic animated action movie rendered in real-time.

We don’t have the exact words to describe how visually stunning this game is, so we’ll let these screengrabs do the “talking”:

I know, you might be thinking that it looks similar to Zero Dawn, which we agree with to some extent. However, everything is 200% better!

The foliage, the facial and body features, the landscape, the machines, and the whole world of Horizon got the solid visual upgrade it deserves.

The most noticeable visual enhancement can be seen in the character models. The fine details of the outfits, the body hairs, and the sheen on the face — especially with the face paints.

Lore worthy of its own series

Horizon, if it’s a show, is definitely something that we would watch on the TV and even on the big screen should there be an adaptation. Although, to play and be the character in the game is probably the best way to experience the lore.

The unique setting in the future is a core strength of this game and we live for it. What we’re not living for is the premise of Forbidden West: Aloy, like any protagonist especially if a hero, is out to save the world again. That was also her main goal in the first installment and sadly, she didn’t exactly save the world.

During the prologue, there’s not much to get excited about but as you progress in the Forbidden West, there are twists and turns. And that’s where things get exciting.

Forbidden West

Aloy brings her friends to the forbidden west and along the way, she will also meet new characters. There are a lot of characters to talk to in the game, a few will stand out, and, like in the first installment, they will joim you in the final battle.

If there are friends, there are also enemies lurking around the map. Not just new machines, but also rebels that’ll fight you to death and they make exploration much more interesting.

As Aloy, you’re the key to almost everything that’s happening in the world and all the inaccessible places in the forbidden west. That’s why you have a lot to explore while you’re completing the main story or even after it.

The tribes of Forbidden West are more worthy of your time than Zero Dawn’s, which means you have a lot of exploring to do.

Riding the machines is always fun, particularly when you’re already able to override a flying machine. The new map is slightly bigger or just about the same, but the main storyline and the side quests complement each other resulting in a game that runs like a well-oiled machine.

What’s it like to be Aloy again?

It’s been nearly 5 years since we first played as Aloy, and if you’ve clocked in a number of hours in Zero Dawn, you’re going to be very familiar with how Aloy moves and fights in the wild.

Aside from Aloy’s updated character model, she also learned a few new tricks plus weapons to use. While the bow and arrow are still Aloy’s signature, don’t be afraid to use what’s in your arsenal.

Aloy’s spear can now do better melee attacks (with combos!). Plus, there are explosive spears and launchers to spice up combats. Don’t forget that tall grasses are your best friend throughout the map. There are a lot of ways to fight beastly machines and bloodthirsty rebels.

Aloy’s skills can be upgraded and you have the freedom to choose whichever type of Aloy you want to have. Be sure to plan your skill tree — which has been expanded from four to six — based on how you want to progress in the game. Your playstyle will be important as you get deeper into the forbidden west.

Is it perfect? Nearly.

Horizon Forbidden West

Yes, obviously, we love Horizon Forbidden West. It’s a well-written, technically polished title that will most likely be another hit for PlayStation. With the game coming to both PS4 and PS5, both generations of consoles have the chance to enjoy Guerilla’s newest masterpiece.

The game might feel familiar to those who have played Zero Dawn. Some might even say it brings nothing new to the table, and that’s okay. I’m not expecting a brand new game; it doesn’t need a new approach in its series like God Of War (2018). We expected Forbidden West to continue Zero Dawn much like how we expect a second season from a beloved TV show — to give us more of what we loved about it.

Horizon Forbidden West is a PlayStation Exclusive and will officially be out on February 18.

Accessories

Razer introduces two new Ornata V3 keyboards

Slim, clicky, and ergonomic

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Ornata V3

Razer is releasing two new entry-level gaming keyboards in the Ornata V3 and Ornata V3 X, which will both have Razer’s Mecha-membrane switches.

The new keyboards come with all the basics expected of an affordable gaming accessory. That’s everything from their keycaps design, RGB backlight, and more.

The two low-profile gaming keyboards come with smaller footprint and slimline keycap designs. The ABS keycaps are UV-coated for scratch resistance, while the Ornata V3 X’s keycaps are spill-resistant.

The keyboards also feature Razer Chroma RGB with 10 lighting zones. The V3 X has four lighting effects: Breathing, Spectrum Cycling, Static, and Wave.

Aside from these, they have backlit dedicated media keys for more convenient controls such as playing and pausing, skipping, or adjusting brightness or volume.

Adding value to the Ornata V3 and V3 X is their magnetic soft-touch wrists rest. These are not often included for keyboards in their price range.

Pricing, availability

The Razer Ornata V3 and Ornata V3 X keyboards are now available on Razer’s official website, Shopee, Lazada, and through their authorized sellers.

The Ornata V3 will retail for PhP 2,590 while the Ornata V3 X is priced at PhP 4,199.

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Accessories

SteelSeries unveils Arctis Nova Pro series

The almighty future of audio

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Arctis Nova Pro

SteelSeries has released the Arctis Nova Pro series. It’s latest and most advanced gaming and esports headsets yet from the company.

The series has two variants — the Arctis Nova Pro and Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. The new series is enhanced by SteelSeries’ Sonar Audio Software Suite. It helps deliver the ultimate sound quality and clarity.

The software is the first in-gaming Pro-grade Parametric EQ which gives gamers even more control over sound across games, team chat, and the microphone and allows them to adjust individual frequencies on the fly seamlessly.

Both variants come with immersive 360° Spatial Audio which is fully compatible with Tempest 3D audio for PS5 or Microsoft Spatial Sound.

They also feature Multi-System Connect which allows users to switch between platforms easily. Complementing the next-level sound experience is an AI-powered noise cancelling and broadcast-quality bidirectional microphone.

Price and availability

The Arctis Nova Pro will retail for US$ 279.99 for both the PC/PlayStation and Xbox options, while the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is priced at US$ 379.99.

In Singapore, pricing are as follows:

  • Arctis Nova Pro – SG$ 439
  • Arctis Nova Pro (Xbox) – SG$ 449 (available in Sep 2022)
  • Arctis Nova Pro Wireless – SG$ 599 (available in Sep 2022)
  • Arctis Nova Pro Wireless (Xbox) – SG $620

There are also booster packs for users to be able to customize the headsets with headbands and metallic color speaker plates of their choice.

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Gaming

Final Fantasy XVI producer reveals game details in interview

Things just got more exciting

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Final Fantasy XVI

Ever since the announcement of Final Fantasy XVI a few years back, enthusiasts have been on the edge of their seats in anticipation how exactly the latest installment in the popular video game franchise would look like.

Now, no less than producer Naoki Yoshida is teasing us all with even more details for what is there to expect before FFXVI releases officially in the summer of 2023 exclusively on PS5.

Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights of his latest interview regarding FFXVI.

FFXVI won’t be traditional open world

Unlike previous iterations of Final Fantasy, the upcoming video game is going in a different direction as it will not be open world, surprisingly.

Instead, it will be an “independent area-based game design”. Still, Yoshida did give away that it will take a lot of inspiration from “triple-A open world RPGs” to allow players to experience the game on a “global scale”.

Clive’s got company — making battles more interesting

Prior to Yoshida’s interviews, players have been expecting FFXVI’s protagonist, Clive, to be a solo fighter which meant that the game would have been a single-player type for the first time.

But apparently, Clive’s got company — other characters who will fight alongside him but will be AI-controlled, according to Yoshida.

Something that will also resonate uniquely with players will be the Eikon-versus-Eikon battles. Players will be able to control an Eikon in real-time and engage with another Eikon.

Yoshida recalled the original Final Fantasy in making XVI

Citing the importance of making each of Final Fantasy’s releases true to its essence, Yoshida mentioned that he went to as far as thinking about the original Final Fantasy and remembering how it felt like while playing the lead role.

He said that he “wanted to recapture that feeling in XVI”, plus the advancements in technology and modern game design.

This is something Yoshida hopes could turn into reality for people to look forward to.

The game is almost ready as of the moment

Yoshida also mentioned that in terms of progress, the game is “fully playable from start to finish” already. 

As it stands, it looks like voice-overs in different languages are currently the focus as of the moment, as well as finetuning to make sure there are no bugs or glitches.

Since FFXVI is full of action, it is only natural for the developers to have it undergo several tests to ensure smooth gameplay.

A third trailer will drop later in 2022

Lastly, a third trailer that will succeed the “Dominance” trailer released a month ago will drop this fall.

That will surely excite players even more as they get closer and closer to Final Fantasy XVI’s launch next year.

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