The 10 BEST Changes in Horizon Forbidden West

The 10 BEST Changes in Horizon Forbidden West

VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown WRITTEN BY: Aaron Brown
Horizon Zero Dawn was an amazing game but there's always room for improvement and Forbidden West more than delivers a multitude of quality of life changes and upgrades from our first venture into the world of Horizon. In this video we're lookin at the 10 BEST changes in Horizon Forbidden West. Our list includes Underwater Exploration, Weapon Selection & Upgrades, Side Quests, Combat and more!

Script written by Aaron Brown

10 Best Changes in Horizon Forbidden West

Welcome to MojoPlays and today we’re exploring the Forbidden West to find the Best Changes in Horizon Forbidden West.

Horizon Zero Dawn was an amazing game but there’s always room for improvement and Forbidden West more than delivers a multitude of quality of life changes and upgrades from our first venture into the world of Horizon.

What’s your favorite change from Zero Dawn to Forbidden West? Drop into the comments below and let us know!

Accessibility Options

One of the best new changes in Forbidden West has to be the new accessibility options that have become a staple of Sony first party titles over the last few years. With the ability to individually customize everything from puzzle and enemy encounter difficulty, to the option to completely change nearly every aspect of your controller setup, (seriously how is this not the industry standard at this point?), gamers are given far more options to make their time in the Forbidden West completely their own. Players can even adjust their focus’ new abilities to always display climbing sections in the world as well as adjust the settings to not destroy precious machine parts should your aim go a bit astray. All of these new changes make for an experience virtually anyone can tackle their own way and is something we hope to see a lot more of going forward.

Underwater Exploration

While this easily could’ve fallen under new traversal options which we’ll get to in a little bit, the accomplishment of not only making underwater exploration meaningful but actually a functional part of the game where so many have failed in the past is frankly impressive. In a world where Aloy is usually the Alpha Predator, the underwater sections put her on the defensive and force her to avoid encounters entirely, hoping to draw her prey onto dry land to deal with them. Many of the game's puzzles are even designed around these underwater sections and are a nice callback to games like Ocarina of Time’s water temple, albeit significantly less frustrating. Hopefully we’ll see this mechanic expanded upon in the future and make Aloy the Alpha machine hunter of land AND sea.

Weapon Selection & Upgrades

Horizon Zero Dawn had no shortage of impressive weapons for Aloy to carve a path to Meridian with. Now with even more deadly machines to fight in the Forbidden West, Aloy’s arsenal has also been beefed up. Aloy not only has access to new weapons such as the Boltblaster, the Shredder Gauntlet, and the Spike Thrower but new armor sets as well. While there were many armors in Zero Dawn, Guerilla put substantial effort into making each new armor in Forbidden West look unique to the tribes of the new lands Aloy traverses. With so many new options available and each weapon and armor set coming fully equipped with their own perks and abilities, players have more options than ever to fully customize to their individual playstyle.
Coupled with Aloy’s new stash and expanded inventory, players don’t ever have to worry about leaving precious components behind again.

The World

The world of Horizon Zero Dawn was already a stunner with its diverse environments, but the Forbidden West absolutely surpasses Zero Dawn in nearly every respect. From the lush jungles and waves crashing along the shoreline, to the sandy dunes littered with sandstorms and dust devils, to the frigid mountaintops, players will likely spend a majority of their time in photo mode just capturing every moment. The tribes of the Forbidden West are also far more diverse than Zero Dawn as well, with each tribe now being much easier to identify from the beautifully handcrafted homes of the Utaru tribes to the jagged edges and bright face paints of the Tenakth clan, you never need to wonder whose territory you’ve stumbled into.


The cutscenes in Horizon Zero Dawn certainly got the job done of conveying the game’s story and emotional impact, but there was still much to be improved upon. From the strange cuts and awkward transitions between scenes, the team at Guerilla had a lot of room to improve here and with Forbidden West, they absolutely have done just that. Not only does the camerawork convey a much more cinematic and grandiose feel to match the bigger stakes of the story, but with the massive improvements to the character animations, even conversations are more natural with the characters moving around the scene and feeling much less like you’re watching Bethesda NPC conversations. With the Decima Engine only seeming to grow in strength, even minor characters now match the same level of detail as Aloy and there’s a much less uncanny valley feel to every interaction.


One of the weakest aspects of Horizon Zero Dawn had to be its traversal system. Despite having an incredibly detailed and open world, players were really only able to climb along the marked yellow paths unless they chose to go for a Skyrim run up the side of a cliff. With Forbidden West, Guerilla has VASTLY improved the traversal system and given players more options with which to explore the world than before. The addition of the Pullcaster speeds up vertical climbs while the Shield Wing all but guarantees you’ll be able to gracefully escape any high altitude situation in style and avoid the fall damage that would normally come with it. New focus abilities allow Aloy to see scalable sections of the environment and while not quite BoTW level of “climb anything,” this is a substantial improvement that will make it hard to go back to Zero Dawn’s guided paths.

Side Quests

Side quests in Zero Dawn were good, not great, with many of them devolving into “go here, kill that,” or simple fetch quests. Thankfully, Guerilla has taken player feedback and paid quite a bit more attention to the side quests in Forbidden West with more than a few of these “side” missions being as detailed and emotionally rewarding as the main quests themselves. Not only do these help flesh out the world and its characters more, but more than a few fold into the main campaign’s overall questline. These new and improved side activities also reap much more meaningful rewards in the form of new armor or weapons that you wouldn’t normally acquire until much later in your journey. It’s never been more rewarding to 100% the world of Horizon than in the Forbidden West.


Of all the aspects of Horizon Zero Dawn that Guerilla nailed right out of the gate, combat was definitely at the top of the list, but there’s always room for improvement. The ability to knock individual components or weapons off a machine, and in some cases even turn those weapons back on them, was one of the best mechanics in Zero Dawn, and in Forbidden West, these abilities have only gotten better. New and improved focus abilities allow you to scroll through machine parts instead of awkwardly dragging the icon around a moving target and tag individual components you need for weapon and armor upgrades. Stealth and melee combat have also been expanded upon, making both fully viable options for enemy encounters, human or machine, and the new addition of aerial traps makes bringing those annoying flying enemies down to your level much easier and less frustrating.


New world, new machines. In the world of the Forbidden West, even returning machines veteran players are familiar with now seem stronger than ever with new abilities and are more than ready to smack down overconfident players. New variations on old classics keep what would normally be a familiar encounter engaging and adds strategic depth as you hunt down the machine’s corresponding elemental weakness. The new machines prowling the lands of the Forbidden West are just incredibly designed. From the new Tideripper and Slaughterspine, to the Leaplasher and Clawstrider, throughout your numerous encounters with these machines, the fights never grow repetitive, which is a testament to their fantastic design and engaging combat scenarios.

Story & Characters

The world of Horizon has a surprisingly rich mythos and history that literally spans a thousand years and Aloy and her companions are immediately endearing as they traverse a story filled with twists and turns. In Forbidden West, not only does the story get off to a much more engaging start, the stakes are somehow even more dire and bigger than simply the return of HADES. Not only has the threat evolved but so has Aloy and her companions as well. Errand and Varl have now learned the truth of the world of the old ones, and as they adapt to this knowledge, Aloy herself has grown as well. Her compassion for the tribes’ plights and their individual struggles open up her character in a way we haven’t seen before as she tries to live up to the example set by Elisabet and save this world once again on the brink of extinction.