Are you heartbroken by the sound of Sonic the Hedgehog drowning after that frantic countdown starts playing? Have you ever let out a sigh of relief when Lara Croft slams into the underwater wall in the cave for the 800th time in vain? Did you roll your eyes and shut down your PlayStation after flooding the Crash Bandicoot with nitro, again, in your best Time Trial run to date? Then you probably hate underwater levels as much as I do.
But I thinhk Forbidden Horizon in the West can really make something its ocean focal point. PS4 and PS5 games, set to release on February 18hasn’t been shy about showing off his new-found obsession with H20; from the first trailer As we’ve seen from the game, it’s clear that protagonist Aloy will put on a diving mask and head into the depths as she explores the famous Forbidden West.
Cue rolled her eyes, groaned, and had haunting memories of the submerged mascots as they suffocated in an underwater temple abandoned by God. But between watching The most recent trailer for the game and a new BBC documentary series over the weekend, something surprised me (no pun intended): Horizon is the perfect game to show what the water level can do for this new generation.
Let’s start with the environment itself: Zero Dawn has wowed critics as well as consumers with its breathtaking rendition of post-apocalyptic flora. Built on the Decima engine (which has been continuously improved since its inception to provide state-of-the-art physics rendering, class-leading post-processing effects, and cinema-grade animation), Zero Dawn presents presents us with a rich world, full of foliage and incredibly detailed plant life. The game was Guerrilla’s chance to show off, and it certainly did.
Forbidden West allows Guerrilla to go one step further with its technology and bring us more natural beauty for us to admire. Diving below the surface, we can look down at the aquatic plants swaying as the tide rises and falls. We can see dense, vibrant ecosystems that glow in the sun through the ocean’s surface. We’ll see how Aloy interacts with the complex and fascinating physics of water as she sinks deeper into the depths of this mysterious new locale.
In the UK, at the time of writing, there is a new David Attenborough show called Blue Planet that is showing a new episode every week. Last week’s one-hour educational trip used a camera built specifically below sea level to show the plants anchored in rivers, streams and deep areas. Seeing the footage – captured in breathtaking 4K resolution by an enthusiastic team of professionals – made me say to my partner, “God, I bet Horizon will look like this.” And I really believe it will.
Thanks to the lovely way the camera works in the Decima engine games, I can fully imagine seeing a live plant, hovering in the foreground, Aloy floating in the water in the center of the screen as she explores, and diffuses, water – warped real-time cloud simulation that illuminates the space behind her – not fully visible, but completely augmenting the effect of this world when you swim around a certain freshwater lake. If Zero Dawn made mountains, plains and caves look just as beautiful in 2017, imagine how Forbidden West could make water look amazing in 2022.
Adding water bodies to the mix will make all other aspects of the game even better in the same way that the amazing skyboxes, richly detailed wildlife biomes, and city areas dense also complement each other in the first game. More variety means more to keep you engaged and reduce the risk of boredom. When the whole game looks good too? This is in fact a documentary about talking, walking nature in which you control the (well-equipped) camera. Soaking in a pool of caves you haven’t explored after chatting with countless well-meaning NPCs that end up being useless? Yes, please.
If you’re also playing on PS5, you can expect better water rendering and handling than in Zero Dawn on PS4; water in the previous game doesn’t deal too well with reflections and doesn’t respond properly to robots, humans, or weapons that interact with it. All is slightly damp and flat. Since water is such a big draw for this game, you can expect it to be more dynamic and reactive – and (hopefully) we’ll see it used for some nice little physics puzzles here. here and there. That’s what Rise of the Tomb Raider does pretty well – if Crystal Dynamics can do it, I bet Guerrilla can.
Furthermore, Guerrilla has experimented more with animations since the first game in the series launched. You can check out the video above for a big rundown of what this means, but its long and short is this; Aloy’s animations will be smoother, more varied, and more human this time around. Hopefully, watching her – and manipulating her – as she sinks into the dark depths of lakes, rivers, and seas will feel more natural and intuitive than the swimming mechanics we’ve seen in previous games.
Given how well it feels to move, move, and fight in Zero Dawn and its DLC, I’m not too worried about how our unlucky protagonist will feel in this new game: Guerrilla knows how to make the character feel comfortable in your hand, and the studio wouldn’t be so water-focused if it didn’t have something really special to show us when the game comes out. I’m willing to bet there’s at least one boss or underwater biome – why not, if you have the tech? – and I’m really, really exaggerating to see how it whines when those machines start gnawing at you from the depths.
I’ve always commended Zero Dawn for having some really deep conveying technology that underpins the entire gaming experience; technology helps you stay sharp and precise even when you’re under pressure. Let’s see if I have to make a profit when Horizon: Forbidden West comes out February 18, 2022.
https://www.vg247.com/horizon-forbidden-west-underwater-levels Horizon Forbidden West really gets me excited with the underwater levels