2022 Games of the Year: Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West is a pretty showcase for the PS5 and a really solid open world game.  But mostly, at it's core, it's a game that lets you fight giant robot animals and dinosaurs.  That alone pushes it up my list.

I actually had a hit and miss relationship with the first game in this series, Horizon Zero Dawn.  I played it a little when it came out but stalled out on it and set it down.  I came back much later and found a lot of enjoyment once I set my expectations correctly.

Horizon Forbidden West picks up right where that game left off, except it does a lot of things better.  There are quality of life improvements throughout and it's a gorgeous showcase of the PS5.  But my favorite improvements come down to the story and the characters.

The sci-fi aspect of the story is what drew me in and hooked me.  In the first game that is buried much later in the game but in Horizon Forbidden West it is core to the story from the start.  This game also made me actually care about the companion characters.  I felt like I was building a relationship with them as I got to encounter them every time I revisited my home base during the main story.  It even made me care about characters I had completely written off in the first game.

This is the most fun I've had in an open world game in awhile and the extremely high production values plus a great story actually put this one above Pokémon Legends: Arceus for me.  That means it gets slotted in right under Endwalker.

Here's where that puts our updated running ranking:

  1. FFXIV Endwalker
  2. Horizon Forbidden West
  3. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  4. Halo Infinite
  5. Vampire Survivors
  6. Nobody Saves the World
  7. Unpacking
Endwalker is still going to be hard to topple but I feel like this list is starting to take shape now that we're starting to fill it out more.  The most interesting thing to me is, all of these are good games.  I still reserve the right to put an "interesting" but not good game on the list... but I just haven't run into any yet this year.  So far, this is looking very solid.


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