Horizon Forbidden West vs Zero Dawn: Biggest Differences Explained

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Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn by Guerilla Games. This sequel is going to be taking advantage of the PlayStation 5’s powerful hardware to up the ante in graphical fidelity and features and gameplay. So let us tell you the differences between Horizon Forbidden West and Zero Dawn.

Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel in every sense of the word, giving a fresh new take on the adventure of Alloy and introducing new and exciting ways of exploring this fantastical Sci-Fi word. These are new gameplay additions that we are going to discuss here.

Horizon Forbidden West vs Zero Dawn

The differences range from quality of life to traversal and combat. All these new changes stir up the already great formula of the first part. They are there to make things easy when exploring the world, taking down those great mechanical beasts and to makes things a tad bit less tedious than before.

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Related: Horizon Forbidden West Trophy List (All Achievements)


In Zero Dawn, the annoying part was while collecting resources, to upgrade and craft the many ammo types, armors, and items in the game, the player would fill up their inventory limits and run out at the most awkward moments. In Forbidden West, this issue is taken care of by adding a stash that stores all the extra loot you collect while exploring around.

The items are sent automatically when Alloy’s inventory is full and whenever you visit your safe house, all the items are restored if she is running low. This stash also makes it easy to collect all the various kinds of resources for updating your major gear and weapons

Valor Surges

This is new to the franchise where each skill tree of Alloy has an ultimate move of sorts. Depending on the skill tree the move can be charged up and used giving unique extra-powerful abilities to her. Some examples would be making her invisible to stalk targets and plunging her spear on the ground for an Area of Effect attack.

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Time of Day Control

In the last game, the time of day is set by the game and the player had no control over it. Therefore, many times we wanted to explore the world in the day only to be thrown at night. The daytime is more attractive cause you can see far more details of this world and the machines.

In this game, the player can change the time by resting in settlements and camps all over the map, giving you the much-needed option to explore the map according to your preference. With many options to choose from like Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night the player can explore as they will.


The climbing was very limited in Zero Dawn, there were just these specific yellow marked ledges in certain areas of the map that was climbable. In Forbidden West this is taken to a whole new level, using your focus will reveal a previously thought unclimbable mountain to have patterns that can be traversed on.

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The melee combat or Alloy’s spear was very lacking in the previous entry, having just a single set of animation and moves the melee combat was very discouraging. In Forbidden West, the melee mechanics are expanded upon.

If she keeps getting hits by the spear, it starts to glow and if you hit a machine with it the spear will do a resonator blast damaging human enemies and taking off smaller machine’s parts. There is even a whole skill tree dedicated to melee combat where you can unlock new combos and skills to make things interesting.

Shieldwing Glider

Zero Dawn had a big map but it wasn’t that vertically scalable, Forbidden west is very tall in this regard and with great height comes great falls and deaths. To cater to this the developers have given Alloy a glider which she can deploy mid-air to Merry Poppins her way down to the ground from huge heights. Great for exploring the world and gawking at the graphics.

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Vertical Traps

In Zero Dawn, Alloy was able to take down the ground roaming monsters with far more planning as she had a lot of traps to lay and force them into. For your flying creatures, the strategy was always to take them head-on with ranged weapons.

In Forbidden West, the traps can now be set up for these flying machines too. They can reach them in the air for a more tactical approach to the fight. These can ground the creatures so that Alloy can engage with them closely.


Any game can be made amazing if you just add a grappling hook to it, is a famous saying in the industry and Gorilla Games have taken this to heart. The pull caster allows Alloy to get out of dicey situations with much ease and explore the world more openly. This feature is also used in platforming and general puzzles in the game.

Horizon Forbidden West How to Use the Pullcaster


Previously Alloy could only swim on the water surface but this time around she can dive underwater. This is not just a gimmick as the underwater has many things to hide, from treasures to puzzles and even new kinds of machines swimming about ready to devour you.

Many new features in Forbidden West make things even more interesting. Few major ones we have mentioned here but some are spoilers for the late game that should be experienced on your own. So which feature you appreciate the most let us know in the comments below.

Stay tuned to our website for more Forbidden West updates.

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