Horizon Forbidden West is a direct sequel to the first entry in the series, Zero Dawn, released in 2017.
Forbidden West is said to have taken place six months after the events of Zero Dawn. Like in the first game, players control a young hunter named Aloy in a dangerous post-apocalyptic world.
Several characters return from Zero Dawn, and there are numerous mentions of what took place in the game. It is safe to say that players should make it through Zero Dawn before Horizon Forbidden West.
Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the writer's opinions.
Play Horizon Zero Dawn before Forbidden West
Of course, it is totally up to the player if they want to play Zero Dawn before Forbidden West. If someone is not interested and just wants to play through the sequel, that is their decision.
It is highly recommended that everyone looking to play Forbidden West finishes the story of Zero Dawn first. The sequel carries over multiple plot details that are woven into the story.
Avoiding the first game will create confusion on who some of the characters are, what to expect out of certain enemies, and the overall familiarity of the machine-ridden US of the future.
A lot of the story in Forbidden West assumes players finished Zero Dawn. There is a brief overview of what happened in the first game at the start of Forbidden West, but it is more of a refresher.
It is not a straight-up recap or summary of the events. Along with the story elements, much of the gameplay mechanics, weapons, and enemy types were introduced in Horizon Zero Dawn.
This doesn't mean players can't take the time to get familiar with them, but they might as well play Forbidden West to have the total package. Understanding Aloy's mission and what she is up against can be helpful in the long run.
If anything, Zero Dawn should be played because it was a groundbreaking game that delivered a new exclusive franchise that Sony will be able to immerse players in for years to come.