Violence has become a common part of many post-apocalyptic video games. But Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West take a different approach. The creator Guerrilla chose to leave out bloody and gory details. Was this decision beneficial for the franchise’s wider appeal, or too sanitized? Strong cases exist on both sides.
The Last of Us as a Brutal Contrast
Including graphic violence can make the games feel more harsh and real. The Last of Us series stand out for their merciless brutality showing how much people can change for the worse. Cruel kills and injuries like Ellie transforming convey the unforgiving bleakness of the world.
While leading to mature PEGI 18 ratings, this intensity emotionally connects players to what’s at stake. The explicit gore and cruelty make the stakes feel heightened and convey the utter desperation of survival. Seeing the depths characters sink to hammer home the bleakness of The Last of Us world.
Horizon’s Tamer Approach: Pros and Cons
However, Horizon aiming for a PEGI 16 rating through milder action also has advantages. Limiting violence opened the games up to younger players, letting them safely experience the sci-fi universe. Aloy taking down enemies without blood using her arrows provided enough action for an uplifting adventure. Leaving out disturbing content benefited Forbidden West’s hopeful themes.
Yet a counterpoint is how Aloy keeps looking beautiful despite all the turmoil. As the sole bulwark against extinction, realistically she would have scars, wounds and exhaustion from her endless challenges. While making the tough female hero more appealing, her never-ending perfection doesn’t seem real considering what she goes through.
In the end, the franchise finds a middle ground between being too tame or too gory. While not causing the deeply affecting reactions The Last of Us does, its graceful combat and robot threats match the games’ spirit. However, showing more effects on Aloy from her hardships could better reflect her difficult journey. Overall, Guerrilla found a good balance communicating high stakes without relying on bloodshed.
More Horizon News:
Horizon Zero Dawn is accessible for PC and PS4, while Horizon Forbidden West only for PS4 and PS5.
About The Author
I'm a passionate content writer dedicated to the world of video games.
My heart beats to the rhythm of the virtual landscapes, and my true gaming obsessions are "Horizon Franchise", Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, and "The Last of Us Series". You can always find me exploring the breathtaking horizons of Ellie's and Aloy's adventures.