The standard of the Horizon Forbidden West side quests is wowing open world fans.
“I know this is a bold statement to make,” wrote one player whose post was upvoted by 1,400 others on Reddit. “[But] after 30 hours or so I feel confident in saying that HFW is the game with the best side content in recent memory.”
Players have praised the backbone of deep storytelling that propels these quests, as well as the uniformly-applied production values that see even incidental NPCs blessed with best-in-class facial animation and voice acting.
“I feel like the folks at Guerrilla really valued the player and did everything in their power to avoid losing our time with meaningless fetch quests or errands,” the Redditor went on. “In my opinion this should be the standard for any developer moving forward.”
It’s my sense as a journalist that deep side quests are, indeed, becoming the standard in AAA open worlds. The Witcher 3 brought the expectations of RPGs to the genre, setting up side quests that were dense with dialogue and surprise - short stories which often, ultimately, led you back into the themes and events of the main plot with a greater understanding of what was going on in the world.
It’s no easy feat to mimic CD Projekt Red in this regard, but evidently developers are now shooting for more than the traditional map-hoovering distractions familiar to open world fans.
It’s worth stopping to appreciate the sheer number of side quests in Forbidden West, too - 27 of them complement the 17 main quests in the game. “There’s always the subtle encouragement to revisit earlier areas to discover what you’ve missed,” wrote Sam in GamesRadar+’s Horizon Forbidden West review. “And because of the strength of the game’s side quests and other narrative beats, you won't want to miss a single thing.”
Looking to experience the very best the West has to offer? Check our Horizon Forbidden West guide.