Since the release of both Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring in February, the debate over open-world design and hand-holding in video games has sparked new life. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild largely initiated this conversation by presenting a minimalistic HUD and map, allowing players to explore at their own pace in any order.
Although Horizon Forbidden West‘s open world was largely praised at launch for its gorgeous visuals and meaningful side content, it’s let down by Aloy’s persistent walkthrough comments. Many players feel that this constant hand-holding ruins the challenge of the game’s combat and puzzles. While Aloy as a character is a PlayStation fan favorite, and her growth between the first and second games is evident, she can become infuriating when she explains how to approach an objective before the player has a chance to figure it out for themselves.
Though Horizon Forbidden West‘s combat can be tough, it leads to exciting battles as players choose the best way to approach each situation. To help, Aloy can scan each machine type to uncover its weak spots and elemental vulnerabilities. However, upon doing so, she’ll often repeat these out loud to emphasize how a battle should be approached. While this could be a useful accessibility option, it comes across as hand-holding for those who want to get this information themselves. In the heat of battle, having Aloy walk the player through the best approach can certainly be annoying. Ultimately though, players can still approach combat however they like, and as battles can be very challenging, Aloy’s hand-holding here is only a minor issue.