Horizon Forbidden West has boozing, swearing and “impalements” – are you old enough to play?

Horizon Forbidden West
(Image credit: Sony)

Horizon Forbidden West is fast approaching its 18 February, 2022 release date, and with its PS5 and PS4 launch looming the first of its age ratings has been revealed.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which assigns age and content ratings to videogames in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, has deemed the further robot-hunting adventure of Aloy a “T” for Teen game, meaning it wont be suitable for the younger members of your family.

The ratings board tags the game as featuring “Blood, Language, Use of Alcohol, and Violence” in its rationale for the rating – nothing too surprising given similar content in the first game.

Death by statue

But the description that accompanies the rating gives a little more insight into what to expect from the game. According to the ESRB rating:

"This is an action-adventure game in which players assume the role of a hero (Aloy) traveling to discover the source of a mysterious signal. From a third-person perspective, players traverse post-apocalyptic environments/landscapes, complete quests, interact with characters, and engage in combat against enemy tribes and robotic creatures. 

“Players use slingshots, bows, javelins, and spears to kill enemies in frenetic combat. Puffs of blood are depicted as human enemies are hit; blood stains also appear underneath bodies in some environments. Players can also perform stealth attacks (e.g., spear impalement) to eliminate enemies discreetly. Cutscenes depict additional acts of violence: a character impaled by swords or spears; a character crushed to death by a statue. The game depicts drunk characters stumbling around, and in one area stating, 'I'm inebriated'; one cutscene depicts Aloy drinking beer from a mug; several background characters are seen drinking alcohol in taverns. The word 'sh*t' is heard in the game."

We’re liking the sound of “Death by statue”, that’s for sure. Have always wanted to wield the Venus de Milo against a giant titanium T-Rex, so fingers crossed that niche wish will finally be ticked off by Horizon Forbidden West.

As well as a delay to its release, Horizon Forbidden West had initially rankled PS5 and PS4 owners when, for starters, the game was revealed to be a cross-generation release (and thus seemingly not making full use of the PS5’s powers in order to cater to the older PS4  machine), and also that players on PS4 would eventually be required to pay an additional fee to upgrade to next-gen PS5 features. Thankfully, that later decision was eventually backtracked.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.