Horizon: Zero Dawn review


horizon-zero-dawn2

***3/19/17 Update***

After putting in a grand total of 76 hours(!) I completed this masterpiece of a game with the coveted platinum trophy! I play most AAA titles and this is the first game I ever wanted to platinum. This is a testament to Guerilla Games and Sony. Congratulations and I look forward to the inevitable follow up! Original story below.

Fifty five hours. That’s how many hours I have put into the new exclusive IP for the Sony PlayStation 4 game Horizon Zero Dawn which recently released ten days ago on February 28th. On average this new game from developer Guerilla Games, maker of the semi popular Killzone series, has captivated me for five and a half hours a day. This is after working 12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. I still have two more missions to beat before completing the games main story but nothing will change my opinion of this game in those final two levels. This game is nothing short of outstanding and has a legitimate shot at the coveted game of the year award.

Plot

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world action RPG that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that is now ruled by mechanical animals. Most of humanity has been wiped out by an unknown past event and somehow these mechanical animals now rule the planet. The humans that remain live in small tribes and are in fear of these beautiful but deadly beasts. You play as Aloy, a young female that was labeled an outcast by her tribe since her mysterious birth. Aloy was raised by another outcast Rost who teaches her to survive in the wild in a world dominated by machines. As a young child Aloy finds a blue tooth like device that allows her to see and examine her surroundings and enemies in ways others can not. This device is crucial to Aloy’s survival as it shows the weakness of each mechanical beast she encounters. After becoming an adult and proving herself to her tribe in an annual ritual, Aloy sets out to discover how these beautiful but deadly machines came to rule and also uncover her mysterious past.

Gameplay

Horizon is an action adventure game with a heavy dose of RPG elements to it. Several ideas have been borrowed from other popular games such as Assassins Creed, The Witcher and the Uncharted series. Guerilla Games has done an outstanding job of combing these ideas from other games into their own IP. Aloy uses a bow and arrow as her main weapon along with a spear for melee. There are different types of arrows (flame, freeze, shock, etc.) that she uses against the different types of mechanical enemies. There are other weapons that can be used (trip wires, sling shots and various traps) but I found myself using the bow and arrow more often. There are a great variety of mechanical enemies, each one with their own specific attacks and weaknesses. Aloy can also learn the ability to override the beasts which makes them fight for her against other machines. Fighting the machines is no easy task. While concentrating on one machine several others will potentially join in making it even more difficult. Boss fights are intense and can sometimes last for up to ten minutes or longer! There are human factions as well that try and make life difficult for Aloy. They are easily defeated most often with a single arrow to the head. While traversing the very large world map, Aloy encounters numerous people in need of help with various side mission quests. These missions are purely optional but they do provide a lot of experience points which in turn can be used to help strengthen Aloys abilities.

Graphics

Horizon Zero Dawn is without a doubt one of the most beautiful games ever created for a console. From the lush environments to the mechanical beasts themselves, the graphics are by far the most stunning I’ve ever seen thus far. The cut scenes also look great but sometimes the characters have an uncanny valley look to them. This can look weird but it does not take anything away from the overall experience. Horizon Zero Dawn is the new graphics king on the PlayStation 4.

Story

The story in Horizon Zero dawn is extremely deep. Why have the machines taken over? Who are Aloy’s parents and what happened to the rest of civilization? Why was Aloy shunned by her tribe and labeled an outcast since birth? These questions are all answered in a satisfactory way. It took Guerilla Games six years to make this game and they crafted a marvelous story to match the game play.

Guerilla Games has definitely raised the bar with this open world game. There is so much to do and everything looks and plays wonderfully. This game can take you up to 60 hours minimum to complete all the missions and gather all the collectibles. With recent hits like Nioh, Nier Automata and Resident Evil VII the PlayStation 4 continues its momentum with this release. If you are an open world action gamer, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It’s great and receives my highest recommendation. In my opinion there is no such thing as a perfect game, but this is as close as it gets. You can follow me on twitter @darthmaul1309

9.8/10

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