Horizon: Zero Dawn
I have played the last three Killzone games and while I completed all three for me there was nothing ground breaking and I really couldn’t understand where all the hype came from. When I first watched the trailer of Gurrilla Games new open world game Horizon I was pleasantly surprised to how good it looked. I am still not sure why a tribal women hunting down robot dinosaurs became so appealing for me to this day but I knew I wanted to play it.
Fast forward to just before release day and Horizon Zero Dawn was popping out extremely great scores from big game reviewers. It didn’t take much to sell me this game, I already knew I wanted it from the very first E3 trailer but seeing the scores before release just made me want to play it more.
The tutorial that introduces you to the world and the battle system is fantastic. I felt that you really feel vulnerable against some of the robots around the first area and this continues for a few hours into the game. Once you start to level up and gain new abilities, that vulnerability goes out the window, where you were creeping around in tall grass escaping combat before, you become over confident and end up rushing in and attacking everyone at once! It’s still pretty intimidating when you come across one of the larger RoboDino’s for the very first time and have your arse handed to you but like everything else you learn by your mistakes. The game gives you a device from the start which will allow you to see where these dinosaurs are and even track their locations and the paths they take which comes in handy for stealth attacks or just not alerting them at all.
You will be amazed at how vast the landscape is the first time you open up your world map however once you start to do a few missions you will also see how many map icons fill this very large map. Horizon has a hell of a lot to do besides its main story; however completing most of it will have you overpowered by the time you reach the final boss. For those of you who like hunting down collectables they are extremely easy to locate as you can purchase the map location from one of the venders early on in the game and only a handful take some effort to reach. Each area of the map will open up when you locate the tallnecks in the vicinity, these if you have watched the trailers are tall dinosaurs much like giraffes which can be climbed and taken over allowing you to view more of the map. Climbing each one is similar to the buildings you find in Assassin’s Creed but much not as many to become repetitive and much more fun to accomplish!
The story isn’t going to blow any minds but has more than enough to hold your interest and find out what is happening. The only thing that could be miss-able would be the data records which come as readable documents or voice recordings which explain more of the story pre Horizon and gives you insight to what went on before and how the world came to be as it was at the start of the game. There is a section near the start where a woman is telling a story to a bunch of children, you have the option to sit down and listen to the whole story which explains what happened. Unfortunately this is miss-able and if you continue with the storyline you will not be able to go back.
Playing on Normal there really wasn’t any area’s which I couldn’t progress due to difficulty, the only place where I had some issues were the hunting camps which offer as a side quest some extra challenges which were easy enough unless you wanted to get the best times.
Robot Dinosaurs provide the most fun, you can gain abilities which let you take over them and have them fight at your side which makes the game a lot easier and who doesn’t want to watch two massive Robot Dinosaurs fighting each other? This aside there is multiple ways of taking these metal menaces down! You can pull and tie down flying ones straight out of the sky or pin down bigger ones so they topple and leave themselves open, use fire/electric or ice as an aid or just set traps. The freedom this game gives you keeps things fresh throughout your play through. Weapons and uniforms can also be upgraded.
Aside from Dinosaurs there are also bandit camps which give you a different challenge again as human enemies are more unpredictable. The only issue here is you get spotted easily and you can be overpowered by the whole camp! Manage to escape though and they won’t look for you for too long.
Overall I was more than happy with Horizon. It’s like nothing I have ever played before and Gurrilla Games should be highly praised for trying something different and pulling it off so brilliantly. One little issue comes with combat, not being able to lock on can be annoying at times especially when fighting something big or have a screen full of enemies. This didn’t spoil anything for me though and 60 hours to platinum didn’t feel drawn out or wasted.