Horizon Zero Dawn – Review

Horizon Zero Dawn Review Image 1
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Engine: Decima
Platform: PlayStation 4 Exclusive
Mode: Single-player
Genre: Action role-playing
Available Now

 

“Horizon: Zero Dawn lives up to the hype, and more” – Chris Griffith, FANatics Writer

Horizon: Zero Dawn is the new IP from Sony’s own Guillera Games.  You play as Aloy, an outcast in a very primitive land, but at the same time machine-like animals are wondering about. Unsure of her past, or present situation for that matter, she sets off to find out why.

Sony Has A New Icon On Their Hands

Aloy’s personality makes her very likeable from the start. The only thing you know about her, is that the local tribe doesn’t accept you, and you are being raised by a man who isn’t your real father. He tries his best to do what’s right for Aloy, but at the end of the day her past and curiosity gets the best of her. Aloy does a great job making you care about what she feels is important, and that makes it easy to immerse yourself in her world.

Speaking of which, the environment is lush, beautiful, and full of life. If you stop and look, the world is alive and moving. Note the bugs on the logs are even moving in real time. The open world environment feels freeing, but not too overbearing to start. Exploration is definitely encouraged, and the game rewards that.  Aesthetically speaking, the game is just outright gorgeous. Don’t forget about photo mode!  In my opinion, Horizon is the best-looking game on the PS4.


Weapon of Choice

The bow and arrow is going to be where you make your money.  Some other options are either traps or a slingshot. The weapons are element based, and upgradable. To gain ammunition, scourging, and collecting items is required to craft. Farming and crafting are my least favorite parts of RPGs, but neither one felt tedious to me at all here. Part of the mystery of the store are these dino-robot machines that surround you. There are flying ice birds, alligator types, and even their own version of a T-rex, the Thunderjaw. You can try your luck with sneak attacks or trying to blow off the animal’s canister to do massive damage. If you take down certain cauldrons (where the machines are made), you can program the corresponding machines to let you ride them like a horse. That didn’t appeal to me a whole lot, but the option is there.  If I did have one issue it would be that I only used two or three arrows throughout the whole of the game. I also got excited that I was able to buy a new bow, but once I got it, that was it. Not a huge factor. If you’re looking for a huge variety of weapons, this isn’t the place to look.


Feels Great

The game plays really smooth for the most part. The camera is never out of place or wonky feeling. Any time I have to combat the camera or character, that immediately takes me out of the game, and I have a hard time continuing to play. That does not happen in HZD. The sounds in the game are up to par, nothing to write home about. The voice acting doesn’t ever really distract you from what’s going on aside from some cheesy lines. Aloy is voiced by Ashley Burch, and she was a great fit for the job.  Aloy comes off as very soothing and somber in times of peril, but sarcastic when people don’t get her jokes at the same time.

If you’re a trophy hunter, the vast majority of them come from naturally progressing thorough the quest line. For the rest, you can buy markers to show you where most of the collectables are to finish your platinum, if that is something that interests you.


Bottom Line

At the end of the day Horizon: Zero Dawn is a nice surprise from Guillera Games, who stepped out of their comfort zone and delivered. With a likeable character, engaging story, and a beautiful world to explore, I can’t wait to see what’s in store.  If Sony plays their cards right, this will be the next big franchise for years to come, and I’ll be the first one in line.

Score: A | Story: A+ | Graphics: A+ | Audio: B | Replay: B+ | Controls: A

 

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