Horizon Zero Dawn is the latest game from Guerrilla Games who are the team behind the Killzone franchise. It is the latest Playstation 4 exclusive title and it revolves around a young woman named Aloy through her journey of trying to both protect and avenge her tribe. Right off the bat you can see how incredibly well made the game is as you are dropped straight into a beautifully polished world. You may feel the urge to run around and explore straight away but do so at your own peril. The world is ridden with animal like machines that often hunt in packs and will easily ruin your day if you don’t know what you’re doing.
I am starting with what is undoubtedly the best thing about Horizon. It’s combat system is both refreshing and challenging. As you progress you will gain experience in fighting different kinds of enemies. There isn’t any hand holding to say “You should use this arrow at this point on this enemy” and that is something which I really enjoy. You are challenged to learn your own strategies for each enemy in order to successfully defend yourself. Some enemies require a shot to the chest to bring it to earth while others require an arrow from behind for maximum damage. One element also found in Horizon is the ability to ‘hack’ enemies to effectively tame them into fighting for you. It can be a fun little mechanic to play around with but for me personally I prefer to go it alone. Overall the combat is incredibly well finished and coupled with the beautiful world is the best element in Horizon’s impressive arsenal.
Story *spoiler free*
Whilst there is quite a lengthy main story line to follow, players have the option to spend hours on end completing side quests. The main story falls a little short to me. It starts out strong but kind of peters out towards the end, it isn’t by any means poor I just found myself not really caring about it. Games like The Last Of Us and Unchartered have a way of truly gripping the audience but Horizon just didn’t do that to me. Many times I found myself breaking up the main story with some side quests which were fun to begin with but they quickly followed a similar kind of pattern (which I guess most games side quests do, other than maybe The Witcher series). Looking back on the story after completing it I feel that maybe it wasn’t all bad but likely that my expectations were massively raised as soon as I entered this stunning world.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a very fun experience, mainly due to its world and combat experiences. I wouldn’t say it was let down by the story but I do think that it was the games weakest link is a very strong chain. If you are the type of gamer who likes to fully immerse themselves in an alternate reality for several hours then Horizon Zero Dawn is definitely the game for you.
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