Horizon Zero Dawn
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Horizon Zero Dawn is an experiment. A very impressive experiment that actually succeeded.
Having a very curious mix of cyberpunk and prehistorical styles and esthetic, the game provides us with quite a unique experience. We need to arm ourselves with arrows and a bow, with a spear or any other prehistorical-ish weapon in order to defeat out enemies - dinosaur-mechanisms that are spread around the world. If that wasn't enough, Aloy our main protagonist can control an AI named GAIA. What we're having here is an exciting connection with "very old times" and "near future", even though the game is set up in the 31st century.
Being an outcast with her father Rost, Aloy must restore her position in the tribe and save the world by stopping the Eclipse, a cult that wants to rule the world. Join her on that journey, exploring the world and people that live in such hard surroundings.
System requirements for PlayStation 4
System requirements for PC
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Horizon Zero Dawn reviews and comments
Let's start with the things that Horizon does best in my opinion: the world and the story. In many games, there are things that we accept although they don't really make sense in the game's world, things like: enemies respawning infinitely, enemies specific to one level or region in the map, enemies dropping just one or two pieces of an item. Many games do not have answers to those questions but Horizon does, it's not always a satisfying answer though I appreciate how Horizon gives those inexplicable aspects in games an actual explanation.
As for the actual story of the game, I didn’t think highly of it. This is because of one major issue: the story is too predictable. I already knew what was going to happen by the time the story revealed its big twist. The game drops some big hints right at the start of the main quest and that took out the mystery in the story for me. If you like a story that keeps you guessing, this isn’t it.
Let’s get into the combat of Horizon. The combat in Horizon starts off great but goes downhill once you have already seen every enemy. The first time you see an enemy, you scan it to learn more about it. What does each component do, what is the best way to initiate combat, etc. The difficulty curve of Horizon, at least at the start, is made by introducing tougher and tougher enemies to fight though after this, the game doesn’t really know how to ramp up the difficulty from there after you see the last enemy in the list. The difficulty curve of Horizon at that point comes from increasing the number of enemies you fight at a time. The difference between midgame and endgame encounters is the number of enemies you have to keep track of. If you hate combat against groups of enemies in games, you will probably dislike Horizon’s combat too. Also, there aren’t really any bosses in Horizon; once you see every enemy, you have pretty much seen every enemy the game has. On the player’s side, there are a lot of weapons to use but you are restricted to having only four at any given time. This means that you either have to just use your favorites or to navigate the menu every time you want to use a specific weapon. I did the former.
Next is the exploration. The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is gorgeous. The machines are very lifelike and have very natural movements, the stylized lighting and level of detail in the game are a sight to behold, and the various locations you go through are varied and are twisted enough to feel familiar yet mysterious. Though the world itself is beautiful, exploring it isn’t. There isn’t really much to do out in the world aside from combat, sightseeing, and story. Moving around in Horizon is just average. You ‘climb’ mountains, cliffs, towers, etc. by following a predetermined path while looking at the pretty visuals. You swim through rivers and lakes, watching the reflections on the water while waiting for your character to get to land. And when you’re on land, you walk/sprint to the next quest marker while basking in the beauty of the world. I wouldn’t call this bad but I wouldn’t call it good either.
That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Horizon Zero Dawn. I think that the above is enough for you to gauge whether you will like this game or not without getting too deep into it. While it has some amazing visuals and a good enough story, the combat and the open-world exploration has many flaws that make me not recommend it outright. But if you think that what I’ve been saying sounds awesome, then go ahead and buy it. I hope you’ll have a good time.
As far as gameplay goes, combat was extremely fun - different than most games that release now, this wasn't just a shooter. Using the bow and spear required what felt like more precision, and added some layers to the combat that isn't there when you're just aiming and shooting. The system of "collecting" different machines, as well as their evolutions, added some more to do around the main story - and it didn't feel like busy work like these sorts of quests often can.