Horizon Zero Dawn: The Impression

I'm a little late to the Horizon Zero Dawn party but forgive me, I wanted to complete Nier: Automata before tackling this behemoth of a title. As for a post about that, Lance will be talking about it sometime soon as he has experience with the franchise as a whole. I just wanted to see 2B without her skirt. #assoftheyear

I've played about 14 hours of Horizon Zero Dawn now and while I'm certainly not far into the story, I've done enough to provide some insight into the game. I've done each type of side quest at least once, I've battled about half(?) the catalog of machines and I've had enough time with the equipment and levelling/upgrade system to understand what's in store for me.

My greatest mistake was trying to take a screenshot.

First and foremost, I want to talk about the story and character(s). Open world games don't usually tell a solid story mostly because it's nigh impossible to keep any sort of tension or emotion when you're free to do whatever you want whenever you want. In addition to that, very few open world games feature memorable characters. There's a lot of hit and misses when it comes to the genre with one end of the spectrum being home to Skyrim and Fallout and the other end of the spectrum housing Witcher and Mass Effect.

Horizon Zero Dawn rectifies this by having an incredibly solid prologue. I'm talking about some Uncharted-level design. I don't want to spoil anything but the prologue was very, very well executed. Not necessarily in terms of the gameplay tutorial but to set-up Aloy (the main character) and her journey. It really nails it tight.

Other than that, the story progresses rather normally and when it's time to venture into the open world, it certainly did a good job leading to it. Aloy is a very likeable main character and some of the dialogue in the game, even for just side quests, are well written.

The world itself is beautiful. This game pushes the Playstation to its limits as did Final Fantasy XV and Uncharted 4. Words can't do it justice and pictures capture most but not all of it in its glory. This is a game you can show off at parties. The machines are very well detailed and animated, foliage moves with the wind, clouds dynamically block light from the sky. Again, it's not something words can justify.



Now, gameplay wise, it plays quite smoothly. Switching between weapons, running around from cover to combat, taking out weak spots and setting traps, they all work hand-in-hand and the game plays like a solid action-adventure game. Now, there are some skills you can unlock and gear you can get that makes the game almost too easy. Whether in stealth or combat, you can survive. It only gets tense when you're up against a couple of machines at one-go. You might argue that the tension may come from a lack of quick upgrades or ammo but I highly doubt that. If you just explore, you'd find yourself in a position where you can get anything you want whenever you want. I almost wish that resources were a bit more scarce.

I can confirm that there is the slaughter of wildlife in this game.

So far, I've fought a few interesting robo-dinos but I haven't yet fought with behemoths like the Thunderjaw so I can't comment on the combat specifically in terms of fighting machines. I've also only fought a handful of humans and they are peanuts compared to what the machines can dish out.

There are collectibles darted around the world which offer insight into the civilisation before the ruin but so far, they're quite generic really. I wish they would give proper backstories or lore to each machine in the wild. I'd very much appreciate that more. But hey, it's Guerrilla Studios's first open world game and they've already gotten so much right.

You can expect a review in a couple of weeks probably. I intend to do most of the activities if not all before finalising the story. And only after that can I give a review. Until then, I'll be spending my time in robo Jurassic Park. Oh, and Photo Mode.

Without Photo Mode
With Photo Mode


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