Horizon Zero Dawn Review7th March 2017
After playing Horizon Zero Dawn you would never guess it was made by Guerilla, the company who are known for the Killzone series. The game is a remarkably different from the dark and bleak battlefields of Helghan. Sony’s newest exclusive stretches its 30-hour long story over the bright and beautiful world of Horizon.
Horizon isn’t a post-apocalyptic world that we are used to. Long grass sways with the breeze, mist hangs over the rivers and mountains, animals roam the land. The world is added to by a wide variety of hostile machine like animals as well as humans in the form of bandits. Whether you’re trying to shoot a Stormbird out of the air with your trusty bow and arrow, or set up a trap to take down a Sawtooth each fight feels unique and different.
The game follows Aloy, a female hunter who was banished by her tribe at birth. The story kicks off after Aloy competes in The Proving, in an attempt gain her place in the tribe. After this a touching story unravels as she tries to figure out how humanity almost ended the world hundreds of years ago.
Aloy has access to several different weapons, allowing the player to choose their own playstyle. Stealth is one option, hiding in tall grass and taking out enemies one by one with traps or silent arrow hits. Another is with brute force, explosive weaponry and Aloy’s spear, although the former is much more fun and dynamic.
Horizon features an interesting skill tree, with points from leveling up giving the character several new abilities, such as being able to notch 3 arrows at once. The games HUD is fully customisable to the players taste which comes as a welcome surprise.
Aside from occasional poor voice acting and strange facial expressions from characters, there isn’t much to criticise Horizon about. Sometimes side quests can be a little simple, often being as shallow as going to a place and defeating a few enemies or finding something.
One thing that stands out is that the game has clearly taken inspiration from others, if you stuck Geralt from The Witcher into Aloy’s place it might be hard to tell the games apart from scenery alone. The hunting and crafting system is all familiar if you’ve played Far Cry as well, a further similarity is the clearing of bandit camps throughout the world.
Horizon Zero Dawn looks to be a huge IP for Sony, no doubt there will be sequels. At the end of the day Horizon Zero Dawn doesn’t do anything spectacularly new, but everything in it works so well together that it feels like a unique and refreshing game.