- March 6th, 2017
- Platform: PS4 Pro
- Playtime: 29hrs
Horizon: Zero Dawn is a technical masterpiece.
Sony now has another triple-A blockbuster video game property. Horizon makes a statement as soon as you start the game and begin learning the ropes. When the open world becomes accessible within the first 30-40mins you will be floored by how visually stunning this game is. I will never forget the first time I played Gears of War 1 on Xbox 360. I was in college, had a 22in 720p TV, and seeing GoW set a standard that for me that lasted for at least 4-5 years. I got that same feeling from Horizon. You want to show off the power of the PS4 Pro, this game will do it. The main protagonist, Aloy, is equally as impressive as the world. She is a strong, and daring character that could hold her own against some of the most popular, and seasoned video game characters.
As the first entry in a new IP, I usually set my expectations for the story pretty low. Triple-A games, with their enormous budgets, can really miss the mark on story but deliver on the stuff that sells: graphics, multiplayer etc. Aloy leads a great story that keeps you interested over the course of the game.
The premise of the story is not the most original: a young character, that is in some way different than everyone else, is trained into an incredible warrior, and earns the respect and love she/he had always wanted by doing good. That is the underlying story, but there’s much more to it. It’s a quiet lesson on how technology is taking over our lives and a few bad decisions by a few powerful people can be catastrophic. The story stands up very well next to the beautiful world.
You’ll have the most fun doing two things: literally staring at the world, and fighting robot dinosaurs. The combat in Horizon is rewarding and deep. Solid pacing allows you to take your time getting used to your weapons. I played the game on hard difficulty from the start and I encourage everyone to do the same. I feel that if I played on normal, the game would almost be too easy. On hard, I routinely completed quests that were 2-5 levels higher than my Aloy. Maybe i’m just that good. Probably not.
There are lots of weapons and ammo types. You can also customize your armor and gear. This game has deep RPG elements. Imagine having four upgradable bows that you can assign buffs to, and shoot up to 6 elemental types of ammo. Ok, so you get that right…now, there are slings, guns that shoot elemental traps, and more. All upgradeable. Once you get used to the weapon wheel you’ll confidently approach any enemy.
You level up Aloy in a traditional way. As you complete quests and kill robot dinos you earn XP. Each level you gain, you earn 1pt toward a new skill. There are three skill trees, and although there aren’t any particular skills that standout, you won’t be disappointed with your choices (usually).
To go along with the awesome graphics, the great story, and epic main character, there are challenges littered throughout the world that could keep you in the game for easily over 100hrs. You’ll get your money’s worth from this game if you enjoy action-RPG’s.
In summary, I’m excited about the Horizon series. I didn’t follow the trailers or hype leading up to the release. I watched the full trailer about two weeks before the release. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a pleasant surprise. Sony already had an impressive stable of action-RPGs, but Horizon might already be top dog.