Playstation 4 Reviews

Horizon Zero Dawn Review: A Soul Sucking Beauty

Venturing out into the cold wilderness on your own may feel like a common theme in video games today, but never has it felt more real than in Guerrilla’s latest title, Horizon Zero Dawn.

A New Age Has Dawned

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world adventure game where you take on the role of a young woman named Aloy.

The basic plot of the Horizon Zero Dawn is that the world has ended and has essentially given rise to the age of machines. Mankind has been reduced to living in tribes after hundreds of thousands of years. It’s beautiful in a way that makes the idea of humanity being cyclical almost seem hopeful.

The world is a massive, beautifully detailed masterpiece. Every strand of grass blows in the wind and reacts to your presence and that of the machines. Every texture and facial expression is spot on in this game. I won’t call it perfect because the game does have flaws, and we’ll get to those but I want to start with everything that this game does right.

A Champion Approaches the Horizon

Game studios are always making grand claims of being the next big release, with promises of changing how we look at games. Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that can back these claims up and will be praised as a hallmark in the game industry for years to come.

This game has a lot of things going for it and as of writing, this has already sold 2.6 million copies. It also happens to be Guerrilla’s biggest launch in the company’s history. It’s new territory for the company as they are most noted for the Killzone series which is a series of FPS style war games. They also happen to feature antagonists that are machines. See a running theme with their games? The game’s main character here is named Aloy… get it… like alloy

The story opens on an infant being prepared for a journey to the sacred naming land. This is an area of the Nora land where all children are taken to be named and have those names blessed by the all mother by an outcast member of one of the tribes. After the baby is named you are taken through what may be one of the greatest tutorial sequences ever devised. This is a perfect example of how players should be introduced to a game’s mechanics. The game leads the player in a way that forces you to figure out what to do instead of holding your hand the entire way and builds on characters along the way.

Earlier I touched on how large the map is and I’d like to bring it up again by pointing out that the game has ruins that aren’t even marked. These act as save points and fast travel points. In order to fast travel, you need to use fast travel kits that can be created in the crafting system. There is a skill that allows you to make a permanent one, but it’s worthless. At no point in the game did I want to use the fast travel option and there are several reasons for this but only two of them matter.

All I want to do is wander the world in order to make sure I always had the loot required to craft weapons, armor, and equipment. More importantly, the world of Horizon Zero Dawn is just so goddamn pretty. It feels like the first time I played Skyrim all over again except I still haven’t encountered a “What am I looking at” moment.

The crafting in the game is glorious to say the very least. Often I found myself spending hours traversing the landscapes and hunting for herds of machines and living animals to keep everything fully stocked. The only true problem with the crafting system is by extension the issue of specific rarity and classes of weapons using certain ammo types.I really like freezing things and my current bow doesn’t allow me to do so.

Horizon Zero Dawn uses a skill system like something you would find in a game like Fable. There are three skill trees, each of which is non-inclusive to itself. Certain skills in one tree require that you’ve learned a different skill in another. It presents its own challenges and requires the player to think about what skills to acquire and when to progress tactfully.

The skill tree is almost made pointless because it’s very easy to play through the entire game simply using the laughably overpowered spear.

Praise The Sun

The game’s story is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish and at no point during Aloy’s journey did I ever feel bored. Even if I needed a break from the story I was still content spending my time wandering around the world and discovering lost ruins.

The ruins act as a means of growth that can only happen upon discovery. Making your way through several of the ruins of the old world will allow you to learn to override the machines you find in the world.

Some of these you can ride, others are simply a means of causing havoc and destruction. Kind of like the Thunder Jaw but I’ll let you discover the terror that magical beast will bring forth on your own. It’s a giant T-Rex robot that took me nineteen tries to bring down.

Everything about this game is as close to perfect as we’re going to get this generation. The only thing stopping it from being such is the stealth mechanics. Aloy can learn the ability to whistle to get an enemy’s attention, draw them in and then stab them in the face with your spear. For machines, this is often an instant kill, aside from the larger ones. In regards to human enemies, however, the formula works like this.

Hide in bush>Use precision whistling to gain the attention of said enemy>Lure in>Stab>repeat until bandit camp is cleared out>Profit?

I’m not sure if the stealth mechanic was a last-minute throw together or if the A.I. was improperly programmed or they simply didn’t care but it’s something that bothers me. It doesn’t take away from the experience of the game because doing so isn’t necessary. You can kill from a distance, set traps and even slingshot bombs from across a field. as I believe I’ve overstated, this is a game that every living person needs to play at least once.

The Final Word
Enjoy the story, explore the world, go on a murderous rampage, or just take pictures in photo mode. Either way, enjoy your stay in this wonderfully crafted world. The game may have a few flaws but it’s nothing glaring or anything that will take away from the overall experience.

– MonsterVine Review Score: 5 out of 5 – Excellent

Horizon Zero Dawn Review: A Soul Sucking Beauty
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's New

To Top