“Far Cry Primal mixed with Mass Effect Augments and Killzone Technological Dinosaurs”, describes this game perfectly. You would think that Guerrilla Games has been making Open World games for a lifetime but this is their first game of this genre and a Total masterpiece. Like all Open world games it has some issues such as some minor surround sound problems, a few tone-deaf conversations, the terrible mechanics of the other Human enemies, and the useless melee fighting; but that is highly overshadowed by the Amazing encounters one can find in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn. This includes the long range fighting, the beautiful graphics (probably the best we’ve seen in any console game), and the smooth pace that drives you to figure out what happened in this post-apocalypse world and why it got overrun by techno-dinosaurs.
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What’s Horizon Zero Dawn all about?
The big mystery in Horizon Zero Dawn is not only why with so much technology they got thrown back to a Hunting Pack kind of lifestyle in a world overrun by feral machines, is Aloy’s personality that creates a mystery for the player making you get involved on a personal level with the character. Aloy’s sarcastic interactions with NPC’s is often a hilarious thing to watch since more times than not the NPC doesn’t get the joke, but as an obviously good intentioned character, she adds some dialogue flavor.
There are 26 different Species of Animal-Robot-Monster, you are thrown into the wild without any tutorials on each species weak points or attack styles, which makes each fight an enjoyable success after figuring out how to take it down on a new way or tactic. Hits on different weak points cause varied reactions on the machines, you may scan the weak points with Aloy’s Lore (an old technology device that uses work like the Witcher’s heightened senses) but scanning them does not give you a guide to what will happen if you hit that particular point.
Who is Aloy?
If you have seen gameplays of Horizon Zero Dawn you might think there is some kind of magic involved because of all the explosion and ice flying around, but the reality of the game is much more scientifical. Aloy can craft several types of bombs, traps, and elemental arrows to help her in the crusade to find out what happened to this world. Her melee skills are a little lacking, melee fighting is more for a stealth kill, on an actual encounter you will miss most of the swings and each time you roll away from an attack finding your enemy again is annoying. The on-the-go crafting system is an incredible way to keep your fights going without the need of actually pausing the game, you might run out of arrows mid fight and just realized that a well-placed arrow to the knee will bring that creature down, don’t panic, just craft it in a matter of seconds with the use of the on-the-go crafting system and release away.
This is not your usual game where after the 20th hour or so you are close to invincible, some of the machines roam in packs and going head on with an entire pack is suicide, even after maxing out everything it is still a challenge whenever a pack gets too close and death is the usual outcome. Singling out a machine from the pack is a lot more time consuming than it should and usually turns into a 3v1 fight, but that keeps the encounters fresh.
After some exploring Aloy discovers how to override the machine’s “brains”(Not spoiling how!) which will help A LOT, making outnumbered encounters go more your way. Each machine species has an override mode, some become mounts others will fight for you and a few just let you be. Upgrading your skill tree gives more time to your overrides eventually becoming in the ability to have your very own small army of machine-monsters.
While it is true that Horizon’s graphics are capped at 30fps they have done an amazing job to maintain the 1080p on PS4 and 4k on the PS4 PRO(occasional drops happen), from huge deserts, to snowy hills and everlasting forests the game does not disappoint with the number of landscapes that it brings to you.
The music of Horizon Zero Dawn was a huge pro in my gameplay, that moment you feel the post-apocalyptic world blend in with the technology and the music just sets the beat that creates the perfect symmetry needed in all games, not too much that it annoys you, just enough. A Sweet combination that makes your time in this monster infested world an enjoyable ride.