Cut-Price Horizon Zero Dawn is an Incredible Bargain
Giant robotic animals and dinosaurs that you can kill and control, unbelievable graphics, a captivating story and female lead character were four of the features that were pushed when Horizon Zero Dawn was first shown on TV.
I remember seeing a preview of Horizon Zero Dawn while watching a programme on GinxTV a few years ago and remarking it looked great. My main worry was that the finished game would be all wind and piss, or similar to a beautiful bimbo who looked great but had the personality of a flan. The latter would be proved wrong almost as soon as I began playing it.
Horizon Zero Dawn was released on March 1, 2017 and I bought it almost two months later on April 23rd. A month and two days of pure enjoyment followed before the Platinum trophy popped up thanks to me achieving 100% completion of what is one of the best video games I have ever played.
Horizon Zero Dawn Setting
The story is set in the 31st century and the world as we know it has gone to shit. A major disaster has occurred. Humans have regressed into primitive tribes while robotic creatures roam and dominate the planet. These “machines”, as they are collectively known, and the surviving humans coexist in relative peace with the humans often hunting the machines for parts.
This peace is threatened by a phenomenon known as the “derangement” which is causing the machines to grow ever more aggressive towards humans and new, massive, deadly machines begin appearing.
You play the role of Aloy, who was cast out of the Nora tribe at birth. There’s not really much else I can tell you about the story without massive spoilers, nor would I want to because the Horizon Zero Dawn’s story is its strong point and is a masterpiece in video games’ terms.
Stories in video games are mostly weak as piss with the occasional work of genius thrown in; The Last Of Us is an example of the latter. Horizon Zero Dawn’s story hooked me from the second I picked up the DualShock 4 controller. I wanted to know more and read every piece of lore I found along the gorgeous landscapes.
Horizon Zero Dawn Positives
Guerrilla Games did a fine job in creating a game that had plenty of character development at your hands without making it an absolute chore to do. Aloy has a dozen of special moves she can make and a whole host of traps and weapons at her disposal that you can use to take down these robotic creatures.
Battling with Aloy’s staff feels solid and varied, an array of special arrows makes her bow deadly and fun to use, while the game’s stealth mechanic works quite well despite the game’s action-adventure roots. I reckon you could get through the majority of Horizon Zero Dawn without the need to fight all but the boss machines but doing so would vastly reduce your enjoyment as the combat element is a brilliant.
The amazing graphics and absorbing story are joys to behold and I can’t describe how much fun it is to track and hunt some of the bigger machines that frequent the lands later in the game. It’s great fund unlocking sections of the map by climbing and hacking the giant giraffe-like creatures, or taking control of a robotic horse and riding it to your next destination. It’s also great fun and challenging to take on some of the more hostile machines, which you eventually get to control.
Being able to upgrade Aloy and her weapons is easy and each upgrade feels like that, an upgrade, making Aloy more powerful as the machines around her also improve and become deadlier.
Oh, the musical score is phenomenal, and every scene has the perfect music to it.
Horizon Zero Dawn Negatives
Horizon Zero Dawn isn’t without its negatives even if it is my favourite game on the PlayStation 4 to date. Firstly, the currency used to upgrade weapons etc in Horizon Zero Dawn sees difficult to come by and makes you want to hunt machines for more. Later in the game, less than halfway through if I remember correctly, you end up with so much “money” that you cannot do anything with it. You’ll have upgraded everything and still have tens of thousands scraps at your disposal that you don’t need or want.
Another gripe of mine was the although the machines are obviously technologically advanced and they do come looking for you if you make a noise within earshot or fail to kill them in a single blow etc, they quickly revert back to a predetermined course. This is the case even for the machines that are designed as pure killers. It would have been better, if very difficult to program, for the machines to stay on a higher state of alert or have several routes they could walk when they had been disturbed.
The third and final thing that had a negative effect on me playing Horizon Zero Dawn was partly down to my own inquisitiveness. I learned about some special armour in one of the many datapoints you find around the world and made it my mission to get my hands on it. I managed this after much exploring and found myself to be the owner of some armour that was extremely strong while allowing you to remain agile. Oh and it regenerated in a few seconds too if you managed to avoid taking damage.
This armour is so overpowered that combining it with my maxed-out weapons, there was no machine that I feared at all, even the vicious little bastards that are the equivalent of crocodiles and even the big mother-fucking T-Rex lookalikes towards the end of the game.
These negatives should not put you off buying Horizon Zero Dawn because it really is one of the best video games of all time, even more so that you can now get it for £22 or the Complete Edition that comes with the Frozen Wilds expansion for a couple of pennies under £30. For that price you’re going to get 50-60 hours, if not more, of pure enjoyment and that is a bargain in anyone’s eyes.