Horizon Zero Dawn

I’ve had a bad run with Playstation exclusives, they all seem to have one thing in common: they look stunning. But more times than not, these exclusives games have little depth after the wow factor of the graphics has worn off. Horizon Zero Dawn certainly looked amazing from the start, but having to begin life as a child always sucks in a game, and then when that child is forced to explore a cave system that is full of invisible walls and actively discourages exploration – just follow the light child – I started to get that sinking feeling. But it was all good as I had very low expectations for this game to begin with. Hunting robotic animals? Oh please.

The thing is, the opening is at odds with the rest of the game, and as soon as I came of age, my foster dad took me out to train me in the gathering, crafting and hunting business. It’s here that the game really kicks into gear. And I do get why I had to be a child to begin with, it’s an emotional connection and a hint at some of the story lines to come.

So when the game kicks off proper and you’re tasked with gathering the ingredients to make fire arrows and your dad at a certain location. This can be done quite quickly and easily, or you can do some of the side quests and even pick up more along the way. Or you can just go hunting and perfect your skills whilst the mechanical beasts are relatively easy to take down. What ever you do I suggest you take your time and do as much as you can, as this will help you level up quicker and you can start picking some skills as you grow your character.

And talking of character, did I mention you play the role of a kick arse female named Aloy. It’s nice to see a strong and capable female lead character in a video game, especially one that isn’t just female for the sex appeal. Her character drives the game, as you will often have conversation choices to make, and whilst you can force her to be a bitch, her character is naturally nice and unless you’re a cynical bastard you’ll probably end up re-enforcing her niceness through the choices you make.

As you progress through the storyline, you’ll pick up new skills, new weapons and new equipment, all of which you will need to put to good use as the machines only get bigger and stronger, requiring you to trap them or use specific weapons against their weak spots. And your foes won’t only be machine, some of the humans are out to get you. This post apocalyptic world you’ve been born into is not a friendly place.

It’s also a huge world, and after playing Horizon Zero Dawn for a couple of weeks it feels like I’m still only starting out, and have plenty more to explore, secrets to uncover and a mother to find. The game is also visually stunning and technically amazing. With the exception of story driven cut scenes and don’t think I’ve ever had to wait for any loading screens no matter how far I explore. And there doesn’t seem to be much if anything in the way of glitchy behaviour.

Some times you’ll just find your self stopping and admiring the world around you, or watching the mechanical animals do there thing and marvel at how complex the game is.

Horizon Zero Dawn also feels somewhat original, as much as a game can these days anyway. It kinda reaches that mystical nirvana like status of being a console exclusive game that you can generally say should make XBox owners jealous.

Rating: M Science fiction themes and violence.



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