Horizon Zero Dawn Review

Video Games

Review: Horizon Zero Dawn on PlayStation 4

1 Apr , 2017  

Written by Jon Scarr

Developed by Guerrilla Games, famous for the Killzone series of games, Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role playing game that features an emotional journey and explores the contrast between beauty and danger.
 
Packed full of mysterious tribal societies, ancient artifacts, and advanced technologies that determine the fate of the planet, Horizon Zero Dawn is an epic open-world game that will take you on an unbelievable journey.
 
Simply put, Horizon Zero Dawn is the launch of Sony’s next epic franchise.

Horizen Zero Dawn Review Box Art

A lush post-apocalyptic world

 
Set a thousand years into the future, Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic world where massive machines rule the land.
 
Over time, human civilization has reverted to tribal societies of hunters and gatherers who live in forests, mountain ranges and the atmospheric ruins of their ancestors – all while the machines become increasingly powerful.
 
Horizon Zero Dawn tells the story of Aloy, a courageous young woman with mysterious circumstances surrounding her birth. Found abandoned as a baby, Aloy is put under the care of Rost—a member of the Nora tribe and an outcast.
 
Curious, determined, and intent on unveiling the mysteries of her world, Aloy is raised by Rost and develops a fascination with technology.
 
Curious about her origins, Aloy sets out on a quest to discover her origins and uncover the mysteries of the world around her.
 
Horizen Zero Dawn Review

An engaging protagonist

 
When launching a new franchise, one of the most important elements is to create an engaging protagonist. Guerilla Games did an amazing job of doing this by allowing us to play as a younger Aloy and engage in the developing relationship between herself and Rot.
 
In turn, this creates a connection that instantly will have you emotionally invested in Aloy.
 
As you progress throughout the game, Aloy is taught the basics of hunting and trains with the ultimate goal of winning the Proving and to learn her origins.
 
The best part is, it all plays out in grand fashion like a major motion picture in a cinematic experience that is both intriguing and enticing at the same time.
 
Horizen Zero Dawn Review

 Nature and Machines collide

 
In Horizon Zero Dawn, you’ll encounter various different robotic creatures known as Machines. As Aloy, you have a variety of ways to take out your enemies such as shooting enemies with arrows, using explosives, setting traps like tripwires using the Ropecaster and melee combat.
 
Or, you can hide in nearby brush and by using stealth techniques take down your enemies. Here’s a little hint, you’ll have a better chance of defeating strong enemies by using more than one weapon—don’t be afraid to experiment with different weapon combinations.
 
Additionally, as you progress through the game you’ll gain the ability to hack some of the Machines by using the Override Tool. As a result, Machines can be used as a means of transportation or as travelling companions.
 
It’s totally awesome! The Machines have a multipurpose in that their components can be harvested such as electricity and the metal they are composed of.
 
These components become vital to Aloy’s survival as they are useful resources for crafting.
 
Horizon Zero Dawn’s crafting system is streamlined and makes it easy construct various weapons and items found through out the world and from Machines.
 
Additionally, you can trade to merchants for better weapons and armour that will help you on your journey.
 
Much like other games in this genre, Horizon Zero Dawn includes a skill tree in which you can evolve Aloy’s abilities.
 
Guerrilla Games did a fantastic job in not making this overly complex and as a result, it makes Horizon Zero Dawn’s gameplay seamless.
 
Horizen Zero Dawn Review

A massive landscape to explore full of detail

 
Horizon Zero Dawn’s world is massive! It’s not uncommon to travel for several minutes by Machine or even longer by foot when trying to reach your destination.
 
Campfires are used as a means to save your progress and fast travel between them. So it’s important to interact with a campfire when you see it, you never know when you might die or need to travel there quickly.
 
Horizon Zero Dawn’s world features a dynamic day-night cycle and weather system that can be fully explored without any loading screens.
 
The only time you will encounter a loading screen is if you happen to die, and then its only a few seconds of loading before you are back in the action.
 
Another amazing feat accomplished by Guerilla Games is Horizon Zero Dawn’s graphics. The level of detail including in this game is astonishing!
 
The world is varied and detailed with unique traits for each location that transport you into the game and distinguish themselves from one another.
 
Character models look photo realistic and the animations are spot on. With 25 different robotic Machine designs, they bear strikingly similar designs to various forms of wildlife such as deer, birds, and even dinosaurs.
 
Regardless if you play Horizon Zero Dawn on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, this game looks gorgeous. Having played it on the PlayStation 4 Pro, I can tell you the colours are vivid, frame rate is stable, and the graphics are quite possibly the best I have seen on a home console.
 
Even if you are playing on a stock PlayStation 4, Horizon Zero Dawn is an impressive feat. It’s clear that the development team at Guerrilla has pushed the envelope in graphic fidelity on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.
 
Horizen Zero Dawn Review

Final Thoughts

 
Sony have another hit on their hands with Horizon Zero Dawn—it’s a game that does virtually everything right.
 
With a strong and intriguing female protagonist, a compelling storyline line that will have you invested in the game, streamlined gameplay, and incredible graphics—Horizon Zero Dawn has it all.
 
The amount of polish on Horizon Zero Dawn will have you in awe, often wondering how its all possible.
 
Horizon Zero Dawn is a game that all PlayStation 4 owners should own, and is an early contender for game of the year.
 

Game Details

Platform: PlayStation 4

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Developer: Guerrilla Games

Publisher:  Sony Interactive Entertainment

Genre: Open World Action role-playing

Modes: Single-player

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Final Score: 100/100

About the Author: Jon Scarr

Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.

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