PSXGAMEREVIEW

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Breathtakingly stunning and the most advanced graphics on the PS4 by leaps. The other great thing about Horizon Zero Dawn is that it tells a compelling story and has a strong lead character who you see grow up and figure out her destiny. The enemies she encounters are some of the most fascinating you will ever encounter and the open world is a marvel to explore. Sidequests and item creation are pretty easy to understand and the game does not bloackade your progress like some games do. Horizon Zero Dawn is a game of the year contender and a beautiful looking one to boot.

Horizon follows the adventure of a young girl named Aloy. She is raised by a man, Ros, who takes her under his wing while they live their lives as outcasts due to untold reasons. The girl's curiosity as who her mother could be and passion to explore more than she is allowed leads her to prove herself and thus her adventure continues. Guerilla Games starts the game, very beautifully, with you controlling Aloy as a child. Once you get past a point she is a full fledged young lady and an improving hunter. This transition gives a little more meaning to the character and was a great idea. As you wander the game you pick vegetation and other items to create ammo, modify equipment and weapons, create potions and regain health. In addition to harvesting, Aloy can hunt wildlife and the mechanical monsters that are making life difficult for mankind. 

Let us talk about the mechanical monsters. These beasts resemble real animals that you know and their movements are similar to them as well. Horizon has mechanical beats that resemble tigers, birds, horses, beetles, dinosaurs and many other types without wanting to spoil. The insane thing is that their movements are so fluid. These animals are not blocking and move with graze which makes fighting them a fun time. The question is why they are the enemies? Well you have to move on in the story to find out so no spoilers here.


Horizon is the most beautiful technical game on consoles. Gueriila Games has made very nice looking games since Killzone 2. This game blows even them out of the water. The setting is set in a post apocalyptic earth and cities are really no more. Vast vegetation is beautifully portrayed and the ruins that surround them are very eerie. Many different types of land inhabit this and from green lush prairies, to rocky desert type areas to jungle type locales, Horizon offers all the seasons in one. Nice small settlements to bigger city areas are each unique and majestic looking in their own right. The player and NPC characters are also so lifelike that no one would be blamed if they mistook a real person to a CGI if they passed by watching the game. The only gripe is that Aloy's lip anaimation sometimes is not up to par to what she is saying.

Horizon's music is good for the atmosphere of the game. There are some memorable tunes, especially the title screen and mesmerizing Meridian City. The music goes with the game, slower songs for sneaking, nice relaxing songs when you are just strolling around and up tempo sounds when fighting enemies. The bigger the enemy the "bigger" the sound. The voice acting is pretty well done. Ashly Burch was perfect for the role of Aloy. Her no nonsense attitude and impatience were not too extreme as lets say a very popular leading lady from Final Fantasy XIII. 

As most people are aware, Guerilla Games have worked on Killzone games for so long. People re used to the shooting mechanic of those games. Due to the fact that this is a new IP the developer focused more on an open game where there would be more movement. Control wise Aloy plays pretty smooth. Sometimes you might get stuck behind a pilar or wall but Aloy's movement and speed are done very well. Instead of a gun you fight with a bow and arrow and a melee weapon. Big departure from Killzone. There are no auto arrows or anything like that so the player has to hit the appropriate button for each specific action. There is also a tracker for whatever you are doing though like a main quest, sidequest or you can even highlight a target. Talking about that, Aloy can set a tracker on an animal or enemy near her and learn its path so you can plan your next move. 

The map is really huge, I mean huge. You can purchase an item that lets you fast-track back to a previous saved area but if pushing forward it can be a longs way and running is your only option until you find a perk to take control of certain nachines that can be used for transportation. Even if it can feel daunting the nice things is that world is so beautiful you will not mind it that much. Plus you do come across other events or people on your way to your destination. Its almost as good as The Witcher III but still not to that level.  

The game does have a learning curve on what materials you need to create items or improve your equipment. It is so important to learn so because you can come across a beast that will beat you to a bloody pulp within seconds if you are not fully prepared. Sometimes all you can do is run or tumble away but if you take the time to learn the behaviors of the beasts you will become a good beast hunter in no time.

Horizon Zero Dawn is a technical marvel in terms of beauty and scope. If you are lucky enough to have a PS4 Pro and a 4K TV you are going to be in for a great treat. Aloy is a fantastic lead character. The story unfolds with great precision and there is substance for why you are going on this adventure in the first place. It has one of the best stories of the year period. I cannot wait for a sequel or future DLCs. You will fall in love with the world and hopefully appreciate the best game ever made by Guerilla Games.

Score: 9.5

Pros:

Best looking game on PS4 or any other console.

Aloy is a very strong character.

Mech monsters are out of this world.

One of the best stories of the year.

Nice supporting cast.

Fluid controls.

Cons:

Some mission types are very repetitive.

Aloy's lip animation sometimes falters.

Update!

Horizon Zero Dawn won 3 awards and was nominated for 2 more in 2017.

2017 Game Awards
2nd Place Overall Game of the Year 
Best Graphics 
Best Action Game
Best Playstation Exclusive
2nd Place Best Story
2nd Place Best DLC - The Frozen Wilds