Remember Killzone? The futuristic FPS that was exclusive to the Playstation? Horizon Zero Dawn is the newest game from those people. It features an open world where you climb on things to unlock more map information. It’s got a more loot than you would ever have any interest in collecting and enough side quests to keep you busy until next January. Oh yeah, it’s also my favourite game of the year so far.
I guess I should begin by saying that I usually run as far away as possible from this sort of game. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what they’re going for, just that I’d rather spend my free time doing something else. And yet, despite all of that. Horizon is one of my favourite games in years.
You see, the world of Zero Dawn is full of life and colour and variety. With mechanical dinosaurs around every corner and interesting and entertaining mechanics that combine to make the game incredibly playable.
The combat is varied enough that you’ll likely never get bored with hunting down any of the games 25 unique machines-that-definitely-aren’t-dinosaurs. And whilst the game doesn’t go far enough in forcing you to try new combat styles, I found the combat to be incredibly satisfying and challenging in equal measure. Blowing a Thunderjaws’s Disk Launcher off, and then using it against the Dino-machine will never get old.
The world itself never falls victim to this genre’s usual tropes. The ‘post-post apocalypse’ is a new and very interesting take on the end of the world. The visual polish on display is like nothing I’ve ever seen and even Aloy as a character is interesting enough that you want her to succeed and uncover the plot that seems ripe for future games.
Horizon isn’t a perfect game. The loot system throws way too much stuff at you, and most of it is used for nothing more than crafting and/or trading with merchants. The human antagonists are poorly designed and a bit of a bore to fight in comparison to the mechanical enemies you’ll encounter, and too much of the game’s lore is hidden in the now entirely played out audio log. But at this point, I’m picking at nits that don’t need to be picked.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my time with this game. And yet after 40 hours in a little over a week, I’m pleased to say that Guerilla Games have created something very good indeed. I want more from Aloy, more from this world and I can’t wait to see what Horizon 2 has to offer.