Horizon Zero Dawn | Review *Mild Spoilers*

It’s here! It’s been long awaited for me to write this,  I am ready to pick it apart and tell you my experience and thoughts on this beautiful game. I will be using my own in game screenshots for this review. I won’t be including a break down of every quest, just every other.
(Minimal Spoilers)

 A Gift From The Past

At the beginning of Horizon Zero Dawn, you are a baby Aloy, held by your guardian, Rost. I won’t give details away of what happens in between but after a cut scene, you are a young Aloy being taught to hunt with Rost, this is where you find the ‘Focus’ after falling down a hole into a cave. Rost pulls you out of the other side and he questions you on the Focus but tells you how tomorrow it’s time to learn the Lessons of the wild.

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I absolutely love how you see the growth of Aloy from baby to adult, playing young Aloy was lots of fun and her child like walk and run was depicted so well. The bond you see between her and Rost is sweet, Rost not wanting to get too attached but Aloy looking up to him like a father. Aloy is shunned by the other villagers and is not allowed to communicate with any other children, they are pulled away from her and some often bully her. It will come to light later on why she is being shunned, the story gets rather gripping from that point.

In the quest Lessons of the Wild you learn how the game is going to deliver on health regeneration and weapons, you collect medicinal herbs throughout the land to regain health, however you will always slowly regen one bar without any medicinal which can be really handy when you’re in battle and all out, as long as you keep it tactical and stealthy, you can defeat anything on very little health.

The other great aspect of this game is if like me sometimes you just don’t want to battle if the need isn’t there, then you don’t have to. You can stealth it past anything from a Watcher to a Sawtooth, heck you can even run past and just keep running, eventually they’ll give up the chase. During the first few quests as adult Aloy you learn how to turn the machines to your side and override them, which means much like Roach in the Witcher 3, you always have your trusty steed to get you from A to B.

thumbnail_IMG_0090.jpg(For more screenshots, visit my Instagram: AttanoJet)

The Proving
I’m not going to give spoilers away in this review for those who perhaps want to read it in order to decide if they want to buy the game, so I will avoid as much as I can. The proving is a ceremony/agility trial Aloy must endure to become part of the tribe and no longer be shunned. Although this being said, not everyone feels this is how it should be and many believe Aloy is a curse. More will be explained through the various cut scenes to help you understand. After the proving, this is where the important quest lines begin, the more testing battles and coming across unsavory people as Aloy is allowed beyond the gates of the tribe to explore the open.

The various forms of travel for Aloy are extremely fun, such as on the head of a Tallneck or rappelling down the side of structure, zip lining through wildlife, hopping over river beds on logs, and on the backs of machines, it’s a real varied open world game with endless amounts of exploring to do which can be done at your own pace, you can level up by battling machines and enemies to gain XP and then continue on your  quests stronger each time, you don’t have to begin until you feel ready. You can modify your outfit and weapons, take components from machines to sell to traders in order to build better weapons or gain coins to buy weapons and ammo.

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When it comes to weapons and ammo in this game, I am in my perfect world. So far I have kept my weapon mods simple, I have an trip wire/electricity bow caster, a standard bow caster and fire arrows. It’s so much fun to go in stealth to a battle and get head shot after headshot without being seen. I absolutely love using a bow and arrow and haven’t even started with the more extreme mods and grenades. This is one of the first games I have actually enjoyed stealth game play, I’m not one for stealth but I’ve had some awesome gameplay sneaking up on machines and getting one shot kills, it’s so thrilling!

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The Grave Hoard

The Grave Hoarde is a quest in which you most solve combination puzzles to open doors and battle against the Eclipse Cultists  to get to the war room, which you must search to find clues to help you find out more about Zero Dawn. You will also have to face one of the toughest, longest battles so far in the game, but not the hardest overall. It took a fair few goes and thinking of tactics/strategies in order to stay alive and destroy the DeathBringer (It indeed brought plenty of death) The best way it seems to fight this machine is to run and roll, rolling will be faster than running so if you dive roll around it to avoid missiles and bullets you can shoot when there is a short time he’s not firing. Shooting at the orange tanks that appear will over heat it and bring it too it’s knees where you can continue to shoot components until you defeat it. Although difficult, after a few tries it was rewarding to say the least.

After searching the war room an leaving the Grave Hoard, you will complete this quest line and continue on The War Chiefs Trial quest and go on to complete it by finishing Revenge of the Nora. It may be different for others but that is the order it fell in for myself. You will come across a few different tribes as you go along, some on your side and others not. Over the course of the game you will learn of how Aloy came to be, who or what she came from and why she was shunned, all taking surprising turns you perhaps wouldn’t have expected.

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The Visuals

From the get go, I knew this game was going to be beautiful but I seriously underestimated HOW beautiful. I was thinking Witcher 3 level beautiful but woah no, this is something else. Every inch of this game is crisp, clear and beautiful. I actually stopped Aloy in front of some mountains so I could watch the sunset and sunrise, I had no idea it was going to happen and when I saw it I was blown away, the change in atmosphere and light was so perfect and calming much like a real life sunset, it was seriously something else. The change in weather and ground type is beautiful, from one snowy mountain to the summery next, from a green tinted dusk to a beaming pink and orange dawn, it really has it all.

Another amazing feature with this game is the photo mode which gives you a tonne of filter options, field of view ratios, frames, logos and beautiful time changing abilities giving you the power to make beautiful screen shots at any angle, the ones you see in this post are my own using photo mode. You can pause the game at absolutely any chosen moment and go to the photo mode, there are no limits, you can be mid combat, in the air for whatever reason, falling, dying… you name it.

Overall

I have no other game I feel can contend with Horizon so far this year, it’s early days but coming from a huge Bethesda fan,  I’m unsure if Prey can beat this! I just feel I’ve never played a game like this, other than aspects of the game being similar to others like the gathering of sources and health, gaining XP and having main quests and side quests. The visuals, the story, the wildlife, all of it is just perfect to me. I’ve seen many people make comparisons to Far Cry and The Witcher 3 but I personally feel it’s in a league of it’s own well and truly. I do believe it will win Game Of The Year. Guerrilla Games have made one heck of a game, now bring on their next title, Death Stranding!

If anyone asks me  whether they should buy this game, parting with the money is well worth it, 10/10 from me and I’m hard to please! Thank you for reading my review of Horizon Zero Dawn, I hope you enjoyed! Let me know your thoughts on the game or if you are convinced by my review and will now be buying it!

-Jet

4 thoughts on “Horizon Zero Dawn | Review *Mild Spoilers*

  1. You know what, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this game before I thought ‘fuck it’ and picked it up. In the end, I’m really glad I came to that decision as it’s likely my GOTY winner. There’s not much I didn’t enjoy about it. It’s not perfect, but a few minor issues aside, I absolutely loved it from beginning to end.

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