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Horzion Zero Dawn PS4 Game Review

February 20, 2017

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Horzion Zero Dawn PS4 Game Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Feb 20, 2017
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Is Horizon Zero Dawn any good? Read on at Kidzworld to see what we thought of the latest exclusive to hit the PlayStation 4.

By: Max Cannon

Horizon Zero Dawn is a great game. A really, really great game. It's impressive how much praise I can shower on one game considering I can't beat it.

Yep.

I cannot finish it. 

Be it my own stupidity, a nasty glitch, or both, I cannot progress to the next story mission. I'm currently at 74.83% game completion, and I've done every side quest possible, found every collectible, and I cannot for the life of me start this next mission. The game is pointing me to a destination on the map and when I enter nothing happens. There's a nearby wall with handholds but it is too high to reach. So I'm either missing something that's supposed to get me up there or the cutscene/event won't trigger. 

But I don't even care because this game is so good. Horizon Zero Dawn is Tomb Raider meets Far Cry meets The Witcher and it is fantastic.

Aloy rides outsides of the kingdom of Meridian.Aloy rides outsides of the kingdom of Meridian.Courtesy of PlayStation

Aloy's Adventure

When I first put the game in I didn't really want to play. Despite gamers hyping themselves through the roof, I didn't find myself that excited. After getting my game installed I watched the opening cutscene, played for 5 minutes, and turned it off to play another day. The next morning I forced myself to turn on my PlayStation and once the game opened up I quickly fell in love with Aloy and the game's world. Aloy, our protagonist, is a motherless outcast who is born into an Earth that has taken modern society away from humans. Raised by her father figure, Rost, Aloy spends her entire life training for The Proving to find acceptance into a nearby tribe. But the world is littered with reminders of the past and violent machines have replaced most of the animals. 

Horizon is going to be the new bench mark for open world RPG's.

Horizon Zero Dawn | Story Trailer

 

Exploration of the giant and dense map feels rewarding because I actually love running across it, which is good because fast travel is locked for most of the game behind special packs that are crafted with various resources.

One second you'll be running down a snowy mountain into the dense forest beneath. After running through the trees you'll hit an open desert that surrounds a giant oasis of a city. Cross that desert and you'll find a dense rainforest. Every climate blends together so well that these different environments feel believable even if they're so close together. It's stunning both in its art design, which often reminded me of Halo, and in the tech powering this detail intensive game. Much of the game allows you hop up mountains like you're in Skyrim but climbing feels like a lighter version of Uncharted, it's narrow, focused, and just like Naughty Dog's biggest games you're following the color yellow.

A Tallneck is Horizon's take on Far Cry's towers.A Tallneck is Horizon's take on Far Cry's towers.Courtesy of PlayStation

Resources and Robots

A lot of your success in Horizon will be based on how well you pregame. Did you bring enough resources to craft potions or arrows into a fight? Did you bring the right weapon or the right element? Crafting for ammunition can be done from the weapon wheel and takes ingredients like wood and metal but things like larger quivers or satchels will require hunting animal skins in a way that's identical to Far Cry. Actually a lot of the collectibles/locations are similar to Ubisoft games. There are Bandit Camps to take down, Tallnecks to climb and reveal objects on the map, and tons and tons of small collectibles to find.

This all sounds very similar to your standard RPG but what sets Horizon apart is how well it plays. Combat encounters give you a ton of different tools at your disposal and it feels very reminiscent of Tomb Raider both in shooting and melee. The melee combat feels a little lighter than I would have liked but it works well enough, there aren't any combos and there's not much more depth than choosing a light or heavy attack. But the 3rd person shooting is where this game shines. Getting precision shots with an arrow, lined up with some assistance via BulletTime, feels satisfying whether you're fighting humans or machines.

Aloy fights a Stormbird, one of the strongest machines in the game.Aloy fights a Stormbird, one of the strongest machines in the game.Courtesy of PlayStation

The battles against fellow humans are fine but it's the fights against machines that had my heart racing. Sneaking up for a stealth attack may fully take out a weaker foe but it'll only anger your larger ones. To take down tougher obstacles you'll need to shoot different components off your enemies. Dismantling a giant bird's armored wings and finishing it off with a shot straight through its exposed heart is as thrilling the first time as it is the last.

Using Aloy's focus, Horizon's version of Witcher Sense, you can detect weak points on your enemies and shoot them off. Is a giant Thunderjaw giving you trouble with its disc launcher? Well blast it off, take the weapon, and fire it right back. Combat is always satisfying and each enemy will demand a different tactic or tool. Some will require a tie to the ground with your Ropecaster, others can run into a trap from your Tripwire, or your trusty spear and bow can come in to save the day.

A river running through a Bandit Camp.A river running through a Bandit Camp.Courtesy of PlayStation

The Story and My Struggle To Play It

If you've seen anything at all about this game then you know it's gorgeous and I'm happy to say that I didn't see any noticeable downgrade, but I don't always have the best eye for that sort of thing so take that for what it's worth. Light cascades through trees and the world is constantly changing saturation, I enjoyed the change to color but I could see some disliking it. I played the game with 4K visuals on my PlayStation 4 Pro and for the first time since I traded in my launch PS4 I could hear the fan struggling to keep the system cool.

I haven't spoken much on the story because, like I said, I haven't finished it. The very, very opening turned me off to the game but as I've gotten deeper the mystery of what happened to the planet has gotten its hooks in me. And there are some shocking depth to the themes of religion and atheism, even if sometimes they are a little less than subtle.

Horizon's world becomes deeply saturated depending on your enviornment and time of day in the game.Horizon's world becomes deeply saturated depending on your enviornment and time of day in the game.Courtesy of PlayStation

There are certainly issues in the 30 hours I've played but they're small... usually. I've seen one or two weird glitches in cutscenes, lip syncing doesn't always stand out, and sometimes the game gives you some really nasty checkpoints before bosses that you can't escape from. Oh and it should be international law that every 3rd person shooter should allow you to shoulder swap, which Horizon doesn't. 

The issue preventing me from progressing may actually be my inability to see what to do but that may even indicate some poor telegraphing, which is an unfortunate but very, very unusual misstep for this game.

When I finish the game I'll return to update my thoughts on the story. If I can get to the bottom of what is halting my progression I'll add a star to this review and give this game a perfect score but as it stands I'm unable to continue. 

Dialogue isn't too deep but it does give some insight into each character.Dialogue isn't too deep but it does give some insight into each character.Courtesy of PlayStation
 

Final Thoughts

I love Horizon Zero Dawn. It's probably the best RPG I've ever played, as crazily hyperbolic that sounds. When I play games like Skyim, Fallout, or The Witcher, I love the freedom and depth of the world but the gameplay often holds them back with boring combat and dated controls. Horizon bucks the trend that an RPG will control poorly and injects life into the genre.

So I'm going to continue to shower this game with praise and encourage every gamer to give it a try while I keep jumping for that handhold.

Why?

Because Horizon Zero Dawn is just that good.

UPDATE: I finished it! There was indeed an issue with the game that the day 1 patch fixed. I still love this game to death!

Horizon Zero Dawn Box ArtHorizon Zero Dawn Box ArtCourtesy of PlayStation

Available February 28th.

Horizon Zero Dawn PS4 Game Rating:4

Have Your Say!

Are you picking up Horizon Zero Dawn? Will you be playing the game on release? Comment below!