Horizon: Zero Dawn Review

Embark on a compelling, emotional journey and unravel mysteries of tribal societies, ancient artefacts and advanced technologies that will determine the fate of this planet, and of life itself.

The Dutch studio Guerrilla Games had been linked to the Killzone  series for many years ,  Killzone: Shadow Fall was  the last installment, one of the launch titles for  PS4  did not become a big hit. After so much time developing first-person action games, they finally offer us something completely different: Horizon: Zero Dawn , an action adventure in the open world and with touches of RPG , and becomes an essential exclusives of the Sony’s  console.

Next to games like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or Bloodborne , any PS4 gamer  should try Horizon: Zero Dawn , for different reasons. First and though it sounds a little superficial, because it is a real graphic show , whether on the original PS4 or the new Pro model, which as happened last year with the Naughty Dog game, makes you rethink the true ability of Your hardware.

But it’s not just a nice game, and we also have a surprisingly ambitious , literally huge adventure that is played phenomenally , which is always entertaining, and that also rounds out all this with a very elaborate and interesting story .

Can you ask for more? Well, there are small aspects that have not convinced us at all , but they are details and nuances that we will now explain, and in many cases are quite subjective. In the important thing, the gameplay, the story and the graphics , Horizon: Zero Dawn perfectly fulfills , and becomes undoubtedly one of those titles that all PS4 users should try, and that will make it from Now look how Guerrilla Games  becoming a firdt party  studio for  Sony.

A more post-apocalyptic world than ever

It is curious that several of the most anticipated games of PS4 in the coming months have in common a postapocalyptic setting, such as Days Gone , The Last of Us Part II or this Horizon: Zero Dawn . What sets the Guerrilla game apart from most of these games is that its setting is not located a few years after a catastrophe, but hundreds or thousands of years into the future , with humans forming hunter-gatherer tribes as if they had returned to The prehistoric ages, without knowledge of a past already which far gone.

The Earth is now inhabited by machines with animal forms that have become the dominant species , and we control the young Aloy , a hunter of uncertain origin who wants to discover its past , and also the secrets that hide this beautiful world As dangerous.

The first thing that surprises Horizon: Zero Dawn is his narrative, very elaborate , and that will guide our steps throughout the adventure . We could talk about the game having two stories , disconnected from each other . On the one hand, the warlike and political conflicts of the human tribes that inhabit the world, something that has been written in great detail, creating a very elaborate lore . We have not been too interested in this part of the narrative , and it has seemed like the typical story that you can find in any other RPG, although it has to be recognized that it is worked.

Where Horizon: Zero Dawn is really interesting is in its science fiction story , the reasons why humanity has gone to waste, and now the planet inhabits these machines look and animal behavior. This is the part of the game that has you completely hooked from beginning to end , and explains everything with a meticulousness and a number of details that make you have to remove the hat to the huge work that Guerrilla Games has done to create A great story .

So many are the desire to tell us a good story, that in specific moments , in some main missions, this turns against him . There are so many audios and texts that give you details of the narrative, that if you want to hear them all you can throw several minutes with the character stopped in the middle of the stage, which ends up affecting the rhythm of play at certain times. In situations of the final stretch of the adventure, where we want to tell many things, becomes excessive and becomes a real problem.

The characters also have not captivated us , and here we can see the lack of experience of Guerrilla creating this type of adventures or RPG , and it becomes surprising how little you care about people other than Aloy or one of his closest friends, something Which is also not well exploited in secondary missions.

Nor has the protagonist himself seemed a memorable character in terms of his personality or behavior, but the story behind him is so interesting that makes him hold the guy well throughout the game, and generates some sympathy in the player . In general, it could be said that, although they have put a lot of effort in the script, some of its parts , such as the conversations, are not well written , and it is difficult to maintain interest in the political intrigues of the different tribes, or in the Personal conflicts of the characters.

In any case, if you are looking for a great story in this game, you will be satisfied , and it is noticeable both in the narrative and in many other details that it is a tremendously ambitious game, and that is born with the intention of becoming a great saga in the Ecosystem.

Hunting Robotic Dinosaurs

If before we said that the story and the mysteries behind the world of Horizon manage to keep you hooked on the game, of course so does the gameplay itself, which starts from something essential: a perfect control . From this we begin to build everything, and we have an action totally coherent with the history itself, since Aloy is a hunter , and behaves as such.

The main weapons we use throughout the adventure are a melee lance , which is very simple to use, with just two types of blows, and the bow , either short or long, with different types Of arrows . Later we got some more weapons, such as the sling to throw explosives, or the stunner to put trap cables on the ground, but it can not be said that the variety of weapons is one of its strengths, and not even the situations push us to To make the most of each of them.

Yes it is very interesting the type of action that proposes, with strategic touches and that invites you to think , to observe your enemies and to act accordingly. Each robotic enemy we face has its own behavior and a series of weaknesses and parts of the body that we can destroy separately, uncovering its greatest weaknesses. Before confronting them it is convenient to analyze them with the Focus , a device that is used by pressing the R3, and allows us to identify important objects or resources, highlight traces of traces or, as we have just said, see the weaknesses of machines.

For example, in addition to shooting arrows, we can put different types of traps on the ground , since the Focus allows us to see the route of the enemies, and we can even tie the machines to the ground by means of a string trigger. At the time of shooting the weak points of enemies, something that is not easy because they do not stop moving, we can use a skill that slows down time and allows us to aim with some comfort, although like other aids we have to first unlock it in The skill trees , which give us access to really useful actions.

In addition to direct confrontation secrecy is also important , there are many situations that can be solved without being seen with silent executions, and we can even pirate machinesto help us in combat , or even to ride on them like a horse , And thus to cross the broader scenarios more quickly.

Secrecy in fact, if you learn to take advantage of the face of human enemies, becomes too powerful, by a very low artificial intelligence , that makes you able to clean a camp with silent executions and arrows on the head without too many problems.

Collecting resources is also a very important part of the game, and it is something that you will be doing untiringly for hours, to create ammunition like arrows, or to be able to heal you by using herbs or creating potions. Scenarios are full of natural resources, and we also have to take objects from the defeated machines , which we can use to create traps or to get money in the cities.

If we want to expand the capacity of the inventory to bring more ammunition for each weapon, we must hunt animals and use their skins and bones for it (in a mechanics based on the latest installments of the Far Cry series ), and you have to be clear that you are going to Spend many hours “crafting” , as it is one of the pillars of the adventure .

There are certain rollover touches in the inventory management , and Aloy can be equipped with different types of outfits , which modify their defensive capabilities against certain elements (electricity, fire, ice), and in both weapons and suits we can equip modifications , Objects that improve statistics or capabilities in different ways.

There are also plataformeo moments , as it plays climb many times, but like in almost all recent action adventures for the general public ( Uncharted , Tomb Raider ), jumps and climbing do not offer any difficulty , and are completely guided , So it is a part of the game almost anecdotal, and even could be said wasted.

In general , Horizon action offers a lot of possibilities , and also stays cool until the end of the adventure , because new types of enemies are always appearing (almost 30 different types of machines), which are becoming bigger and more surprising, And with very different behaviors. The work that Guerrilla has done to design these machines is magnificent , and it is incredible the amount of details that have their modeling, or their magnificent animations.

On the negative side of the action, we miss a greater variety of weapons , since at the end of the long adventure is something that is noticed, and that artificial intelligence , both machines and human enemies, sometimes leaves A little to be desired . It’s something we’re used to seeing in so many games, but we have to keep mentioning.

A huge adventure

There are many things that have surprised us from Horizon: Zero Dawn , despite being a highly anticipated game, and one of them is its size . Both the game world, which is gigantic , as the main story is extensive , and there are many secondary missions, errands and all kinds of collectibles.

The main story takes about 35 hours , depending on the pace you play and the difficulty chosen (from the beginning we can choose two modes of difficulty above the ‘normal’), and then there are also plenty of reasons to entertain your world , So there is play for a while.

It is a declaration of intentions that differentiate the secondary missions of the messages . Telling you in the former always a rather elaborate story (which is not necessarily interesting), and in the scraps something narratively lighter, although they are always argumentatively justified in some way; In that Horizon is always very consistent.

The design of missions is perhaps something that we would have liked it to be a little better or brighter, not because it is bad, but because it is difficult to surprise , especially when you have a few hours played, and a few open world games to the back. Assault human camps, confront some robotic final bosses, mix both types of enemies, and in general fairly open action scenes, which put all the playable elements on the table, and allow the player to face them as they want.

Based on the fact that the playable base is very good and complete – and therefore the game is always entertained for more hours that take plays – at one point the adventure is still able to surprise you by their revelations, or by new types of enemies Which appear, but not for their playable situations or the design of missions, which we have missed that were more imaginative at certain times. This applies also to secondary missions, which are just right, or their collectibles, the usual of any open world game.

There are also a number of hunting challenges that come out a bit of the norm, with timed challenges that test our dominance of the different possibilities of the game, and that bring some variety to the whole, which at times may seem a little rigid.

Despite some flaws we have mentioned, the truth is that the “hooked” that we have stuck with this game is to highlight, and when we wanted to realize and we played almost 40 hours in just a few days, because we could not take off Of the remote. It is a really entertaining game and very well done , and few better compliments come to us for the work of Guerrilla.

Visually stunning

After playing Horizon: Zero Dawn we understand perfectly that Hideo Kojima has borrowed his graphic engine (Decima) for his new game, because what Guerrilla has achieved visually with this title is incredible . A gigantic open world full of details, without loading times, with a variety of formidable landscapes, spectacular lighting, enemies with a surprising level of detail, very good animations, and everything with a technical section of admirable strength .

And to stay calm, all these compliments are applicable both playing on PS4 ‘normal’ and PS4 Pro , as on both consoles moves equally stable, a very solid 30fps. There are no big differences between playing one console or another, unless you do it on a 4K TV with HDR, where Horizon: Zero Dawn simply jams your jaw .

There was a fear that this game began to show substantial differences between the two consoles, but it is a success that Guerrilla has taken care of not be, and it is a technical insanity that the original PS4 move a game like this without messing .

Outstanding technically but also with a fabulous artistic direction , that make the landscapes of the game are a beauty that we rarely remember in an open world adventure. Not only is it a huge stage, but it also offers us a huge variety of landscapes, with a real-time clock cycle, with weather changes, and ultimately one of those games that are so beasts graphically, that you simply enjoy strolling through their scenarios .

To put some glue to the graphics, the facial expressions of the characters leave a little to be desired , and in general the way of showing the conversations is somewhat austere, and we are not convinced either the interpretation of the characters, with a body animations a So strange at times. In general, the design of the characters is rather bland , and do not convey too much either by their appearance or personality.

The sound is also very careful, with a good sound that counts with an excellent main theme, although the rest of compositions do not emphasize so much, and sound very good, that fit perfectly in the beautiful but dangerous world of the game.

An adventure with capital letters

With titles as expected as this and so important to the catalog of a console, there is always fear that they do not live up to expectations, but Guerrilla has come out of such a challenge , and the five years of work invested are noticeable in all Its aspects, offering us one of his best games so far. A good story, a playable section very careful and funny, some spectacular graphics, and ultimately everything that could be asked of a blockbuster like this, knowing what it offers, will leave almost everyone satisfied.

If it is judged a bit cold and calculating, it is true that it does not bring anything really new to the genre, and it has improved details, but we prefer to stay with the good, which has been a good number of hours of entertainment , of great quality. One of those games that for several reasons, you have to prove mandatory if you have a PS4 .

We have written this review  after playing the final version of the game on a  PS4 Pro, with a download code provided by Sony.

10

Perfect

hyped4
As far as I can remember, I've been surrounded by technology. My father bought us a Commodore 64 so I started playing games as a baby, following my passion with Amiga 500, then PC and so on. I love game related collectibles, and when I'm not collecting I review games, watch movies and TV Shows or you may catch me keeping a low profile at Game Events.

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