Strong Female Leads are on the Horizon
Horizon Zero Dawn was the best game of 2017 in my opinion. The game was so amazing I completed 100% of the game, and that can take a lot of effort, which says a lot about a game usually. Horizon is an Action RPG with major emphasis on action – the gameplay makes players feel fast, powerful and skilful. The setting is unique and littered with all different types of hostile mechanical beasts. The main character, Aloy, must battle these weaponised robot monstrosities in a post-apocalyptic open world as she unravels mysteries, including the protagonist’s heritage and the current state of the world.
Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a beautiful-yet-dangerous world that robotic creatures roam openly and many of these larger than life creatures resemble dinosaurs. The set-up is an enticing concept and the developer made a huge effort at presenting a realistic and immersive setting for players. At the beginning of the game players find out the timeline is set in the 31st Century. However after a major catastrophe hit the world, important parts of it’s technology and infrastructure were lost. This causes the world to be to cast back to primitive times, denizens are living in villages, hunting and gathering in this world littered with ravaging robotic beasts.
Now with all that being said, I still couldn’t blame anyone for thinking Horizon Zero Dawn’s idea was designed by a 10 year old boy; “And there were robot dinosaurs, and then they have guns and shoot lasers, and then you have to fight them with a bow and arrow.” Absolutely genius.
Horizon Zero Dawn’s gameplay stands out; the action is especially enjoyable thanks to a wonderful combat system. Aloy is equipped with a bow that has a vast array of different types of arrows that help in many situations. From heavy and light arrows to elemental ammo that do different types of damage like electricity and fire. Aloy has a spear she uses for melee attacks providing even more combat options. Players also unlock different types of traps and tripwires that assist fights and can turn the battle in your favour.
To defeat enemies players are able to target vulnerable areas on their body; one mechanical beast might have a blaster attached to their back that shoots projectiles, if players target that component, they can remove it eventually. On top of that, some of the parts that are detached from robots beasts are used by Aloy, against them, essentially turning their own weapons against the machines.
The variety of enemies is diverse and awesome, there are many and they are damn cool looking, I mean they are robot prehistoric beasts after all. From smaller robots that resemble Deer or Moose to larger robots that look like a T-Rex. Including a four-legged monster that represents a Sabretooth Tiger and another creature that’s very similar except it has a huge cannon on its back that can shoot players. Another beast that genuinely had me in awe was the Stormbird, a bird of prey the size of a building – it’s a really great combat encounter as well.
The crafting system plays a large part in Horizon as well; players must collect different resources throughout the game to craft certain equipment, like pouches, a variety of ammo, potions and quivers. These can be crafted from plants littered throughout the environment or components removed from mechanical beasts. It add yet another layer to the game but especially the fantastic combat. As mentioned before, players can unlock and craft different types of gadgets to assist in any kind of encounter.
In one encounter I recall, Aloy had set an Electric Trip Wire and when a lumbering Sawtooth walked over towards the Trap the beast was electrocuted and fell down briefly. This allowed Aloy to her trusty spear to attack the Sawtooth while it was in a downed state, which dealt a huge damage. These sort of encounters do a good job at demonstrating the vast amount of combat encounters, including stealth options.
The open world is especially well designed; there are many collectibles and challenge sort of tasks in the game and none of them felt too tedious and they provided opportunities for players to upgrade and craft even further.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a truly spectacular game that I cannot recommend any Playstation 4 owner to play highly enough.