Reviews// Horizon: Zero Dawn

Posted 20 Mar 2017 15:58 by
E3 2015
E3 2015
The bow and arrow approach feels as good as it did in Tomb Raider, while the 'hang back taking one out at a time' technique is as good as it is in Far Cry. What Horizon offers on top of that, though, is setting traps.

In Horizon you're constantly asked to tackle David and Goliath situations and with the help of Aloy's focus she can set trip wires or rope traps to tie dinobots down. The bigger the enemy the more you'll have to try to outsmart them, and when your plan comes off you'll feel like a true hunter and that everything you've pieced together during your play time has been worth it.

The only issue I had was that dying was more of a punishment than it needed to be, or at least more than Guerilla seem to actually want it to be. If you get into a big fight and don't survive to tell the tale you'll reset at the last checkpoint minus the weapons and materials you've used.

All this does is make the hard encounters even harder, and it meant that I had to turn my back on what I was doing for a while to go and gather the materials I needed to take one step further in my rematch.

Visually Horizon is stunning. From landscape to robots this game is breathtaking to look at. Approaching a tallneck (the game's equivalent of a giraffe) for the first time is something that you'll recall as though you were actually there.

Each area drips with atmospheric flourishes. From futuristic architecture to deep dark woods, every area of the map feels genuine and offers up some of the best vistas I've ever seen in gaming. Although we all try to convince ourselves the graphics aren't important it's hard not to be insanely excited about how good this looks.

But as nice as that is, it's not enough to hold your attention for longer than a few hours. As you start to get used to how beautiful everything is, it becomes less important and thankfully Horizon never sits back and feels it can ride it out on good looks alone.

E3 2016
E3 2016
There's so much to grab your attention and keep you wrapped up in the game's complicated mechanics.

Aloy can level up so you'll spend time hunting of XP. She can gather materials and craft, so regular expeditions are required to make sure than you can carve out enough arrows for your next battle.

Almost everything can be modified or upgraded, from Aloy's combat skills to the weapons in her hand. Kill the right enemy and they'll drop a mod to add to your bow, increasing damage or boosting elemental abilities.

E3 2015
E3 2015
It's as close to being a full RPG than any other game like this has been, and it all works perfectly to make sure that you never get bored. Coming to an end of a play session will often make you feel as though you have to extend it because you've just unlocked something that will help you in future combat.

As I've said, open-world action adventure games have certainly outstayed their welcome for some, and just a look at Horizon's map will be enough to make some of you swear off it. But delve in and you'll find that this one's different.

Almost all of my play time was spent with my full attention. From interesting characters telling an interesting story to getting into scraps with enemies that could literally crush my head at any point, I was constantly on the edge of my seat and enjoying every little task the game had set out for me.

The only thing I could think of when done was that I'm wrong to write off the genre like this. Instead I should be demanding that other games raise their standards to meet the ones that Horizon has set.

Pros:
+ Great Plot
+ Excellent Combat
+ RPG elements keep you interested

Cons:
...

SPOnG Score: 9/10
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