Horizon Zero Dawn Review (PS4)
Author: Alex Wetherington
In the future, giant robotic beasts roam the Earth, and the tribal human clans that remain have to survive amongst them. How does this new, PlayStation 4 exclusive stack up against its competition, and is Horizon Zero Dawn a game that people should purchase a PS4 for? Find out in the review below.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
is the next exclusive game to be released on the PlayStation 4 console. Created by Guerilla Games
, formerly the makers of the Killzone
series, which in my opinion were mediocre games at best. Horizon: Zero Dawn
, however, is very much, far and away, the greatest game Guerrilla Games
has ever made, by far. In this review, I will explain why that is, without spoilers, and why I believe that Horizon: Zero Dawn
is the game that makes PlayStation 4 a must-own console for any person who considers themselves a gamer.
You can buy Horizon: Zero Dawn
OverviewThe story is truly original, and tells a tale that we haven't seen in video games as of yet. I'm not sure how much more I can say without spoiling anything because this game is one you must experience without having any knowledge of what you're about to get into. I'll try my best to give a general overview of the premise of the story, however.
General PremiseIn the future, giant robotic beasts roam the Earth, and the tribal human clans that remain have to survive amongst them. Where do these beasts come from, and how does a new rising threat promise to doom the tribal humans that now inhabit the earth? In Horizon: Zero Dawn you will journey across vast, beautifully rendered landscapes, and fight giant menacing beasts, to find where you come from and what your purpose is in this world.
Every gamer should experience this story, not only because of its emotional moments, or its highly cinematic moments, both of which rival what any of the other great games do but because of the uniqueness and breath of fresh air that the story offers.
OverviewWhen you are talking about a game that, in every aspect, is a masterpiece, it becomes hard to decipher what it is the game does best. In this case, I can say definitively that the greatest asset is its moment to moment gameplay. Not to take away from any of the other aspects of the game, however, but the combat in Horizon: Zero Dawn is some of the most intense, exciting, thoughtful, and enjoyable combat in any video game that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
CombatThe combat is so enjoyable that I found myself constantly forgoing fast travel, to walk to my objective, just so I could battle all of the robots and bandits that I encountered along the way. Even after I maxed leveled and had plenty of resources I still found myself getting into fights with anything I could find just so I could experience the glorious combat system that Guerilla Games has implemented.
To give you a quick overview of how a fight against a robot plays out in Horizon: Zero Dawn let me take you on a journey. You, playing as Aloy, one of the greatest characters in video games today, are stealthily creeping through some amazingly photorealistic brush. Suddenly you come across a heard of Grazers, a deer-like robot with giant containers of blaze, a flammable substance, on their backs. You creep up on one of the members of the heard and sneak strike it, stabbing your spear into the robot and destroying it. This action garners you the attention of the other members of the heard, however, and they begin to charge you. This is when you pull out your trip caster and use it to set up a blast line that one of the Grazers runs into it, setting it off and destroying the beast. Then you pull out your bow and use it to methodically shoot off the components of the remaining Grazer. Which weakens the creature, and also allows you to collect the components you've shot off.
It is heart racing and deep combat like this that made every second of the 50 hours I spent with the game one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences that I've had in a long time.
QuestsThere are several types of quests in Horizon: Zero Dawn. You have the usual suspects of main and side quests, along with ones that are unique, such as Errands, Hunting Grounds, Corruption Zones, Tall Necks, Cauldrons and Bandit Camps. Each of these types of quests offers a different and unique taste the superb gameplay.
The main story quests are very cinematic, awe-inspiring, and kept me hooked and wanting more every step of the way. The side quests remind me of the ones in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. With their own interesting characters and stories. The errands are possible deceivably named. With the name errands comes a negative connotation that they will be tedious and mind numbingly. This is not the case, however, with the errands giving Horizon: Zero Dawn a chance to show off all it has to offer. From its polished and fluid climbing to its investigation mode to its superb environmental storying telling and its beautiful and well-realized world.
The rest of the quests are more activities than they are quests, even though completing them does award the player experience and a reward box. Hunting Grounds has the play competing in the trials at each hunting ground, which I found very fun and one of my favorite things in all of Horizon: Zero Dawn. The Corruption Zones, Tall Necks, Cauldrons, and Bandit Camps are all just as equally self-explaining. This quests will have the player completing the activity in which the quest derives their name.
With all of the variety of its quests and activities the game offers the player plenty to do, and keeps the gameplay and play experience varied and saves the player any monotony.
Graphics and Sound
OverviewHorizon: Zero Dawn offers some of the most stunning graphics and sound design that can be found in any game today. The lush forests, barren deserts, beautiful snow covered mountains, and vibrant cities show off the power of the PlayStaion 4 and the PlayStaion 4 Pro and offer a journey for the eyes, that would bring any art admirer to tears, due to its beauty. Along with this the sound design is superb and helps immerse the player in its world. With its realistic sounds of nature, to the clashing of metal on metal in combat when you are battling a robot. The game is truly a technical triumph all around.
GraphicsHorizon: Zero Dawn is by far the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, and stunning video game I have ever played. The setting of the game allows Guerilla Games the opportunity to show off just how beautiful the game can be. The weather effects in the game make you feel like you are there. From the snow in the mountains, and Aloy shivering and rubbing her shoulders because she is cold, to the rain in the forests, the game uses its setting perfectly when it comes to showing off its quality and the power of the engine that it runs on.
SoundWhile you are walking through the forests you can hear the leafs crunch beneath your feet and the wind blows through the trees. While you are traversing through the mountains you can hear Aloy hike her way through the snow. The sound editing makes the player feel like they are there in the situations that Aloy is in. The sounds in the forests make the forests feel more dense, humid, and wet, the sounds in the mountains make them feel more fridged and windy, the sounds in the deserts make them feel more dry and lifeless, and the sounds in the cities make them feel more populated and lively.
The game showcases just how far video games have come sine their 8-bit days on the NES. With its photorealistic graphics, spot on animations, and world building and immersive sound design, Horizon: Zero Dawn shines as the greatest achievement in gaming so far in 2017.
Issues Horizon: Zero Dawn is a masterpiece and the greatest game to be released this generation. That being said there are a few issues that I would like to point out here in hopes that the developers will make a few of these changes in their inevitable, and earned, sequel. Keep in mind, however, that when I'm listing these issues that this is Guerilla Games' first open world game, and almost entirely all of the issues I have could be fixed in a patch, without having to go back to the drawing board.
With that being said let's get down to what some of the issues are. First off, there are a few camera bugs during dialogue cut scenes, where the NPC's head or eyes will tilt in a weird and honestly creepy way. This is probably the biggest problem and would take a lot of work to fix, presumably.
Another issue I had is that you can't filter symbols on the map to find a specific thing you were looking for. Also, there is no key to tell the player what each symbol on the map means. Both of these issues with the map could be fixed in a patch, however, and don't really take away from the overall gameplay experience.
With this being an open world game there are a few bugs and some pop in here and there, which is really noticeable every time you pull up your map. Although, props has to be given to the developers because their game is the most polished open world game I have ever played, and the handful of bugs I ran into are completely forgivable, especially since the game never crashed on me in my almost 50 hours of gameplay.
A few issues that I have with Horizon: Zero Dawn that would take a sequel to fix are that the skill tree and perks in the game could be more propelling, and the weapons and armor in the game could be more varied, and the stats of these items matter more. This is a real issue that I hope will be tackled in the sequel.
Finally, there needs to be an option to buy more than one item at a time from a vendor. It's annoying to buy one wire at a time when I need 50, instead of just being able to buy 50 at once with a buy multiple options. Overrode machines need to have better AI, so they can help you out in battles more.
Like I said at the beginning of this segment, almost all of these issues are minor ones that don't take away from the overall gameplay experience. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a masterpiece and if Guerilla Games can just polish out these few issues in their sequel it will be a "perfect" gaming experience.
ConclusionHorizon: Zero Dawn is one of those games that must be played by everyone who considers themselves a gamer because it is that important to the gaming world. Not only because of its new and revolutionary story but also because of its addictive gameplay and awe-inspiring visuals. I would also argue that Horizon: Zero Dawn is the game that makes the PlayStation 4 a console that all gamers should own. The game is a masterpiece that will be remembered in the annals of gaming history.
|+ Revolutionary Story||- Shallow Skill Tree|
|+ Addictive Gameplay||- Some Camera Bugs|
|+ Awe-Inspiring Gameplay|