Horizon: Zero Dawn - The reviews are in, and they’re very favourable

To describe it, one would say that Horizon: Zero Dawn is an open-world action-adventure game set in a future where a tribal humanity fights to survive alongside untamed robotic "animals" that now command the Earth.


To describe it, one would say that Horizon: Zero Dawn is an open-world action-adventure game set in a future where a tribal humanity fights to survive alongside untamed robotic "animals" that now command the Earth.

It’s an interesting concept, and judging by reviews, successfully implemented.

Developed by Guerilla Games – of Killzone fame, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a Sony PlayStation exclusive. The game will debut on 28 February, but reviewers have had their grimy paws on the game for a while now.

Given the developer’s heritage – they’ve only ever made first person shooters, it was surprising to hear that they would be working on such an ambitious, open-world title. If reviews are to be believed, they did a stellar job of it.

The game has you playing Aloy, a member of an outcast tribe in a world where humanity appears to be no better off than it was in its mammoth-hunting days. The world around is anything but. Where you’d expect a sabre-tooth tiger, you find a laser-toting T-Rex called a Thunderjaw, instead of herds of wildebeest, you find herds of robotic Behemoths. It’s a strange contrast to be sure.

Aloy stumbles across some sort of augmented reality device called the “Focus” that allows her to interact with her futuristic world in a way that her compatriots can only dream of. As Giant Bomb puts it in its review, “If only one person had access to a smartphone and the entirety of the internet, what advantages might that give them over their peers?” Except in this case, the smartphone is this ‘Focus’ device.

This device gives Aloy access to all the tropes of a modern game, including X-Ray vision, highlighted weak points, objective markers, hacking, and more.

She uses this device to explore the world around her and unravel its secrets, eventually figuring out the reason for humanity’s current plight.

Speaking of the story, Giant Bomb adds, “The events of Horizon have weight and the game feels less like franchise building and more like a cohesive statement.” In its review, Gamespot says, “While the full story of the world's downfall takes a while to unravel, the fascinating revelations you eventually uncover more than make up for time spent navigating less-than-compelling tribal politics during the first half of the game.”

The gameplay mechanics also get a lot of praise. “Fighting the machines in Horizon Zero Dawn — especially the larger ones — is a thrilling, exhausting experience, one that improves over time,” says Polygon. “The world's intricately crafted environments teem with electric beasts and warfaring cultists, and the pronounced excitement of controlling Aloy in the midst of rampaging enemies is a near-constant thrill,” says Gamespot.

It’s not all pure combat, however. The game incorporates stealth mechanics as well, which are necessary to “hack” into robots and take over them.

The only downside that Gamespot can find is that “Zero Dawn is a bit too concerned about establishing its primitive side at times, but by at large it does a fantastic job of bringing its two halves together for a truly captivating experience.”

Gamespot rated the game 9/10, Giant Bomb gave it a 5/5, Polygon 9.5/10, Trusted Reviews gave it 4.5/5.

With references like these, I’ll be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the game. In fact, it’s times like this that make me rethink my decision to stick with the #PCMasterRace. Maybe I should get myself a PS4.

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