I recently bought the new Playstation exclusive game Horizon Zero Dawn. After seeing the trailers and various posters I knew I wanted to play this game. The world and the style simply enticed me. A far of future were humans live in primitive tribes and living machines roam, even dominate, the earth.
Game centres around an outcast young woman – Aloy. She does not know why the tribe cast her out as a newborn, but one matriarch makes no effort to hide her contempt for Aloy, calling her a curse and “motherless”. With the help from her guardian Rost, Aloy spent all her childhood training for The Proving (a competition where children of the tribe and outcast alike has a chance to become braves and the winner gets to ask anything of the matriarchs). To find out who her mother was and why she was cast out Aloy must win The Proving. With her heart set on this task she leaves her home and enters the territory of the Nova tribe for the first time in her life.
The game play is a delightful mix of gathering/crafting, combat/hunting, exploring, levelling, and questing. The main story quests are easy enough to follow, but there are also a lot of side quests to do, which not only give good little rewards but are also extremely interesting. Never have I ever played a game before where I feel like I don’t want to miss a single bit of the dialog, may it be the main story or just passing NPCs who will only give you a few words.
The gathering and crafting systems are intriguing as well. As you are questing or hunting or just exploring you will see resources you can harvest from plants etc. This can be crafting materials, herbs to fill your medicine pouch, or tools. You can also dismember animals and machines for meat, fur, and parts. These can all then be used for crafting or trading.
One of the things I like most with this game is the combat system. Believe me when I say that I am terrible when it comes to shooting games and aiming, especially when it comes to on console, I struggle a lot. However Horizon lets me feel like I could be good at these things. Yes I have aim assist on, so what? Aloys main weapon of choice is a hunting bow, the controls are simply beautiful – L2 to aim/zoom in and then R2 to fire. As you are looking down that aim you get to feel like Katniss Everdeen, as you see the arrow perfectly hit that grazers weak point. That blissful feeling of satisfaction, where I feel invincible, can compare to very little.
When it comes to levelling there is not too much to say other than to mention the skill tree, where you can buy/upgrade skills in 3 categories, prowler, brave, or forager:
With these skills you can customise the way you play. Where I have focused mostly on my stealth and stalker skills, there are a lot of options for which skills to use.
So to conclude – strong female main character, beautiful world, compelling concept, interesting story and quests, great combat and control system, intriguing social structure/religion – I love this game! I have gotten frustrated with it at times, but have not been playing it long enough to find any bigger faults. I can highly recommend this game to nearly anyone.