In just about a week, Horizon Zero Dawn (HZD) will be hitting game shelves and digital downloads all over the world. HZD, developed by Guerrilla Games, has captured the attention of almost every gamer with its concept of a tribal land overrun by mechanical beasts accentuated with stunning visuals. The question is, however, does the game live up to the hype?
UnGeek was lucky enough to be able to play through the game and, today, we’re giving you a NO-SPOILER review of Horizon Zero Dawn. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
The Game is a Visual Masterpiece!
HZD, without question, is a feast for the eyes! The visuals are indeed stunning – character / level design-wise. The environment along with the lighting of the world is just top-notch. You’ll notice it when you look at the nice detail they’ve put into the faces of characters in the game as they show minute details like wrinkles and freckles really well. You also have the really nice environmental effects (lighting, flora and fauna movement, etc). Probably the most noticeable for me was how smooth tall grass moved as you went through them as it just looked sooo smooth and well executed.
Another nice visual touch is how the mechanical beasts behave. The game does a really great job of immersing you in this world where it’s normal to have wild machinations out and about. You see them move quite closely to how real-life animals would as some would be very cautious and aggressive while others would run to safety upon spotting you. Aside from being really nice to notice, it also does so much in terms of reeling you into the world of Horizon Zero Dawn.
The Combat is SO. DAMN. GOOD.
HZD’s open-world gameplay delivers an amazing overall experience primarily because of the the game’s combat system. First of all, combat controls are really smooth and easy to learn. Supporting that, Aloy (the main protagonist of the game) also has some nice gadgets that make up her arsenal. Her usual weapons are the Spear and the Bow but, in addition to that, you also have the Ropecaster and the Tripcaster. These let you set traps for your foes or try to pin the to the ground thus immobilizing them. It’s a nice touch that lets you play through the game using your very own style.
You also have the MANY mechanical beast types that will serve as enemies (26, to be exact). Each enemy type has its own set of behavior and attack patterns. Add that to the fact that each beast has different weak points AND that hitting certain weakpoints affect the enemy in different ways, combat becomes highly dynamic and is truly satisfying.
The Story is ABSOLUTELY GREAT
From the start of the game, you immediately get shoved into the game’s awesome premise of you and Aloy just figuring out what is going on? In this setting that happens around 1,000 years in the future, what the hell happened to make things the way they are? How did humanity go from high-tech to tribal? Why are machines the new fauna of this world? What transpired to make all this possible?
HZD does a good job of developing the story right before your very eyes and, as you explore the world more and more, you slowly get pieces of the puzzle here and there. The game does it so well, in fact, that even the big reveal at the end of the game is delivered in an intelligent and impactful way.
FINAL VERDICT – 9.5/10
In my opinion, this game is DEFINITELY a must-buy and is well-worth a Day One purchase even. The game gives you a great balance of Visuals, Gameplay, and Story – which is something that not a lot of games pull off quite well these days. Horizon Zero Dawn, however, fires on all cylinders and pulls this off excellently. Of course, the game isn’t perfect. There are visual hiccups sometimes (like I notice that, during dialogue scenes, characters sometimes pop into place without transition in between sentences) and a lot of sidequests have a certain fetch-quest theme to them but these flaws are HEAVILY DROWNED OUT by what the game does well, in my opinion.
Horizon Zero Dawn comes out on February 28, 2017!