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Horizon Zero Dawn

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After couple of days of play I write this to your enjoyment.

Pro support: Yes, 4k at 30fps or 1080p with higher fps + HDR


The new game from Killzone developer Guerilla Games is quite a different affair from what they've made before (KZ). They have developed HZD over 6 years. You can count that how many hours it has taken with 270 employers.

Horizon Zero Dawn is a third person action adventure game, with RPG elements, set in a post-apocalyptic open world where nature has reclaimed the land from the modern world. Tall buildings are now ruins covered in plant life, occupied only be the wildlife now. There's a real sense of a new world, reborn after a catastrophic event.

Turns out the world is gorgeous. All kinds of landscapes can be seen, be it mountains, rivers, forests, grasslands... Just know that you will be picking your jaw off the floor numerous times. Draw distance is huge too. It's a remarkable achievement.

The world is now inhabited by the humans that remain. They live a much simpler, tribal life, living off the land, using primitive weapons such as bows, and building their settlements from wood and stone. There is some wildlife too, such as boars and foxes which supply you with resources when you kill them.

And then there are the machines. Giant robotic animals, leftover from before things turned bad, they resemble dinosaurs, and are equipped with powerful weaponry that makes them a challenge to bring down. Each type will have you using different tactics to defeat them. Some live in herds, some are loners. All are very impressive to watch. Their behaviour really does feel like they're real living breathing animals. That is a lot from robotic creatures.

You play Aloy, a young huntress who is an outcast from her tribe. She very soon ends up in a situation that means she has to set off on an adventure, one that will take her all over the world, meeting new tribes, and learning about herself along the way. Luckily Aloy is well equipped for this task, and even better, she will be able to upgrade her weapons and outfits as she goes, by crafting using resources found and looted from corpses, or by buying from traders. There are a wide variety of outfits and weapons to choose from too, and they each favour different things, such as stealth ability. She also has a decent sized skill tree which will help you unlock extra moves, etc.

You'll find yourself gathering resources as you go about the world, which you will need. Different plants, to make different types of ammo, wood for arrows, medicinal plants to boost your health. You're limited as to how much you can carry, but you can upgrade as you go. The same goes for weapons and clothing. You will need to too, because the machines are tough and hit hard, making them very dangerous indeed.

You will find that running in to a fight will quite often lead to your demise. Learn their weaknesses, movements, and show them respect and you will prevail. Mostly. A big part of gameplay is stealth, which will help you get close up for observing and maybe even silently taking down your foe. This game's combat is most definitely not bash a button to win. The larger machines will take a lot of work to kill.

Using the old hiding in a bush, whistling to attract an enemy, and killing them when they get close does work wonders for the smaller creatures, or human enemies. It also shows up a small flaw in the AI. If you see a bunch of bodies next to a bush and the bush is whistling at you, what would you do? I know I wouldn't walk up to it. I'd fire off a fire arrow maybe.

It also shows how good the AI can be. Machines will get skittish if you whistle too much, stay back, and sometimes bolt. Overall though, AI seems to be up to the job.

The larger machine fights are real set pieces, and I found myself wishing I could share the fight with my friends. Some kind of co-op would have been an amazing addition to this game, but maybe that's something for Horizon's next outing.

Throughout the journey that Aloy takes she finds herself travelling through some of the most stunning environments seen in any game. I find myself, many times, just stopping and taking in the beautiful surroundings. That feeling of being in a grass field with the wind blowing it about, the sun setting over the mountains, a river running past nearby, it's breath-taking. Guerilla Games has pulled off a visually technical masterpiece. I wonder if Guerilla Games and Naughty Dog compete with each other and which can bring better experience.

No point in having great looks if it's moving at 2 or 5 fps right? Haven't noticed any slowdowns. None. It feels as smooth as warm butter to play, even when things get hectic. Some other games could learn a thing or few from Horizon.

The scale of this game is huge, the story, the side quests, the people you meet along the way, combat, everything. It’s all truly is epic. It's not often you come across such a polished game. That doesn't mean it's perfect of course. There are a few minor niggles. Saving could be better. I have had to redo quite a bit because I didn't save at a campfire. Auto save as you travel would have been more preferable to me. These don't detract from the greatness that has been achieved here.

Horizon Zero Dawn tells a great story, has a new star as it's protagonist, sets a new bar for visuals, and is quite probably the best open world game out there right now. If you have PS4, you need to show it some love by buying this game.

That is all for now, hope you liked it.

PS. Text has overall 999 words.

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Horizon Zero Dawn in 4K HDR on the PS4 Pro is a fucking miracle. Graphically, this is like 4 levels ahead of any other game I ever played on PS4 so far, Guerilla Games must be wizards or something.

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