After making Killzone games for 12 years, Guerilla games finally got to spread their wings with Horizon Zero Dawn, a beautiful open-world sci-fi epic featuring robotic dinosaurs, a great story, and an awesome protagonist. Leading into 2017, this was my most anticipated game, and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest; the characters are wonderful, the story is surprising and the combat is fast, fluid and fun.
To say this game looks good is a massive understatement, there were multiple occasions where I would just stop and look around in awe. From character models and animation to the world around you, it all feels like its living and breathing, it looks amazing. If someone were to ask me to show them the best looking game on PS4, Horizon is what I’d show them, and that’s coming from someone who hasn’t been able to utilize the PS4 Pro features. Check out the next picture, which is one I took during my playthrough (using the built-in photo mode,) and you’ll see how good it looks.
It’s not just the graphics that are great, the combat is also exceptional. You’ll battle a variety of different enemies such as a robotic saber tooth tiger and tyrannosaurus rex (sort-of) as well as various human enemies. Whether you handle things through brute force or by sticking to the shadows and eliminating targets with stealth attacks, Horizon gives you the tools you need to handle any given situation in whatever method you choose. Stealth was my preferred method of dealing with things, though there were times that stealth wasn’t going to get me entirely through an encounter. One such occasion was when I was approaching a horde of the larger enemies; I stealthily eliminated the stalker enemies that will alert the horde to your presence if they spot you, then I laid out traps and led the horde into them to take them out.
The weapons in the game are a variety of hunter-gatherer type weapons such as spears, bows, traps, slings, etc. but laced with a sci-fi feel. If you utilize the weapons to their fullest, you’ll find yourself strategically laying traps with the tripcaster, then tethering them to the ground with your ropecaster then finishing them off with your bow and spear.
Tying all these great things together is the story, which I don’t want to spoil anything about, but it surprised me with how good it was. Part of what makes the story so great is the main protagonist, Aloy, who is a fantastic character and can stand shoulder to shoulder with the other PlayStation greats like Nathan Drake, Joel, Ellie, Cole Macgrath and Kratos. The supporting characters that surround Aloy on this adventure help immerse you in the world, and I don’t recall coming across one NPC that looked like another.
Since open world games are so common these days, it’s worth saying that this is one of the open world games that doesn’t overwhelm you with things to do. It felt like it hit the right balance of side quests and collectibles and I never got bored. Of these events, the towering brontosaurus-type machines that can be climbed and used to fill in your map stand out as a favorite. I finished the game in 50 hours, and that included getting the Platinum trophy, which was a perfect length for me.
I hope that by reading this you’ve been able to tell just how much I love this game. It really is something special, and if you haven’t played it at this point, you really need to do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s my pick for game of the year and probably will remain even after the onslaught of games slated to come out over the next few months.