The Horizon Zero Dawn reviews are in, and critics can’t stop staring. Seriously, it’s the general consensus among the people who play it that you’ll often just want to stop moving and take in the view.
On the surface, if you’re watching someone else play it, you might find yourself noticing how it appears to borrow from other titles, such as Far Cry Primal, Mass Effect, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. If a certain Easter egg found in the former is any indication of the time period, it has more in common with it than you might think. Hidden away in Far Cry Primal is the corpse of the main monster known as the blood dragon from the Far Cry 3 semi-spinoff set in the distant future.
The story of Zero Dawn revolves around an outcast named Aloy, who was shunned at birth and forced to survive on her own. The reasons for this are among those you might have to play the game to discover, much like why there are robotic dinosaurs roaming the lush expanses of the game’s world. The time period is a twist on other post-apocalyptic settings, as it appears plant life has taken over what used to be a thriving metropolis complete with billboards and freeways.
Tech Insider states that the name of the game actually has a solid meaning that you come to learn. This could be referring to something you witness staring into the horizon at the “zero” coordinates at dawn. As mentioned above, it might just be screen shot-inducing to do so and appreciate the post-apocalyptic world in which the game takes place. The review also called Horizon one of those games that should be mandatory for any PlayStation 4 owner.
Guerrilla Games almost made the game another Killzone but decided to take a very different direction with it. It was an ambitious idea, turning from a linear action game to an open-world adventure teeming with natural and artificial life.
Comics Alliance says that according to the story, technology has become sentient and taken over the world. It’s almost like the story of the Terminator, except that the machines are a bit nicer to nature and actually act like animals. They aren’t all the same kinds of animals either, as you have different types, ranging from docile to predatory. Not all of them are going to attack you, but much like Far Cry Primal, you could find it deeply rewarding to attempt to “tame” the more dangerous ones.
Of course, doing that requires taking risks and probably dying a lot in the process. Some of the robots actually come equipped with projectile weapons, forcing you to dodge and attack between defensive rolls. Your own weapons are actually high-tech versions of the kind you would imagine being used in the stone age. Your spears and arrows glow with their own energy and remind you that this world is almost too advanced for what appears to be its setting.
Forbes’ Erik Kain calls the game simultaneously breathtaking and tedious. He says the game is best played for the visuals and claims that he’s done so on the original HDTV settings and with the PS4 Pro and a 4K TV. The difference is the greatest of any he’s seen so far.
In the end, as Erik explains, very little breaks the tedium of basically the same RPG-style tropes being done over and over. He even says the NPC characters are cookie-cutter level, and their acting is laughably bad. It’s possible that the next “arrow to the knee” joke will be coming from Horizon Zero Dawn.
At its core, Guerrilla Games’ most ambitious effort yet may be boring to some who crave more action, but you might just get distracted by how amazing the visuals are.
[Featured Image by Sony]