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Horizon Zero Dawn Review

"Bright Horizons"

Campaign

Horizon Zero Dawn is a perfect and beautiful game that presents a unique world of absolute desolation while also providing hope on a distant Earth. Following the story of Aloy, a motherless child that has been outcast from the tribe and brought up by her appointed guardian you learn the basics of survival from a young point in life. This creates a nice initial attachment as you get to see her age and eventually when she's old enough to prove herself at a trial everything goes horribly wrong. This has Aloy given a high honor of being a seeker, one that's sent out into the open world of this future planet to explore and discover what the tribe needs. This is the main start of Aloy's journey as she ventures through a world that features glimpses of modern society that's been taken over by nature and viscous animal-like machines that stalk its surface.

It's a deadly place, yet one also filled with gorgeous scenery having some of the most glorious places I've ever witnessed. The story is also beautifully well crafted providing a long main quest storyline with tons of side quests available if you'd like to set out further in the world. While it was a larger world it really did do a great job of balancing who Aloy is and the number of people she meets on this incredible adventure. There was also a solid balance of difficulty present between providing a completely seamless world without loading and one that still had a solid challenge. I particularly loved the mystery of what happened before to the ancients that made the ruins of old and the story gave just the right bits of information throughout the narrative keeping me captured all the way through.

Horizon Zero Dawn Playstation 4 Screenshot of massive machines

Gameplay

I was blown away by the scale of Horizon Zero Dawn finding it to be one of the best worlds I've ever explored. It features a wide range of meshed together biomes that constantly offered new and distinct areas to explore. At one point you'll be climbing snowy peaks whereas the next is a barren desert and then magically into an enchanting forest. The render distance is also something of amazement offering a huge world to travel through with just seamless play. It's also crazy to see how dense everything was with tons of trees, flora and creatures living within it. Horizon Zero Dawn had a very impressive way of having cinematics feel as though they were natural gameplay and this offered such a smooth play through. Aside from deaths and the initial load-up there was never a time where any gameplay progress was halted for anything.

When it comes to the basic mechanics think of it as Tomb Raider meets The Witcher. Aloy prefers bow action while having basic melee for enemies and really uses stealth to get places until getting better skills or a mount. The stealth aspects work well, but a critique here would be that the whole world is covered with the same "stealth" grass which felt odd at times. Aloy climbs with fantastic parkour skills, shoots her bow dynamically depending on the situation and has a stunning character model. The natural creatures also move so beautifully and seeing a massive machine stomp through a forest is definitely quite something. Combat felt tense, fluid and well designed with multiple options in how each situation was dealt. You also get additional abilities by using points after leveling and there's a massive amount of resources or tools to collect while exploring out there.

The Conclusion

This was truly one of the best games I've ever played and Horizon Zero Dawn provided just an absolutely amazing world to explore. It was filled to the brim with quality content making it feel alive and there was just so much art going on at once. The combat felt great along with other mechanics for travel while the machines offered a fresh natural enemy to conquer. The story was also basically a masterpiece giving solid amounts of intrigue and demanding my attention the entire way through. Aloy was such a great character that you got to see grow into a tough warrior with some minor options to choose how she interacted with others. I really couldn't find too many issues with Horizon Zero Dawn finding it to be one of the best accomplishments in gaming not only in terms of just how great it visually looks, but also tying a charming story into a seamless open world. Horizon Zero Dawn was just perfect and gorgeous picturesque world.


Horizon Zero Dawn Playstation 4 Box Art

Review Done on Horizon Zero Dawn for Playstation 4


Rating Overall: 10

Reviewed by: Jason Stettner
@Skycaptin5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner
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