Horizon Zero Dawn is the PS4 Exclusive Youve Been Waiting For

first_img ‘Days Gone’ Is the Next Big PlayStation Franchise‘Spider-Man: The Heist’ DLC is a Fancy Feast Stay on target The PlayStation 4 has had an impressive 2017 so far. With exclusive titles like Gravity Rush 2, Yakuza 0, and Nioh, PS4 owners haven’t lacked games to play. Now, Sony is getting ready to unleash yet another highly anticipated exclusive: Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn.Over the weekend, I was able to clock in a little over 20 hours with Horizon. Like many, I became interested in the game after seeing it debut at E3 2015. Robot dinosaurs? Sold. I avoided many of the trailers that followed, but I remained excited to play Horizon. After spending many hours with it, I can safely say that Sony has another brilliant new IP on its hands.For the uninitiated, Horizon Zero Dawn takes place a thousand years in the future after the collapse of human civilization. For the most part, it is a stone age world where people have to live off the land to survive. Advanced technology only exists in the form of robots that resemble animals. For years, humans and machines lived in (relative) peace, but for unknown reasons, all robots have become hostile. Survival in this harsh land isn’t easy, and having to contend with killer robots makes it even harder.The player sees the world through the eyes of the game’s protagonist, Aloy. She is an outcast from society who seeks to uncover the secrets of her mysterious origin. But since she is Horizon’s hero, Aloy also wants to make the land better for everyone. The world is massive in scope. It is filled with different types of terrain, animal life, human tribes, and of course, murderous robots. There are a great deal of challenges to overcome, but the game provides everything you’ll need to succeed.During my time, I completed a number of main missions, side quests, and errands. Most open world games have a clear distinction between main and side missions. In Horizon, every quest feels substantial. In fact, the only way I was able to differentiate main and side missions was by checking the menu. I didn’t need to worry about what was or wasn’t a main quest. I just took things as they came since I knew I wouldn’t be wasting my time.With so many killer robots around, Horizon contains a great deal of combat. A bow and arrow will see players through most encounters, but it’s a bit more complicated than you would expect. Most machines have specific weak spots that can be shot in order to deal greater damage. Sure, you can shoot arrows at robots until they go down, but that’s woefully inefficient. Carefully aiming for critical spots on machines is key.My favorite projectiles were the fire arrows. They aren’t effective against every foe, but you can deal a ton of damage to those weak to fire. Humans and animals are especially vulnerable to this element. I felt badly about shooting fire arrows into animals, but I had no reservations about doing the same to raiders and other nasty folk. Fire arrows are just a lot of fun to use.The game also has various types of elemental bombs (fire, ice, and electricity) which are fired with a sling-shot weapon. Another device is a grapple hook that you can use to pin robots to the ground. I found this weapon particularly effective against fast mid-sized machines. Overall, I thought the weapon variety was decent, if a bit sparse. Though Horizon doesn’t have a million weapons for players to use, each is vital in its own way.Machines are the main things you’ll hunt in Horizon, but you’ll also have to hunt animals. Taking out animals doesn’t involve nearly as much skill as it does to fell a machine. I was able to kill even the biggest critters (in this case, wild boars) with just fire arrows. You don’t need animals for sustenance, but you do need their materials to sell to vendors or to make modifications to your equipment.If you fancy modifying and crafting items and equipment, Horizon has you covered. Aloy can modify equipment with “artifacts” and craft ammunition and healing items with found resources. Both modifying and crafting are very simple, and don’t require much thinking. I’m not the biggest fan of modifying/crafting so I was grateful for this. Horizon is an RPG but its RPG mechanics are (thankfully) not overbearing.Now, I can’t talk about Horizon without getting into its graphics. Ever since Sony unveiled the 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro, the company billed Horizon as the game to play on the system. Horizon Zero Dawn was made from the ground up to take full advantage of the PS4 Pro’s power.That is, if you have a 4K TV with High Definition Range. Myself? I have a crusty old 1080p TV that came out well before HDR was even a thing. On top of that, the version of Horizon I’ve been playing doesn’t have the “Day Zero” patch. This means that my game isn’t as graphically impressive as it will be on launch day.With that said, this is still one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. Horizon won’t beat the PC version of The Witcher 3 in terms of graphical prowess, but for a console game, Horizon Zero Dawn is a visual powerhouse, even at 1080p resolution. No other PS4 game is as visually stunning as Horizon.Since this is a Guerrilla Games project, Horizon runs on the Decima engine. This is the same one the studio employed for Killzone Shadow Fall. Thanks to Hideo Kojima announcing he is using a modified version of Decima for Death Stranding, the engine has been put on the proverbial map. This is all well and good since Decima is one of the most visually impressive graphics engines out there.I wasn’t a fan of Killzone Shadow Fall. Despite that, I thought it was a stunning looking game. I was particularly impressed with its natural environments. Horizon basically takes the captivating natural locales of Shadow Fall and expands them into a full open-world setting. Snow capped mountains, winding rivers, grass covered plains, millennium-old ruins, and mechanized dungeons are rendered with exceptional detail. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that I frequently stopped just to take in the sights. I can’t wait to see what Horizon looks like when the day zero patch is live.Despite playing for so many hours, I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface of Horizon Zero Dawn. From my time with the game, however, it really does feel as though Sony has delivered another classic. I don’t foresee much dissension among gaming critics, and I fully expect PS4 fans will absolutely love the game. This is the real deal, folks. Horizon Zero Dawn is the PlayStation 4’s new system seller.You can pre-order Horizon Zero Dawn from Amazon.last_img read more

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