Horizon Zero Dawn is a third person adventure game that puts the player in control of Aloy, a girl who has been outcast from the Nora tribe. Set centuries after a technological catastrophe destroys modern civilization, the world players experience is one where Mother Nature has reclaimed everything. Cities are now ruins, greenery shoots out of fallen skyscrapers, and highways are overgrown. The only true technology lies in massive autonomous robots, referred to by the tribes as “machines”, that resemble animal life in their look and behavior.
Graphically, Horizon Zero Dawn excels, with bright colors and brilliant designs. Every tribe has a distinct look in their dress and civilization, each machine moves and appears as alive as the smaller, organic animals you encounter through your journey. It helps immerse you into the story.
Story and Characters
Aloy’s character is, at her core, a courageous hunter. She cares for the people in the world, regardless of tribe, and in spite of their previous actions towards her. At the start of the story, she has been outcast because of her own tribe’s superstitions. However, when an outside tribe brings machines to destroy the Nora civilization, the mountain seems to choose Aloy to save the people. She becomes a member of the tribe, and is given allowance to leave the sacred grounds to save the tribe and avenge the fallen members. The story follows Aloy’s quest for vengeance, and provides answers to the mysteries of the world. It also features choices you can make to impact the story. It’s a truly satisfying and fresh entry to the plethora of remakes, reboots, and rehashes of old, stale ideas.
Zero Dawn’s gameplay combines stealth and strategy in a way that, if executed right by the player, keeps the games pace moving rather than hindering it. Each machine has a different weakness or strategy required to take it down; likewise, when invading an enemy stronghold, a different set of weapons are better suited than the ones you use to fight machines. The game’s health system allows the player to heal in the middle of a fight by using potions or herbs gathered while exploring. There is much to do outside of the main story, with side quests, errands, collectibles, and dungeons (called cauldrons), Zero Dawn provides hours of open world gameplay.
Horizon Zero Dawn does pretty much everything right, story, gameplay, graphics, and even a pretty good musical score. The biggest complaint I can think of is long load times when fast travelling or starting up your game.