Whether you enjoy a strong and empathetic protagonist, rich visuals, a deep story, or open-work exploration, and combating bandits and robotic beasts, Horizon Zero Dawn should give you the nirvana you seek from a video game.
This is a late but necessary review of one of my favorite games of 2017 and of all time. Next to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn (HZD) is a game I want to play and explore, then explore some more. There is enough lore to keep me up beyond midnight searching through the mountains, rainforest, desert, completing quests, etc… I am always looking for the next Oblivion and Skyrim (there will never be any, of course). HZD caught me by surprise – I didn’t know I would have to force myself to stop playing as I did with Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt. There are dozens of things to do in addition to the main quest: side quests, errands, hunt robotic wildlife, etc.
The mountains, forests, canyons, deserts, lakes, and other nature in the game are realistically visualized and rich enough in detail to make for an immersive adventure. Skyrim, Oblivion, Red Dead Redpemtpion, Witcher 3, and Uncharted 4 are just some games that make me feel as if I am truly sloshing through a river, scaling ascending a mountain, climbing a wall, trudging through a dense forest. This draws me deeper into the gameplay, which draws me deeper into the story and to the character’s experience.
The story involves protagonist Aloy, who sets out to find the truth about her roots, specifically her mother. She is led down to the depths of the metal world(the ancient world that exist before the apocalypse). Aloy is a lead character easy for me to like for her realistic responses to problems and fortitude to overcome challenges.
Outside of the main quest and story are many options. Players can hunt robotic creatures, find loot, fight enemies, such as bandits and cult-like soldiers; or simply hop on a Charger or Rider, or some other beast and venture off to explore the massive land and metal ruins.
So, there is a rich story to become engrossed in, and there is the fun gameplay outside of the story. I suggest playing through the story first, but it is not necessary. Going through main quest allowed me to level up, perfect my survival and combat, which proved extremely helpful for errands and side quests, and provided more experience.
I still have things to do in the game, and I look froward to the DLC this November, The Frozen Wilds!
Below is a small example of Horizon Zero Dawn’s game play. The scene comes from the quest: Death From The Skies.