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Horizon Zero Dawn Review Roundup: One Of This Generation’s Best Open World Games?

Horizon Zero Dawn opens to a protracted introduction of its post-apocalyptic machine-festered world. It’s tedious, as regarded by one reviewer, but it’s essential, because the game’s open world, like all open worlds, is massive.

The game is Guerrilla Games’s latest handiwork after Killzone Shadow Fall, the flagship Killzone title released in 2013 for the PlayStation 3. Even before release, it has already garnered acclaim, netting Best Original Game at the Game Critics Awards in 2015 and 2016.

‘Horizon Zero Dawn’

Horizon Zero Dawn‘s premise is risky, even the game’s director, Mathijs de Jonge, admitted it. The concept, however, is simple: show the beauty and danger of the world side-by-side.

The initial coterie of tutorials zooms throughout protagonist Aloy‘s growth from a girl to a young woman, among other things. After which, the game’s hours are spent expounding on the massive world, which is replete with superstitious tribes, a distant empire, robotic creatures, and more.

A Long Opening Introduction

Additionally, like most open worlds, there’s an underpinning lore. In fact, it’s one of Horizon Zero Dawn‘s notable feats, with IGN’s Lucy O’Brien particularly delighted about seeing this brand new world unspool and introduce itself.

“There’s something about being dropped into a brand new game world and finding it to be dense with deeply considered lore, terrifyingly aggressive creatures, and tantalizing questions that leaves an indelible mark on the memory,” her review states.

(Photo : Guerrilla Games | PlayStation)

The time it takes to finish the whole game, as per reviews, is about 30 to 40 hours, and that’s only the main campaign. In that span players are treated to a unique iteration of the action role-playing genre, a flexible combat system, and a grand narrative that flirts with complex themes.

Although the game’s preliminary hours are spent with exposition and build-ups, a staggering series of events sends everyone’s world spinning. This particular inflection point is a great moment, as per Forbes first impressions, but its grandiosity is hurt by the time it takes to get there.

The Case Of Aloy

When it does get there, however, the exhaustion initiated by introducing the world makes sense, as all those augment the impact and effects of a foregone world, and the people struggling to survive inside it. It’s clear from the beginning that Aloy, a motherless Nora tribe outcast raised by her foster father and co-outcast Rost, will fight to get to the bottom of the mystery of her world — a septic landscape dominated by robots, with tribes diffusely rooted across the map. Prodded by the enigma of her mother’s identity, coupled with the aforementioned tragic event, Aloy ventures out beyond Nora in search of answers about her origin and, eventually, her world.

(Photo : Guerrilla Games | PlayStation)

“It’s this dedication, curiosity, and authenticity that make Aloy one of the best characters in Sony’s stable of PlayStation favorites,” Nerdist’s review states.

The Massive Open World

According to the reviews, the world inside Horizon Zero Dawn is diverse, brimmed with the vestige of historical touchstones, laced with abundant traces of a neglected past world. Our protagonist runs up and down the spectrum of this world during the whole span, scaling snow-capped mountain peaks, ambling along bone-dry deserts, sweeping labyrinthine jungles, canyons, and ruins. But weighing the juxtaposition is the metallic, machine world, and where they overlap brings “mesmerizing” results.

(Photo : Guerrilla Games | PlayStation)

“When coupled with the dynamic weather system, day/night cycle, vivid color palette, and detailed realistic textures, the post-post-apocalyptic playground is a feast for the eyes,” tells Nerdist.

“Ultimately, the open world in Horizon Zero Dawn is executed pretty well. It’s polished and well designed,” tells Forbes.

Horizon‘s ‘post-post apocalyptic’ landscape itself is beautiful and terrifying, so journeying through it in search of things to do between main quests — not that you ever have to go too far — is usually a reward of its own,” tells IGN.

‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Combat

Once Alloy ventures out into the world, the games becomes more compelling, largely thanks to its complex combat system. Twenty six distinct species of animal-like machines scale the vast open world, all of which bear weaknesses Aloy can scan using her “Focus,” a device which lends her heightened senses.

(Photo : Guerrilla Games | PlayStation)

The act of taking beasts are particularly rewarding because of the fact that there are no tutorials enunciating how best to approach them. Aloy also has a “Concentration” skill which slows down time, allowing her precise aims, with her mostly tricked-out primitive weaponry.

Of course, these are all the tip of the the iceberg, as it were. The breadth of Horizon Zero Dawn, its curious machines, its promise of a breathtaking discovery beyond a slipshod and noxious world, the lurking dangers and the gargantuan task of overcoming those, all play a part in letting players feed on plot elements, and in turn ache for more.

“The curious thing about Horizon, however, was that I was actually driven by a desire to learn more about the central plot, so much so that I returned to early locations to find and read every last message I could find,” tells Nerdist.

Horizon Zero Dawn ships Feb 28. It is developed by Guerrilla Games, the folks behind Killzone. It will be released exclusively for PlayStation 4.

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(Via TechTimes)