Content of the article: "Horizon: Zero Dawn is a good open-world game, but I’m not sure that’s enough in a world where that’s now a norm."
I’ve been lurking here for a little while, but this is my first post here. Apologies if I break some convention.
I was late to the PS4, only getting a Pro model about a year and a half ago. I knew about HZD, but i just never got around to picking it up. With the pandemic, I’ve had a ton more time to play games, so I thought it would be a good game to pick up, since it’s only $20 nowadays.
The good news is it delivers 100% on the two of the most important aspects: story and combat. I fell in love with the story instantly, and my interest in learning more about the world and it’s history was a big factor in why I ended up finishing the game and most of the side content. The combat is also very fun, I loved hunting machines and it felt great to watch myself grow from someone who ran from the bigger enemies to someone who dropped them pretty easily. Another really neat thing i appreciated was the weapon tutorials: every time you acquire a new weapon, you get a small side quest that teaches you how to use it effectively. It’s a fun way to reward me with experience points just for trying out all the weapons.
That said, I felt the game fell somewhat short of perfect. Aside from protag Aloy, and maybe Rost (who is only in the beginning of the game), the voice cast wasn’t stellar. Most of the side missions felt formulaic. The game has a deep crafting system, in that almost every item you use, from arrows to bombs to traps to potions, can be crafted out of materias found in the wild or that you scrap from machines. This works really well for some consumables, but a lot of the weapons and especially traps felt unnecessary, and rarely ever used them. The game has a skills system, because every game does now, and many skills feel like they’re only there to have more skills in the tree (the ability to pick up unused traps??).
Back in the day, having a gorgeous open world (I didn’t mention it earlier, but the scenery is another highlight) and fun combat made you a standout game, but now those are a dime a dozen, and HZD just doesn’t have anything extra to offer. If you love the genre then definitely give it a go, or even if you want a good value for the money, since it’s definitely worth the cheap price. But in a few more years, I’m not sure that people will be talking about it anymore, unless the sequel really goes all out.
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