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[YSB] Horizon: Zero Dawn

I wish there was an option to tag something "You might want to buy" instead of something so black-and-white as you should/shouldn't, because that's how I feel about HZD.

TL;DR: Great game, but not as good as everyone makes it out to be. Worth $20.

Just like everyone else that's played Horizon: Zero Dawn, I was drawn in by the giant robot dinosaurs. A simultaneously high- and low-tech, tribal, post-apocalyptic word with robot dinosaurs and not the all-too-common zombie apocalypse or nuclear holocaust? I'm in.

Let's start with the graphics. This game looks amazing, I'm sure you know that. The world is fantastic and does an excellent job of making you feel like an alien on your own planet. There's plenty of colors that pop out without making things feel over-saturated, and there's plenty of different types of environments to admire and traverse. Snowy mountaintops that actually make you feel like you need a sweater while playing? Got that. Dense, humid jungle? Got that. Arid, dry desert? Got that. Lush forests? Got that. And it's all beautiful. I found myself just standing still and admiring the views from time to time. It's a fantastic setting for a video game that lends itself well to an open world that begs to be explored.

The story is good as well. Admittedly, it takes quite a while to get up to speed (in my experience, about 10 hours). But once it gets going, whew, it gets going. The lore about present day tribal politics and their war with the machines and each other was interesting, but nowhere near as interesting as the lore about the pre-apocalyptic world in my opinion. This is probably one of maybe 3 games total that I would recommend actually trying to find collectibles and read the text/listen to the audio that comes along to learn the lore. It's a whole other story in and of itself and the story of how the apocalypse came to be and how humanity straight up lost was fascinating to me. However, such an interesting world and story was let down by a protagonist that didn't really do it for me. I didn't feel any connection to Aloy, just the same as I didn't feel any emotional reaction when Rost died. I felt more connected and emotionally invested in the holograms of the people that died pre-apocalypse. But that might have something to do with the awful and stiff character models during dialogue, but those animations were addressed (it seems) in the DLC, The Frozen Wilds.

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Combat was also something that was good, but I couldn't bring myself to love it like many others say they did. The combat with the machines was very satisfying and rewards good mechanics and strategy, but I feel like the human-on-human combat is where it was lacking. Bow and arrow or spear vs highly advanced machinery? You're not going to do any damage to a machine unless you aim for the weak spots, got it. Makes sense, I agree. When they attack, either you get out of the way or you die in a hit or two because they're a giant machine and you're a human with some leather armor. Got it, I agree with that as well. But why can't I parry a human's attack? They can parry and block mine, why can't I parry and block theirs as well? Seems like a missed opportunity in my eyes and made human-on-human combat a chore in my opinion. Thankfully, human-machine combat is significantly more plentiful in HZD and the human AI is pretty silly sometimes so good stealth play trivialized most human-human combat anyways.

The music is also phenomenal and it was the first time in years I searched for a soundtrack on Spotify to listen to it. I don't really have much else to say about it other than it's awesome and the music is well done.

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All in all, HZD is a fantastic game and deservedly defined a generation. I personally don't believe that it deserves as high of praise as it gets, but I do believe that it is worth playing.

P.S., I'm really hoping that all machines are mountable in Horizon: Forbidden West.


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