Oh boy, when I first turned my PS4, setting up my account and booting up my first love of a game, Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, all focus around me was concentrated in the beautiful landscape in its tutorial section as you start and play as a young “Aloy”. The fluidity of the controls, to its choice of narrative that will only leave you to question everything from the origin of the mechanical quadrupeds, to the politics of each tribe, Horizon Zero Dawn is an experience worth taking the time to get into.
This post is less of a review, and more as the title documents it as; a “late appreciation post”. I thought that reviewing the game would be pointless at this time, as truthfully, enough posts out there have praised HZD, and with good reason. For now, I would simply just like to talk about this game, as if I were convincing someone who is clueless about the wonders of HZD.
There are many features that draw me into playing as Aloy time and time again. Aside from its obvious “New Game Plus” and added DLC “Frozen Wilds”. Below are what I believe to be its most powerful and compelling qualities.
Aloy will always be a favourite for a number of reasons.
Her design is near flawless in my eyes. The tribal clothing fits her so well as an outcast. Aloy’s fiery-red hair is a notable feature for her character too! Along the way, players will find tall, red grass that they can use to sneak around the mechanical threats surrounding the world, to which Aloy is able to utilize perfectly by blending in with her hair on top to act as a camouflage. Aloy’s look brings about the same pleasure as the views of the landscape you’ll get to see around.
Not to mention her story origin. Her own character just speaks for a strong-independent woman. Labeled as an outcast, Aloy was cast aside by the Nora tribe due to her unusual birth. Seen as a threat by everyone around her, she was shunned and socially rejected by most of the tribe, aside from Rost who agreed to train her for the “Proving”, a test of agility and strength, in which the winner is able to be named as a “Brave”. In this, players can get a general feel of how Aloy’s athleticism will guide her throughout the game. She is fast, nimble and hard-hitting towards the “end” of the Proving.
Aloy’s character is an (obviously) iconic central figure within the game. She displays courage and empathy when faced with any challenge and interaction, perseverance and an aptitude for “coolness”. I mean, even without any weapons, she was able to handle a gigantic metal “beast” on her own. Definitely a memorable character in video game culture.
2.) A.I. Life
The variety of the mechanical beasts that’s hunt-able by Aloy ranges from the calm and reliable Strider, to the majestic and terrifying Snapmaws. With each robotic creature almost needing a different strategy to take down, the whole system of each enemy adds another layer of depth to the game’s combat.
Whether you’d like to be stealthy or fight head on, each beast will indefinitely bring a satisfying challenge.
In fact, I remember the first time I faced against a Stormbird through the game’s main story. The rush you feel when it raises to the air, dropping bombs on you while you dodge and attempt to hit it when it lands is a feeling so intense that you’d want to replay it again and again.
Or even attempting to take down a Thunderjaw when you have had time to learn its movements and attacks. I snuck up to that bastard, laying a fire-trap by its fixed route, only for it to be set off by a damn watcher that I had missed taking down before facing it head on. The fight was cruel, but rewarding when I managed to beat it with its own weapon.
An additional favour point for these machines are their design. When playing the game, you notice just how similar these creations are with their animal counterpart. A Thunderjaw moves so similar to a Tyrannosaurus, but its technological skin just brings another sliver of sharpness to its edge.
It’s difficult for me to get into a game without at least one subject to pull me in its grasp. If its story, mechanics or charisma is not enough to attract my attention, then there’s a good chance my progression won’t be a fun one. Hell one of my favourite games of 2018 Monster Hunter World, only really had its gameplay structure to assist me in continuing to play. And it is quite rare to find all three embedded in certain games. Which is why I was lucky to have HZD to be my first game.
Guerilla Game’s writers did a splendid job in creating the story for HZD. I mean, you’re quite pulled into everything once you start the game anyway. You’re in a tribal land inhabited by both you and mechanical beings fit to roam every rocky crevice and snowy plains, and you can’t help but wonder, how does the contrast of both a historically appointed civilisation and developed machinery live in one universe?
Every twist and turn that the narrative takes on becomes a sweetened form of luxury as you play and progress through the story. The more you find out about the world in which Aloy lives in, the more satisfaction you receive from it. And it is an especially delectable treat when you are a brand new spectator in its landscapes.
4.) Too general? Too bad!
Okay I may have jumped the gun here. You might be thinking, “hold up, that’s just the game in its entirety! Are there no specific points or moments?” And I’m here to tell you that, nah, not really.
The thing is, it’s because of HZD’s generality that I’ve come to love the game. Everything about it is charismatic in its own right, and unique in its own way. And there are no specified points to it as I felt that the game’s entirety was enough for me to give it this type of post.
Point of this was just to appreciate my favourite game on the PS4. But if you’re reading this and haven’t gotten to play HZD yet then, what are you doing? Go out there and experience it yourself! And if you’re still not convinced that this will be your money’s worth, then take a look at this battle sequence and tell me otherwise. (Spoilers alert!)
I am an aspiring writer that seeks to build content for gaming. Any criticisms or tips to improve my writing, content style or content use, please let me know! Any suggestion is welcome, help a beginner writer out! =)
Alan Plays (2017). Amazing Thunderjaw Batle! Retrieved at :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1shkGxwz7Ek