Jaw-dropping graphics? Check. Intriguing storyline? Check. Strong female lead? Check.
Horizon Zero Dawn is an action-based RPG developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, exclusively for the PlayStation 4. As we approach its initial UK release tomorrow (US downloads may have only just finished), it would be fair to say that the game has generated a certain buzz of anticipation. From its impressive aesthetics, unique setting and potentially iconic lead character, it would be an understatement to say that I have high hopes for this game.
I know, I hear you, we’ve been promised fantastic games before, with mesmerising trailers, ad campaigns, the lot (here’s looking at you, No Man’s Sky), but I’m going into this with a fair bit of skepticism.While I’m aware there are currently gameplay videos out there, I won’t spoil the initial few hours for myself. I seriously don’t get the practice of watching someone else play a game before you delve into the world for yourself.
Isn’t that the same as viewing someone’s Facebooked holiday uploads as a means of experiencing the country they visited? It’s not the same!
So far, here’s what we know.
We play as Aloy*:
‘A young hunter on a quest to discover her destiny among the remnants of the ancient past. Shunned by her own tribe since birth, Aloy has learned to harness her agility, cunning, and deadly aim to hunt the Machines, defend against rival tribes, and survive in the unforgiving wilds.’ – Sony
Intrigued? Me too.
According to Sony, we explore a post-apocalyptic Earth that is no longer our own; a world where nature has ‘reclaimed the ruins of a lost civilisation’.
Only small pockets of humanity remain, their dominion over the new wilderness has been usurped by the Machines – fearsome mechanical creatures of unknown origin.
‘Explore a vibrant landscape rich with the beauty of nature. Travel through stunningly detailed forests, imposing mountains and the atmospheric ruins of a bygone civilization, all brought together in a world that is alive with changing weather systems and a full day/night cycle.’
Personally, this is what makes a game immersive. CD Projekt Red (The Witcher series) are the masters of vibrant, living landscapes, followed closely by Bethesda (Fallout; Elder Scrolls). While I’ve experienced Guerrilla Games’ work before, through Killzone, I’ve not yet encountered an open-world game of theirs.
From the vast, accomplished competition out there, they’ve taken on a mighty challenge.
As for the narrative? The following trailer was enough to grab my attention:
While it looks a lot like FarCry Primal with added machines, Horizon Zero Dawn appears to be a unique premise that we’re yet to experience on PS4.
It’s developers have a wealth of experience under their belts, a fine set of voice actors and, so far, have had a captivating advertising campaign. It remains to be seen (unless you take reviewers opinions as gospel) whether the narrative is as worthwhile as it looks – only investment, time and long hours of gameplay will tell.
As I sit here counting down the hours to its initial download, I for one will take a chance on Horizon Zero Dawn.
Look out for a review in coming weeks (or months, depending how much I like it).
Thanks for reading!
Are you planning to delve into the post-apocalyptic world of Horizon?
Potential Game of the Year or just another No Man’s Sky?
*Recognise Aloy? Dutch actress Hannah Hoekstra licensed her likeness to Guerrilla Games for her character design.
The game’s producer Jochen Willemsen was taking a sick day, saw the actress in a film, and then recommended her to the team the following day. Hoekstra ended up being a perfect fit, and that’s how the Aloy gamers now know came to be (Tyler Treese, PlayStation LifeStyle)