A New Horizon For Gaming | Horizon Zero Dawn

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Horizon​ ​Zero​ ​Dawn​ ​is​ ​quite​ ​frankly,​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​game,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​March​ ​of​ ​this​ ​year​ ​being​ ​a month​ ​of​ ​fantastic​ ​games,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​no​ ​doubt​ ​Horizon​ ​will​ ​shadow​ ​all​ ​of​ ​them​ ​(Well,​ ​maybe​ ​not Zelda.)​ ​The​ ​game​ ​was​ ​announced​ ​all​ ​the​ ​way​ ​back​ ​at​ ​E3​ ​2015​ ​and​ ​generated​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​'buzz', mainly​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​game​ ​most​ ​unique​ ​feature,​ ​its​ ​robot​ ​dinosaurs.​ ​After​ ​countless​ ​trailers​ ​and gameplay​ ​teasers,​ ​the​ ​game​ ​was​ ​launched.

Just​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​the​ ​release​ ​I​ ​was​ ​skeptically​ ​excited​ ​for​ ​the​ ​game,​ ​but​ ​after​ ​dramatically deciding​ ​I​ ​wasn’t​ ​going​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​the​ ​game,​ ​I​ ​bought​ ​the​ ​game.​ ​Upon​ ​booting​ ​the​ ​game​ ​up​ ​my first​ ​thought​ ​was​ ​‘wow’,​ ​words​ ​can't-do​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​of​ ​this​ ​game​ ​justice.​ ​This​ ​game​ ​is​ ​beyond beautiful,​ ​I’ve​ ​never​ ​seen​ ​anything​ ​quite​ ​like​ ​this:​ ​the​ ​Decima​ ​engine​ ​is​ ​far​ ​and​ ​away​ ​the most​ ​beautiful​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry.​ ​Nothing​ ​up​ ​to​ ​this​ ​point​ ​has​ ​even​ ​rivaled​ ​the​ ​beauty.​ ​This​ ​is what​ ​next-gen​ ​gaming​ ​should​ ​have​ ​looked​ ​like​ ​from​ ​the​ ​start.

As​ ​for​ ​the​ ​game​ ​itself,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​a​ ​very​ ​welcome​ ​breath​ ​of​ ​fresh​ ​air​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​at​ ​a​ ​time​ ​where lots​ ​of​ ​open​ ​world​ ​games​ ​are​ ​being​ ​released​ ​that​ ​are​ ​all​ ​quite​ ​‘Same-y’.​ ​The​ ​game’s​ ​unique time​ ​setting​ ​and​ ​addictive​ ​gameplay​ ​give​ ​it​ ​qualities​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​best​ ​open​ ​world​ ​games​ ​to​ ​date. There​ ​is​ ​evidence​ ​of​ ​where​ ​Guerilla​ ​has​ ​borrowed​ ​features​ ​from​ ​other​ ​popular​ ​games,​ ​like the​ ​vantage​ ​towers​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Far​ ​Cry​ ​series​ ​and​ ​the​ ​questing​ ​and​ ​crafting​ ​systems​ ​from​ ​The Witcher​ ​3.​ ​These​ ​borrowed​ ​features​ ​may​ ​seem​ ​like​ ​a​ ​bad​ ​point​ ​to​ ​make​ ​about​ ​the​ ​game,​ ​but they’re​ ​definitely​ ​no​ ​bad​ ​thing​ ​as​ ​they​ ​come​ ​together​ ​to​ ​make​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​games​ ​of​ ​this generation.

The​ ​game’s​ ​flame-haired​ ​protagonist,​ ​Alloy,​ ​sets​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​example​ ​for​ ​female​ ​protagonists and​ ​she​ ​serves​ ​as​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​character​ ​to​ ​view​ ​the​ ​world​ ​through,​ ​as​ ​she​ ​is​ ​just​ ​as​ ​clueless and​ ​as​ ​curious​ ​as​ ​the​ ​player.​ ​Having​ ​been​ ​locked​ ​away​ ​and​ ​out casted​ ​as​ ​a​ ​child​ ​she experiences​ ​the​ ​same​ ​wonder​ ​and​ ​awe​ ​we​ ​do​ ​when​ ​we​ ​lay​ ​eyes​ ​on​ ​the​ ​massive​ ​robotic ‘Tall-necks’​ ​and​ ​the​ ​elegant​ ​‘Sawteeth’.​ ​The​ ​witty​ ​comments​ ​and​ ​absently​ ​minded observations​ ​never​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​amuse,​ ​with​ ​one​ ​particular​ ​stand​ ​out​ ​comment​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of the​ ​game​ ​that​ ​made​ ​me​ ​stop​ ​playing​ ​and​ ​appreciate​ ​the​ ​writing​ ​for​ ​a​ ​solid​ ​five​ ​minutes.

With​ ​the​ ​game​ ​being​ ​set​ ​1000​ ​years​ ​after​ ​the​ ​Earth​ ​was​ ​destroyed,​ ​there​ ​obviously​ ​isn’t much​ ​left​ ​of​ ​what​ ​came​ ​before​ ​these​ ​new​ ​technological​ ​tribes,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​game’s​ ​story​ ​revolves around​ ​delving​ ​into​ ​the​ ​remains​ ​of​ ​the​ ​old​ ​world​ ​and​ ​uncovering​ ​its​ ​secrets,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​horrible truth​ ​about​ ​what​ ​happened.​ ​The​ ​story​ ​never​ ​feels​ ​forced,​ ​the​ ​gradual​ ​reveal​ ​adding​ ​effect​ ​to every​ ​little​ ​revelation,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​Alloy​ ​being​ ​just​ ​as​ ​curious​ ​as​ ​the​ ​player,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​nothing​ ​to​ ​do but​ ​push​ ​forwards​ ​and​ ​unveil​ ​the​ ​truth.

There​ ​are​ ​still​ ​some​ ​flaws,​ ​no​ ​game​ ​is​ ​perfect​ ​after​ ​all.​ ​My​ ​main​ ​gripe​ ​with​ ​the​ ​game​ ​is​ ​the lack​ ​of​ ​weaponry​ ​on​ ​offer,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​choice,​ ​yes,​ ​but​ ​with​ ​only​ ​Eight​ ​main​ ​weapon​ ​types​ ​it​ ​can be​ ​quite​ ​repetitive,​ ​the​ ​game​ ​has​ ​added​ ​a​ ​rarity​ ​colour​ ​system,​ ​with​ ​purple​ ​being​ ​the​ ​best and​ ​green​ ​being​ ​the​ ​worst,​ ​the​ ​standard​ ​for​ ​most​ ​games,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​weapons​ ​have​ ​very​ ​little​ ​in the​ ​way​ ​of​ ​diversity​ ​and​ ​the​ ​staged​ ​weapon​ ​categories​ ​only​ ​change​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​damage,​ ​and not​ ​aesthetics,​ ​very​ ​boring.​ ​It​ ​took​ ​me​ ​all​ ​of​ ​about​ ​five​ ​hours​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​full​ ​set​ ​of​ ​purple weapons​ ​and​ ​from​ ​that​ ​point​ ​on​ ​the​ ​game​ ​didn’t​ ​put​ ​up​ ​much​ ​of​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​until​ ​the​ ​last segment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​story.

Similarly​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​hidden​ ​armour​ ​set​ ​within​ ​the​ ​game​ ​which​ ​requires​ ​the​ ​player​ ​to​ ​jump through​ ​hoops​ ​to​ ​acquire,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​set​ ​is​ ​slightly​ ​game​ ​breaking​ ​in​ ​my​ ​opinion,​ ​allowing​ ​Alloy to​ ​take​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​chunck​ ​a​ ​damage​ ​before​ ​the​ ​armour’s​ ​shield​ ​breaks​ ​and​ ​allows​ ​her​ ​health bar​ ​to​ ​deplete.​ ​Although​ ​the​ ​armour​ ​set​ ​is​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​acquire,​ ​I​ ​still​ ​think​ ​it​ ​should​ ​be​ ​more challenging,​ ​the​ ​set​ ​should​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​a​ ​reward​ ​for​ ​the​ ​games​ ​hardest​ ​challenges.

I​ ​do​ ​love​ ​this​ ​game,​ ​it’s​ ​amazing.​ ​But​ ​it​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sleeper​ ​hit​ ​and​ ​has​ ​come​ ​out​ ​just​ ​before​ ​some other​ ​industry​ ​giants,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​new​ ​Zelda​ ​game​ ​and​ ​the​ ​much​ ​anticipated​ ​Mass​ ​Effect: Andromeda.​ ​Horizon​​ ​had the potential to soar​ ​above​ ​the​ ​competition,​ ​but​ it was​ ​grounded​ ​and​ ​buried​ ​under​ ​the​ ​strong​ ​line-up​ ​from March of this year. In​ ​short;​ ​If​ ​you​ ​own​ ​a​ ​PS4,​ ​buy​ ​this​ ​game.

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Xander Mackenzie

Started gaming at age 6 playing halo and crash bandicoot on the original Xbox, graduated up to the 360 and promptly fell in love with the elder scrolls, ever since then I've been playing every RPG I can get my hands on, and have no intention of stopping! XBOX : lordgrumpycat PSN : lordgrumpycat

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