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Reviews PlayStation NOW PS4 1

Horizon Zero Dawn PS NOW Review

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is an action role playing game developed by Guerrilla Games and is available for PS NOW this month. The story revolves around Aloy, a wild hunter in a dystopian world full of machines and strange tribal law.

Aloy is an outcast from Nora tribe and the prologue sees you as a child being raised by Rost. He is kind of like a surrogate father figure in the early game for Aloy. During the prologue Aloy finds a Focus which is an augmented reality device that allows her to perceive information and abilities of things in the world. Basically, you grow up and then take part in the proving which is kind of a coming-of-age contest for the young Nora braves and then after this you are set free in a vast open world full of weird and wonderful moments.

Aloy & Rost looking at each other in a cutscene of Horizon Zero Dawn

The story is really a coming-of-age tale where you go from humble beginnings to being the chosen one, so it’s pretty standard fare in terms of videogame storytelling. The reluctant hero, the ordinary person becoming the savior of humanity, you know the drill. Aloy is a fairly likeable character but like most reluctant heroes she can be a bit whiny at times.

As the story progresses, she becomes more of an esteemed leader and a positive role model for other characters in the Horizon Zero Dawn. The game world is stunning and you’ll constantly be taken aback by just how beautiful everything looks. It ranges from lush forests to snowy mountains and arid deserts. It’s a cliché in games to have such varied environments but these really work and the machine creatures that inhabit these regions really fits with this kind of climate.

Aloy using her focus to identify weaknesses in the creature machines on a grassland in Horizon Zero Dawn

Overall, it’s a very earthy story and very natural world even though it’s inhabited by machine creatures. It’s very spiritual and the tribal aspect of it feels almost pseudo religious in their beliefs and it’s a really well put together narrative. It’s a very user-friendly game and the controls are well implemented and everything is easy to access. You can craft on the fly through the overlay menus, the focus adds an analytical element to how you approach combat situations.

I’d say it’s predominately a stealth game because early on in Horizon Zero Dawn you’re not very powerful and your weapons are pretty limited. So, a lot of crouching in long grass and waiting for the right moment to strike. The machines in the world all have weak points which you can see using the focus, so if you target those in combat, you’ll be able to take down the enemies easier and then you can loot the bodies for crafting elements.

Aloy riding on a mount in to battle a flying machine creature in Horizon Zero Dawn

The machines are not just resource fodder as you can also tame them. In a similar way to the movie Avatar when you form the connection with the machine and you can then use that as a mount. This is great for traveling long distances or using them in melee combat against other machines or enemies. Horizon Zero Dawn on the whole does have a lot in common with Avatar.

It has a deep-rooted connection to nature and I feel like the people who made Horizon Zero Dawn really were definitely influenced by that because it’s very naturalistic and the kind of the continuity between the people and the land and everyone being in a harmonious style. Being from a naturalistic tribe living in the wilds you feel like you are in an ancient land but then you also have these modern twists with the animals being machines, it’s really very interesting how they’ve done the world and the story. 

Aloy fighting a giant T-Rex machine creature drawing her bow in Horizon Zero Dawn

The enemies are quite varied and the amount of machine creatures range from very small to very large almost dinosaur like creatures and when you fight these large creatures the combat can be exhilarating. As I said the crafting system is excellent and you loot all the bodies. You can also upgrade and buy costumes, weapons etc. from the merchants who are spread far and wide through the land.

This edition also includes the Frozen Wilds DLC and this adds a large new region to the map, new costumes and items that can be used in the main game. It’s a beautiful location and has a completely different feel to the others as it’s like a winter location with lots of new tribes and definitely worth looking at once you develop your character a little bit. It also adds arguably the best and hardest machine creature in Horizon Zero Dawn with the The Fireclaw.

Aloy fighting a giant fire bear machine creature drawing her bow in a snowy area in Horizon Zero Dawn

The Fireclaw are giant bear like creatures who are the most aggressive in Horizon Zero Dawn and have quite a few unique abilities. The graphics are quite simply stunning and the characters are beautifully created as are the costumes. The township’s look great and they really feel very Old World in style. The game world is vast and it looks really amazing especially when the day/night cycle evolves and how the environment is lit.

The photo mode is one of the better ones available to gamers on the PS4 and you can move the camera around, change the focal depth and you can add a variety of filters which is generally good. You can change brightness, exposure, you can add logos and you can also change the time of day, it’s very user friendly and well-designed. The only negative with the photo mode is that when you enter settlements you are limited in terms of the camera movement and it’s a shame as the camps are some of the more interesting environments with the most people and the most detail. Apart from that gripe the photo mode is excellent.

Aloy sliding down a giant tentacle machine on a backdrop of an icy mountain in Horizon Zero Dawn.

The audio in Horizon Zero Dawn is fantastic and the voice actors are really good and the script is very high standard. The music has a very earthy vibe which fits this game world and the characters perfectly. The sound effects and the ambiance audio element really fit into the moment that you’re inhabiting and its really excellent audio all across the board. Horizon Zero Dawn feels fresh and original in most ways and it’s a beautifully told story. The machines are unique and interesting and the game world is very immersive.

Only bad side would probably be the side quests as they are quite forgettable. Horizon Zero Dawn is a refreshing addition to the games industry. It has high levels of quality and it’s a stunning game in both the visual sense but also the story, character progression and how everything unfolds is really well done. Anyone that enjoys games like Marvel Spiderman or God of War or even games in general should definitely check out Horizon Zero Dawn as it is one of the best games in the last decade especially if you have PS NOW.

Excellent

Horizon Zero Dawn has a huge open world with great gameplay, amazing machines to fight and a very unique story that anyone who enjoys videogames should definitely try it out.

9.5
Gameplay:
9.5
Graphics:
9.5
Soundtrack:
9.5

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