Horizon Zero Dawn – A Lot Of Potential Remained In The Realms of Possibility

So we’re watching these complex machines with lasers, sensors, metal claws and still able to spit fire or drop liquid nitrogen, and all (not all, but mostly) we have to get them down is a bunch of arrows and tribal clothes? Say no more, I’m totally in!

Synopsis

The story begins with a baby entrusted to an outcast of the Nora tribe. The baby is then named Aloy, and as she grows up in the care of the outcast, she finds a focus, a device from the past civilization that allows her to analyse machines, interact with devices of old, and a lot more functions. As she comes of age, Aloy becomes a hunter in a world overrun by machines and soon sets out to uncover her past and the mysteries of the world of where she was born.

Analysis

Horizon Zero Dawn begins with such a promise to be a fantastic, epic game set in a world where mystery begins even before having the game. Watching Aloy killing animal-like machines with bow and arrow led me to wonder how exactly that came to be. The introduction of the game was amazing and its pace felt so appropriated that I didn’t even notice the time passing by.

Despite the advance in the narrative, it soon felt as if it was really stagnating, as in, I wasn’t really eager to progress through it. Around midway of the story, you can already tell what happened for the machines to be around and what happened to the previous human civilization, as well as to Aloy’s origins. As for the side quests, most of them are really, really simple and feel like, they’re bland you know? I can’t feel a taste, nor emotions on them.

The gameplay is certainly the main focus of the game, it’s awesome to hunt the machines and be aware of their weaknesses and strengthens in order to set up a strategy to tackle a group of them. Just like in other games, in Horizon Zero Dawn it’s much easier to tackle a big boss, rather than a group of small machines, the “Zerg” effect remains true in this game and I think that bosses should be challenging or at least more difficult than a pack of the simpler machines, in this case. I won’t even mention the last boss of the game, because that one is simply an underwhelming encounter for what this game set itself to be.

Exploring the map was really fun! It was cool to get to various mountaintops, including the Tall-neck machines which reveal a large portion of the map. A little note about the steps to which Aloy’s body adapts to, having a foot in one step and the other in another step. The movement of the models looked very credible, although the facial animations, specially of the side quests’ characters didn’t look that great.

The crafting component of the game did not seem great at all. Besides gathering components to increase my bags’ capacity, the infinite fast travel thingy and a couple of potions, I used three armors throughout the entire game, which were not crafted. And besides that, you can literally pass the game by using just four weapons, one being your lance, and being the others the Bow (with the fire arrows), Ropecaster, and Tripcaster all of the others did not fit into my gameplay and proved to be expensive for mats and simply inadequate for the enemies at hand, through the entire game.

The music department is awesome though. It fits the genre and gives the sensation of a Nordic culture while you slay the mechanical beasts or run across the various obstacles of the wilds. While the next issue is necessarily an audio issue, it’s not about the quality but how they were implemented. Time and time again, while exploring labs from the humans of the past, you’ll find several audio logs which give some information about what they did on that place, and some others with vital piece of intelligence so that you’re able to proceed. The thing is, there’s way too many of them to listen and they’re long, so you need to just stop what you’re doing and stand still so that you can play the next audio you found which kinda breaks the pace, which later on I grew annoyed of and simply skipped the audio in the logs which shouldn’t really be the point right?

There are some bugs as well, common to open games such as this one, but nothing that spoiled the fun of the game to me, although sometimes you got hit by a machine attack even after you dodged it, but that’s the worst that occurred to me.

As I reviewed this game, this thought came to my mind, someone came with the idea to make a stealth, hunting game where you get to kill animal machines with primitive weapons, and then the rest of it was built around that concept, but it seems like they lost interest midway through the deveopment.

TL;DR

Horizon Zero Dawn begins very well, with captivating cinematics, a gameplay where you learn to face each type of machine using the environment, stealth and appropriate tactics for a specific kind of machine, where to hit, what to hit it with, etc.

However, after the introduction to the game, it just seems like the game loses its taste. Most of the secondary quests have no flavor at all and the main quest, although it has its higher points, it also has many lows, causing it to be not very well developed and foreseeable even.

I’m somewhat divided whether or not to recommend the game, it it’s definitely fun to play, but my bet it is, for some people they probably grew tired of playing it, as it gets repetitive really fast and the side quests nor the main story do not compel you to play further and advance through the game.

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