This female-driven, third-person action adventure game provides a brand new experience that is simply unmatched by others sharing the genre! Fight corrupted machines and evil clans in this post-apocalyptic setting as Aloy, a skilled huntress searching for the answers. As her strong will and curiosity lead her on to new discoveries, Aloy begins to realize that she has only begun unfolding the truth about herself and the secrets of the Earth.  

Game Name: Horizon Zero Dawn
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Guerilla Games
Release Date: 2/28/2017
Price: $59.99

As soon as the game finishes its lengthy install, Horizon Zero Dawn wastes no time introducing us to their story through a cutscene. Rather than playing the adult version of Aloy that everyone is familiar with through promotions of the title, your first steps in the game actually begin with Aloy at the age of six. She is in the care of an outcast named Rost, who serves as her close guardian and mentor in the game since she has no mother. (Stick with me.)  The tutorial comes to no surprise and is brief as Rost gives Aloy tips to survival in addition to the games’ basic controls. It’s also at this young age that Aloy learns to hunt and where you’ll notice that even as an outcast, her determination to succeed and find a solution never seems to fade.

Much of your time playing the game will be spent traveling to different areas and locations on the map. And I have to mention that this map is huge! Again, we are talking about a truly open-world experience. In the beginning, you will see that a large portion of the map has not been discovered, naturally, because Aloy has never left her home village. Eventually, as you find new points of interest on your map by completing the main and side quests, discovered land and locations are made available to your map for another visit in the future. 

Place your waypoint towards your next quest or fast travel to previously discovered campfires on your map.

Next to traveling, you will probably spend just as much time collecting and gathering various items for your inventory. I suggest you always take the opportunity when resources are available. Whether gathering plants for health or collecting loot from a machine for weapons there are so many resources throughout the game that is vital for a smooth gaming session in Horizon Zero Dawn. Believe me! I quickly learned after facing machines on a half bar of health, not to take those medicinal plants for granted.

The last thing you want is to be low on ammo or health during a fight, so don’t forget to stock up!

Similar to other RPG’s, there is a skill tree system used to easily upgrade Aloy’s different strengths and abilities. By completing the main and side quests, you can earn valuable XP and by taking down machines and bandits throughout the game you will level up in no time. 

Leveling up will get you the skill points needed to spend on upgrades which can cost you up to three skill points, so choose wisely!

The fun part in this all is choosing which abilities you want to unlock first. There’s the PROWLER path, where upgrades will improve Aloy’s combat mobility and strength. The BRAVE path, which improves Aloy’s weapons and her overall damage against enemies. And lastly, the FORAGER path, where upgrades are more support based and improve things such as health and more room for inventory. 

Keep track of the different machines you’ve encountered and their weaknesses in your NOTEBOOK.

The graphics in Horizon Zero Dawn are absolutely breathtaking. Each time I boot the game up, I can’t help but pan the camera to take a look at everything around me. Oh, and you’d be surprised how high you can get with a few timely jumps. As long as you can catch ground for a brief second to jump again, you can surely make your way up rocky cliffs to catch a stunning view of the sunset. Be sure to make use of Horizon’s photo mode in the game, which allows players to capture beautiful scenes and share with their friends! 

I must emphasize how large this map is! You will notice the change in landscape and climate as you traverse the land. From tree scaling forests to icy mountains, in addition to, a dynamic weather system and a full day and night cycle; it’s almost impossible to have the same experience in this game twice!  

There is no doubt that the hype for Horizon Zero Dawn was real and that this is the must-have game right now for the PS4!

Throw some headphones into your DualShock and it’s almost as though you are hunting right there with Aloy. Listen closely as the game will hint at danger whenever the music shifts in tone dramatically. I will admit this game did get the occasional jump scare out of me.

The weather system includes fog which can reduce Aloy’s vision, which is never convenient with enemies around.

I will probably regret playing my games at the maximum volume in the future, however, I am very into the cinematic experience through gameplay at night and happen to love the sound up high! It certainly helps to listen out for small animals and tune into the amazing soundtrack. but not when you hear the attention to the machine’s robotic movements charge at Aloy from behind, now that is exactly how I flung my controller across the room. Lesson learned. On top of the jumps and jolts, PlayStation’s DualShock 4 speaker adds even more to the gameplay experience as you hear the string of Aloy’s arrow and the activation of her focus.

It is too easy to get lost through exploration in this game. I find myself pausing the game countless times just to access Photo Mode and take some beautiful pictures. The combination of machines to hunt, people to help, and the huge map gives you endless things to do! Complete a side quest that you left behind or find valuable pieces to barter with traders in villages. Earn some XP by fighting machines in corrupted zones or simply explore the land foraging resources on the back of a Strider. Whatever it is you choose to do, there is never a dull moment when you pick up the controller to play Horizon Zero Dawn.

You really can’t get better than an open world hunting game that you can play next to your vegan friends in good conscience! Aloy’s confident, strong personality is certainly something to look up to and inspiring at that. As a woman playing this game, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed my gameplay with Aloy, a strong driven woman on a journey, using the skills she learned from those that cared to survive. Her courage to face so many obstacles comes from deep within herself and that I think other ladies that have played the game might agree.

Guerilla Games Gave Players an Unmatched Gameplay Experience

Summary

The studio previously known for it’s first person shooter’s, Guerilla Games, has certainly made their way by going outside of the box to develop a stunning world with unique story driven on a woman’s journey and development! This game has comes with a challenge but if you’re up for it, Horizon Zero Dawn, is quite a journey to take and I would suggest this game to anyone looking for a beautifully sculpted open-world game with endless fun through combat and exploration. 

  • Witty sentence here and the score. remember to use the star system!
Overall
4.5

About The Author

Yhani Jones

A little bit of Marvel, a little bit of DC, and a whole lot of games! Comic book reader and lover of all things PlayStation.