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Video Game Review

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn drops you into a vast, post-civilization world as Aloy, a skeptical young hunter tasked with discovering why the machines who share the wilds of the world alongside humans and other small (more familiar) creatures like foxes, rabbits, birds, and boars, have become corrupted and murderous. Shunned from birth by her tribe for reasons known only to her mentor, surrogate father, and fellow outcast, Rost, her quest for knowledge of the ancient ones who came before propels her to a place of pinnacle importance among not only the tribe that shuns her, but the entire world as she
comes to know it. Through the main storyline, Aloy not only gleams the history of her world but her personal history as well, uncovering the mysterious circumstances that brought her into this dark and foreboding setting.

Visually speaking, the scenery and character models are overwhelmingly detailed and crisp. The foliage looks real and the lighting is outstanding. The game even comes with it’s own cloud and weather simulator making this massive open world a truly living and breathing environment. In harsh contrast from the overgrown and almost prehistoric feeling surface level of the world, you’ll find the ruins of the ancient ones buried in deep caves. Ancient holographic technology litters these cavernous ruins and lot’s of mysteries will be revealed in these areas.

The creatures found within this new world are equally stunning and natural feeling from the machines that patrol the wilds to bandits in the outlands, the Oseram in the mountains, and Carja in Meridian, this world is alive. Overall, the developers have truly done a stunning job in transporting you to a strange and unfamiliar post-apocalyptic planet earth. Is there a VR version of this thing?

Mechanically speaking, the gameplay is fluid and immersive. Movement is intuitive whether you’re scaling great frozen cliffs or diving into ruins of the past. The 3rd-person camera is a thing of beauty and rarely takes you out of the moment even when ducking, diving, or engaging in the fast-paced and intense combat that is commonplace throughout the game and only increases with intensity as you progress. The combat experience has a real sense of weight and texture, with sound design to match. Each encounter means a new tactical opportunity, where you’re offered bow or slingshot type weapons to deal with your foes head on or through means of traps or gaining elemental advantages. A variety of different human and machine enemies require an equal variety of ingenuity to bring down efficiently. The menu is easy to navigate, and with quick wheels for switching weapons and crafting ammo, it means less time on pause and more time exploring the expansive game world.

In conclusion, Horizon Zero Dawn juggles many moving parts with polish and finesse. The combat is extremely satisfying thanks to the varied design and behaviors of machine-creatures that roam its lands, each of which needs to be taken down with careful consideration. Though side questing could have been more imaginative, it’s missions are compelling thanks to a central mystery that led me down a deep rabbit hole to a genuinely surprising and moving finale