Review: Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn has been on my backlog wall of shame for years. It’s a game I always wanted to get to but for some reason never did. Finally, the time has come and I rolled credits on it.


Reviewed on PlayStation 5



 

Horizon Zero Dawn came out in 2017 and somehow I never got spoiled on any of the story moments. If you know me, you know I love spoilers so it’s not like I tried to avoid them knowing I would eventually play it. Now that I played it I’m glad I didn’t know what to expect. The story was full of twists and turns and by the end, I was surprised by some of the reveals. No spoilers in this review, what I will say is the way it wrapped up was a little underwhelming after some of the major reveals, but it was still a great ride.



Combat is king in this game. Using the wide array of bows and traps you have a lot of weapons at your fingertips. With that said I barely used anything except a bow and my melee weapon. I did play the game on easy which allowed me to play this way and not worry about a lot of elemental effects that are present with the weapons. Not having to really worry about what weapon or what type of arrow to use on different enemies helped me enjoy the game more.


The enemies you square up against are very varied. You have standard human enemies to a big range of robot dinosaurs to take down. Some big, some small, all fun to fight. Stealth can be a big part of combat, but again I played on easy so I went in launching arrows like crazy. The stealth worked well enough but I was here to shoot my arrows and watch metal fly off of dinosaurs.



You can actually tame some of the dinosaurs including some that can be mounted and used to ride around the map faster. This was something I often forgot and almost never used. What I did use for travel was the fast travel from campfire to campfire. Fast travel for me is a big part of any open world so I was happy to see it here.

The main character Aloy in my opinion was very flat. Her dialogue and writing made it hard for her to shine. She is voiced by Ashley Burch who does a great job with what she has but overall I was expecting more from a character that is now one of the faces of PlayStation.



Verdict

I’m glad I finally got around to playing Horizon Zero Dawn. I put it off for years but now I feel like I have only just begun with another large expansive world waiting for me in the sequel. Great enemy design and combat are enough to make this game great. Unfortunately, the writing stops this one short of being a masterpiece.


Final score 8.5/10

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