© Guerrilla Games
5 reasons why you must play Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games have created a beautiful open world – it is your duty to explore it!
It’s definitely the best looking – Guerrilla Games, the developers of Killzone, have created one of the most beautiful open worlds that we’ve had the pleasure to explore, taking in magnificent mountain ranges, stunning canyons and lush, wild plains populated by herds of mechanical beasts.
Outcast from her tribe, Aloy has to survive by herself in this dangerous wilderness, crafting weapons with natural resources, before taking out the machines, tribesmen (and even the odd cute bunny) with her Katniss Everdeen-style bow and arrow skills. On her journey through this world, she’ll discover how the machines came to dominate the landscape, while you’ll have a great time hiding in the long grass and taking down the enemy.
Still need convincing? Here are five reasons why you need to play Horizon Zero Dawn.
1. It tests your stealth skills and strategic thinking
Horizon Zero Dawn’s trailers are thrilling, but they’re a little misleading. After watching them, you might expect Aloy to perform a knee slide worthy of a Premier League footballer, before saving herself by firing an arrow at an enemy’s eye moments before it pounces. Sure, if you are spotted by a machine, a panic-inducing chase ensues, but it is more sedate than the trailer suggests. You see, you need to use your stealth skills to succeed – set your traps and then hide in the long grass, before shooting your arrows or performing a silent strike.
This tactic can make battles last a long time as you use your focus to follow your target's path, set a tightrope trap and wait for it to slowly trundle into it and become stunned. Then you can fire your arrows from a safe distance in the long grass. But what if you get greedy and attempt to kill it quickly? If you shoot your last arrow just as the enemy wakes up it’ll chase after you. Heart pounding, you can sprint away or stay in the long grass, desperately hoping that it doesn’t bump into you.
These encounters make you think strategically and it can be slow-moving, but the danger of being spotted keeps you on your toes and there are moments of thrilling action.
2. Taking down enemies can be so satisfying
Given that Guerrilla Games’ created the first-person shooter series Killzone, they know all about the thrill of a perfectly aimed headshot. While you won’t be using sniper rifles or shotguns in Horizon Zero Dawn, there’s something incredibly satisfying about landing an arrow directly in a machine’s eye and watching it crash to the ground. It’s even better when the machine is coming for you.
3. Aloy is a great hero
Despite being outcast from her tribe, Aloy is such a generous hero who is willing to help anyone she meets. Running errands will increase her XP and she'll get some rewards – you don't have to do them, but as you select options from the dialogue tree to chat to someone in distress, you get the feeling that you’re going to enjoy spending 30+ hours in Aloy's company.
For not only is she agile and skilled with a bow and arrow, she is intelligent, witty and empathetic. It helps that she is voiced expertly by Ashly Burch, whose performance as Chloe in Life is Strange landed her a Golden Joystick Award for best hero.
4. You'll battle incredible machines
The mechanical beasts who roam the land are superbly designed, with amusingly descriptive names that are worthy of Roald Dahls' BFG. There’s the agile Watchers who’ll charge towards Aloy when they spot her with their giant blue eye on their oversized heads, while the brilliantly-named Tyrannosaurus Rex-style Thunderjaw can blast Aloy with red laser beams, whip her with its tail or simply stomp on her with its powerful legs. There are dangerous flying beasts and even docile giraffe-like creatures called Tallnecks, which Aloy can commandeer to survey the area from on top of their their heads.
There’s a weight and heft to many of these machines – they’re clunky and observing their patterns as they graze or stomp around the paths is the key to Aloy’s survival. Not only have Guerrilla created a beautiful world (more on that next), they’ve populated it with totally believable creatures.
5. You have to explore this beautiful open world
Has the post apocalypse ever been so beautiful? While humans are forced to live in tribes and mechanical machines roam the land, the scenery is stunning. Yes, there are ruined buildings, but this is nature at its finest as we follow Aloy through verdant plains to American southwest-style canyons, and awesome mountainous regions.
Putting the obvious danger of the machines and rival tribes aside, it’s a place that you want to spend time in and explore every location. So, take your time, complete all the side quests, scan all the machines and get to know this wonderful world.