Guerrilla Games has been one of the best of PlayStation’s first-party developers, constantly pushing the hardware to its limit. Their work includes the often incredible-looking Killzone games, but Guerilla have left the long-running franchise behind and are soon to release a brand new ambitious franchise in Horizon: Zero Dawn. And there’s a lot to be excited about. I got to spend four hours with various sections of the game last week was left in awe.
Here’s why you should be excited for it.
COMBAT IS SATISFYING
At the start of the game, Aloy starts out with not much more than a bow. This is more than enough to take out the initial few robots that you’ll come across, but trust me, it’ll require a good aim to take them down, but as time goes on and you come across bigger and nastier robots, you’ll need a more appropriate arsenal of weapons and Horizon delivers. You’ll get a Blast Sling which is essentially a giant slingshot, the Ropecaster which allows you to tie enemies down and the shock wire wire which allows you to essentially trap robots using shock or other methods. I was lead to believe in other material we were shown that we’d see even more advanced weapons. The variety of weapons and elements that you can attach to them (fire, ice, poison etc) ensures that combat is varied and satisfying.
VARIETY OF ROBOTS
I’ve played Horizon at three separate events now, and I was really starting to get worried that we were only seeing the same two or three robots. Thankfully, after spending an extended amount of time with the game, I can confirm that there’s more than 24 robots in the game including some epic boss battles. Although, this huge amount of robots would be nothing in the game if they weren’t all incredibly different and thankfully they are. Not only do they all vary greatly in attack, but they also vary greatly in size and the strategy that you’ll need to employ to beat them. The great thing is that the developers have been very clever in grouping different robots together at different times in order to keep battles interesting. There will even be a Robot Emu/Kangaroo Hybrid!
This was the first time that I’ve had an extended hands-on with the game and take my time going through every nook and cranny of the weapons and customisation options and this is one of the things that will please hard-core Action RPG fans. Customisation of your arsenal is endless. You can modify your weapons, outfits, ammo traps and potions. There’s also there three different skill-sets that you can upgrade based on your play-style. You can also craft modifications for all the above.
YOU CAN TAME ROBOTS
You can override robots such as the Strider to ride them and make your way around map faster. You can also perform a melee attack whilst on the Strider and they’ll come to your aid and attack other enemies if you decide to hop off. You can also override the incredibly large Tallneck and open more of the map. It’ll be interesting to see in what other ways you can interact with robots.
BEST-LOOKING CONSOLE GAME
In my opinion, Naughty Dog has long held the trophy for best graphics and motion capture, but Guerrilla might have just knocked them off their perch with Horizon: Zero Dawn. Not only is the gameplay stunning, but the motion-capture and performance of the actors appear to be second-to-none. I’ve never seen such detail in a characters facial features. Things such as facial hair and wrinkles are incredibly believable and it worries me for the future of games. I don’t think it’ll be too long before we can’t tell the difference between a real person and CGI created character.
VASTLY DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS
Similar to my concern about the robots, I was beginning to worry that the environments in Horizon: Zero Dawn would be quite repetitive, but boy was I wrong. Just in the small sections of the map I was able to make my way around, there easily 9-10 completely different environment types that I came across. I’ve never seen a game with so many vibrant colours making up such stunning environments. The game also features a dynamic day/night and weather cycle and the developers have made great use of it. There’s also these newly revealed portions of the game called Cauldrons, which are essentially completely robotic lairs and look nothing like any other section of the game.
ALOY IS A GREAT LEAD CHARACTER
Throughout Horizon: Zero Dawn, you’ll be wanting to learn more about Aloy and where she came from. She’s clearly the only red-head in the Horizon universe, which makes her immediately interesting and she clearly isn’t native to this environment. She’s believable, honest and most of all human. I can’t wait to play through the game and have all my questions answered. She’s also just a badass in general.
Horizon: Zero Dawn releases exclusively on PlayStation 4 on March 1st. Press Start visited Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam as a guest of PlayStation to go hands-on with Horizon: Zero Dawn.
You can find more of our Horizon: Zero Dawn coverage HERE.