Horizon made a huge impact 8 months ago, creating a beautiful open world full of interesting experiences. The Frozen Wilds takes us to an isolated winter wonderland, containing the same level of care and intrigue.
The lands of The Cut are just as stunningly beautiful as the rest of the land, although drenched in snow for the most part. There’s a bunch of minor details from the grass underneath the snow that reveals itself as you walk through it, to the hairs on your armour. Absolutely everything in the visuals are breath taking with smoke, snow and fire as well as the day/night cycle showing exactly what the PlayStation 4 can do. HDR is at the forefront with neon lights giving great contracts against the dark mountains and white snow. The new machines expand the already impressive looking array of wildlife, with the Scorcher being especially intricate up close.Aloy finds minimal roadblocks in her way in The Cut with most happy to see a helpful face. The new inhabitants of this land offer plenty of tasks, with at least a few twists and tweaks to make the experience fresh enough to avoid becoming mundane. There are new weapons, and armour to earn, allowing some different styles along with stronger perks. Collectibles reappear in new forms more suited to the region, with delightful links to the old world. Of course you couldn’t return to Horizon without another set of hunting challenges to showcase exactly why Aloy is considered one of the all time greats (who would clean up on American Ninja Warrior without a doubt).
The main story woven through the Frozen Wilds isn’t as sprawling as expansions in The Witcher 3 but is longer than what you see in most post-release story DLC without overstaying its welcome. The writing and voice acting is again fantastic, measuring up very favourably to the main quest. All of the characters introduced have depth, even those in smaller side adventures. None of the content in the expansion has you interacting outside The Cut though which is unfortunate, deeper integration with other areas or characters would have made the expansion feel more organic and connected to the main quest for Aloy. Towards the end we discover some links and nods to the main world building and history of this world which makes our endeavor feel important thankfully, with some well reasoned backstory for Zero Dawn with the hints of humanity we saw previously.The winter wonderland of The Cut is laid out with sprawling valleys and soaring peaks, watched over by a constantly smoldering volcano lighting up the sky. Aloy climbs, sprints, trudges and stalks her way through the wilds as expected, with animation looking cutting edge as before. Tracks are left in the snow and water, fur on armour flits in the cold winds and trees are dislodged as the larger wildlife dawdle their way to points of interest. The world feels alive and ready to tempt Aloy into a game of cat and mouse through the thick foilage. The action is extremely enjoyable with the new hunter/killer models offering some extra diversity in the hunting, surprisingly drawing upon some of your lesser used gadgets for the most effective solutions.
Aloy sets off in search of answers to the questions that tempt her curious mind but as always, she is the answer people have been looking for. With easily 10 hours of extra gameplay to involve yourself in there is plenty to recommend in The Frozen Wilds, even if it feels slightly disconnected from the rest of the game. Every moment still has that melancholic beauty, migrating across an approximation of our existence while still having microcosms of light break through to remind you of what makes Aloy such a great character to journey with. This world is worth helping, even if we continue to be its downfall.
THE PS4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds offers more of what I loved in the base game. There's an amazing new location, fantastic story and gameplay which continues to be fun. Thanks to the new locales, and expanded colours that feature in the world, the game looks more stunning than ever. If you enjoyed the base game, you will love what is on offer here. The Frozen Wilds is a fantastic victory lap on the way to a well deserved sequel.
Fantastic Writing And Characters
Jaw Dropping Visuals
Gameplay Tweaked Enough To Feel Fresh
Snow, Snow and More Snow
Slightly Expensive At $30 If You're Only Interested In Story