Steam Community :: Horizon Zero Dawn

Posted: June 12

Horizon Zero Dawn

First of all, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great game and well worth playing. Sony has managed to create one of the best and most memorable main characters in video game history. And certainly one of the the best female protagonist out there. Aloy is strong, intelligent, and kind. And has the right background to explain her epic skills in combat and survival. Not like some other female protagonist we all know. With abilities no human should have and that are never explained or those remembered mostly for there boobs.
But for this review, I will mainly focus on the game’s bad side. And there’s plenty of that in the game.

Concept:

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. HZD uses the typical Ubisoft formula. They’ve used it so many times in Far Cry and their hundreds of Assassin’s Creed games. Square used the same formula with the new Tomb Raider series and the Thief game. And now Sony used it with Horizon Zero Dawn. In itself it’s nothing bad. But if you’ve played any of these games, you’ve pretty much seen it all.
You have your main quest line, which takes around 5-6 hours if that’s what you focus on mostly. And the rest is filled with all sorts of random things to artificially blow up playtime. Random loot you’ll never really need unless you go on random animal and machine hunts, random vistas, random lore, random and repetitive side quests, random NPCs you’ll never see again, random bandit camps, etc. That’s a lot of random. It’s enjoyable at first, but the more you play, you relize it just drags on and on and on.
And all the random lore pieces in the world don’t help at all. Because most of the time it’s about something very trivial. No explanation about the world you live in or how the tribes build their things and their society, how the tribes themselves evolved so differently besides living so close to each other. It’s a story telling mess and all over the place. So much potential lost.

So you have about 5-7 hours for the main quest and about 60-70 hours of random stuff. That’s 10-15% on the essential and world building and the rest is just random. I’m pretty sure some people will like this kind of concept for some crazy reason, but when you think of some of the greatest games of all time, you just have to be disappointed. In these games you have the complete opposite. You have 80 percent and more time to grapple with the story, the concept, and all the little things about the world you’re playing in, and the rest are things that don’t matter that much to the bigger picture.

Main story:

The main story is solid. Nothing new or unique. Nothing you haven’t seen, read or heard. But it has a decent pacing, and just enough uniqueness to stand out from the rest. But there are no surprises and you will know everything in the middle of the main quest. Or even before that. Overall, the dialogues are not very well written and pretty basic at times.
That might sound a little harsh, but they ended up wasting 60 hours on random things instead of deepening the main story with a few more NPCs and lore. And it’s not like the NPCs on the main path are very interesting either, apart from the main character and the “other” main character (I think you know who I mean). All others are very generic and interchangeable. You’ll realize how basic everything is when you just rush a new game + for the achievements. I did this in 5 hours and I have no regrets missing out on any of the random things the game has to offer.

Honourable mention:

And besides how simple and straight forward the game already is, they really have implemented a hand holding system from start to the very end of the game. Why? Just why? Do they really think gamers are just stupid and need constant advice not to get lost? I mean, it’s ok in the beginning, but later it gets extremely annoying.
You have to follow tracks but you will never lose them as they are highlighted like a Christmas tree in the evening. There is always a waypoint marker that points directly to the next quest step. There are almost 200 campfires (fast travel points and checkpoints) on the map, so you don’t have to walk more than 50 meters. 200 of them! And Aloy is constantly commenting on things as you fight or walk around to remind you of the right path and tactics for specific enemies.
So, come on! Have a little faith in your customers. There are not deranged and certainly don’t need constant guidance to beat your game. Do that!, Go there! I mean seriously!

Conclusion:

Those critics aside, the game is a wonderful pastime. But just don’t expect any depth or great worldbuilding. It’s wonderful for a first playthrough and maybe a second time for the story in a few years. But mostly I’m just disappointed with the lost potential and how bloated the game is. If you remove all that random stuff, you’ll see that there just isn’t much left.
But that’s a problem of our time and people seemed content with this kind of games. Don’t think much, don’t ask much, just a time filler. Like a typical Hollywood action movie. You watch it and forget everything about it as soon as you leave the cinema. It’s just not my thing. But stunning graphics and audio don’t belie a thin concept and weak writting.

Personal Score: 8/10

Ps.: Here’s just a reminder. I was just talking about the bad stuff here. Because everything else has already been discussed many times. Graphics, audio, combat, weapons and the various elementals, mods, DLC are mostly top notch.

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