Horizon: Zero Dawn Hands On – A Game I Never Wanted To Stop Playing

Experiencing the world of the wild machines.

Posted By | On 13th, Dec. 2016 Under Article, Previews | Follow This Author @ZootPlays


It’s not very often that a game comes along that you just don’t want to stop playing. Horizon: Zero Dawn from developers Guerrilla Games — best known for the Killzone series — is that game. On the show floor of PlayStation Experience 2016, the game was playable in HDR.

With the intriguing story of the human race nearly wiped out and a new world emerges controlled by beasts made of steel and machinery, this story cries originality. Getting my hands on this game has been a long time coming. Right away you eyes are swept up in the beauty of the world all around. Swaying leaves rustle around the shrubs and the trees, light glistens from the rocks nearby as the grass folds over from the incoming winds. When your jaw drops to the floor there isn’t a moment where you want to pick it back up again. It is that amazingly gorgeous.

The demo involves the main protagonist Aloy as she readies her equipment to hunt down these mechanized animals that roam the lands freely as the humans stay in hiding. Why is she hunting them down? It’s not answered in the demo as to why, but once I got my hands on the controls, it didn’t matter. With a smooth and precise configuration I hadn’t felt a third person adventure game with controls this good in a long time.

There were opportunities where I had to go hunting so I gave the old weapon a try. Aloy’s bow just had that feel, that, not only did it work perfectly it felt as though it knew how comfortable with it, especially when running or sneaking through the demo. The bow had a weight to it, a feel as though pulling back on it gave me the time I needed to look at exactly what I needed to take down, and it gave me the opportunity rather than feeling as though my pull back force amounted to nothing.

horizon zero dawn

"You knew, without looking at the mechanized animals that this was in the future somehow, somewhere, and you knew the humans were at a major disadvantage. But with those weapons from the past that met the future, you knew that the humans still had that one quality that made them superior to others species: invention."

All of Aloy’s primitively designed weapons had a futuristic quality to them, bows had electricity which makes this game more than just Far Cry: Primal. You knew, without looking at the mechanized animals that this was in the future somehow, somewhere, and you knew the humans were at a major disadvantage. But with those weapons from the past that met the future, you knew that the humans still had that one quality that made them superior to others species: invention. While playing there is that primitive sense that lies deep in our roots that says, “we may be at a disadvantage, but we have always come out on top.” Well, maybe the thought process didn’t go that far, but it’s thoughts like those that this game invokes.

Aloy’s weapon selections can also be used to melee enemies when they up close — something I don’t recommend; there are also finishing moves for when an enemy is weakened to the point of near death. The bow is the most commonly used weapon I used while playing through demo, along with a weapon that can fling elemental bombs around such as fire and ice that make a devastating boom on impact.

Moments in the game allow Aloy to trap the metal beasts and take them down with the finishing move right away. It felt good, it felt natural. As the camera was facing not only on Aloy and her red locks fluttering in the strong breeze, but also on the clouds and the sun trying to break through from behind, it was a mesmerizing moment when I could see the magnificent beauty of the landscape far beyond my reaches of the demo. Then I was told that HDR wasn’t even on yet. Those who have HDR enabled TVs, this neat little feature will add a little something extra to the overall experience.

horizon zero dawn

"It is clearly one of those games that I wanted to keep on playing and that enough is a testament to the quality that Guerrilla Games is aiming for with Horizon Zero Dawn."

A quick switch presented the game in pure HDR and the clouds actually separated into their own spaces. Instead of one big cloud cluster surrounding the run, layers could then be made. I could tell the distance in the cloud layers and just how far back the sun was within those layers. Beams of light showered down rainbows of gold and silver through the clouds. It was something to behold. HDR isn’t a game changer, but boy it definitely adds some more depth to the image quality.

Overall, Horizon: Zero Dawn should have no one worries at this point. If you were going into this thinking that it may just be a showpiece that has no depth or value — well, I can’t speak on the depth from a single demo — but what I can say is that this may be a game that a lot of people will be interested in playing very soon. It is clearly one of those games that I wanted to keep on playing and that enough is a testament to the quality that Guerrilla Games is aiming for with Horizon Zero Dawn.


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  • quantum

    Good stuff can’t wait. With this, Mass Effect, Nioh, Scalebound and NieR:automata I will have a busy first quarter next year.

    • Gamez Rule

      Agreed.

    • uptownsoul

      All of what you said…But I personally will add Gravity Rush 2 along with all the games you mentioned to form my 1st quarter-2017 list

    • BelAirBoss

      I agree with you both, and would add What Remains of Edith Finch to that list of first quarter selections.

    • AuricGoldfinger

      This! Those are definitely the titles I’m looking forward to playing, oh and add Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves to that list. Not sure if I’m missing any other games? maybe a special VR game will come along next year as well.

  • DarthDiggler

    It’s not very often that a game comes along that you just don’t want to stop playing.

    Maybe for a jaded gaming website writer who likely has to play games he or she doesn’t like. 🙂

    I have experienced at least 3-5 of those kind of titles this generation alone.

    • Ucouldntbemorewrong

      Currently The Last Guardian is like that for me, I’m at work and even can’t stop thinking about it,

  • Note5

    I know it when I see it.
    Horizon will change the game just like Uncharted 2 did last generation.

    • AuricGoldfinger

      Maybe, the Killzone series didn’t exactly change the game but I’ll admit, Guerrilla Games looks to have something very special here. From the moment this game was revealed, I was intrigued. Definitely, one of the most anticipated new ip’s releasing soon.

  • BelAirBoss

    Aloy is going to rock my socks off.

  • Jbumi

    Argh!!!! My poor pocketbook is already crying at the thought of all the games coming out next year!!!! Now, Horizon & Torment are releasing ON THE SAME DAY!!!!!!!!!!! Tax return can’t come soon enough!!!!


 

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