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‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Review: Must-See Details & Screenshots

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Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn casts a grim look at the future of humanity. A society-destroying cataclysm has decimated technology, infrastructure and society as a whole, sending mankind back to tribal chaos. Towering, dinosaur-like robotic beasts roam the countryside autonomously, stomping their way atop the food chain that man has slipped to the bottom of. You guide a daring young woman cast away by her tribe who seeks answers to big questions, personal redemption and the drive to bring these new Dark Ages to a crashing end.

Games: Horizon Zero Dawn
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed)
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Release Date: February 28

After trying way too hard for far too long to turn the Killzone franchise into a relevant Sony tentpole, the talented but uninspired developer studio Guerrilla Games finally threw up its hands and started from scratch. The result a powerful new saga that introduces a compelling new heroine in a fascinating, boundlessly creative universe. It’s easy to see the parallels in the dilapidated, technological wasteland landscape to the ruins of Killzone that Guerrilla has risen up to thrive in. This game capitalizes on the spectacular visual acumen and rock-solid gaming bona fides that the studio always possessed but failed to deliver in a complete package. From the opening moments, Horizon Zero Dawn seizes your attention, fascination and emotion.

Drawing from influences such as Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Titanfall and Batman: Arkham series, Horizon Zero Dawn manifests entirely as a beast of its own. As Aloy, you scamper nearly helplessly through a harsh environment, armed with technologically enhanced primitive weapons such as a bow and arrow and rope tethers to take down significantly more powerful enemies. Your chief tool is your vision, augmented with a headpiece that helps you scan the environment for clues and hints in the manner of Batman’s Detective Vision or Eagle Vision from Assassin’s Creed. Your success is determined by the way you combine your weaponry, surroundings, physical abilities and stealth skills in creative ways.

Thrilling  sequences build on top of one another with the momentum of a Call of Duty campaign, while intriguing revelations of lore and tension-ratcheting story twists keep you wanting to pound out just one more mission before you turn in for the night. Superb voice performances and a swelling musical score help grant the story a cinematic majesty, and although the tale is satisfying, things are clearly building toward something bigger. The goa is obviously to start a series that will stretch out as least as long as Killzone did. New entries in this series will doubtlessly be greeted with anticipation rather than the eye-rolls Killzone was always doomed to incite.

Providing a bounty of inspiration for fan fic writers and geekdom-inclined artists, Horizon Zero Dawn is proof positive of what can happen when a stuck-in-its-ways dev team takes a step back, reignites its love for the medium and finds its mojo. The sweeping, gorgeous adventure strives and largely succeeds at standing toe-to-toe with the creations of Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us) to vie for a spot for first-party Sony supremacy. As you cast your view over the landscape strewn with the crumbled remnants of yesteryear and duck for cover as towering mechs, stambpeding androids and swooping robo-dragons lord over the wasteland, you see a land bursting with untold legends waiting to be explored and conquered. The game gives you a taste of that sense of adventure from the outset and only keeps rising from there, straight into the perilous unknown.

ORDER: ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ here



‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Around The Web:

“Guerrilla’s first third-person action title’s combat is incredibly enjoyable.” –PlayStation Lifestyle

“The father-daughter relationship works very well and sets up the rest of the game in a way that makes you care about Aloy and Rost.” –GameReactor

“A game with a serious agenda. This is a character with questions and experiences that many players will relate to.” –The Guardian


‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Screenshots


The publisher provided a review copy. 


Order Phil Villarreal’s novel, Zeta Male, here.

COED Writer
Watches movies and games for work, then watches more movies and plays more games on his downtime. A movie and video game critic since 2001, Phil is the author of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin' Mormon and Zeta Male. Twitter: @philvillarreal