Horizon Zero Dawn was the biggest surprise of 2017 to me. It didn’t come out of left field like Shadow of Mordor did in 2014, where I knew almost nothing about the game and absolutely loved it, but it did something I feel never fully accomplished: it made me want more even after I was completely done with all of the main and side content. Horizon, in my humble opinion, is the best open world game that has come out in years, and here are four reasons why.
- The Story
Not know for their stories, open world games usually rely on their world-building and interactive environments and interesting characters. That’s why this is my first and most important reason for this game being so good. The story starts slow, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t quickly speed up after the tutorial ends around hour 2 or so, and won’t let you breath until you finish the final mission. In total, I would say I spent about 20-25 hours on the story alone, and loved every minute of it. Every twist and turn, every revelation, every boss battle was enthralling and engaging unlike any other game I’ve played in a long time.
2. The World
The world of Horizon is beautiful, and when I say beautiful, I mean look at the screenshot I took above. That is the game running on a normal PS4 on a 1080p TV. No PS4 Pro needed here, the game is a treat to look at. It’s photo mode really allows you to capture the beauty of the game by letting you take stills of the game in motion. You can even move the camera as shown above so Aloy isn’t even in the picture. The sunsets and snowy mountains aren’t the only highlight of the game either.
3. The Creatures
The nature of the mechanical beasts is a massive spoiler, so I won’t dive into that whole plot. What I will say, though, is that they are so much fun to hunt. Yup, that’s right, you get to hunt giant mechanized dinosaurs and sabertooth tigers in a video game. The giant beasts that inhabit this land are dangerous, and some are downright terrifying to fight. An ability you unlock later in the game makes them even more awesome, but you’ll have to play the game to find out what that mechanic is and how much better the game gets after you unlock it.
4. The Combat
While this is the last item on the list, it could have easily been my top choice as well. That’s what makes this game so amazing: there isn’t just one thing it does well. It does everything almost perfect, mixing so many awesome concepts and mechanics together. The combat is so satsifying. Sliding between a metal T-Rex’s legs, going in slow motion, firing arrows into its underbelly, and regaining your footing only to watch, for a split second, your arrows explode and send giant chucks of armor into the air before dodging incoming missiles and planning your next attack on the monstrosity. That’s just one example of how fluid combat is throughout the game.
I love this game! I put over 40 hours into it, and I am just over half way done with all of the side quests! That isn’t including the upcoming DLC planned for the game, that sends Aloy to a whole new area with new beasts to slay. Hopefully after reading this, you’ll go and at least watch some YouTube videos of it and eventually give it a shot. After all, who doesn’t want to ride around on a mechanical bull and slay giant T-Rex monsters?