Horizon Zero Dawn encapsulates what I love about Video Games

 

Honestly, when I saw the announcement trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn, I wasn’t sure if I was interested in it. But after logging in just a little over 73 hours of playing time, I can easily say it was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

 

There are so many aspects of this game that I enjoyed and the biggest one was being able to explore the world itself. I can’t tell you how many hours were spent aimlessly running around discovering new areas while also finding new spots for photos (which I’ll talk about a little later.)  Traveling through this apocalyptic world was so enjoyable that half of the time, I preferred to walk to my destination as opposed to traveling on a machine. I know that throughout this game, it can be tempting to speed through missions by fast-traveling, but I would encourage anyone that wants to fully appreciate what this game to take their time and explore.

The multiple options you have when it comes to combat also makes Horizon extremely fun to play. You can either go through the game and kill machines/humans using stealth (which is what I preferred) or you can just run in head first and just wing-it. The great thing about Horizon Zero Dawn is that the game mechanics allow you to flourish no matter which style you prefer. If you want to go stealth, you can hide in tall grass and use silent strikes and arrows. If you want to be more aggressive, you can use spear strikes or bombs to destroy everyone and everything. Even though I mostly went the stealth route during my 70+ hour campaign, every once in a while, it was nice to charge into a Bandit camp with some Blast Bombs and figure out a strategy later. Being able to switch between fighting styles on the fly so seamlessly helped make Horizon’s gameplay that much deeper and rewarding.

Earlier I talked about how I spent so much time finding spots for photos and I was honestly surprised at how much pleasure I had doing it. Photo-mode in Video Games has never really been my thing. My mindset was always I would rather just play the game instead of sitting around taking selfies. However, when it comes to this game, you’re almost doing yourself a disservice by not taking pictures during your playthrough. Guerilla Games really took their time to make Horizon look amazing and taking some time for a few snapshots here and there added a whole new dimension to the game. And since I’m always one to take my own advice, you can view a gallery of some of the photos I took during my playthrough below!

 

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The one minor complaint I had with this game is that around the end of my playthrough, the side missions started to feel repetitive. A lot of the side missions involved using Aloy’s focus to scan a small area for clues or to scan for footprints to track. It was fun at first, but after doing it for the 30th time, it got old. That isn’t to say that it deterred me from completing side missions, it just made them more of a chore to get through.

When a Video Game can completely immerse me in their world and story, I value and appreciate it that much more. Horizon Zero Dawn does both so well that it actually spoiled me once I finished playing. A lot of the games I played after were fun, but I didn’t get that same thrill and suspense that I got from Horizon.

If you own a PS4, there’s no question this should be on your list of games to pick up. And if you don’t own a PS4, the long-lasting experience you’ll get from playing Horizon Zero Dawn is well worth the purchase.

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