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Horizon Zero Dawn Review

Game Clocked – Horizon Zero Dawn Review

It’s finally here!  The Horizon Zero Dawn Review.  It took some time get through the entire game, but here it is.  Does this game mark the start of a new iconic PlayStation franchise?  We find out!

The simple answer is yes!  Horizon Zero Dawn is a phenomenal title.  An absolute masterpiece.  One of the very best games of 2017.  Go buy it now.  And keep it locked to SkyGamers!
















Why are you still here??  Go buy it, it’s brilliant!  Do you want details?  Ok fine if I must, let’s get cracking with the Horizon Zero Dawn review.

The Story

In the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, robot dinosaurs roam the earth and mankind have for some reason ( a very good reason which I won’t spoil) reverted back to a tribalistic hunter/gatherer society.  Something has clearly gone horribly wrong.  Nature has reclaimed the once cold world of concrete, steel and glass.  The player takes on the role of Aloy.  A girl who is shunned by her tribe because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding her birth.  She grows up to be a masterful huntress who is raised by another exiled hunter by the name of Rost.  The character is her father figure and teaches her everything he knows about survival in the harsh world of the machines.

However, on her coming of age ceremony, a sort of initiation that accepts these young hunters as “Braves” into the tribe, they’re attacked by masked bandits that devastate the tribe.  Aloy then sets off to find the answers about her mysterious birth and about those who attacked her tribe.  The story of Aloy is a well written, well-paced adventure.  She’s a character you will grow to love and understand her hardships and triumphs.  When the truth about this world unfolds, your mind will be blown.  I will admit it takes its time to really open up but stick with it and you’re rewarded with a fantastic, unique tale.  This is post-apocalyptic done right.

The Gameplay

Horizon is a third-person open world game.  I can already feel your eyes rolling, but there’s more to it.  Even though the game doesn’t innovate in that department, it takes these well-worn tropes and executes them flawlessly.  For starters, the world itself is gorgeous and vast.  It’s varied having you travel in mountainous regions or freezy cold snow areas.  Things get switched up and you’re riding around in a desert area.  Not to mention the weather is completely dynamic making sure every playthrough is unique.  Sometimes visibility is hindered significantly by a sand storm or the like.  The combination of the old decayed world you are familiar with and lush nature that’s taken over is a sight to behold.  Add to that, is the verticality the game gives you.  The player gets so much choice in how to approach and fight the different types machines and humans.

Speaking of fighting, Aloy makes the most use of her bow as her bread and butter weapon but with some twists.  Depending on the different types of bows, you get different types of ammo to use on the Robo-saurs.  You also get access to traps and a nifty weapon that sets up trip wires.  Perfect for taking down machines without drawing attention to yourself.  Not to mention your trusty spear for melee attacks which doubles as a hacking tool for re-programing the machines to be on your side.

The collection of weapons is deep and varied.  All the ammo available for all these different types of weapons can be crafted on the fly mid-battle.  The crafting materials are found all over Horizon’s world, from plant life for health potions and damage buffs to scavenging dead machines for parts for weapon ammo.  You could also just buy everything from a vendor in many villages scattered through the game world.

The gameplay itself is a really great stealth and full on action hybrid.  One moment you are hunting a machine with traps set, completely hidden and take them down without any other machine knowing you’re there.  The next, your plan goes to S#!% and you’re running and bowing at the herd of Robo-saurs for your life.  It’s intense and extremely satisfying when you get that hard kill.  The large number of machines that you take on is varied.  From small jackal-like creatures to massive T-rexes with missiles and lasers.

Each one has a different way to effectively take them down.  The more time you spend with the game, the more familiar you becomes with these foes.  Learning all their nuances and weaknesses is one of the best things about this game.  Just trekking around the game world is so much fun.  The only weak point in this game is the human enemies.  They lack the AI intelligence of the machines or that hide and seek mechanic when hunting them.  Definitely, something the devs need to look into when they make the inevitable sequel.

The Graphics

If you ever needed an excuse to buy the PS4 Pro, this game is it.  The shining gem of the PlayStation 4 family.  The game is gorgeous on every level.  The design of the machines and all the different tribes’ costumes are inspired and unique.  There’s so much detail in the game world.  I doubt that every player gets to see all these subtle details, yet the team behind the game threw it in there anyway.

Their vision shines through every single screen shot.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I could take random images from the game, and any gamer would immediately say “That’s Horizon”.  I played the entire game on PS4 Pro with a 4K HDR TV and boy the visuals are a sight of unfathomable beauty.  Just take a look at some of the 4K images I’ve included in this review if you struggle to believe me.

Don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t just great looking on the Pro.  Play this game on stock PS4 and you’ll still be blown away by its 1080p visuals.  It’s a very colourful world that surprises me why Guerrilla games have spent so much time making brown shaded Killzone games.  Play this game with an HDR enabled TV and the colours come even more alive.

The character models don’t feel like cut and paste jobs like most other open world games.  But the visual star here besides Aloy and the game world, are the machines.  Those designs are really impressive.  I guarantee you have never seen anything like it.  And thank goodness Aloy isn’t made into some generic titillating excuse for the male audience.  She’s a strong female character who isn’t overly sexualized and I love her for it.  Are you taking notes gaming industry, this is how you design and write a great female lead.

The Conclusion

In conclusion, Horizon Zero Dawn is a revelation.  With Guerrilla Games finally having their leash taken off, we get to see the full might of this team.  Honestly, should’ve been done sooner.  This game is without a doubt the new Sony flagship to take on the reigns after Drake’s retirement.  This game is an immediate buy.  Miss out on Horizon Zero Dawn and you’ll be doing yourself a great gaming disservice.  Why are you still here?  Go buy the game already!



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