Ever since Guerrilla Games announced their brand new IP, Horizon Zero Dawn, the game and its world have fascinated and intrigued players. It’s not often one sees a post-apocalyptic world filled with bright colours and robotic dinosaurs.
Slowly Aloy creeps through the tall grasses making sure her prey doesn’t spot her. She needs to kill it and recover it’s resources if she and her tribe are to survive. Suddenly the robotic beast notices her, it’s lights start to flicker as it readies its mechanical body for the fight that lies ahead. Aloy draws her bow knowing that the robotic beast won’t be easy to take down. Welcome to the post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn.
In anticipation of the game’s release next month, I’ve put together a few things to get you hyped for the exploration and battles that lie ahead.
It’s a whole new mechanical world out there.
Horizon Zero Dawn follows protagonist Aloy on a journey to discover the truth behind who she is and where she came from. Now, this might sound like the typical “girl on a quest to find herself” story, but what makes this story so unique is the vibrant and unique world the game is set in. Humanity is not alone in this post-apocalyptic world, roaming the planes, forests, waterways and even skies are mechanical beasts/dinosaurs who have now become the dominant species of the world. These mechanical creatures not only pose a danger to humanity but also serves as resources for them to harvest. On her journey, Aloy will meet and learn more about some of the other tribes that inhabit her world. A new strange and mysterious masked tribe has risen to power and they seem to have the ability to corrupt the mechanical creatures that roam the world, using them as weapons. Aloy will need to face this mysterious new threat if she is to find the answers she seeks.
Let’s go exploring.
Exploration, as in any open world game, plays a very important role in Horizon Zero Dawn. By exploring the various unique environments, players will discover new quests, items and crafting materials (more on that later). Not only is it great discovering a new shiny weapon or upgrade, but these become increasingly more important if you want to face off against some of the bigger and scarier robot dinosaurs (you know, the ones with the big teeth and bigger guns). The game will feature realistic weather patterns as well as a day-night cycle. These features, along with various foliage dense environments, will enable Aloy to pass her foes unseen or help her in setting up an ambush. Environments range from low-lying plains, dense forests, snow covered mountains and even ruined cities ripe for exploring. With each new environment comes a new eco-system which means new mechanical beasties to slay and resources to collect.
Get ready to eat some arrows.
With so many deadly robots roaming the world, how will Aloy be able to defend herself as a squishy human? Well, simple Aloy has access to a range of weapons and traps to help her defeat her mechanical foes. Her arsenal includes a rope launcher that can pin her foes into place, another that can stun using electrified trip wires, a hacking tool which allows her to tame and mount some of the creatures (how awesome is that?), various traps and, of course, her trusty bow. Each of her weapons can be upgraded or crafted by using some of the various resources she will be able to collect throughout her journey. Aloy will need all the help she can get as defeating some of the meaner mechanical beasts can be quite a challenge and will not only require pointy weapons but well thought out tactics as well. Each mechanical beast has weak spots that Aloy can target. Destroying these weak spots can have various effects on the beast, such as freezing it, giving Aloy access to its weapon, or just blinding it temporarily. Figuring out which of these weak points to target first and how to best to do this makes combat feel more like a game of chess than just randomly shooting glowing points. Of course, shiny weapons wont protect Aloy’s squishy body from harm and that’s why she is also able to mod or swap outfits to fit any particular situation she might face. The tactical combat and focus on ambushing makes us look forward to slaying some robot dinosaurs.
It’s not all about killing
While a large chunk of your time playing Horizon Zero Dawn will be spent battling mechanised robots (and who wouldn’t want to do this), players will also be able to embark on quite a few side quests. Most of these quests will help Aloy to understand the plight of humanity in this world ruled by robots. She will learn more about each tribe and how they function, about the strange robot creatures that roam the lands and individual people. With such a unique and interesting setting it is great that Horizon Zero Dawn will use these quests to tell us more about the game’s world. During her journey, Aloy will also meet new characters which will help her along the way and, while the game does offer some dialogue choices when in conversation, your decisions on what to say will not drastically affect the outcome of the game. These dialogue options are there merely to help players learn more about the narrative of the game and not about changing the outcomes of events.
Along with your run of the mill side quests, the game also has spontaneous quests that will appear randomly throughout the game world, these can include such quests as helping a man find his lost daughter.
Now, back to the killing, Aloy will be able to accept hunting challenges from Hunting lodge representatives throughout the world. These challenges will require Aloy to kill a certain amount of creatures with a certain weapon within a time limit. Completion of these challenges will allow Aloy to join the Hunting lodge. It was important that Guerrilla Games try to find a balance between narrative driven quests and combat driven ones, and it sounds as if they might have found it.
Aloy’s got some mad skills
Although Horizon Zero Dawn is a third person action-adventure game it does have some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. Now the developers have stated that they didn’t want the player to get lost in a load of complicated stats and therefore streamlined the RPG elements as much as possible. It basically boils down to Aloy having access to three separate categories of skills, with each of these categories having branching chains. The three skill categories are Prowler, which focuses on stealth-based abilities, Brave, which upgrades Aloy’s defensive and offensive abilities and lastly, Forager, which improves her health and resources collection abilities. Now, while this might not sound like much there is quite a lot of scope for upgrading Aloy to suit most play styles.