Horizon: Zero Dawn Throws Out Edginess for Colors and Fun

Originally posted March 7

Hunting robot dinosaurs has never been so fun.

“Horizon: Zero Dawn” follows the story of a young woman named Aloy, who lives in a time after modern humans. A mysterious apocalypse has passed, leaving nature to reclaim old skyscrapers and other buildings and humans to form varying tribes to survive.

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Aloy is “motherless” in a matriarchal tribe, called the Nora, where women are revered and respected, including the goddess “All-Mother.” Because of her lack of a mother, Aloy is shunned from her tribe and raised by an outcast named Rost.

One day, when she is six-years-old, Aloy falls into a “metal cave,” containing what resembles a modern-day scientific community. She finds an old piece of technology, called a Focus, which helps her find her way out and, later on, fight robotic dinosaurs and cultists that threaten her and, unsurprisingly enough, the world.

The game follows a typical RPG’s set of rules, with a skill tree, crafting and trading opportunities, material gathering and dialogue and situation options.

Fighting the mechanical giants is a daunting task, requiring players to sneak around and conserve their ammo. Aloy’s Focus helps players figure out paths that the machines take and where their weak points are, making it easier for players.

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After unlocking and crafting certain ammo, those weak points can be more entertaining than before. Some machines with canisters on their backs are prone to exploding and taking out many of their friends.

The gameplay can be considered difficult by those who haven’t had any experience with an RPG of this caliber, with an open world and enemies near every safe zone. There are missions, but unlike games like “Dishonored,” there isn’t a set zone for each. Players should think more of “Skyrim,” especially with the numerous viking and other Norse or European design choices.

The design is different than much of what has been available before in ancient-European-slash-Norse style games. The colors in “Horizon” are bright and inviting, while usually such styles are given mud-browns and mossy-greens. Of course it helps that the game isn’t set in ancient Europe.

“Horizon: Zero Dawn” is a must-play game for RPG fans. It’s available on the PlayStation 4 from the PlayStation Store and all major game retailers for $60.