Horizon Zero Dawn was first released back in 2017 to much fanfare. An open-world action-adventure game, it has a bit of an ancient mythology theme, but set in the 31st century, in a post-apocalyptic world.
While it does have a large fanbase that still enjoys the game to this day, many people may have overlooked it, especially since there have been much bigger games that have been subsequently released that have overshadowed HZD. However, this is why you shouldn’t ignore it anymore.
Horizon Zero Dawn is set in the distant future, the 31st century, in a post-apocalyptic world that has very, very limited technology. Giant creatures known as “Machines” work the Earth, living peacefully with the human inhabitants.
There are 4 tribes in the game, the Nora who are hunter-gatherers and live in the mountains, the Carja who are the city builders who live in the desert, the Banuk are hunters and shamans who adore the machines, and the Oseram who are thinkers and makers who are known for their metalwork.
As mentioned, the Machines and humans usually live in harmony, however, there is a phenomenon called the “Derangement” that is making the machines far more aggressive. The game also features a massive and beautiful open-world map for you to enjoy and explore.
As the protagonist, Aloy, you discover that you have ties to the old world, a world that saw peacekeeper robots turn rogue against humans. These robots were able to self-replicate and consume biomass for fuel.
Dr Sobeck, a doctor from the old world, developed a project called Project Zero Dawn, which was designed to terraform the earth, replacing all the biomatter that the robots had consumed or destroyed.
Without giving too much away, your job is to find out what happened in the past, and try to help the earth recover. All while fighting against a sepratist group of cultists who are using the otherwise peaceful machines to do their bidding.
Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world game played from a third-person perspective. What makes it unique is the fact that even though there is technology all around you, your gear is quite primitive and you have to scavenge for the tech that you need to upgrade what you need.
The map includes a forest, jungle, desert and snowy mountain regions, that you can traverse and travel through. Each area will have its own unique machines and enemies, and give you access to different resources and crafting materials.
Your abilities are fairly basic, you can shoot enemies with a variety of arrows, set traps, use a spear, and use explosives. The materials you loot and recover can be used to upgrade everything, as well as make you stronger overall.
The game plays like an Assassins Creed title or really any other third-person action-adventure game. The map is beautiful to look at, and the game has been widely praised for its exquisite visuals, as well as immersive soundtrack.
If you needed another reason to play Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West is it. The story picks up from the end of Horizon Zero Dawn, and sees you take control of the main protagonist, Aloy.
Aloy is sent to the forbidden west where she is in search of the source of a very mysterious plague that kills all who are infected. You can expect a whole new array of enemies, creatures, and landscapes, and she journey’s where very few have gone before.
The sequel is set for release this year, and there are already many rumours of how great it is going to be. Even just a couple of days ago the developers spoke about their new wave and water tech coming to the game, which has taken a number of years to fully develop and perfect.
While there isn’t anything vastly unique about Horizon Zero Dawn, how the game comes together is what makes it such a must-play game, and what made it so successful when it was first released four years ago.
The smooth game play, the visuals that make you feel like you can reach out and touch everything around you, combined with the exciting and intriguing storyline is enough to make any video game fan excited.
Metacritic currently has the game listed with a 89/100 rating, if that isn’t enough to sell you on how good it is, nothing else will. The competition a game like this has is immense, and for it to stand out like it has is a testament to it.
Whether you enjoy games like this or not, Horizon Zero Dawn took a tried and tested concept and made it its own. It has its own unique features and spin, and gives players a new, refreshed game while using a blueprint that many have used before.
Even now, 4 years later, it is difficult to find a game in this genre that is just as good as HZD, let alone better. If you haven’t already, buy it, play it, enjoy it. There is little to no chance of you regretting it.