Horizon Zero Dawn - First Impressions By Joseph Hoshino

The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is a fascinating approach to many examples of role playing titles this generation of games has been blessed with. I was lucky to have hands-on access to this game at an exclusive preview event in Auckland and with roughly 10 minutes of gameplay, I was already beginning to understand the time, money and effort put into what many gamers could call a work of art.

To start with, the open-world environment looks fantastic, showing us aspects of forest, jungle, mountains and so much more to be explored, reminding me of places I’ve seen in most recent Far Cry games. The greatly detailed visuals also help towards telling the story, constantly reminding us of the prehistoric lifestyle the characters have been brought into with their clothing, weapons, architecture etc. The dinosaur-like robots have been nicely designed to suit the futuristic telling of this post-apocalyptic setting and why humanity has been reduced to a Stone Age.

In terms of actual gameplay mechanics, there isn’t much that hasn’t already been done in other games. Third person perspective, melee combat, archery, stealth, looting, climbing etc are all the typical aspects of many role playing titles that this game does well. Perhaps there will be more to discover in the full release, as the demo space of my preview was limited to only one small section of the open-world environment. While I would have liked to be able to interact with other characters and explore further areas as our protagonist Aloy, I feel that I’ve been given a satisfying taste and am excited to see how the full game turns out.

While Guerilla Games are best known for their FPS Killzone series, Horizon Zero Dawn is a refreshing and brave new idea on their part. Like so many successful RPGs, I believe this one will thrive within the Playstation community.