While back when the first concept art was leaked I can’t say I had an opinion on it.
So, after PlayStation’s big reveal of Horizon: Zero Dawn at this year’s E3, I’m happy to say I will be both following this one closely and have formed a rather positive view on this upcoming title.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is a new IP open world action RPG coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4 and is under development by Guerrilla Games, due for release some time in 2016. After the initial trailer reveal at PlayStation’s E3 Conference, I was already intrigued and excited by the ideas presented by this title.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is another post-apocalyptic game. While this genre is not exactly a new idea and easily a very over done concept, Horizon: Zero Dawn has managed to put a very captivating and fresh twist on it.
Many of these style games focus on the world not long after the apocalyptic events. Horizon Zero Dawn takes it to a whole new level by focusing on a world, not a couple of years or even a centuries but a Millennium post the apocalypse. With the elapse of time numerous things have changed and evolved in this rise of a new era.
Humans, while starting back at the cave man like age, have begun to develop and adapt to this strange new world where mechanized creatures have become the dominant species and roam the landscape. Using almost primitive weapons and contraptions, humans have managed to survive and use what these machine-like animals have to offer.
We were introduced to Aloy, who is a hunter for her tribe. She has been tasked to retrieve special canisters from a particular species named Grazers. The canisters contain special biofuel that her people use in their everyday life. Here is where the demo started.
The stealth element, while seemingly not the main focus of combat, seemed to still allow players different approaches to their hunting expeditions. Creatures called Watchers did as their name implies, watch for enemies, and this instance can cause some trouble. One particular enemy is apparently not dangerous but it will alert other creatures of your presence which can cause a danger of its own.
The developers said that there are numerous creatures like this that each do and play different roles, each with varying intelligence and links with other creatures. It almost has a Monster Hunter feel to it, requiring a higher strategic level of combat where you need to learn about your prey, discover its weakness and exploit it.
Creatures seem to be a pinnacle part of the game as they also provide numerous resources that can be collected and then used to craft all manner of new equipment and items.
The only items on display at this point was Aloy’s bow and another contraption, the Rope Caster which allowed Aloy to set up traps and even help restrain creatures. The bow has three types of ammo, from the normal armour piercing to stun and explosive shots. Each can be crafted on the run as you collect the resources to do so.
All beasts have lootable items and we were told that the items available can depend on how you took down the creature. For instance if you blew up the thing, you weren’t likely to obtain much usable items from it. If you strategically brought down some monstrosity you were likely to get a much better haul from it.
They only showcased one environment but reassured me there will be many environment types to explore, from deserts to jungles. I really enjoyed the unique and contrasting skyline of a mountain range with backdrops of now ancient skyscrapers. It really captured my imagination and gave me a sense of intrigue.
While not too much was given away as far as the story goes. The main focus will be on revealing the true nature of the apocalypse and the what and why from all of those centuries ago. The game will focus on single player but there were some hints to a small social aspect with no further explanation as to what that might mean.
I am very impressed with gameplay, art style and ideas Horizon: Zero Dawn has to offer.
Of all the new IPs, this is the one I’m looking most forward to. I do sincerely hope it delivers on and does even more than this small showcase promises to do.