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Horizon Zero Dawn – Complete Edition

Horizon Zero Dawn – Complete Edition

In 2017, Guerilla Games, known for the Killzone series, surprised friends and foes with Horizon Zero Dawn for the Playstation 4. A massive open-world game set after an apocalyptic event far in the future. The result is that man is once again moving into a kind of prehistoric times where bow and arrow are one of the most important weapons and mechanical animals are in charge. These are the remnants of a time before this drama and man still had access to high-tech gadgets. The big question is what exactly happened that allowed this to happen. You take on the role of Aloy, a pariah doomed to live in the wild and ignored by her own tribe. She has no parents and she was raised by another pariah and kind of father figure, Rost. Why is everyone so secretive about Aloy’s mother and why is she a pariah? So Aloy is looking for answers and in order to get them it is important that she makes sure that she is no longer a pariah and is accepted by her tribe. Through an ordeal with a number of other youngsters, she is able to work her way up to a “Brave”, a name for the soldiers of the tribe. Rost makes sure you get to know all the dangers of the wild and prepares you for this challenge. During this ordeal, they are attacked by an unknown enemy who has the power to control and use the world’s mechanical animals in the fight against Aloy’s tribe. And although these are essentially just robots, Guerilla knows how to make the world in such a way that you really feel that these are living animals and almost feel sorry for them. It’s up to you to track down and stop this enemy.

Bigger and better

People have already been able to enjoy this adventure on the Playstation and now Guerilla is also bringing this exclusive to PC. Not entirely coincidentally after the announcement of Horizon Forbidden West for Playstation 5. This is a nice way to attract an even larger audience for this successor, a trend that we see more and more and that is only positive for PC gamers. The big advantage of this release on PC is that the game is no longer limited to 30fps and the graphics are much better. In addition, the expansion Frozen Wilds is also included in the package, which adds a new story, new quests and an extra region to the base game. A great open world game, with a huge amount of content and all this playable in 60 fps. What could go wrong?

For the most part: little. This is an open-world game that tells an impressive story that grips you from start to finish. Aloy is an iconic character who, like you, is wondering what the **** happened in this world and looking for answers. By means of a “wheel” you start conversations with the different NPCs in Horizon. With this wheel you can choose in which way you answer, a well thought out way, an aggressive way or you give an answer in which you keep the peace. Ultimately, this doesn’t have much impact on the gameplay or the storyline, but it does create a certain involvement with the characters and world. In terms of gameplay, Horizon is an open-world game like many others. You have a main mission and around it a large world with many side missions, each with its own story. You collect different flowers and branches where you can make weapons and armor. In 2020 this feels a bit like “been there, done that” but the world is so well made and the combat is so fluid that this is easy to forgive. Your main weapons are bow and arrow and your spear, with bow and arrow being the most fun to play with. Every mechanical opponent has a weak spot. Shooting in the eye or aiming at certain parts of their bodies does significant damage and you see the parts of their bodies pop off. In addition, use the temporary time delay mode and you can enjoy it. As a bonus, you will also receive a special weapon during the game that you can use to set traps. With this weapon you shoot at two different points creating a tripwire between which you can temporarily disable the enemy when he walks into it. And when you come face to face with a gigantic mechanical T-rex, you like to make use of this.

Known elements

In addition to your weapons, you of course have different skills in which you can throw points. You have four different branches to choose from depending on your playing style. You have a branch to get even better with your bow and arrow but also a branch that mainly focuses on using your spear. To really cross all the standard RPG open-world elements, there is also enough loot for you to pick up to get better weapons and armor, which in turn provides new bonuses. The appearance of the armors in particular are very well made. Like the world, these contain a mix of modern technology and older materials such as leather and fabric.

Speaking of modern technology, in 2017 this was already an impressive game graphically on the Playstation, but what is conjured up on your screen with the PC version is extremely impressive, where the music also contributes to this. Where many open-world games have to deal with an empty world in which parts feel unnecessary and boring, Horizon does not suffer from this. Guerilla has created a world where every nook and cranny is beautiful. Animals are everywhere, mechanical and flesh and blood. Trees, grass and shrubs sway slowly in the wind and there are plenty of ruins scattered around the map to explore. The mix of the high technology of the “old” world and the wooden camps of the present works perfectly together and is rich in detail. What has not aged well are the animations. It is obvious that in cutscenes these animations have remained at 30 fps, making facial expressions and even just walking NPCs very wooden. This ensures that during an emotional scene you pay more attention to the laughable animations than being sucked into the story. Especially after playing The Last of Us 2, where this is very strong, this is quite disappointing. But as soon as you walk through the world again, you immediately forget this because of the beautiful views and fantastic music.

Not optimal

All this splendor comes with a price. Horizon’s optimization is anything but optimal. There are many complaints from people that the game doesn’t run properly or crashes regularly. Even after the heavy day-one patch of 35GB, there are still many problems. I myself haven’t had a crash after many hours of playing, but I do have trouble staying above 60 fps in the world, let alone in Mother’s Heart, the capital of Aloy’s tribe. With an above-average system that I have, this should not happen. Guerilla has already indicated that they will work on this and I have full confidence that they will solve these problems.

It is clear that this port has an absolute right to exist. Horizon Zero Dawn was already impressive on the Playstation and still is on PC. But it is clear that the gameplay has become outdated quickly in those three years. It ticks off all the open world game elements we’ve seen so many times over the years that this port shouldn’t have come out a year later either. It is a pity that the animations are not of a high standard and that the optimization still needs to be improved. Fortunately, these shortcomings can be remedied with patches, but they should be included in the conclusion at this point. Ultimately, it is mainly the combat, graphics and the overall setting that make this an absolute must, but for the successor Forbidden West they will have to come up with some more original gameplay elements.

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Author: Daan Nijboer | Genre: Action | Release: 07-08-2020 | Publisher: Guerrilla Games | Developer: Guerrilla GamesGraphics: 9.0 † Sound: 9.0 † Gameplay: 7.0 † Controls: 8.0 † Playback: 8.0 8.2+ Very beautiful world+ Combat never gets boring+ Good story- Gameplay not original anymore- Optimization is mediocre- Animations at 30 fps