H is for Horizon Zero Dawn

After God of War came out, I decided that both the quantity and quality of PlayStation exclusives had hit critical mass, and I splurged on a PS4 Pro. Even though Dad of War is what pushed me over the edge, I was arguably most excited about Horizon Zero Dawn. Badass female protagonist fighting giant robot dinosaurs. How could you go wrong? Short answer: you can’t.

Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a post apocalyptic civilization where technology is mostly wiped out, and any remaining components are scarce and feared. The first hour or so of the game introduces you to the protagonist Aloy, her plight as an outcast of her tribe, as well as her fascination with the forbidden and alluring artifacts of the Old Ones. If I wasn’t sold from the outset, this first hour grabbed me and the game sunk it’s teeth in deep.

The story is engaging, and the gameplay and combat mechanics are as well. There’s a plethora of weapons and weapon types available to Aloy, and HZD does a good job of introducing them and teaching you how to use them in ways that feel organic to the story. Not only is combat fluid, but it makes you feel extra powerful when you take on a robot saber tooth tiger 10 times your own size. And that’s just in the first couple hours of the game!

The main quest line is engrossing and there are plenty of (mostly good) sidequests for the completionists out there. I’m just shy of 20 hours into the game already, and I’d estimate I’m less than halfway through, based on map completion, not counting the Frozen Wilds expansion. There’s definitely plenty of content here.

While it is a single player experience, my wife specifically asked me to plug the watchability of HZD as a spectator. The game is gorgeous, regardless of graphical settings, and the photo mode is exquisite. I realize I’m late to the game here, but there are tons of examples of great quality in game photography, and it’s super easy to get beautiful shots in a short amount of time.

If you have a PS4 and don’t have Horizon Zero Dawn yet, you should absolutely buy it. (Especially since Sony is doing a sale during E3!) If you don’t have a PS4, go buy one and then play this game. I’m mostly kidding about that last part, but also kind of not; it’s that good. Until next time, may your robot dinosaur fights be epic!

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