Opinion: PlayStation 4’s new ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ is all the rage

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Opinion: PlayStation 4’s new ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ is all the rage

The games main character, Aloy, and one of the many machines you fight throughout the game.

The games main character, Aloy, and one of the many machines you fight throughout the game.

The games main character, Aloy, and one of the many machines you fight throughout the game.

The games main character, Aloy, and one of the many machines you fight throughout the game.

Many developers have tried their hand at open-world/sandbox games, some have succeeded, but most have failed. The first ever game to set the standard for open-world games to come was developer Rockstar Game’sGrand Theft Auto 3.” It was the first full 3D open-world game that really felt like you were able to do whatever you want, however you want.

While many tried to improve on it, even more just copied it. This leads to most new open-world games being ether boring with nothing to do, or way to similar to their predecessors. “Horizon Zero Dawn,” released on February 28, either borrows or improves on a lot of features that some of the best open-world games have used in the past and manages to carve out its own identity from the rest. It’s currently the best-looking game on the PS4, has fun and meaningful side quests, and has one of the best-designed open worlds out there.

Set in a future that has humans set back in the stone ages and giant, mechanical animals roam the open fields, you play as a young girl named Aloy. Born an outcast to her home tribe, she trains to earn her place as a much bigger mystery starts to unravel. Early on in the game, her tribe comes under attack by  bandits that have the ability to control the wild machines. This sets Aloy on an adventure to figure out where the machines are coming from, as well as why she has been an outcast all her life.

While the story leave the player curious, the combat is this game’s main focus. From fighting the horse-shaped “Striders” to the giant spider-like “Corruptors,” every machine fights in a unique way. Smaller machines like the deer-shaped “grazers” travel in packs and tend to run from Aloy instead of fighting, while the large ones will have a variety of weapons at their disposal and try to aggressively attack her. The fast-paced combat is fun and exciting with an emphasis on dodging and counter-attacking.

Aloy’s trusty bow and spear are her main weapons of choice, but they aren’t always enough to take down the biggest and baddest machines. A large number of weapons are available throughout the game. Elemental arrows can be crafted to exploit weaknesses, electric rope traps can be used to stun the machines in place, and a sling can lob frost bombs to weaken the metal armor of the beasts. With multiple rarities and upgrades for each one of them, it leads to numerous variations as the game progresses.

The game does have a small handful of problems. The dialogue can sometimes come off as cheesy or out of place, far away landscapes can fade in and out, breaking the immersion a little, but the biggest problem is with the human AI. Along with the machines, there are also enemy tribesmen that Aloy fights. These enemies are the most generic and boring parts of the game. They also tend to get stuck on the environment quite often and aren’t smart at all when engaging in combat with Aloy. They either stand still and wait for the player to shoot them, or they predictably charge straight at player. The developers put all their time into the machine’s AI and almost none of it into the humans.

With an engaging story, strong female lead, and intense combat, it becomes very hard to put the controller down. Incredibly designed feral machines and landscapes with mysterious origins keeps the player wanting to discover more and more about where they came from and why they are there. This game is recommended to anyone that owns a PS4 and if you’re looking for a reason to buy one, “Horizon Zero Dawn” is a great one.

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