Horizon Zero Dawn Review

25 Jul

When Horizon: Zero Dawn came out, it was a game I originally wrote off after I played a few hours of it. Again, this was because of personal issues with the game, but as I came to realize, I was not playing the game on Story or Easy mode. Normal was a lot harder than I gave it credit for. The robot dinosaurs were far worse than I thought. It’s hard to process what a game is when you are playing the game on a high difficulty. I encourage anyone to play a game on its story or light mode first, to get the trophies and finish it for the story. This was my mistake and I’m not the best person to recommend most games. 

A budget and a bias exist in my purview. There are a lot of games and books I pick up later that allows me to give the book a “classic status” or even recommendation. The problem is that I gave up on Horizon: Zero Dawn too early because even on Normal, the game is extremely tough. The first play through of a game, for me, now, is on a fun easy playthrough, but always in a moderate level, unless it’s really demanding. Playing a game and reviewing it is new for me, but I am always improving on reviews or essays about games and my experiences with them.

With Horizon Zero Dawn, the problem is very clear. The voice acting is awful, and the delivery on what should be very impactful writing is undersold, and some delivery is well done, but it’s very off when it comes to being angry. The graphics are amazing and truly set a bar I didn’t expect to appreciate. The story is a mixture of all the games that have come before. Assassin’s Creed (open world and parkour), Last of Us (female protagonist), and a bit of spooky woo of a villain, Hades, that could have had a better more creative name and it would have worked perfectly on its own. Also Disney’s Brave. Aloy’s father dies too, but an argument could be made that he died more heroically, but then again, it has been quite a few years with games that have studied the father and daughter schema.  

The story is about Aloy, who is given the task of stopping the villainous machines, Hades, as she finds out that she is a clone of a character, Elizabeth Sobek, who stopped the machines 350,000 years ago. After she stumbles on a small Focus, an ear piece like device, that teaches her about the world. The mainline story is interesting as the quest to avenge her fallen Nora at a proving were attacked, a tribal ritual for the young Nora to be apart of the small tribe, is forced by her father to join, even though she is an outcast by the village for not having a mother. This seems like it was borrowed from other material to make a story that was already told before, but the rest of the quest seems like it falls in line with other campaigns from other games. 

The open world and graphics are the reason to play the game, but the dialogue deliver can be easily changed (and Aloy gets bristly in the DLC pack, the Winter ). It’s a game that follows in the skills of many other better games, but the lack of a charisma in Aloy, even in her most angry moments, reminds me of the days when Master Chief had more personality than her. Granted you can make the character as complex as you like, and that is rather stunning for an open world RPG. The choice to make Aloy a total shit person or a good person, has a nice flair to it, but the voice delivery is the weakness that cripples the game play. You can skip past it or hear it, but if Sylen’s is more calm than my character, I immediately thought he was the villain. Villains can help out hero’s too, but why did it feel so predictable by the end of the game. Sylen’s is the best character out of everyone, including Aloy. 

Maybe Guerilla has a thing for red heads or was wildly fucked by one and this is their interpretation of Disney’s Brave in a sci-fi world? Again, this would be a great game if it didn’t have a rather bland voice delivery in Horizon: Zero Dawn. The good news is, there is a sequel and it needs to find a better villain or the series won’t survive. Is it a masterpiece? No, but the world can help the future of the series survive. 

If you buy the complete edition, you get the Frozen Wilds DLC. As it turns out, there are varied other machines that Aloy finds as she moves through the wintry wilderness, the quests in it already feel the same like the rest of the story, and it seems like they didn’t even try to make it different. It’s hard to like this game when it doesn’t seem to want to try anything new. This is what I came to realize now once I replayed it and finished the game. I don’t like to give out opinions on games that I don’t finish. People work on artistic endeavors and it’s hard to just say, “Maybe I just didn’t get this.” It’s happened to me when people reviewed my work, and they over analyze it.  

The final verdict: Graphics and open world do not save this game when the voice delivery in game play is far more as important as writing. The writing is very well done, but the voice acting is atrocious. Even when Aloy is angry.

Final Verdict: 5/10 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: