IMPRESSIONS: 'Horizon: Zero Dawn’
MANILA, Philippines – When I first got my quick hands on with Horizon: Zero Dawn during E3, I was excited for this game. In summary, I thought it was a beautiful game with a bizarre world and slick combat. However, after playing the first 2 hours at a recent preview event, I now cannot wait to get my hands on it.
Horizon: Zero Dawn isn’t just another game set within a beautiful backdrop.
It’s a journey of discovery in a fascinating post-apocalyptic world we have not seen before. And we’re seeing this through the eyes of someone who could possibly be the best written female lead character in a video game. Yes, all of this I realized within the first 2 hours of the game.
Like many, I first became curious of the game because of its unique world where animal-like machines roam. To later know that this isn’t just an alien planet but our world after the apocalypse made me more invested. In Guerilla Games’ iteration of a post-apocalyptic world, nature thrives while technologically advanced machines roam the earth. Meanwhile, humans have clustered into tribes and have learned to treat these machines with respect while revering nature as well.
So far I’ve only seen three species of the machines but each of them have distinct differences. Despite being machines, they act more like the animals featured on National Geographic. Two of the machines I’ve met, the Watcher and the Strider, display a symbiotic relationship where one species watches over the other in case of prey. The Striders mostly run away when you get too close, but twice I’ve had a Strider attack me instead. These machines feel quite alive and organic, making the hunt more enjoyable.
There’s still talk of the world before the apocalypse and there are even traces of it. But while the outside environment is painted with the lush foliage and the bright hues of the machines, the traces of the old world are dull and lifeless, with only the hints of the technology of the time giving it neon colors. This symbolic contrast drew me in and made me ask questions – questions that hopefully Aloy, the heroine, will find the answers to.
Hunting bio-mechanical beasts
While the world is fascinating already, the gameplay also makes it more fun to explore. There’s much to unpack in this game but for now I want to focus on hunting. In the beginning, you are given an ample array of tools which you can build on as you play. This arsenal, and how the environment is set up allows you to approach the hunt in any way you prefer. You can duck under the bushes, or rain arrows from the treetops above. You can even set up traps or lure machines for a deadlier melee strike.
I’ve only spent 2 hours playing as her but already I could see that she has a lot of potential. Many female characters in video games now have more depth in their stories and personalities, but Aloy feels a little more real. There are a lot of layers to her personality that she actually feels more human and less like a boxed character. “Strong” just isn’t enough to describe her. She’s curious, stubborn, a go-getter, and many more. I am excited to see how she grows and with such a promising start to the story I am hoping she and the narrative delivers.
Are you as excited as I am for Horizon: Zero Dawn? The game will finally be released on February 28, 2017 exclusively for the PlayStation 4. – Rappler.com