I haven't done one of these posts for a long time. Nearly 2 years in fact! But i felt it fitting to do one for Horizon Zero Dawn as, for me, this is one of the greatest titles on the PS4 and probably the best new ip on the system. I certainly can't think of any offhand.
I wanted this game as soon as it was announced. Guerrilla previously made the Killzone series which I was largely a fan of, but this is a style very far away from futuristic space based FPSs. We're in a post-apocalyptic world bizarrely populated by both tribal-style humans and advanced machines & technology. When i saw the initial trailers I had no idea how this would work. But it does, it genuinely does. The story - if you're prepared to put in the effort - is incredibly complex and works well. There's a mass of backstory available, in addition to the main storyline scenes, available through side-quests, conversations, text data points & audio logs (the latter two being optional collectibles scattered throughout the game world). Not everything is required to platinum this game, but if want that 100% completion you'll need to find EVERYTHING. I have completed the game & got the platinum at the same time. This is a first as usually there are some stupid extra conditions to meet to get trophies for a platinum, but not here. This one can be gotten by purely playing the game as intended & just being thorough as you go. Quite satisfying really. My percentage completion was around 96% as I missed a few data logs scattered about after a play time of over 62 hours. Almost everything else is automatically added to your map.
At first, i wasn't sure where my opinion was going when i started playing. I was overawed by the game world & options available. I didn't take to the main characters, Aloy in particular had to grow on me. Maybe that's the point? I'm not sure. Some of the side characters i met were extremely annoying or just plain dull & the lip-syncing on one or two rare occasions was distractingly bad. But that was all minor in the grand scheme of things. I died quite a bit which I found quite frustrating, until i got used to the unique weaponry and combat necessities when taking on the machines. That said, I found the weapons tutorials rather late I must admit... But in the end I loved the ranged combat. I relied heavily on the bow & different arrow types, with trip wires for the larger enemies types (of which there are quite a few). The close up combat was fairly weak though, probably an area that could be improved on. Several other weapons are available, but I just felt I didn't need them. Having such a choice of options was great though. And I haven't mentioned the stealth element. You don't have to play it Assassin's Creed style, but it definitely helps in tougher battles to plan your attack & start from the long grass by taking out weaker enemies quietly at first.
It's a stunning looking game. A very beautiful game world of all types of location from dry desert through rainforest to snowy mountain tops. All are lovingly created & i found myself utilising the in-game photo mode at times! Traversing this vast diverse world is no problem at all once you get into the game. Once you visit areas, campfires litter the landscape as fast travel points in addition to having an ability to ride some machines as well. Climbing is very easy, Uncharted &/or Assassin's Creed style & coming down from a height (intentionally at least) is great fun. Unintentionally is less so!
I could witter about this outstanding title till the Broadheads come home, but alas I won't. Personally I think HZD is an essential PS4 title. It's up there as one of the best titles the system has to offer. A solid 9/10. What stops this getting a 10 is purely an addition of the minor annoyances which only slightly tarnished the full experience for me - the slightly bland overall characterisation, some poor dialogue (& excessive at times) & the weak close combat mechanic.
But I still love it.