Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4).

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a bold attempt by the Dutch studio to break out of the chains of the Killzone series Guerrilla Games created. Why brave? Because the weakest element of their games has always been the plot, even if the world created for the entire series was great. And in Horizon, history is to play the first fiddle, supplemented by gameplay that we wanted to sell as an RPG with an open world. But don’t get carried away. Horizon: Zero Dawn He is not an RPG.

So what exactly Horizon: Zero Dawn is if not the upcoming RPG? Nothing more than an open-world title to which some more or less successful aspects of the RPG genre have been added. If I had to specify it, I would describe Aloy’s adventures as a mix of popular and praised elements in other games that were borrowed, mixed, polished and thrown into one package. So we have a detective mode known from the adventures of Batman or the third Witcher, there are many different types of collectibles, we are taking over bandit camps (series Far Cry) and we discover places that reveal the area to us (in fact, it’s every open world from Ubi). In addition, the direction of dialogues and the selection wheel of questions from Bioware games, RPG aspects such as side quests, limited character development, a skill tree or creating items from found rubbish a’la Rise of The Tomb RaiderHorizon: Zero Dawn is an example of a safe game that presents itself very well in its category, but when someone asks me in 10 years about the titles that defined the current generation of consoles – games Guerrilla Games I will not mention. Which does not mean that I didn’t like the production of the Dutch.

Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

On the contrary. Horizon: Zero Dawn the vast majority of elements have been refined enough that even if you are not a fan of open-world games, you will not turn your nose anyway. A few years of creating and listening to what irritates in sandbox games has resulted in many mechanisms that support each other to minimize the boredom that comes from exploring the huge world. Collecting garbage to create something new? Instead, we can complete the task and receive a supply chest. Or buy it. Discovering the world? Either we use the Giraffe, or we discover the map ourselves by the way, and we can mark the collectibles by buying very cheap maps from merchants. It is similar with side quests that do not do madness in this production. The vast majority of them are based on the mechanics of Aloy seeing more due to the Focus he has, so we play the detective running on the tracks, alternating it with fighting robo-animals or jumping on rock ledges. For this reason, in order not to bore us with repetition, side tasks have been limited quantitatively to a minimum. There are 2-4 such missions per location, some of them a bit longer than others, and they can be treated as mini-story missions that have some impact on the story. Small, but they have.

And how is the plot itself? I had serious concerns about her. A guy who had his fingers in the game was hired Fallout: New Vegas, but still – behind the title were people who previously made Killzone, a series with a fantastic world created for their own needs, which never once managed to make sense. IN Horizon: Zero Dawn it is much better. The created world is just as fantastic, but finally we managed to do something about it and write a story that is not stupid, predictable or tiring. In fact, we even had a turn of events, during which I did not have to nod my head with pity! If you were worried about the world created by Guerrill and asked yourself what kind of law robo-dinosaurs run around the world, and not very developed people live in harmony with nature, then… everything explains over time. And believe it – it has arms and legs. It is so reliable that you do not have the impression of any stretched theories just to explain something. The stories going somewhere on the side, parallel to the main plot, stand out a bit from this, but they do not affect the perception of the whole. It is a bit worse with Aloy herself, who looks like an incredibly interesting heroine on paper, but in fact she just… is. Sometimes he is irritating, sometimes he has glimpses of well-written moments, but most of the time he is just there and for his role he does not stand out much. Guerrill’s attempts to mark its rebellious character influencing the action could delight me if I started playing games a year ago and did not have too high requirements for a production with such a large budget.

Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

When we put Aloy with all the other side characters, then our heroine shines like the brightest star, but this only shows how mediocre the side characters are. And here the matter is not made easier by the Polish version of the game, which is incredibly uneven. The voices themselves aren’t a big problem, because it’s just correct here. The technical layer causes problems. First of all – I often came across situations in which the Polish spoken text ended, but the character kept moving his mouth for a few seconds, so the whole scene stood still. Second – some of the dialogues are simply poorly translated. However, the problematic situation is compounded by the most serious objection I have against Horizon – directing dialogues. It is just terrible. It looks as if people from Guerrilla they decided to their dialogue idea and then spoil it. Strangely cut scenes, a camera showing us a different shot for a few moments, only to return to the previous one in a moment, unnecessary close-ups of the faces of the characters with whom we talk … After a few hours, it pissed me off that if it were not for the fact that I had to review the game after all , I’d like to skip EVERY dialogue. Because it is beyond your head how you can spoil one of the most important elements of the game. In general, if before the premiere you saw material with a certain cut-scene, which most players laughed at, believe me – such dialogues are the order of the day here. And if someone looked first at the rating and then started on the text, it is at this point that they will understand why I could not rate the game higher.

So what is it wrong? Is not. Fortunately, where the game is ailing, the game comes to the rescue, which takes all the problems on the shoulders and copes with them very well, making for 27 hours (because it took me so long to finish the game and make over 80% of the entire content) I didn’t feel material fatigue. The exploration of this huge map without loading screens is fun. He is happy because the game is beautiful in terms of technical aspects. This is due to the amazing variety of fauna and places, the lack of any locations where we would have empty fields or meaningfully hide collectibles that would add something to the story of the game world. And the fact that the world itself is alive. Just. Bandits run over it, mechanical animals react to each other, and there are interspecies fights on a daily basis, in which we can get involved if we want. AI is good even at lower difficulty levels, which goes well with the fact that we can sneak to avoid open confrontation with our enemies. The game gives us a lot of room to show off, encouraging you to complete additional dungeons, in which we can unlock the option of controlling stronger beasts. It does not spoil the balance of the game, because we will be able to master these strongest creatures only at the end of the game for the simple fact – on the lower level it will be difficult to defeat the guard of such a Cauldron.

Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

In addition to stealth, of course, we have a normal fight, which consists of part done well and part completely kicked. Being critical, I’ll start with what’s broken – close-range combat. It’s just unintuitive and it pisses you off. Jumping at opponents was taken from Batman’s adventures, but we don’t have that fluidity here. And the camera is definitely too close to comprehend what happens when we fight a larger group or at least a slightly larger opponent. The only sensible option is to fight at a distance, using a bow (we have several types with different uses), a bomb-spitting slingshot or a rope thrower and a device for setting traps. Fighting with a bow makes sense as well, as the game promotes it, allowing you to destroy individual elements of your opponents. This gives an opportunity to damage them and limit their combat abilities, which is essential in the later stages if we want to survive. Because you can’t play the whole game quietly. Even if we develop our heroine in this direction using one of the skill trees or by putting appropriate improvements into weapons and armor (because this is what the game also features – as I wrote earlier, Horizon has RPG elements, but is not an RPG.) However, skill trees do have an impact on how we play through the first part of the adventure, as we’ll eventually develop everything anyway. We also don’t have mutually exclusive abilities here.

An interesting style of the game will undoubtedly be to focus on taking control of the robots so that they fight by our side. Despite the need to regenerate this ability, we are able to create a small army that will fight alongside us in a given place … or we will use it to get our horse and move around the map faster. However, fast travel is equally convenient because it is lightning fast. When we travel within one region, loading the map takes a few seconds (and the same after death). If we want to get to the other end of the map, we wait a little longer, about thirty seconds, but it’s still incredibly little, if we take into account what I have already written – after loading the map does not read at all. No loading screens between locations, no clipping, no pop-up objects … nothing. Technically, this game is a masterpiece. Beautiful graphics, huge viewing distance, constant 30 frames per second without drops in fluency, plus character models that differ from each other and it is easy to distinguish other races. A Negro looks like a Negro, not a white person whose skin color is quickly changed. And this music. You’ve probably heard the main theme more than once. And you’ll agree (I hope) it’s great. It is the same with the other songs. My strong candidate is definitely the best soundtrack of this generation.

Review: Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

So if you like open world games, you’ll fall in love with Horizon: Zero Dawn, because such a beautiful and polished game in this genre has not yet been. But please don’t look for an RPG in it, because it will hurt when you don’t find it. Guerrilla has shown that in addition to creating the world, they can also write an interesting story, even when the characters circling around her are not quite successful. Where the things of telling a successful story are ailing, there is great gameplay that will make you forget about the problems and have a great time.

The game was reviewed on PS4 Pro