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Horizon : The limit of a person’s mental perception, experience, or interest.

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    Horizon Zero Dawn

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Horizon : The limit of a person’s mental perception, experience, or interest.

    The title of this review is one of the dictionary’s definitions of the word "Horizon"… and the one which aptly conveys the nature of the game itself. It is a very well crafted story of civilization’s demise and subsequent rebirth as told through the eyes and experiences of one of its inhabitants. By the time the story unfolds, you almost feel a part of this tribal culture, understanding why and how it functions, what its pains and agonies have been and will become, and why such a cautionary tale seems all too likely to happen. Let us begin with the strongest part of the game :


    The story in Horizon is exceptional. Told through ‘datapoints’, audio logs, and story exposition unearthed by the main character, you begin to slowly understand the sequence of events which led to the present narrative. You really feel emotionally invested in the events as they unfold. People who you care for are killed. Cities you marveled at are destroyed. Even your faithful steed ( whom you can capture ), gives their life battling creatures three times their size in order to aid you. I won’t go into detail so as to allow you to experience the story for yourselves, but it is definitely one of the best I have seen in a video game. This brings us to another of the game’s strong points :


    Remember when Guerilla Games came out with "Killzone" for the PS2? The broken promises of that effort were blamed on technical shortcomings of the hardware and the issues which cropped up during gameplay. Well, I am happy to announce that the PS4 version of "Horizon-ZD" is absolutely gorgeous to behold. The scenery in the game comes to life, delivering stunning vistas off mountains and towers, and as well the little effects such as blowing grass or rustling leaves make it seem like you are immersed in a living, breathing landscape. Likewise, the elemental effects such as fire, electricity, and freezing are conveyed very nicely throughout the 80+ hour campaign. My only gripe here was with the in-close camera, which sometimes would block your vision ( and therefore your bow aiming capability ), especially in heavily wooded areas. Later in the game, when you are faced with flying enemies, this can be extremely frustrating (and deadly !). A minor complaint, but one I hope is addressed in any sequel. The next area of review is the :


    The sound work in "Horizon:ZD" is top notch. The lead actors, including Lance Reddick from the "Fringe" TV series, do an amazing job conveying the story. Ashly Burch, who did incredible work as Tiny Tina in "Borderlands 2" (funniest lines in the entire game!), voices the main character Aloy ( whose name made me think of the "Eloi" in the Time Machine movies – primitives from a post-apocalyptic world of their own). She comes across as believable, curious, and truly astonished as she uncovers the secrets of her world and her place within it. You are given dialogue choices at times, but they are few and far between, and really don’t seem to change the course of the narrative much. As for the ambient sounds, they are equally well done. The barely audible mosquito … the grunts of the boars … the rustling of the grass … all convey a living, breathing eco-sphere around you. Audio clues also play an importance regarding combat, as you can hear some nearby behemoth or ravager, but still cannot determine their precise location. The final section of this review is regarding the :


    What can I say? I always judge a great game on its ability to make me want to play AFTER I’ve defeated the final boss. "Horizon" gives you a lot to do after the final bell. There are relics from a forgotten explorer to find, vantage points to discover which give you an audio or visual glimpse into the past civilization of the "Old Ones". Metallic Flowers which give you poems of a whimsical nature, or Stranded relics inside the dilapidated ruins of the ancient civilization. The benefits you receive for these are minimal, but they add character and life to the stories being told. As for the combat in the game, it delivers as well. As you find power-ups for your equipment (called modifications), you really do begin to feel like a jungle/desert bad-ass. Enemies you once ran from (as fast as possible!) are now cannon fodder beneath your feet. By no means is the game easy on you though, as even in normal difficulty you will die a lot (especially in the beginning).


    "Horizon:Zero Dawn" is a great game and a welcome addition to any gamers library. It has its flaws, but those are mainly superficial and temporary in nature. It presents a compelling and dramatic storyline throughout, always investing the player further into its tale of mankind’s fall and subsequent rebirth. Final Score : 4.5 out of 5

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