WOOOO! Horizon Zero Dawn – WHAT A GAME! This, so far, is my game of the year for 2017 (which says a lot considering there are so many great games popping around every day lately it seems). As a lifelong fan of Tomb Raider (an unhealthy obsession actually, but we’ll just stick with fan), it comes as no surprise that I simply adore a good female lead in a game. However, until fairly recent, it was pretty rare to find a game with a female lead, let alone a GOOD game. Sadly some companies blamed female leads as “not selling well” as a cover up for their games just plain being not up to par, and some have even stated that making games with female leads was a risk. Having said that, I have so much appreciation for the game companies who still continue to create games with female lead characters (and prove those statements wrong that they can be awesome and successful games) – it’s very inspiring to me and I can’t help but be more drawn to games with a female protagonist. But I digress, I can talk about this for days – perhaps this will make for another blog post or YouTube video.
Moving on! After completing Horizon Zero Dawn on my stream, and getting the Platinum Trophy and 100% completion, I think it’s safe to say I adore the game. Thankfully others loved it too, as it has turned out to be a huge success! THIS MEANS MORE HORIZON GAMES IN THE…. umm… horizon? YAY!!! So what exactly do I think would make the sequel even better and more perfect? WELLLLLLL….
First I’m going to start with the main character. Aloy was honestly the absolute perfect lead role for Zero Dawn. Her wit and badassery had me cheering her on every time she made a savage comment toward the people who really deserved it, but at the same time she was also a compassionate person who helped many in need. It was really nice to see such a well developed character with many sides to her, JUST LIKE A REAL PERSON YA KNOW! And can we just talk about her design?! That red hair tho – flawless. I love how she is both beautiful yet “real” at the same time. I couldn’t help but notice that when she talks, you can see her bottom teeth are a little crooked. The little details like that are incredible. However, much to my worry, there have been some articles floating around saying that the next Horizon game may have another lead character. Guerrilla Games have created an incredible universe with opportunities to showcase more of the characters they have created. IF they do use another character I can understand it, but I’ll be honest, I’d much prefer to see Aloy again. With how well her character was fleshed out in Zero Dawn, I imagine she would be even more so in ongoing games as they would essentially “get to know” their creation more and more as time goes into new games. As it stands now, Aloy could very much be a big icon for Playstation. LET HER BE PLZ! More Aloy; I can’t get enough.
Moving on to one of Horizon Zero Dawn’s greatest strengths, the massive open world. It is gorgeous, and they keep it fresh by having different climates from a sunny desert (looks like where I live lololol), to dense forests, to snowy mountains. If the next map is anything as glorious as this one, I’ll be stoked. Digging deeper, however, I do feel there is room for improvement regarding the exploration. While there were tons of collectibles scattered around and some sweet cauldrons, I feel they could have given a lot more substance in this department. The traversal in general is very limited, relying on ropes and ledges that are very few and far between, and when you find them you know it automatically HAS to be the right way to go. That in itself makes the game, while open world, feel kind of linear at times. I also am not a big fan of the free climbing – essentially pushing a button while the character does all the traversal on her own. There’s something about manual maneuvering mechanics that feel more gratifying and immersive. Making the environment more interactive with climbing and jumping around would definitely be a massive plus for a future installment. I could easily see myself putting in a butt-ton more hours just in climbing random mountains to get some rad screenshots in photo mode (AMAZING feature by the way, I lived for it).
Something that easily could have been my absolute favorite part of the game, and that still is up there for me, are the cauldrons. The Tomb Raider in me had me glowing every time I entered one, but unfortunately I left them feeling a little dissatisfied. The cauldron paths are pretty straightforward and linear, and there isn’t a lot of thought once you enter them. Personally, I would love to see the cauldrons become something similar to a tomb we see in Tomb Raider, for example. Imagine having an open cauldron that you explore, find your own route, collect things, fight things, and have to solve a tricky puzzle to unlock! I think that would be amaaaazing and would add a lot more game time (although Zero Dawn wasn’t short by any means – I spent about 50 hours on it, but more is always a plus).
Also another note, I would like to see some filtering options with the game map. If I am spending time on just collectibles, it’d be a lot more convenient to have a filter for that so the icons ONLY showed the collectibles I asked to see and not all the other icons that make it hard for me to navigate through. Not a huge deal, but little things like this would definitely be convenient in future installments.
Now that we’ve got my main concerns out of the way, there are a few other minor things that I think would up the enjoyment factor in future Horizon games. The outfits were a really fun feature for me, it was always exciting unlocking a new outfit and taking tons more screenshots in photo mode (I can’t help myself). However, I think for the most part the outfits are best served for what the player finds aesthetically fun to wear at the time. There were times I needed certain attributes in specific areas, so I felt inclined to wear an outfit that wasn’t really my favorite. I feel like many would disagree with me on this because the functionality does add some more depth, but I am obsessed with outfits/ skins in games, and I think it’s something that is just fun in general to have and doesn’t necessarily have to serve a purpose. Obviously the modifications helped in this department, but overall I didn’t find it necessary. I’d like to see more diversity in outfits too, and perhaps some goofy/ crazy outfits just for the heck of it (imagine some other Playstation tie-ins; Aloy in a Crash Bandicoot mascot suit or something would provide all the lolz).
All in all, Horizon Zero Dawn is definitely in my top five favorite franchises of all time now (possibly even my second favorite, closely behind Tomb Raider). I’ll certainly be a massive fangirl for as long as they decide to keep the series going, that’s for sure. If you notice, I didn’t mention anything combat related in this post because I truly found it to be flawless. I’m sure they will find new things to add, but I didn’t find any issues there. With the overall formula of Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla really has all the necessary tools to make their future games progressively more mind bogglingly fantabulous, if you can imagine that! I’m really excited for what is in store with this franchise, and can’t wait to see what they come up with next. For now, I’ll be anxiously waiting for their DLC to drop. 😉
P.S. Also flight mounts plz
So what do you think? Are these good ideas? TWEET ME YOUR THOUGHTS PLX!
Thanks for reading!