Gameplay overcomes lacking storyline to make Horizon Zero Dawn a premiere Playstation pick

Sitting and slowly panning across the vast and beautiful world that belongs to Horizon Zero Dawn is something I found myself doing a lot in this well crafted PS4 exclusive. From hunting down carnivorous robot dinosaurs to trying to find answers to the many mysteries that lie around the giant open world for you to solve, the story, along with the surprising and fun gameplay make this PS4 exclusive a must play.

The graphics on Horizon Zero Dawn are otherworldly. The colors pop off the screen, and the vibrancy captivates everything from the fauna to the treacherous robotic dinosaurs that patrol the map. The red sunsets ominously gleam down on the snowy mountains that watch over the arid deserts and lush forests that lie nearby.

Now on the PS4 Pro (the recently released updated PS4 console) is a whole ’nother story. The graphics are ones that rival all of its predecessors and use the greatest graphics engine to date. The photo mode allows for easily captured vibrant and vivacious shots, which to me seems like a bragging tool for the game’s developer Guerrilla Games.

It’s one thing to have great graphics and imaging, but to be able to show it off so easily is maybe a tad bit far. Photo mode allows for such great shots of the expansive and large map that is a pain to cross from one mission to the next.

One of the only cons of the game is having to spend in-game currency on fast travel packs to avoid all the long and unnecessary travel times across the game. The packs are expensive and take away from the experience. Instead of saving up to buy ammo packs or a much-needed weapon, I have to spend it on senseless travel packs. I kind of understand where they were going with this, but it is an unneeded attempt to make you explore their open world.

The storyline in Zero Dawn is probably the worst aspect of the game, but by no means does that meant the story is lacking greatly. Aloy, the main character, is an outcast whose main goal is to find out who she really is and where she came from.

Alongside that goal comes the task of finding out what really happened to their society. After a robot apocalypse tormented and killed off most of the human race, the remaining people were forced to regroup and start from the beginning. Now, hundreds of years later, the inhabitants still don’t really know what happened to their once thriving civilization.

Alongside the other treacherous groups of savages that run the land, you are forced to hunt down and kill the machines (robot dinosaurs) that are doing the same to you. The mystery about what happened to the previous civilization and what is yet to come is a good storyline, but still lacks what great games like GTA and Last of Us created. Most of the characters are well crafted with interesting motivations and backstories, but there is one problem with the RPG style of conversation. It is incredibly long and incredibly uninteresting. The back and forth needless banter between Aloy and her counterpart gets incredibly boring. If I wasn’t able to skip through the unwanted and purposeless conversations I might still be at the beginning stages of the game.

Overall the storyline of Zero Dawn is intriguing. It provides fun and diverse missions, along with challenging bosses. It could use a few tweaks here and there along with a more sculpted story outline but still succeeds to be an enjoyable RPG diegesis to play through.

The gameplay of Horizon is where the money is made. The most enjoyable moments of the games are stealthily sulking into the sandbox area and plotting out your attack route. Am I going to just outright attack everyone, or will I take a more stealthy approach? Will I try and take out the enemies that lie in my way, or go peacefully? The options are almost endless, and each step you take can result in thousands of different outcomes, including death.

On a broader scale, the open world is constructed similarly to the sandbox missions that are scattered throughout the digieses. One minute you can be swiftly making your way to the next mission halfway across the map, and the next you’re fighting a tribe of sawtooths scouring the biome. Most likely you won’t be able to fight your way out of that mess, but the riveting gameplay drives you to not only want to continue the game but enjoy it as well. The immersive combat will devour you as you spend long days and nights losing yourself in the world of robotic dinosaurs and intense savages. The array of different weapons allows for a more detailed and personalized route. Should you stack up on different bows and arrows to take down enemies with style, or get loud with more heavy artillery? The choice is all yours. Spamming circle to dodge vicious attacks from enemies may become tedious at times, but the movement can cause a great amount of creative and specialized attacks. It all depends on your playstyle.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one of Playstation’s premier games of the year. It’s beauty, along with its fast moving combat, shows off the power of the PS4 pro. The storyline and characters are good enough to immerse you inside the world.

Zero Dawn is one of the best games of the year so far, and I imagine it will stay that way. With a slate of highly anticipated games set to release in the fall, Zero Dawn will be a game people will continue to play for years to come.

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