What do you look for in a video game? For me, the most important thing is engagement. I want to be sucked in right away. Truth of the matter is, I sometimes have a pretty short attention span when it comes to gaming. If I don’t have a compelling reason to keep playing, it just isn’t going to happen.
Engagement, right? Or maybe even closer to the point, it all comes down to story.
And Horizon Zero Dawn has a hell of a story.
If you think the Nintendo Switch was the story of last week, you haven’t sat down with this PlayStation 4 exclusive from Guerrilla Games. The star of Horizon Zero Dawn is Aloy, an outcast from her tribe who has been raised by a warrior named Rost. They live in a world that mixes nature and technology, where animals live side by side with machines. Aloy seeks to discover her background, why she is an outcast and what the world has to offer her.
The 2015 trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the main reasons why I wanted to level up from a PlayStation 3 and enter the next generation world. Suffice to say, this is a gorgeous game. It’s lush one moment, gritty and dirty the next. Regardless of where you are, the graphics are simply astounding and put on display the power of the PS4. Characters are well rendered, and at times you feel as though you’re watching the highest quality anime or animated feature, but its one that you get to direct.
The controls are intuitive and immersive – it’s especially fun to have Aloy sneak through tall blades of grass as she hunts for supplies or rescues a boy from potential death at the hands of the machines.
But all of this would be for naught if Horizon Zero Dawn didn’t have a great story to tell, and it does, thanks in no small part to the appeal of Aloy, who is well-written by John Gonzalez and immaculately voice-acted by Ashly Burch, who previously voiced the main character of the outstanding multi-part game Life Is Strange and is a writer for Adventure Time. If Aloy seems at all familiar, its because she’s a strong female along the lines of a Katniss Everdeen. Skilled, smart, inquisitive and appealing – all the qualities one looks for in a classic character.
While I’m not a typical fan of fantasy-world type games (my preference is often of the horror kind), from the moment I began playing Horizon Zero Dawn, I was hooked, thanks to its beauty, game-play, and its lead character. If you’ve got a PlayStation 4, this exclusive title is yet another must-have.