First and foremost, Horizon: Zero Dawn, from Guerrilla Games, starts off as a good story, great build up and good overlook of the amazing and captivating world your character, Aloy, lives in.
Intros and Discovery
Probably the best introduction to the game I have seen in a while, Horizon starts you off as a young 6-year-old Aloy, exploring and growing in skills, this also allowed me to get attached to Aloy quickly as she struggles with the understanding of the dynamics of her world and the others that occupy it. The setting is in the very distant, post-apocalyptic future. Very early on in the game you do want to explore this history and wonder how did the machines take over and how are they are surviving in the mockery of animal form. Aloy’s continuous confusion towards her world and the questions she has almost make you ask the same questions and often wonder the same thing she is saying, good writing and its because of this that make you bond with Aloy more as the game goes on.
Craft to Kill, Craft to Survive
Early on you are taught crafting and how to sneak around the machines. Your “Focus” or the little helper like device you have can tell you the path of almost all of the machines giving you a good way to plot for the quick shutdown of an enemy. You can craft several items including traps and sling shot bombs. Your outfit and weapons have upgradable slots to add more characteristics to your arsenal and defense. Upgrading your stats is similar to FarCry as you can choose to strengthen a particular type of style or technique or simply even out your overall advantages.
Graphically, Horizon kills it with vivid color, particle effects, textures, and abstract motion. Just on graphics alone, Horizon nails the bar high and exhibits what a game could look like when the engine is fine tuned and well utilized. Details such as the way Aloy walks, sun reflection off of metallic objects and the reaction-like movement of the machines and animals, all make the game more immersive as you play it.