Horizon Zero Dawn PC Review - The Final Verdict || Error69Pro

The first few minutes of horizon zero dawn were not promising after I launched the game it informed me it was scanning my hardware to figure out optimal settings I was not given an option to opt-out of this or stop it from happening this process took 30 minutes and then launched me straight into the unskippable opening cutscene without telling me what it had determined were optimal settings or allowing me to change them after that however I managed to retool my settings and launch into the main game and I was quickly reminded of what had drawn me to the horizon in the first place this exchange something I didn't like and I couldn't avoid followed by moments of great enjoyment would go on to define my time with this game.

Gameplay & Mechanics :
If you're not familiar horizon is a post-apocalyptic game where robotic animals including horses striders saber-toothed tigers sawteeth and t-rex's thunder-jaws roam the world the story follows eloy a young girl who is an outcast from the Nora tribe at birth because she is motherless as she grows up she learns to hunt with a spear and bow from rost another outcast entrusted with raising her one day she stumbles into the ruins of the old ones there she finds a focus a piece of wearable tech that allows her to interact with old technology scan areas and outline the track of the machines determined to get answers about who she is and why she was cast out she convinces ross to train her for the proving a Nora ceremony where young members of the tribe are officially recognized as braves she would become a member of the tribe simply by finishing.

The winner is granted a boon largely anything they want from the matriarchs Roy's plan is simple to win the proving and force them to tell her who she is things escalate from there of course and soon Eloy finds herself traveling far beyond the Norah sacred land in search of answers to much bigger questions that I will not spoil this is where the horizon begins to falter if you've played any open-world RPGs in the last decade-plus you'll have a good idea of how horizon works you'll harvest plants and pluck wood from saplings for healing supplies and crafting materials kill rabbits foxes and boars for more crafting materials and hunt the gigantic robotic beasties prowling the land for even more parts which can be used to upgrade and modify your bow trip caster a device that allows you to place tripwires on the ground and other weapons as you travel.

What makes it a Really amazing game? :

You'll run into strangers who you've never seen before and will never interact with again once you're done with them they have troubles you see troubles that they are incapable of solving themselves and are happy to dump onto you a strong passing adventurer after you mine them for information using horizon's rendition of mass effect's dialogue wheel aloy who is remarkably social and open for a woman who spent her entire life until this point being shunned by all but two people has the option to help them out though she won't commit you to know the player agency and all the side missions that follow are predictably rote they usually take one of three forms using Eloy's focus which gives her horizon's version of detective vision to track somebody down slaughtering bandits or machines or both or getting something for somebody in one.

I track down a mentally ill man and reunite him with his sister before the voices in his head make him hurt someone in another I tracked down a man's priceless family sword before helping the thieves who stole it recover a missing man in exchange for its safe return one merchant wants me to find vessels used by the old ones he's convinced they were used for elaborate beard shaving ceremonies but they were really just coffee mugs it's funny sure but the quest is still a collect-a-thon another sees me retrieving a family spear and a missing daughter for a grieving widower or joining my buddy nil a unusually honest ex-soldier who kills bandits because he loves violence for a raid on several bandit camps I enjoyed some of these quests greatly mostly because of the characters involved nil's refreshingly honest hunger for violence made me stop every time I saw him but it doesn't change how banal they were story missions are better and better presented.

They're equally predictable requiring many of the same things as the side quests track this person search this area kill some bandits or small machines before throwing you into a combat arena filled with a big machine several human enemies several big machines or both killing machines in these environments generally involve setting a trap or two then flinging arrows at them as ailoy rolls around like a mad woman to avoid being hit against humans you'll generally want to crouch in the tall grass before whistling at enemies so they'll come over and you can kill them before moving on to their friends again this is not to say that there's no fun to be had here because there definitely is but it's disappointing how much of it is so repetitive the game has a leveling system and a skill tree of course which is fine but it locks a number of basic skills behind it like the ability to whistle from a bush or kill silently you unlock these early on but that combined with horizon's leveling system which assigns a recommended level to each quest can sometimes mean grinding out side quests you don't want to do to get the abilities and stats.

Game Presentation and Environment :

You need to continue the plot horizon isn't too bad about level gating i managed to clear the opening areas of side quests which gave me a lot of experience and made the others optional but holding me back from playing the story and hiding basic abilities behind a skill tree doesn't make sense and is particularly irritating like many of the elements horizon borrows from other titles the skill tree feels like it's here because the expectation is that it will be not because it makes the game better if it isn't obvious yet horizon's core issue is that it has an identity crisis it has all of these mechanics it is borrowed from other games but doesn't do anything interesting with them it's a game that tells you to determine how alloy responds in mass effect-esque dialogue your options are conflict compassionate and clever while rarely offering you the ability to do so and using its dialogue wheel to throw exposition at you it offers you side missions galore but builds them around uninteresting mechanics detect vision bush stealth fetch quests etc and repeats them ad nauseum.

Horizon is at its best in the in-between moments when you're traveling the world when you're stalking a sawtooth setting traps along its path with your trip caster using your rope caster to tie down a machine so you can override it with your spear climbing some tall peak just because riding your overridden horse machine through the vast emptiness looking for the next thing in areas where you can prepare set traps and engage at your own terms horizon is great weapons feel wonderful enemy feedback is fantastic machines have unique tactics and are fun to fight and you can do crazy things like shoot guns off of machines and use them against them in these moments horizon soars the game also impresses when it takes an old idea and does something new with it tall necks for instance are horizon's answer to Ubisoft towers by climbing it alloy can override it and fill in her map the distinction is that tall necks move forcing you to reach high places to jump onto their backs and climb up from there the additional challenge here combined with the creatures roaming around near them.

It's gorgeous today it comes with all of the graphics options you'd expect on pc including a much-appreciated adjustment the initial optimization informed me that I should be running the game on medium settings but I managed to run it on ultra in all but the most intense encounters at mostly stable frame rates there were dips even when I turned the settings down to high but nothing ever swung below the high 40s even here however horizon isn't perfect there's a distinct difference in the quality of the model's animations and voice acting between the major characters and the minor ones seriously seeing a minor character smile is the stuff of nightmares and the lip-syncing alternates between quite good and awful the game also have storytelling issues aloy only really ever requires a personality between cracking wise or being kind except during a few key points and her character motivation consists of finding the truth beyond that.

I could never tell you what she wanted or cared about even major traumatic instances in her life just fade into the background as the plot carries her forward she also has the incredibly annoying habit of narrating absolutely everything she does it makes sense most of the time she was an outcast she talked to herself because she was lonely when she's planning tracking someone examining an area or just making the odd comment i don't mind but when she says something like the fire it's burning it when i shot a fire arrow at a machine or commenting on how the plants i've been eating to heal since the first couple of hours could come in handy let me tell you this kind of stuff happens a lot it made me yearn for the days of silent protagonists she's engaging enough sure and i liked her but i wish she was more fleshed out the same issues apply to other major characters horizon has the open world game problem these characters only exist in the plot so far as their story overlaps with aloys they rarely have character arcs or get to do anything beyond deliver exposition and give alloy things to do there are exceptions.

The Final Verdict :

Yes i particularly liked aaron and avad for instance but once their part in the story is done you never see them again in that same vein villains are brought up and expended as needed you're told they're powerful and causing all this trouble and then you foil their plots meet them once and beat them then they're gone the result is that few characters outside of eloy seem to matter storylines end anticlimactically and it's often hard to be emotionally invested in much of the main plot or characters because you know you'll never see them again once their purpose has been served and the narrative moves on to the next thing if i come off as overly harsh here i don't mean to i like horizon and i'm going to play more of it when it's allowed to be itself and the focus is on combating giant machines with fun weapons horizon is something special sliding under a watcher as it jumps at you before shooting out its eye hitting the perfect dodge against a leaping sawtooth turning a thunderjaw's heavy weapons against it those moments feel great but for each moment horizon is excellent so much of it is derivative and unengaging don't get me wrong it's a good game but it isn't a great one at its best accompanying ailoy on her journey is wonderful but at its worst the game feels like a slave to the machine that is the open world genre like a cauldron it pumps out the same thing you've seen over and over again but when horizon is confident when like aloy it casts off the burden of expectation and it's nothing other than itself it's something 

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