This console generation’s games have delivered us showstoppers one after the other. Sony, to its credit, rolled out exclusives the past few months that were well-received by the press and end-consumers. The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush and the just recently released NIOH all got rave reviews from gaming sites the world over. One cannot be blamed for thinking that exclusives as good as only come in threes. Well, there’s always room for one more. Make room then for Horizon Zero Dawn.
Gadget Pilipinas was at the media launch in Makati Shangri-la earlier to get a 3-chapter hands-on of this much-awaited game that bridges dinosaur-like robots (think Zoids but with more ambiguity) and humans donning pre-historic garb in the future. No, this isn’t a time-warped future but a post-apocalyptic one where civilization as we know it has crumbled and its vestiges left to explore by the protagonist Aloy (pronounced Eyloy).
Sony was kind enough to let us play the first three-chapters of the final version of the game and here’s what we think of it so far:
Note: Please be informed that we are not allowed to speak of how the game started and developed. We will secure a unit of the game, and give you guys a full review.
Q: First impressions?
Allan: Wow! Haven’t done a hands-on before but…wow. The art direction in this game, I got to say is unique. The juxtaposition of dino-like robots with the lush environment just works. The attention to detail is just jaw dropping. Bladed grass swaying with the wind, the glint in the dino beasts armor, as well as the camera angles, just blew me away. The draw distance also pushes the limits of the console. I really like the almost seamless fusion of high-tech fuel-celled gigantic robots with stone-age, young-earth on the surface. The grey post-apocalyptic corridors buried in the old world also makes a good if not constricting change to the sprawling vista above-ground.
Gian: It is indeed a different take on “post-apocalyptic” and to me the game is indeed a breath of fresh air. No zombies and barren land. Everything is green from the get go, which I believe makes the game beautiful to explore, and get on the many challenges that it offers.
Q: How about the gameplay? Anything notable?
Allan: It uses a familiar formula of using hunting, crafting and problem-solving. I think stealth-play will be integral to the game since you will do the hunting most of the time. Being a huge fan of stealth-action games, it’ll be interesting to find out how stone-age tools can be used to complement the left-over technology to hunt those robots down. As an example, in the first chapter of the game you stumble upon this scanning headset that relays information about objects in the environment and even gives you clues on a robots weak spots. You then use your primitive bow and arrow to kill the metal-clad beast.
Gian: I love the crafting system; and as someone who’s a sucker for this kind of genre, I cannot wait to play the game once it’s out. Robots are everything, and such reality in-game gives off a mixed feeling of “Oh…shit” and “Loot… everywhere”. Every robot we saw in the game gives certain kind of hope that we can survive.
The map is also huge; and to me, it never felt like we will have a long time playing this game. Replayability seems positive too, but this with a grain of salt as we only got to play the 1st 3 chapters of the game.
Character and level progression are somehow akin to Tomb Raider, but significantly better. For what it’s worth, it would be – somehow – safe to say that the game is a cross between Far Cry Primal and Tomb Raider, but better in many ways.
Q: Anything you can tell us about the story?
Allan: It tells the story of Aloy and her coming of age in this post-apocalyptic world populated by dino-robots. I’ve no idea on the length of the campaign but I hope it keeps me engaged for weeks. LOL!
Gian: Well, Allan pretty much said everything we are allowed to say. Anything I say would probably be a violation to our embargo arrangement.
Q: What was it like to see Aloy in the flesh?
Allan: Hahaha! That was a pleasant surprise. The cosplayer was pretty game. She should’ve shot a real arrow through Gian’s heart though.
Gian: Da*n it!
Horizon Zero Dawn will be released exclusively to PS4 and PS4 Pro on Feb. 28, 2017. Can’t wait.