I’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn for what feels like a month. The Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds edition (aka Complete Edition) is packed with fun content. So packed it took me 96.7 hours to finish with the side missions, activities and collectibles. The game is a masterpiece and ranks in my all time top 5 now. Let me share why.
Hunting Big Robot Game
Tracking and hunting down machines remains an important part of the game throughout. Machines I encountered increased in size and danger as the story progressed. I loved how those large machines, like the Thunderjaw above, are very intimidating at first, but are more than manageable later on.
That later ease is due to better gear, more unlocked skills and learning the machine’s weaknesses. It’s a great feeling to start from “how can I take that down” to comfortably taking out 2 at a time. When there’s time to prepare, I enjoy setting up traps and trip wires between me and the target machine.
Once I alert the machine to my presence, it runs right through my traps, often knocks its health in half. From there, my ropecaster is a great tool to tie the machine down to prevent rush attacks. That also provides valuable time to aim at the weak points on the machine.
If I’m able to sneak up to another machine, I use the override skill to turn them to my side. What a sight it is to turn 2 giant Thunderjaws against each other. Sometimes their weapons fall off and are available to pick up and use against them. Love the flexibility to use technology to do the fighting for me instead of blunt force.
All my hunts, activities and hunting ground challenges thoroughly prepared me for the final fight. Mastering those large machines helped me cruise through the final mission. I love games that reward all that preparation instead of scaling the difficulty to your level.
Truth Behind the Horizon Zero Dawn Project
A rouge Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a unique enemy. Terminator and Matrix movies did that concept to death. What I like is how Horizon Zero Dawn combines those threats. Machines terminate human threats and gather resources, even if those resources are biofuel from humans.
It’s interesting how the humans trying to fight the “Swarm” AI/Virus turn to another AI to protect humanities future. Some audio logs found on my journey even poke fun at not learning the lessons from SciFi when relying on AI to fight wars. With that in mind, it’s funny how they rely on the Gaia AI to rebuild humanity after everything is wiped out.
It was no surprise that an AI wiped out humanity and the AI meant to save it, failed. Maybe don’t rely on AI. It’s actual comical all the smart people trying to solve the problem did not remark more on the irony of repeating the original mistakes.
I did enjoy finding audio and holo logs from the team responsible for the Zero Dawn project. The remarks about their work and reflecting on how they ride out the apocalypse. Their last few weeks and days add depth to the ruins of their facilities throughout the map.
There were plenty of interesting characters, but Sylens and Nil were on another level.
Voiced by the great Lance Reddick, Sylens is a great complex character who will do whatever it takes to acquire lost knowledge. He plays both sides to get what he wants, but I was glad he was mostly on my side throughout the game. Next game he could easily become an enemy and I enjoy that gray area for the character.
This sadist had his own selfish motivations. He was my Bandit Camp raiding buddy, not because he wanted to help, but he wanted to enjoy killing with others. His love of killing was almost poetic. When there were no camps left to raid, his depression set in, but I was happy to lift his spirts with the final battle against the machines.
Not sure what it says about me that those were my favorite questions, but there’s no question they were top notch for me.
Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds DLC
The Frozen Wilds is set before the final mission, so a high level is expected. I was surprised at how brutal it was though. As soon as I entered “the Cut”, a Scorcher metallic beast wrecked me. With all the side missions, upgrades and activities complete, my level was near the 50s, but that beast humbled me.
It’s fire attacks were relentless and quick. Only once I learned to place a ton of traps did I prevail in that first section. Luckily there was calm for awhile after that initial encounter. This breather introduced me to the Banuk tribe. Their ways valued survival above all else.
It’s fitting they lived in the Cut since it’s a frozen tundra with dangerous metal beasts. I enjoyed the setting as a nice change to the main areas. Great characters and artwork highlighted the Frozen Wild DLC, which fit nicely into the main game.
Discovering the Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds Daemon
The main purpose of missions in the area were to find out more about the Daemon controlling beasts in the tundra. Those Daemon robots were more deadly than their regular counterparts. I definitely avoided more confrontation than the main map area. The new Scorcher and Frost Claws I’d especially avoid early on.
Over the course of the missions, it was nice to learn more about Sylens through the new characters. He was basically “he who should remain nameless” to give you an idea. I also enjoyed learning more about the Zero Dawn lore through the various facilities located in the Cut.
The new weapons were fun to play with. They were all throwers. There’s a flamethrower, staff to shock enemies and ice rail (basically ice thrower). My bows and slings were upgraded much higher, so I only played with those new weapons a bit.
It’s especially important to note the Chieftain trial at the Frozen Wilds hunting ground will absolutely test this weapon knowledge. That section was the most frustrating of the whole game. I wanted the top prize. After several weapons combos, it was all about powerful bows and using the in place log traps to damage those large beasts first. I repeat, USE THE LOG TRAPS, avoid my frustration.
For any PC plays that bought New Horizon Zero Dawn automatically get the Frozen Wilds DLC, so I highly recommend not skipping it. The activities and side missions are fun additions, especially the hydro power station. The simple puzzles there were a nice change.
New Horizon Forbidden West PC When!?
Without hesitation, I’d say Horizon Zero Dawn is a masterpiece. It looks great (still), awesome gameplay and engaging story. Playing God of War was a great experience and deserves the praise it gets, but I’d rank Horizon Zero Dawn above it, 100%. I look forward to uncovering more when Forbidden West drops on PC, so hopefully that won’t take years.