Horizon Zero Dawn 📽 Through the Lens
Ok, so I know we did a series of columns on MOBAs and arcade shooters, but we taking a hard left here boys. Time to talk about some open-world goodness. 👌
Probably one of the best generic open worlds out there (and I say generic as a statement of fact, no trying to slight the developers here) and we will explore why Horizon does so well with this tried and texted formula.
We will also explore why this franchise seems to be the most unlucky franchise in the industry. 😂
And so❗️ In this edition of Through the Lens 🎞, we'll be taking a look at Guerrilla Games' third person open world RPG from 2017: Horizon Zero Dawn, Roll it! 📽
🔶 UP TOP 🔶
As always, I implore you to give the soundtrack a listen while reading this piece. Even more so than always, however, as I listen to this soundtrack to this very day. Believe it or not, is a rarity for me. Suffice it to say, this soundtrack rules and you should really give it a listen. 🎶
As a fan of open-world games, I played Horizon pretty close to release. The promise of this unique world drew me in as any other. And yes, the uniqueness of the thematic elements of this title really raises the more lackluster elements.
So yes, this is a mixed bag for sure. But I would say def better than meh, overall. Oh well, let's get right into it, shall we? Only fitting to start with...
🔶 THE WORLD 🔶
Metal dinosaurs in a post-apocalypse? If that doesn't get your blood churning I don't know what will. 🤣 I really want to be a fly on the wall in the Guerrilla offices when the pitch meeting happened.
So you have a good theme: ✅ Where Horizon really pulls everything together is in its execution/presentation of these themes, and the underlying lore that is stitching everything together.
The writing, while not jaw-dropping, is award-winning and amazing. Is still capable enough to not make anything feel too silly, or too disjointed. That might feel a bit harsh, but the writing is good, and in no way am I saying it's mid (is that how the young kids use it?) but my standard is just super high. 😁
We will also talk bout Aloy in this section since she's also a part of the world, (duh). Let me count the ways this character is amazing:
🚩 Voiced by one of my favorite voice actors, the wonderful Mrs. Ashly Burch!
🚩 Well-written and well-paced character development.
🚩 Is a freckled redhead.
As you can see this is irrefutable evidence that this character is amazing. So with that settled let's get into the crux of this project. Hmmmmm? yes, yes.
🔶 GAMEPLAY 🔶
So the game handles like your typical third-person action shooter. Except it's a lot more planning oriented. Planning is used very loosely here. 😅 I say that to be kind, but if I was frank, I'd say the moment-to-moment action feels pretty sluggish and unresponsive sometimes. 🤷♂️
It's not bad. Perfectly serviceable, actually. Good gamers will do better than bad gamers - i.e. it works as intended. You have different types of ammo that do different things - like applying a static effect or doing more damage over time. This ammo system definitely makes you feel like the post-apocalyptic cyborg dinosaur hunter that you are. 💪
The crafting system, and the overall open-world experience, are heavily modeled off the Ubisoft model. That can be either good or bad depending on where you stand on the arbitrary fence - but, it warns out at this point. Unless Horizon is the first type of game you've played in this genre.
IMHO it's a bit much. Everything can be looted and everything can be crafted. You need to constantly be picking up things and watching out for loot markers. When everything is needed, nothing is needed. And in this game everything is needed to a fault. 😅 Of course, this is just my preference, but I find the whole design overused in general. And frankly, kind of lazy.
🔶 BLANDNESS 🔶
Guerrilla was once upon a time best known for Killzone. A superhero simulator, and nowhere close to what Horizon represents. So it makes sense that there would be rough patches here and there. Whenever a developer branches out into something drastically different, there are always some speed bumps along the way.
For one thing, the character faces are a meme at this point. 😂 The lack of facial animation is really jarring. Again. it's not bad, it does the job. And they have become more recognizable so in that sense, the faces are a success. 😁
The quest variety is also something that is not bad but just meh. Again, nothing is bad in this game, every system works as intended, but it's just... bland. Roll credits!
I just realized that I've talked almost exclusively about the game's shortcomings. 😂 But again, the sum of the parts is greater than any individual piece. And that says a lot. This game is well-made and well-paced.
I dunno how a game with this much character can be bland, but hey, crazier things have been said. 🤔
As for the tremendous unluck this franchise has had let's put that here. So Zero Dawn releases right before Zelda: Breath of the Wild - a transformative open-world game that broke all the records. Then, its sequel, Forbidden West, was released right before Elden Ring - arguably the most transformative RPG since the Witcher 3. As such, the IP has been gutted twice by poor planning and management. It's pretty funny actually, I love when executives gut their franchise and then cut the pay of the hard-working developers because the game didn't deliver because of their poor planning/estimations. Yes, yes, quite amusing.
I was being sarcastic there at the end if it wasn't obvious. 😂
🔶 LEGACY 🔶
Horizon is at a stable place. It has etched its way into this competitive industry. And I would say do so with share force of will more than anything else. Aloy and the world of Horizon do the heavy lifting, but that's ok.
It has to be said, that the franchise could be doing much more. But, Sony's aggressive release strategy has kind of backfired twice now. 🤷♂️
It is too early to talk bout a long-lasting Legacy. But for now, horizon and Aloy are a part of the gaming lexicon. How long this will last is only a matter of time.
Thank you for reading, you rock! (and maybe roll) 👏👏👏
Shout-out to the 🍕PIZZA🍕 gang, 🤙 gang. 🤙
I didn't get any inspiration for future articles so the future is unknown! 😱 But don't be scared! I will be that rock that will guide us into the next generation of blockchain gaming articles. 💪
I might be doing a let's play series here soon. Will see. I've never done something like that and I'm pretty anxious.
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Hope you have an amazing day! 🙌
Thaaaat's what actually turned me off the game. Like, I've watched my partner play it and the sequel, and I get why people like it and I understand the story, and I enjoyed the story as I watched him play. But for me... I don't want to hunt and avoid big ass metal beasts in my open world exploration. I just want flesh and blood creatures, haha.
I love that it's full of crafting and you need all the materials and all the things! But... does it have to be metal apocalyptic dinosaurs? I get it. It's all part of the story. But ugggh.
I think you're just a hater! 😇😈
Ok, that's super cute. 😂
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This is a fantastic game, without a doubt. @tipu curate 6
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That it is, thanks for the tip! 👊