A Brave New World on the Horizon

Aloy challenges a Thunderjaw, one of the more fearsome machines you'll face.

Aloy challenges a Thunderjaw, one of the more fearsome machines you'll face.

Horizon Zero dawn

It's not every year that a game comes along as fresh and as inviting as Horizon Zero Dawn. The game comes from Guerilla Games, the developer made famous by their Killzone franchise, but instead of treading familiar ground on the road to success, the team manages to step out from their own shadow to create the first entry in what is certain to be an exciting new series.

From the moment you pick up your first bow, until you let that last arrow fly, Horizon Zero Dawn is non-stop fun, danger, and excitement. Players will find themselves dropped into a post-apocalyptic earth, but instead of roaming a ravaged wasteland, you'll explore a world that's begun to rebuild. This distinction sets the mood of the game in an appropriately hopeful light, and instead of feeling like a scavenger, the player feels like a hunter training to gain mastery over the land and the creatures within.

Taking note from other open-world games, like Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series, Aloy will complete many side-quests and missions, some of which will feel familiar to the seasoned player, but very rarely do these quests overstay their welcome; in the one case I grew weary of a mission type, I was already done with the last of its kind. The variety of missions also helps to keep the player entertained - tracking, hunting, and piecing together a missing persons case based on strewn-about detritus are just a few examples, but they all threaten to keep the player from completing the story. The story, however, is strong and the promise of answers will keep the player coming back for more.

In Horizon Zero Dawn, the player assumes the role of Aloy, one of many outcasts from the Nora tribe; Aloy is special in that she committed no crime to deserve banishment. An attempt to join the tribe by a trial of skill sets off the story, and soon after, the world invites Aloy to explore.