Horizon Zero Dawn PC Review

Jari Välimäki

Horizon Zero Dawn

March 2017 seems only like Yesterday when Horizon Zero Dawn
initially launched on Playstation 4 in North America (March 1st)
for Europe, and back then it never crossed my mind (or twice) that
the title or any Playstation exclusive for that matter would be
making the leap onto the PC platform, fast forward to Summer 2020
and here we are, with a new shiny port of the game for more people
to enjoy just like with Death Stranding that released a month ago.

How is it though? does it run well? keep on reading…

So what is Horizon Zero Dawn?

Horizon Zero Dawn is a futuristic Story Heavy open world RPG Action
Adventure game, set a 1000 years in the future; following Aloy the main
characters struggle to find out who she is, why she is, and what
happened to the world now filled with metal animals roaming the
vast lands..

I particularly love how the game begins and introduces the world to us,
by taking us back to the days when Aloy was found and growing up..
learning all those vital skills as a pre-teen, that you will need later
on as the story progresses. Call it a prologue of what the game
offers..

The game also introduces us to characters whom take care of Aloy in
her early days and really makes them likeable. Without mentioning
too much that would give away from the story, I will only mention
this; Particularly the “outcast” Rost, which is her assigned
father figure, mentor, protector for the time being.

What do I mean by outcast? you will quickly find out, that Aloy
is shun upon as nobody knows whom her mother is, and as the tribal
laws of the Nora (her tribe) she is shunned upon and declared also
an Outcast to be had no contact with, but as you guessed Aloy is
a stubborn young lady, and manages to make contact with people
within the tribe. This ultimately leads to Aloy finding out
an loop hole within tribal law, to make her one of the tribe
and no longer an outcast. This all comes with a price,
as you will find out on your own playthrough.

Without spoiling

Any more of the game plot, I will not talk about the story per se here
anymore, but focus on what you can and cannot do instead. But
I will say, that you will come across plenty of likeable
and less likeable characters within the game, and they all have a
story’ish to tell, if you are interested enough to keep talking
and helping out with quests to find out more.

For the game itself, what you are looking at from a story persepective
(Another great feature of the game, is that it is very approachable
for anyone, be it that you have not played a lot of Video Games
previously, or if you just want to enjoy the story of the game, there
are options for that when starting the game).
Is around 14 hours including the prologue to finish the game,

I have not taken into account most of the side
quests here, nor the DLC that is included in this Complete Edition
of the game, just the main missions for the base game.
And if you want to take it a step further, the game has a ton
of Achievements on Steam, if you are up for the challenge to really
100% complete the game (requires New Game+ start and a playthrough
on the hardest difficulty to manage this)

The vast open world of Horizon Zero Dawn, is comprised of a huge
map that in all honesty takes forever by foot to explore, but thankfully
as the game progresses you can trade with merchants and take advantage
of a certain metal giant animal to unlock more visibility of the lands.
Also as the game progresses, and you find more weapons and technology
to take advantage of, you can “over-ride” certain horse like creatures
to use, for that little bit of faster travelling, and not forgetting to
mention; all the campfire spots that acts as save points, can be
fast travelled between.

To be set a 1000 years in the future, the games weapons and technology
is a blend of old school bows and arrows / spears, which is what you
will be using the most throughout the game, and found futuristic weapons
such as miniguns (heavy) that you really won’t be carrying around as they
are simply too big (but do come in handy sometimes). It’s an interesting
mix that the game devs have come up with, but also at the same time give
you plenty of choice, incorporate that with multiple different traps
that you are able to concoct, and skills.. such as stealth takedown
or heavy strikes, you truly have a wide array to select from how you
will perform taking over bandit camps, or approaching a herd of metal
animals that are hostile as heck. You’ll also have the help
of your focus (think google glass but tiny) that helps you with tactical
advice, and information about items in general.

Enemy variation is plenty, besides human enemies from different lands and
tribes, you have the animals, and robots of the past to worry about.
These all come in various sizes, shapes, and hostility levels. Giving
the game a good selection of what you will face, let’s put it this way
you won’t be bored and face the same enemies over and over again,
but will be guaranteed different enemies to face as your travels progress.

So that’s a little about the game itself and it’s story above..

But how does this Gorgeous game run?

Well, the short answer is Yes and No.. let me elaborate.

I played the game on my personal rig, i5-9400, 16 GB (3200) of Ram
and a 2060 RTX (6GB) and the game ran/runs well on 1440p averaging around
60fps on medium and some settings high, dropping that resolution to 1080p
and you are looking at around 80-100 frames per second, which is really
enjoyable, but… here comes the but, you have some Odd, frame dips entering
into certain parts of the vast map, going all the way down to 30fps even
if there aren’t too many enemies visible, or even enemies visible at all.

I’ve personally not had the game crash on myself a single time while
I have been playing, as per to other peoples reports. The odd frame dips
is the only thing for me, but as with any newly launched game, you can
expect patches as time progresses to iron out any kinks and frame dips
that occur.

Sounds / Voiceacting.

The General mood, music in the game is simply fantastic, It’s classical
style is soothing and fits perfectly like a glove on a catcher.

Ambient sounds, world sounds, I have nothing to complain about here.
Things sound the way they should, and once you play, I doubt you
would find anything to complain about.

The voice acting, I found enjoyable, some minor characters that you
will come across in the game, might not be on the same level as the
main one’s, but still overall do a decent job.

That marks the end of my review. I hope you got a bit of an overview of
Horizon Zero Dawn, and hopefully pick it up yourself.

Two tips. The soundtrack can be found on Spotify, and I recommend listening
to it, secondly you can also find a full playthrough of the game on my
Twitch Channel under videos. If you want to see the game more in action.

Horizon Zero Dawn – Streams

Extras.

The game has a fantastic Photo Mode as well, so you know what to do.
Go Snap Snap some Pictures!

Final Words.

I am glad Sony took the leap and let Horizon Zero Dawn come over to PC.
It’s a fantastic story driven game, with plenty of action, laughs and tears
to be had. Whilst the only negative I can say about the title is with some
optimization required, there is no doubt whatsoever, those won’t be ironed
out for further stability. I highly recommend you pick up the game, get
immersed into the story, and enjoy the ride it takes you on. You won’t
regret it.

Thank you to Sony for providing a review code for the game.

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