Horizon Zero Dawn preview – Time of the Machines

An RPG from the creators of the Killzone series is an unexpected turn of events. And it foreshadows a marvelous journey!

Horizon Zero Dawn is Guerrilla Games’ first new IP since the studio released Killzone in 2004. Five games from that series were released and their history began on PlayStation 2 whereas we are now somewhere in the middle of PS4’s lifetime. Moreover, it’s a totally different title gameplay-wise.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Corruptor is one of the first bosses

World not like ours

Players take the role of Aloy, a young woman eager to understand the world that surrounds her. It’s no longer the one we are familiar with. It’s a place dominated by animal-like robots known simply as Machines. We, humans, are the Old Ones. Aloy was sheltered for ages, kept from the dangers and mysteries of this post-apocalyptic planet. Thousands of years have passed and it will be up to her to find out what really happened.

The game uses a heavily modified Decima engine – the one used for Killzone Shadow Fall, now better suited for RPG gameplay. The important aspect of Horizon Zero Dawn’s world is the ecosystem that bonds various machines. Some “animals” (let us use a quotation mark only once…) are collectors, other act as guardians etc. It’s an open world with a day-night cycle, dynamic weather and no loading screens. Because of that you’ll be required to understand how it works and what’s allowed.

Surviving

Fortunately, it’s not a survival game from the category of titles where you sneeze to much and die of dehydration. Gathering various materials is required, however, and you’ll mainly get them by hunting Machines. Killing is not always required as some contain weak spots and when shot – allow to steal their goodies.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Focus scan

At this moment you probably understand that there’s a lot of fighting on the way. Strategies are diverse: you can try to be stealthy by hiding in foliage. You can use traps and various explosives. There are various arrow types that allow to stun enemies or set them on fire. And there’s melee combat, if you are certain about your chances. You should remember that you are allowed to have four active weapons placed in quick slots.

Thanks to an item gained early in the story you’ll be able to scan the Machines. Various information will be received with this method. Firstly, you’ll learn what are the weaknesses of a specific animal group. Secondly, it will be easier to search Machines that grant you rare and marketable materials. And thirdly, you’ll learn patrol tracks – it’s essential if you want to plan your attack and approach a specific unit. Just remember: healing during the fight takes time and leaves your character vulnerable. It might happen that you’ll die trying to gain health instead of thinking about the best strategy. Try being effective – traps, ammo and other items and crafted and use those precious materials as well.

DIY

Crafting is one of two ways of improving Aloy’s stats. You will create (or buy) outfits, weapons, modifications etc. There are even tiers for some categories. Your bow can be improved with sockets, while armor can grant additional resistance against corruption (one of the motives to investigate in Aloy’s journey), projectiles etc. The second method for progress is traditional XP system with perks unlocked from one of three skill trees.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Who’s a good boy?

You’ll be able to roam freely through Horizon Zero Dawn’s locations and there are three types of missions. Beside the main storyline, there are also quests for various tribes – as for now it’s not confirmed if that includes any form of decisions that would shape the world. Dialogue wheels were present in the latest videos.

General notes:

  • Metal shards are the main currency in the game. You should remember that traders require other resources as well. It’s worth noting that the material needed for a trap might be the same as the one required to buy a rare outfit. Be thrifty.
  • Joris de Man and Niels van der Leest are responsible for the soundtrack. The former is the award-winning composer for the Killzone series with the latter creating a score for Pac-Man Run.
  • There are no tutorials for enemy fights – trial and error is expected, with learning both their behaviour and group structure.

Horizon Zero Dawn is set to release on February 28th, 2017 for PlayStation 4 with additional technical voodoo for PS4 Pro. You will find future info about the game in our latest news section or via the title’s tag.