Reviews of Guerrilla Games’s highly-anticipated action-RPG title Horizon: Zero Dawn are rolling out, confirming whether this “zero” was a hero or if it fell a bit flat.
Since Horizon: Zero Dawn was announced at E3 2015, with an exciting reveal trailer, there has been a steady purr of anticipation surrounding the Guerrilla Games title. Today, the action-RPG’s review embargo has finally lifted, which means fans eagerly awaiting the chance to play as Aloy and voyage through the post-apocalyptic landscape can discover how the finished game stacks up.
With the past month’s news cycle jam-packed with Horizon: Zero Dawn updates and announcements — from a new cinematic trailer and the game’s full world map being revealed to publisher Sony Interactive discussing a possible Horizon: Zero Dawn franchise — stakes for the upcoming game to perform well were at an all-time high. And the view from the top where Zero Dawn was perched threatened a long, hard fall.
Thankfully for developer Guerrilla Games and the entire creative team behind the game, it appears Horizon: Zero Dawn avoided that dreaded ledge and instead stepped into the sunshine, bringing with it a healthy dose of the elements that make an open-world title fun and fresh. Here’s the early consensus on whether life after the apocalypse can actually be enjoyable, and if Horizon: Zero Dawn is worth a purchase.
Game Rant (Anthony Taormina)
Horizon: Zero Dawn takes familiar open world elements and makes them its own, but it is the game’s blend of nature and technology that help create a memorable PS4 exclusive.
Gamespot (Peter Brown)
For every minor imperfection, there’s an element of greatness that recharges your desire to keep fighting and exploring Zero Dawn‘s beautiful and perilous world. Guerrilla Games has delivered one of the best open-world games of this generation, and redefined its team’s reputation in the process.
IGN (Lucy O’Brien)
There’s something about being dropped into a brand new game world and finding it to be dense with deeply considered lore, terrifyingly aggressive creatures, and tantalizing questions that leaves an indelible mark on the memory. Horizon Zero Dawn is one of those games, and it carves out a unique identity within the popular action-roleplaying genre.
Eurogamer (Martin Robinson)
Horizon Zero Dawn is a work of considerable finesse and technical bravado, but it falls into the trap of past Guerrilla games in being all too forgettable. For all its skin-deep dynamism it lacks spark; somewhat like the robotic dinosaurs that stalk its arrestingly beautiful open world, this is a mimic that’s all dazzle, steel and neon yet can feel like it’s operating without a heart of its own.
No score given.
Destructoid (Chris Carter)
Horizon Zero Dawn came out of nothingness and delighted thousands. Born on a lark as the “most risky” concept from a Guerilla Games pitch session, the aesthetic of meshing tribal warfare with high-tech creatures is intriguing all on its own before one even picks up a DualShock remote.
USGamer (Caty McCarthy)
Horizon Zero Dawn is disappointing. It has a story that I struggled to care about (complete with massive expository dumps — yay), a bland protagonist, and overtly repetitive and constraining missions that worked against its open world sensibilities.
Polygon (Philip Kollar)
Horizon Zero Dawn thrums with the energy of a creative team finally allowed to explore something new. It builds on elements of open-world and loot-and-craft gameplay that we’ve seen before, but it does so within a context, a setting and a style that feel fresh.
By the looks of it, it seems Horizon: Zero Dawn has stolen the breath from many, blending together some of the best aspects of open-world titles; a strong narrative with an interesting protagonist; beautiful graphics; and electric, energetic gameplay. It looks like Guerrilla Games launched greatness into the gaming world with Zero Dawn, and critics received it fittingly well. However, as evidenced, this hasn’t been the case for everyone.
What future Horizon: Zero Dawn players may pay close attention to as the embargo-to-release window closes over the next week are the minor references to the game’s repetitiveness and lack of punchiness. Of course, this comes down to a player-to-player preference that will be established once the masses can get their hands on the game, but it is still undoubtedly interesting to consider.
Despite a few contentions with the game stated in these early reviews, the majority’s response to Horizon: Zero Dawn has been overwhelmingly positive and earnestly enthusiastic. It certainly seems Guerrilla Games has something quite special on its hands.
Horizon: Zero Dawn will release for the PlayStation 4 on February 28, 2017.