In the middle of the 21st century, the familiar world collapsed. Nobody remembers what exactly happened. In the blink of an eye, the majestic cities turned into ruins, and everything that people with such difficulty created for centuries, scattered into dust.
But nature took its toll. Having lost almost all knowledge about the past world, the survivors founded a new world on the ruins of the forgotten world. People here live in tribes, worship the sun and drive each other into slavery. Scrap metal is prized above any gold, artifacts of a bygone era inspire fear among commoners, and awe among adventurers and traders.
Here, the twisted, moss-covered skeletons of skyscrapers coexist with pastoral landscapes of virgin nature. And across the endless and picturesque expanses, giant mechanized animals walk - the new masters of this planet.
It is here that the path of Eloy - a young girl from the Nora tribe, an outcast with red hair, a pretty face and a mysterious past - begins. Together with her, you are destined to find out what happened then, a thousand years ago, to unravel all the secrets of this world - and to save it. Again.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a big game, and it's not even the size of the local world that matters. It is a game of ambition, talent and opportunity. Definitely big. Nothing happens here just like that, and every screw of this giant machine works practically without failures. It was made by real maniacs - in the paradoxical and best sense of the word.
And after all, there is essentially nothing revolutionary new in Horizon. A person who has played all the notable open-world projects for the past five years can easily find out what and where Guerrilla Games has pulled from. At first glance, this is a typical game in the open world: there are outposts with stupid "robbers", and a system for crafting ammunition from the trash, and hunting for the skins of rabbits and boars, and bonfires for fast movement around the map, and even a semblance of tired out towers. revealing all interesting places on the map.
And the closest thing, oddly enough, Horizon came to the third "Witcher". Side quests are also reminiscent of the Polish project - separate stories with their own plot (although they are not up to the level of Geralt's adventures), and the local analogue of the "witcher" instinct used to search for traces and clues. However, in a surprising way, all this is arranged in such a way that Horizon feels like a fresh game. Indecently fresh considering how standard her mechanics are.
This is largely due to the setting - primality is intertwined with futurism so organically that you unconditionally believe in this universe after half an hour of playing. Horizon is full of details: in people's clothes you can see the "spare parts" of cars, and from the now useless ammunition of firearms they make jewelry for themselves. The characters' eyes reflect the world around them. The traders in dialogues, in a voice trembling with delight, tell you about the “sacred shaving ceremony” of the forerunners. You will even be shown a ceremony of initiation of young warriors of the Nora tribe - and you will not doubt its authenticity for a second.
And this is not even an RPG. There is pumping and conditional "levels" of enemies and characters, dialogues with a choice of answers (it practically does not affect anything), however, 90% of Horizon Zero Dawn is a third-person action game. And the action is outstanding.
The basis of the game is battles with robots, and they are also its main advantage. Guerrillaevery mechanical animal in the game is said to have been thought and created for about nine months - and that's easy to believe. Any mechanical enemy in the game is unique, in the world it performs a certain function, and therefore its appearance and behavior are interconnected. The first meeting with a new type of car is one of the brightest impressions of all that the game can give you. You do not yet know what kind of creature is in front of you and what it is capable of. You are watching him, examining the armored corps, trying to understand what kind of dirty trick you have to die from this time. This task is greatly facilitated by "Focus" - a device from the distant past, similar to the conventional Google Glass. It scans surrounding objects and enemies and shows their vulnerabilities. These weak points are not just conditional "cracks in the armor", placed by lazy designers,so that you have where to shoot, and the important components of the body of the machine itself.
By depriving the enemy of one of these details, you can also deprive him of his advantage. Shoot the horns off a conventional mechanical bull - and that will have nothing to butt you with. In a sliding tackle, break the cooling element to the enemy, and that will flood the local "Antifreeze" and forge it with cold, making it an easy target. Or you can even contrive, shoot down the local Godzilla's cannon, pick it up - and use it against him.
But all this is not easy to do.
Robots are incredibly dangerous and monstrously powerful. Horizon immediately shows that humans are far from the top in the food chain of the new world. Aloy, despite her outstanding physical fitness, is still fragile and rarely survives more than two hits in battles. A frontal attack and a plan to plug the armored carcass of a local cyberbehemoth with thousands of arrows will end in an untimely rest at the nearest stream and a loading screen.
The strength and fury of the mechanical giants, Aloy can oppose cunning, speed - and a rich arsenal. She knows how to tie enemies with ropes, preventing them from moving, set traps and stretch marks with different types of damage, throw grenades at enemies. At high difficulty levels, you have to plan battles, prepare for them, use all your weapons. Each part of the vehicle has to be "opened" with a separate type of ammunition: to get to the vulnerable to fire core of the robot, you first need to split its shell with armor-piercing arrows. It will be easier to do this if you lure the enemy into a previously prepared electric stretch. And then the next.
Horizon teaches you to make quick decisions and plan your battle one step ahead. And the brightest emotions associated with the game come at the moment when your cunning plan is triggered and a minute ago a formidable metal predator explodes into a thousand fragments. And you have resources for two arrows and 15 percent health. Since there are a lot of cars in the game, and everyone behaves differently, battles with them do not get bored.
Unfortunately, all this grace does not apply to battles with people. Sectarians and robbers are immensely stupid and no primitiveness can justify this stupidity: they abandon the search for Aloy, who interrupted the cloth after 15 seconds, do not hit you point-blank and sometimes get stuck in three pines. There are no tactics in battles with them: just shoot yourself in the head and dodge. In the head - because local guys are made of bog oak and calmly take 7-8 arrows on their chest.
About the graphics: I can only say that everything that you see on the screen is game screenshots, and while traveling around the world of the game, I clicked a dozen frames no worse. This is a fantastically beautiful game, and the views of the capital of the local world, Meridian, break the jaw on the floor. At the same time, the game works stably on both PS 4 and PS 4 Pro, honestly giving out 30 frames per second.
The most unexpected strength of Horizon is its storyline. Somehow, looking at the pre-release videos, I could not believe in a good story in a game about shooting giant mechanical roosters. It was all the more pleasant to see here one of the most interesting stories in recent years, offhand, five.
Horizon's storyline could easily be the basis for a top-notch sci-fi TV series or novel (especially with Westworld backdrop). Solving the mysteries of this world is just as fun as fighting, and it's a huge compliment to play in the open world.
Horizon skillfully twists the intrigue, does not slip into "unexpected" endings named after M. Shyamalan and does not place pianos in the picturesque bushes of the local world. At the end of the game, you will most likely have a clear picture of both what is happening in the game and what happened in the past. You will receive answers to all questions: you will find out where the cars came from, why they are needed at all, and why they are exactly what they are; you will understand why there is almost nothing left of the heritage of ancestors and find out the secrets of the origin of Aloy herself. The main backbone of the plot is presented in cute cutscenes, but the attentive player will find many audio diaries and recordings that shed light on the event of the last days of the Forerunners. I would like to complain only about the lazy groundwork for the sequel at the end - it was as if it had been stolen from Power Rangers.
Of course, Horizon is n't perfect. I didn’t say a word about hand-to-hand combat, because there’s nothing to talk about: two types of strikes, and finishing off. The parkour system is far from perfect: you can climb only in strictly defined places, and where "it is not supposed", Eloy cannot jump on a low rock. Collecting herbs to create local "first aid kits" at the twentieth hour begins to get boring - as well as activities in the style of "follow the trail until you bump into the enemy." And from the constant rolls sometimes the head is spinning.
But by and large, these are all little things that do not matter in the context of everything else.
Horizon Zero Dawn succeeds in the main thing - it takes you by the hand and leads you into another, unusual and delightful world, promising the very "real" adventure, the spirit of which many modern games have now lost. It intrigues with a string, flexes with the muscles of the combat system and stunning graphics, and then lets go of the leash and says: "Hey, don't you want to see what is visible behind that mountain?"
And to answer "no" you probably have to dislike video games.>