Passionate Gamer since 1986 ❤ From Bubble Bobble and Betrayal at Krondor, to Witcher and Horizon Zero Dawn.

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Horizon Zero Dawn was originally released in 2017 on Playstation 4, and pc users had to wait a few years.

The version i am reviewing today is the Complete Edition from Steam released in 2020 (including the DLC).

HORIZON ZERO DAWN COMPLETE EDITION

Horizon Zero Dawn CE is a game changer for Pc users…

The game plays essentially with a gamepad even though you have to aim precisely with your bow ! So PC players (like me) who are used to mouse and keyboard will have to adapt during several hours… I'll be honest it took me 30 good hours to become good at aiming 😅 But even if the learning curve is steep, it's an excellent training for a gamer.

The bow is not your only weapon, you also have the choice to go contact with your spear… But your bows (because there are many) are offering the widest range of possibilities, while your spear only does basic and strong attacks. So it's mandatory to learn how to use your bow efficiently if you want to survive.

That Said, Horizon Zero Dawn is a kind of post-apocalyptic open world, where the Fauna & Flora are represented by machines who are… controlling the world ! In this dangerous environment, a few settlements of humans are trying to survive with non-technological weapons (mostly Bows and Spears). So It will be up to you to discover what happened to the world, the secret of the machines and how to bring back the balance.

HORIZON ZERO DAWN COMPLETE EDITION

In Horizon Zero Dawn you're playing Aloy… A Girl ! 😉

Yes if you like to customize your own character it won't be possible… Aloy is the main protagonist of the story. So no muscular Hero, only a fragile little red hair girl… ahah… Fragile… That's how she looks yeah ! But she's capable of Free Climbing like no one… Stay in balance on ropes at high altitude, and kill machines that would destroy entire villages ! So in fact this little girl (and beautiful if i may… shame she's only virtual) is basically a lovely killing machine. 😅

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Say Hello to Aloy posing in a post-apo landscape, and of course it's a RPG so the skill strees on the right 👍

As for the skills in this game it depends which difficulty mode you choose, but if like me you went for ULTRA HARD i highly recommend you to take Sneaky skills like Kill Strike and Lure Enemies, as well as the skills to gather as much ressources you can from killed mobs. Why ? Because the harder the mode, the more you'll play hide and seek with the machines. So you will need to trick them as much as you can, otherwise you'll be one shotted by most of them 😌

Then for the resources you can gather from machines or wood / plants, the more the better so with the right skills you'll always have plenty in your inventory. Besides in the higher difficulties all merchants prices are very high !

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete edition

When i said fragile little girl… It's not so far from the truth ! Aloy is a killing machine when she uses her bow yes…

But whenever she is hit by a machine, she'll take a lot of damage ! And if you're in Ultra Hard this game will feel like playing Dark Souls. At the beginning most machines even the smallest one will kill you in 1 to 3 hits if you're lucky… And if you add to the mix that you have to learn how to properly use your bow with the gamepad, trust me the first hours of exploration and hunting will be like : Try, Die, Quickload, Try, Die, Quickload… etc etc.

That's why to ease the frustration, it's better to sneak in the tall grass, lure the enemies and silent strike them !

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Silent Strike can only kill small enemies, so don't expect to silent strike the big ones 😏 still it will ease your start.

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And if you have the right skills, you'll have enough resources to craft and trade with merchants !

Resources are very important in Horizon Zero Dawn as it will grant you the ability to craft your own ammunitions or traps. But also enhance the capacity of your quivers (to shoot more arrows), of your satchels (to throw more bombs), and buying stuff from merchants… as trading also requires resources not only local currency (which in this game are metal shards).

And like in other games out there, there are RARE resources and if you want to max your chances of finding them, you need to take the skills associated to the Gatherer / Hoarding tree. (I did take them from the very beginning 😅)

Use everything at your disposal !

Your Bow and spear are not your only friends ! Laying traps around to take down a bigger foe will also be part of the fight. You are a fragile human being, and your enemies will mostly be Machines made of Steel and Metal. So don't underestimate their power, you need to know your enemies weaknesses and prepare accordingly !

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Lay Traps to shock (Stun) your opponents, or Fire arrows as an example to make them Burn !

Don't be ashamed of using any tricks you can to prevail, as the machines won't go easy on you !

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete edition

We talked about Traps, about the spear and the bow but it's not over !

You can also Override (charm) or Corrupt machines ! Meaning the machines will fight for you 😎

Override can be achieved by sneaking up to the machine, and holding the button to overrride it… The bigger the machine the longer it will take to override it, and during this time all other machines can still attack you. So make sure you're wearing some sneak amor, or lure the machine in the tall grass to override it.

You can even mount a few machines to travel faster

Though personally i found the “mount skill” as well as all the other skills related to “machine repair” completely useless…

Traveling / Exploring even in Ultra Hard mode is not that difficult… Of course we have to sneak a lot from bushes to bushes, but with all the campfires you can save and fast travel to, there is really no need for a mount.

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Overriding a Strider on the left, then mounting it on the right… Useless but cool i guess ?

Overriding upgrades will require you to explore Vaults !

You see… It would be too easy to just override any machines in the game !

Because having a machine on your side makes every fights FAR more easier ! Especially on Ultra Hard mode 😏

But at the beginning you're only capable of overriding small machines – even if at some point you'll also be able to use “Corruption Arrows” which can turn ANY machines to your side, even if you don't have the skill yet to override it – so to upgrade your overriding capabilities, you'll need to upgrade your spear by exploring the vaults of the ancients 😎

Vaults are ancient places filled with technologies and machines, where most fights will take place in close quarters… And so in a game where running to cover is encouraged, vaults will be dangerous places compared to the rest.

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Entering a vault on the left, and hiding from a medium machine on the right.

It's very important to visit and complete every vaults in Horizon Zero Dawn ! Having the capability of overriding machines will be decisive in many fights ! The only thing you need to knows is… There is a BOSS fight at the end of every vaults, and for these you can make a VERY GOOD USE of all your traps before starting them 😉

I would just advise the new players to STUFF on Everything you have before entering a vault… Traps, Healing potions, Resistance potions, Arrows and lot of resources to craft even more of them. Because once you're inside… no escape !

A Big Open World for a Great RPG !

Apart from a few quests you have to complete to unlock a few parts of the world, the game is wide open.

Most of the things you can see… you can reach by foot.

Although as every open world out there, there are invisible barriers… There are no invisible walls in HZD but if you go too far, a message will appear on your screen saying “if you continue this way your last save game will be loaded“.

Anyway in Ultra Graphics the game just looks AWESOME ! It's not only an Interesting game, it's a Beautiful one !

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After climbing high enough, the beauty of HZD will unveil before your very eyes.

At first on your map there will be a Fog of War

The fog of war have been popularized in old video games, where everything you haven't explored on the map yet is masked by a Fog… The Fog of War 😶‍🌫️ It encourages exploration and creates suspense as who knows what lies beyond !

In HZD there is a way to unveil big parts of the fog without exploring everything by foot… And it's called the TALL NECK ! Tall Necks are invulnerable machines containing all of the data on the area surrounding them… So if you climb on the neck… of a Tall Neck 😅 You can override it to obtain all of this data and the fog of war will disappear !

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Preparing your jump on the Tall Neck, then once overriden take a leap of faith to go down.

Tall Necks are represented by Quests of a certain level… The Tall Necks in themselves are not aggressive at all – though if you stand in front of them when they follow their own course, you'll be smashed to pieces (quickload ! 😆) – But it's all about the area they're walking on… it's not deserted and most of the time full of machines ! So for easy tall necks, the area will be filled with small machines… and for harder tall necks, it will be Medium  / Large or settlements of Bandits !

It's highly recommended to clean an area before climbing a Tall Neck… otherwise you'll be shot while climbing.

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition

I hope you're not afraid of Heights ? Because Aloy is a true monkey and Free Climber !

There are many places scattered around the mountains, where Aloy can reach heights where no one else would dare to venture… Apart from the “Banuks” of course… people living in the frozen wilds who are used to live in unaccessible places.

Even if it's a video game… It's truly impressive (and scary) to see Aloy climbing heights with dizzying falls !

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A Banuk route on your left (crazy motherfuckers…), and Aloy free climbing on the right.

There is truly an impressive world design on this part… As the routes to climb mountains are always subtle.

Challenging battles all the way !

So yeah the smaller machines you can kill in one “silent strike” or in just a few attacks…

But of course there are also very nasty machines who look big… even in the distance !!

For these machines you'll need to use special arrows or even special weapons ! Like the rattler which act as a medieval Machine Gun 😉 or the ropecaster super useful to TRAP flying machines to the ground with ropes !

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Thunderjaw on the left, and a Stormbird to your right ! 2 of the biggest machines in game.

The first time you encounter these machines, it's like playing to Dark Souls ! These machines have a lot of HP, big plates of armor covering their body, protecting weak spots… And if you play like me in Ultra Hard, depending on their attack they can literally ONE SHOT you ! But of course after some time and levels, they're still strong but can be killed quite fast.

I could go on and on with this game…

I have spent 120+ hours of my life on it… That's quite the amount of hours for a casual gamer like me ! And that's because this is a great role playing game, with an impressive world life and a story so good… that it's going to be adapted on Netflix !! When the cinema industry looks at something to adapt it… You know that means there is a LOT of Potential !

The level limit in this game is 60… But i only reached it in the very last mission of the DLC, and i had already finished the main game. So the level limit is not really an issue unless of course you spent too much time grinding the machines.

As for the DLC i have to say that i found it a little too “WOKE” to my taste… Like Aloy who originally thought everyone had something to ask her, of course otherwise there would be no quest to do, but she was complaining a little about it… and it was understandable 🙄 begins in the DLC to care about everything and everyone, even when she just met the npcs for the first time… It's like she was transforming into Mother Teresa

And then still in the DLC, there are dialogs options where Aloy Cares about the feelings / emotions of everyone… Even the Artificial Intelligence begins to care… It's okay to speak about feelings / emotions if it represents only a slight portion of the dialogues… But don't make an Entire Discussion made of these !! Because it's simply Boring and doesn't fit in the context ! We're speaking about survival, we're not laying on the couch of a psychologist for fuck sake !!

Don't misunderstand me… Horizon Zero Dawn Complete edition is a GREAT Game !

But this “WOKE” culture which have already messed up with Witcher Season 3 (that's why Henry Cavill left…), Castlevania Nocturne (too bad the original 4 seasons were great !) or lately Halo season 2 (when season 1 was excellent!) is unfortunately also pushing on video games. At some point i hope the fucking “Woke” scenarists, or “Woke” lead project managers will see their mistakes… They want to please everyone, and so also lose a lot of people in the process !

You can't please everyone… be careful about your audience.

Finally i'd like to Pay Homage to Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick an actor i had never seen before playing HZD, and despite the fact that we don't see him at every corners of the game, he made a great impression on me. He was the most mysterious character of the game, and i guess his voice contributed to his mysterious charm. That's also why he voice acted in many other games…

Well… After completing the game, i enquired about the sequel which i knew was going to be released on PC ! And that's where i learned with sadness that Lance Reddick had passed away in 2023… The same year i began to play to HZD.

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Lance Reddick on the left, and a sad face of Aloy on the right... as it's also my feeling when i look at this picture.

Computer used for this test : Core I5-13400 / RTX 4070 Ti / 64Gb ddr5 / Ssd NVMe
Performances : between 90 and 165 FPS in 1440p / Ultra Graphics
Hours spent : 120+ hours counting Frozen Wilds DLC.
Difficulty : Ultra Hard (felt like Dark Souls !).

Largegamer

%

Note on 100%

+ Best training for PC users to learn how to aim with gamepad
+ Beautiful, Astonishing work on a Design / Graphic level
+ Remarkable story and quests design from A to Z
+ Machines design is Incredibly realistic !
+ VERY CHALLENGING in Ultra Hard mode


– Limited level to 60 and a few useless skills
– Maybe too much “Woke” to my taste in the DLC…