Anyway, the "zero" in question is Horizon Zero Dawn, the action-adventure-survival title that was released to critical acclaim early this year. And what was saved was my Playstation 4, which had built up at least three layers of dust before I purchased HZD in a recent Amazon sale.
Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd ever find a video game that justified the PS4's place in my collection. Sure, Bloodborne held my attention for a while, and King of Fighters XIV and Mortal Kombat XL are both great fighting games, but nothing in my Playstation 4 library compelled me to keep coming back to the system, the way Oblivion or Mass Effect 2 had back in the Xbox 360 days.
However, with Horizon Zero Dawn, I might finally have that "sticky" game that makes the Playstation 4 worthwhile. Hell, I've already spent at least twenty hours with it, polishing off quests, picking health boosting flowers, and sinking arrows into the game's cast of e-fauna. It's way more time than I spent with the initially promising but ultimately disappointing Final Fantasy XV, that's for sure.
|The end of life as we know it never looked|
(all images from Dual Shockers)
I won't give too much away. What I will say is that from this point forward, Horizon Zero Dawn becomes an open world action game. It's frequently compared to Nintendo's latest Legend of Zelda title, Breath of the Wild, but pick any big-name epic from the past ten years out of a hat and you're going to notice similarities. If you've spent any time with a Bethesda RPG or one of the Far Cry games, you'll get the hang of Horizon Zero Dawn in a couple of hours. You're dropped in the middle of an impossibly large continent, packed with quests to finish (some trivial, others necessary to advance the plot) and monsters to fight. The world is your oyster, so get crackin'.
|Some machines' programming can be overriden,|
turning a bucking (Ford) Bronco into a handy
The second is that aside from bandits, pretty much everything you'll fight are Zoids. These android-imals do their best imitation of real-life beasts, from the iron horses dubbed Striders to the aquatic, crocodilian Snapmaws. However, when they're threatened, they break out the heavy artillery; high-tech weapons like bursts of electricity and laser fire that seem even more threatening next to your Bronze Age arrows and spear.
You'll have to make do with what you've got, peeling the armor from each machine and piercing its vulnerable energy cores with carefully placed shots. Succeed and you'll be given experience points and parts from the felled machine, including metal shards that can be bartered for better weapons. Fail and you'll be crushed under five thousand pounds of charging buffalo-bot.
Cow-droids and Indians seems like an idea dreamed up by an eight year old with ADD, but it works. Heck, it's fascinating to tuck yourself away in a tall patch of grass and watch the machines fulfill their roles in this twisted ecosystem. Reindeer-like Grazers chew through grass by using their spinning antlers as blades, while cyclopean raptors survey the surrounding area for predators (typically, you).
|A Shell Walker, thankfully without its|
protective force field.
Still, the payoff of killing that three-story tall Thunderjaw or successfully infiltrating a Cauldron usually makes it worth a few frustrating trips back to the nearest save point. Even the resonant "tink" of an arrow meeting the glass battery of a machine can be satisfying... especially when the battery catches fire and explodes. The great thing about Horizon Zero Dawn is while you can easily get lost in side quests or burn away hours hunting robots, everything you do has purpose, and none of the time you spend feels wasted. It's a fulfilling experience, and one my Playstation 4 desperately needed.
Horizon Zero Dawn is currently $19.99 during Sony's Black Friday sale. I humbly suggest that you pick up a copy for yourself, if you haven't already.