Horizon Zero Dawn… Dinosaurs Have Returned – Review (PS4)

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Mechanical dinosaurs, a post-apocolyptic world, huge bustling cities and villages, interesting characters and tribal feuds… Have I caught your attention yet?

Horizon Zero Dawn was one of my favourite PS4 exclusives this year, not only because I thought the setting was unique and beautiful but because the story was engaging enough to make me care about the character ‘Aloy’, and her antics in discovering this new world.

So get ready to put your controller in your hand because if you haven’t played this game yet then you’re in for a treat.

Discovering A World Of Machines – Story

Horizon Zero Dawn’s story (without spoiling) explores the relationship between man and machine. Throughout your play through you will discover Aloy’s struggles to understand the old ‘machine world’. Which, once was inhabited by the likes of the ‘modern’ day people.

You will do this by exploring hidden ancient caves whilst also uncovering a deep secret to where and how the mechanical beasts became a part of this new land. It won’t be easy though as you’ll have to stop and fight a rival tribe (Shadow Carja) who want to bend the machines to their will.

You watch Aloy develop throughout the story as a direct result from what she see’s and experiences, which in turn impacts upon her personality and attitude toward tribe customs and the world around her, creating conflict and resolution.

It’s an intriguing story which requires time and attention to fully understand the world building and immersion in which it’s trying to create. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

The story took me around 30 hours to complete (including side quests) but that was rushing it. If you take your time and experience everything the game has to offer, you’ll most likely run about 50-60 hours.

Above Video: Horizon Zero Dawn Story Trailer. 

Riding Machines And Dodging Phenes – Content

There is plenty to do here, so much so that you’ll sometimes find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of activities and side quests on offer.

There are forgotten caves to explore, recordings to be found and rare loot to be obtained by completing these various missions on your travels. You learn about the ‘old world’ more in this way and it helps tie in well with the main story, giving these activities purpose.

You can also hunt machines out in the world or through challenges for parts, to craft ammunition or new weapons, create better Armour or sell them for rarer crafting material at various markets.

Machines vary in difficult with each having weaknesses and strengths. You’ll have to exploit these weaknesses, with Aloy’s bow in order to stand a chance against them. I found myself having to use my whole arsenal such as explosive, fire, ice and dark hole arrows in order to strip down the bigger machines and defeat them. The battles are fun and challenging and provide a real sense of danger.

There is also 7 tribes which have unique traits and abilities, giving off a ‘AVATAR’ air bending type feel. For example the ‘Carja’ wield fire and believe in power whilst the ‘Oseram’ are excellent craftsmen and warriors. This provides different elements in the game, making you focus on changing strategies before heading into battle.

These battles consist mostly of ‘outposts’ which are guarded by bandits or ‘Shadow Carja’. Each outpost is ranked with special units and leaders which you must defeat in order to liberate an outpost. The game provides many ways to go about this, with assassinating and climbing the walls to use my bow as the preferred tactic.

You can also unlock various points of interest on the map by climbing giant machines ‘Assassins Creed Style’ or by running into random events where someone’s life is in danger. It all helped build the immersion within this world.

Above Video: Horizon Zero Dawn Gameplay.

Teeming Wildlife – Graphics And Sound

The environments and sound in this game make you just smile quietly to yourself, and then proceed to cook up your favourite meal… Then eat that meal whilst you play, it’s that good!

Environments vary from barren deserts, lush dark jungles, open grass plane fields and blizzarding snow mountains. All locked at 30FPS (frames per second) 1080P HD on the PS4 and 4K on the PS4 Pro.

I liked looking at this game better than the world around me (which became a little worrying).

Now the sound is equally impressive from vegetation moving in the wind, to the ground and controller trembling from giant T-rex like machines. Music is also tranquilizing, especially in bustling markets and little villages where you just can’t help but stick around for 5 minutes to listen.

I thought AI interaction was done very well compared to many other open-world games, giving it that realistic quality.

Above Video: Graphics Comparison PS4 VS PS4 Pro.

Mechanical Precision – Mechanics

Everything runs well with this game, from lip syncing to controller responsiveness. It all feels natural and very well-balanced. I did get the odd bug and glitch here and there, but it has been well optimized for the PS4.

Leveling Aloy also felt efficient with the way you progressed during the story, all her abilities and weapons were attainable rather quickly and in a timely matter. This helped to keep me invested in the story for a long time without having to grind so much.

Button mapping is also done well with all the pieces matching together to create an easy to grasp 3rd person concept. In other words if you have played a third person open world game before you will understand the controls easily.

Above Video: ‘Games Radar’ In-depth mechanics and tips.

Let’s Go Hunting

This game is near perfection for me, a grand addition to Sony’s PS4 exclusives alongside the likes of ‘Uncharted’ and ‘The Last Of Us’. I recommend this to anyone who owns a PS4 and loves story driven games.

If you haven’t played any of these titles before than you need to go out and buy them, because right now they are on sale and you won’t regret spending your life away on these franchises.

In saying that my final cheap verdict is a 9/10.

I hope you guy’s enjoyed the review, leave a comment if you have any questions.

Links to the game will be down below if you are interested.

Have a great day guy’s and take care!



Links to purchase Horizon Zero Dawn: 



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4 Replies to “Horizon Zero Dawn… Dinosaurs Have Returned – Review (PS4)

  1. Looks to me like a Female Mad Max movie ! I am not too enamored of the graphics – too anime like – I prefer more advanced graphics, but I guess I can understand if you engrossed in the story line, this will engage you for hours. Overall I give the game a “6”. Simply too “Disney” like to me.

  2. Great article for gamers! i love playing guild wars and finding a game that is open world (and doesn’t suck) is not very easy. Great review, and awesome site, i’ll definitely come to read your articles more often

    1. Thanks Ileana! I agree it’s not easy trying to find good open world games, the market is so saturated with them.

      But Horizon Zero Dawn is definitely worth a try if you haven’t played it before.

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