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3 Things Horizon Zero Dawn Must Deliver on to Win Us Over

Horizon Zero Dawn is quickly approaching. Here are three things it has to do truly stand out.

Horizon Zero Dawn is just a month away now. I, like many others, am pretty damn excited to get my hands on it, the latest title from Guerrilla Games. But aside from the E3 trailer and demo, I've largely kept myself out of the loop as I do with many games. What I have seen, though, has me thinking: What are some things Horizon has to do to live up to the expectations I (and many other gamers) envisioned when I (we) saw that trailer and demo all these months ago?

So, here are 3 things Horizon Zero Dawn must deliver on to win us over

Story

I am so excited to see what this game's story has to offer. The premise hits some very sweet spots for me. Set in a post apocalyptic world where humanity lives like their cavemen ancestors, Horizon Zero Dawn is a novel take on the typical apocalyptic fare. One of the most interesting aspects of this is that instead of populating the world with organic beasts to hunt (or to be hunted by), synthetic creatures walk the lands. If that doesn't sound fun and unique to you, I don't know what will. That's why this is one of the points the game has to succeed at the most in my opinion.

There's a lot that can go wrong with a game's story, depending on a lot of different factors. What if the developers try to or get forced to make the game a series and the story can't be stretched that far. What if the story ends up just being plain old dull? What if it's amazing and then we get Mass Effect 3'd again? These are just a fraction of the things that could go wrong with the Horizon's story, and I really hope it doesn't get plagued by them.

Environment

Environment doesn't have to be everything in a game. Not every game needs some grand open world with huge mountains and deep plains. Hell, just look at Undertale. That was made largely by one dude using sprite art, and it was arguably the most popular game of 2015. 

But Horizon Zero Dawn can't get away with that. This is a big budget game created by a team of professionals that have to market the game's environment as a selling point. So honestly, the environment has to blow us away. I want to see how creatures interact, how humans interact with the creatures, and I want to see it all happen in environments like those huge mountains and deep plains I mentioned before. 

Gameplay

This is one of the things I'm most excited, and least worried, about. When initial trailers were released and showed a variety of stealth and action present in Horizon, I was extremely excited.

The fight with the giant mechanical T-Rex shown in the trailer was one of the coolest things at E3 last year. Everything seemed fast and tight. I was especially excited to see that there are going to be some more RPG elements in the game, too.

The worries I have in regards to gameplay boil down to this: The game will lose itself while trying to imitate big series that have come before it.

One of the most recent gameplay videos released is what caused this. In it, the main character is riding on a buffalo or deer-like beast and then climbs a massive long-necked mechanical beast. When she reaches the top, she gets a small cutscene revealing more of the map.

While the first part seems like it will cut down on walking, it does make me think that they implemented it only after Far Cry Primal did it. The second part reminds me of Assassin's Creed and Far Cry 3 and 4. It's not a huge deal, but the formula those games follow of "climb high thing, reveal map," has worn on me terribly through the years.

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All in all, I hope Horizon Zero Dawn can live up to the expectations put upon it by a lot of people. I know I'm really looking forward to it and it would be a shame for it to be a letdown. 

What are some things you want to see Horizon Zero dawn do, or not do? Let me know!

Published Jan. 29th 2017

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