The best thing about PlayStation is that it's reinvented itself time and time again. Sony's original console was defined by Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, but a contractual blunder meant that both series went multiformat. Sony had to reinvent itself, and we saw the introduction of Jak & Daxter and Sly Cooper. Now on its fourth home device, the platform holder's certainly not retiring all of its fan-favourite franchises, but it is refreshing its portfolio as it does every generation.
And as Nathan Drake's adventures come to a close, it's Horizon: Zero Dawn that the Japanese giant will be hoping occupies Uncharted's space. This role-playing release from Guerrilla Games was rumoured for an eternity before its announcement last year, and it pads a gap in the manufacturer's portfolio: the Western RPG. Titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher III: Wild Hunt have proven the popularity of this genre, but can the Killzone creator muscle its way in?
Unfortunately, despite going hands-on with the game last week, it's too early to say; the Dutch developer is not exactly known for great writing and story-telling, both of which are a pivotal part of any great RPG. The studio does know a thing or two about great combat, though, so it's no surprise that the demo we played emphasised this part of the game – the cumbersome gait of Geralt of Rivia and the ropey first-person swashbuckling of Skyrim is nowhere to be seen here.
Instead, the studio's concocted a "battle system" that would belong in an action game. Aloy, the title's red-headed protagonist, is armed with a bow, which she can use to switch out different arrows in order to assault her robotic foes. This armament enables oodles of combative options: tripwires can be laid to off escaping herds; tethers can string up metallic serpents, restricting their movement; fire arrows can augment elemental damage to your attacks.
And that's not all: Aloy can drop traps, lure enemies, and even scan them to find their weak points; she can tame beasts and climb aboard them, craft grenades, and use tall grass to stealth her way towards foes unseen. It's a dense, mechanical system that would feel right at home in an action game rather than an RPG – and that's exciting. The controls, while complicated, work well and feel right, minus some minor animation transitions which we imagine will be fixed before launch.
The jury, then, rests everywhere else. There's no doubt that Guerrilla Games can write a rich lore – those who read Killzone's back story will know that it's got serious chops when it comes to world building – but it's always struggled to incorporate its amazing ideas into the titles themselves. Horizon: Zero Dawn is going to be fun to play, there's no doubt about that – but will the quests be entertaining, will the writing be on point, and will the characters be interesting?
And will it be able to avoid the inevitable plot twist in which Aloy learns that she's from the "old world", and she survived the fall by being cryogenically frozen? Because that's obviously what the story's going to be about.
Do you think that Horizon: Zero Dawn has the chops to be Sony's next big franchise? Do you have any concerns about the game? Sharpen up in the comments section below.
Every time I see this games name in an article title I always assume it's to announce another delay. And I'll think that until at least late December.
@rjejr I'm pretty sure it's only been delayed once, no?
This will be a Blockbuster for sure.
Delayed just the once.
What was PlayStation 4s last Blockbuster?
@Royalblues How do you know it runs terrible on PS4 Pro? You've played it?
@Bhattiboy Uncharted 4 probably, unless I've missed something
@get2sammyb "I'm pretty sure it's only been delayed once, no?"
Well I think it's only been delayed once, but I'm pretty sure that's still the proper use of "another". Unless you think "another" would only apply to the 3rd or more delays? "It's been delayed once, and I'm waiting to hear about another delay." I don't know whats wrong w/ that, sounds proper to me.
IDK, I guess I still haven't seen enough to feel like it's a full game due out the end of Feb. They haven't even announced a season pass yet.
I'm sure I'm in the vast minority, but this game doesn't really move the needle for me. It looks interesting enough, and I'll probably rent it, but that's probably as far as I'll go with it. And I love RPGs too, but the combat in this seems awful fiddly and stressful.
It looks very good in terms of overall smoothness, enjoyable third-person controls and environment. Guerrilla do need to move away from Killzone and this looks like it has a lot potential.
@BranJ0 Never played it hype has no place in my soul
The demo played at EGX was terrible. It was dull and lacked no structure. If it was based upon a recent build I am glad it was delayed. I can see where the game is going but It needs a lot of improvement! the "gameplay" demos I have seen are no where near what I played last week.
EDIT: Also I hate how developers attach RPG to games these days because they have a few choice systems, crafting systems and basic equipment management
@get2sammyb @ZeD Me and my brother went to EGX and we saw this on that massive tv showcasing the game and PS4 Pro. And I've got to say that we weren't that impressed either. There was artifacting, screen blemishes. The way that the hair of Aloy merged through her clothes, same with the grass. There's no denying that the colours were beautiful, but the screen glitches just ruined what I'd expected to be my highest point at EGX. We questioned if we were in the right place watching a game being played on the vanilla PS4. I'm hoping that this isn't what to expect from 4K gaming as I'm almost as hyped by the pro as I am by PSVR.
@DiddyWahDiddy it's not really doing it for me, either. Will keep an eye on it though. Doubt I'll resist picking it up at some point soon after release providing it's not a complete stinker.
Calm down guys, so much negativity!
I really want to enjoy this game and I think that after Persona 5 this could be the PS4 title of the year.
@Royalblues You still did not give a answer? Did you see it run in 4K?
I'm definitely interested but it looks a bit... bland? it lacks something.
I'd say it looks very pretty though, but I might be a poor console peasant
I also feel like it will be received less positively than it could due to comparisons with Breath of the wild...a game that seems to have a lot of "soul" and has already been sanctified by the media anyway.
@blakey78 Technically it was a video, which is why you saw compression artefacts. It'll look even better than that in realtime.
@Feena At least you can play as a female in Horizon
@get2sammyb Phew, was starting to worry my pre-order for the pro was a waste. As I said, the colours were stunning, vibrant, alive even. This info has eased my mind a little, thanks Sammy. Gutted I missed you guys at EGX. I was, however, recognised from my comment "I'll be easy to spot, I'll be the guy wearing a Man Utd shirt and having only one leg lol". It was a father and son from Manchester. He came over whilst me and my brother were in the waiting area for PSVR. Really nic3, friendly chap who asked if I was Blakey78 lol. I'm famous
@Feena I feel exactly the opposite. I have not seen a game look as bland as the new Zelda in a long time and am very disappointed in its lack of own personality. Horizon on the other hand has a lot of fresh elements at least: main character, enemies, it's palette.
I spent about fifteen minutes at egx watching the same few minutes on a loop on an 80" 4K HDR tv whilst the Scottish Playstation rep was chewing my ear off about the Pro and Slim. It did look gorgeous, but was discreetly told how high end the set up was, and advised to save my money for another year or so before going Pro, when the 4K tv's worth getting will start coming down in price. Interesting conversation. (I didn't know LG own the panels in so many other tv's either!)
I don't doubt the game will be good, or at least entertaining to play. It has the makings of a blockbuster but it's still entirely possible that the title can fall on it's face and fail, or still be a good game but fail to live up to the hype and disappoint. We'll have to wait and see.
I'm certainly hoping it's a blockbuster.
@Kidfried Well to each is own, I am all for a variety of opinions From what I've seen I'd say Breath of the wild doesn't feel bland but more...barren. In a Shadow of the Colossus kind of way. It seems very lyrical with all the grass dangling in the wind and stuff.
But my point was just that Horizon may suffer from the inevitable comparison and the Zelda complex. I mean, an OK game like skyward sword has been called masterpiece etc.
I am super hyped for this game. I definitely think it will deal with direct comparisons to Breath of the Wild, as some have already stated.
Personally, despite being a hardcore Nintendo fanatic, I think the new Zelda looks fairly bland.
This is on my radar for sure
@KingofSaiyanZ I'm not really concerned about anything apart from the writing to be honest, but there are still questions Guerrilla need to answer before launch. We really haven't seen much at all.
They said they removed a lot of elements for the demo so surely the final game will look less barren.
And I am still very interested in both games.
I'm interested. I can appreciate the caution, but I have faith. Not sure why either, cause Guerilla isn't exactly known for any timeless masterpieces... but, I just do. I don't see how they could screw this up. Hire a writer that knows what they're doing, nail the combat and gameplay loop, and just roll with it.
@blakey78 I also was at EGX and what I saw looked amazing and in a different league to the witcher 3 graphically and framerate wise . It's hilarious people are judging a game that is still half a year away. I think Horizon will be goty contender, they even hired quality writers who have worked on fallout and Skyrim add that to Guerilla games already existing skills you get potential for one hell of a great game. I think there's alot of bashing and reports of a dull game or broken game are just not true. I went with 5 other people all were blown away and agreed Horizon is there most anticipated game of 2017 I think the hate is coming because it's a PS4 exclusive.
@Kidfried Totally agree Zelda looks a very barren world and that cooking game play with the humming was childish. I hope they stick to the formula that made Zelda great but from what I have seen so far I am worried. Horizon on the other hand graphically it's spectacular. Gameplay look unique and gives you genuine options, the open world is stunning and filled with so many robot dinos and animals. The bosses look challenging I don't know what else people would want from a game.
I used to be excited for it, but it recently being described as an RPG has ruined a lot of the anticipation for me.
There is a lot of mystery involved with the story and I think the developers are being very careful to keep those mysteries secret. The main reveals have shied away from the story although we have had a couple that have given a bit more info.
The main sequences seem to have focussed on an earlyish encounter to give people an idea on the combat and basic mechanics without revealing too much about the world. The Japanese gameplay video showed more of the build-up to the E3 gameplay - which ends up revealing this was a side quest.
I posted a video in the Forums of an interview with the lead writer - someone who worked on Fallout: New Vegas and Shadow of Mordor. Whilst Guerilla Games may not have the 'best' track record with telling a story, they have recruited well to overcome that. Same with recruiting developers from CD Project Red to help with the RPG elements and side quests.
At this point, I have no concerns - well not in this area. I hope that the frame rates can be stabilised to run more consistently at 30fps but that's my only concern at the moment and its not a major concern with quite a few months to polish before release. I am glad that GG haven't revealed too many details regarding the story etc and really looking forward to finding out myself through playing...
I think Sammy is waaaay of the mark.
Clearly it will turn out that the protagonist is in fact a machine herself.
@SnowstormX I honestly wasn't knocking the game, it's a day one for me. I was just commebting on the screen blemishes that I saw. I know the gane hasn't gone gold yet, I also now know that it was a video that I was watching. My comment was more aimed at the Pro rather than the game itself. Sammy cleared it up for me though. This is also my most anticipated game of 2017. I hear you about people complaining for the sake of it. I was just commenting on what I saw, that's all
@blakey78 Yh but mate I saw the same demo and I couldn't see a lot of frame rate dips. I did notice a tiny bit of screen tearing. Digital foundry have done an excellent analysis on it and they were very in pressed and commented how well the upscaling looked aswell. It would be nice to get a polished game on the Pro and I think we will. I wonder how long they have had the Dev kits, and we obviously all know Horizon, GTS, Nioh, were delayed because of the pro. But I am genuinely excited to play something fresh and challenging. I am getting first person shooter fatigue lol. Hurry up Febuary 4 PS4 quality exclusives in one month going to burn the wallet lol.
This game is 100% buy for me, looks really good. I'm not going in with the idea it's going to be GOTY (that's reserved for Persona 5), but I think it'll be good.
I have to say I wasn't impressed with it running in 4K and actually didn't like the look of it at all on the monitor they had at EGX. Saying that I don't have a PS4 Pro or 4K TV so I don't really care, it'll look great on my OG PS4 too:)
I had always wanted Guerrilla to make Kill zone a blockbuster. But they could never get over the hump. Kill zone 2 was the greatest military shooter I have ever played both in story and online. Shame really, I hope this game becomes a generational success like Uncharted was. Maybe it'd give them the revitalization they need to finally make Kill zone great.
@SnowstormX Skyrim and the Bethesda Fallout entries aren't known for having good stories either... XD
@JoeBlogs YES. This comment wins the section!
@JoeBlogs Games are becoming an impressive medium. They're not only capable of telling a good story, but also add in interaction and choice, something you can't get from watching a movie and reading a book. They could be the future choice media humans spend their time on as the medium advances.
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