Attending EGX each year is a lot of fun, the same can be said this year even though it was somewhat lacking in compared to the previous years. I love to see the awesome Indie Developers we speak with on Twitter, and see the games coming up readers want to hear about. But, like all other gamers out there I have my own selfish desires and I was not leaving EGX this year without seeing first hand some Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay in action.
I got on the last session thanks to our friends at PlayStation and breath-taking is not strong enough to describe this game.
If I couldn’t wait to play this before the show, I’m even more impatient now!
Here you’ll get my impressions of the game from a hands on perspective and how it feels to play. We were all shown a live demo of more expansive gameplay too which I’ll also talk about as we go down the page.
Ready to get going? Ok then, into the post-post-apocalyptic future we go!
Live Demonstration Jaw Dropping
I’m not a patient person when you are at an event and taken into a mini-theatre to watch how to play a game. Just give me a pad and I’ll figure it out people!
But on this occasion it was very worthwhile. 30 of us sat down to watch someone play the game on a big Sony screen and not one person made a sound while it was on.
He took up the controls and entered the open world of the game as his PlayStation colleague described the action and told us the details of the game (you can find those at the end of this article).
The gameplay was clearly from the other conventions over the summer and the above E3 gameplay is similar to what I experienced. And while nothing much was different to what’s on YouTube, it was something special to see being played before you on a PS4.
Rise of Mass Effect?
I’m going to do a comparison here and before you all shout at me, I will say this. The game does have a very unique style to it and really does feel something new as a package. But, I like to compare things and I’m going to here to help you get a feel of it.
The hints of my favourite game series were in this game, Mass Effect. The conversation wheel is there and implemented similarly, I mean why not it’s excellent!? Plus the way you swap weapons or activate abilities also felt nicely Mass Effect reminiscent.
But then the action gets going and you get a nice feel of Tomb Raider when you are utilising the stealth mechanics, bow and traversing the environment.
This was most evident from my time playing the game. But staying with the demo, there were some really impressive scenes on show and one thing that is incredibly striking is the environment. It’s all so colourful with so many rich, vivid colours everywhere. This is a demo build put together what will be towards a year before we see the full game. Already it looks beautiful.
It also looks very exciting. Again, like the video above there is a scene where you take on a corrupted machine and was pretty tense, but the guy playing seemed well practiced. The movement of Aloy is remarkable all the animations looked really well worked and I simply had to get my hands on the game ASAP.
Waiting My Turn
I mentioned before there were 30 people in the room watching this and waiting to play. But there were only 15 machines on which to play… people were buddying up! Unfortunately I had to wait my turn and even then I was happy to do so and watch along.
One thing was clear, even over the man in front of me’s shoulder, this was not the same game the PlayStation staff member was using.
It looked great don’t get me wrong but it was very watered down, and all captured in a tiny area just to get you to feel the game rather than get involved with the world. Even the map, which in the demo had me impressed at the scale even in one small area of the world, was not something you could just bring up.
Of course not, I’d have been telling you all about it now wouldn’t I!
Keeping secrets is Sony’s plan here it seems. But what is not secret is the quality of this game. Everything about the control is exceptionally responsive and my mixture of Mass Effect and modern day Tomb Raider was bang on.
Where I found myself was in a smaller part of the demonstration, trying to capture one of the Broadhead robots and hack them. This involved using a rope arrow to fix it to the ground and overriding its system so you can ride it.
The only issue was the Watchers that are guarding them and will attack you if you’re spotted. So I stealthily moved through the grass, took aim with my bow and launched my attack on the Broadhead. Then, while creature was down totally lost my memory with the controls and killed the thing on the floor and activated all the Watchers to where I was an ended in a brawl!
Very subtle with my approach as ever.
But what was clear in all departments was the crisp controls and outright quality that this game is going to bring next year. It was only a small section of the game and there is much to go. Guerrilla have been very delicate when it comes to the story element of Horizon so far. There has been an emphasis on the action-RPG gameplay but you get the impression it’s going to be more action with RPG elements than the other way round.
As such I certainly hope the story lives up to the setting and the character of Aloy.
What to look forward to
Right now, and I say this knowing there are some quality games coming this year, I’m more excited for early 2017 than I am for what’s coming up in the near future. Although, I also played Dishonored 2 at EGX and that will be one to watch for GOTY, watch out for my article on that later.
But Horizon is really shaping up to be something special and I really am excited to see the game launch March 3rd next year… if it makes it for then.
Until then check out what this game is all about below with some details and videos.
Horizon Zero Dawn – The Details
Horizon Zero Dawn is an exhilarating new action role playing game exclusively for the PlayStation 4 system, developed by the award winning Guerrilla Games, creators of PlayStation’s venerated Killzone franchise. As Horizon Zero Dawn’s main protagonist Aloy, a skilled hunter, explore a vibrant and lush world inhabited by mysterious mechanized creatures.
Embark on a compelling, emotional journey and unravel mysteries of tribal societies, ancient artefacts and advanced technologies that will determine the fate of this planet, and of life itself.
PS4 Pro Compatibility
- A Lush Post-Apocalyptic World – How have machines dominated this world, and what is their purpose? What happened to the civilization here before? Scour every corner of a realm filled with ancient relics and mysterious buildings in order to uncover your past and unearth the many secrets of a forgotten land.
- Nature and Machines Collide – Horizon Zero Dawn juxtaposes two contrasting elements, taking a vibrant world rich with beautiful nature and filling it with awe-inspiring highly advanced technology. This marriage creates a dynamic combination for both exploration and gameplay.
- Defy Overwhelming Odds – The foundation of combat in Horizon Zero Dawn is built upon the speed and cunning of Aloy versus the raw strength and size of the machines. In order to overcome a much larger and technologically superior enemy, Aloy must use every ounce of her knowledge, intelligence, and agility to survive each encounter.
- Cutting Edge Open World Tech: Stunningly detailed forests, imposing mountains, and atmospheric ruins of a bygone civilization meld together in a landscape that is alive with changing weather systems and a full day/night cycle.