E3 Hands On — Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn — Aloy And Corrupter

While at E3 I was able to see Horizon Zero Dawn in a more intimate setting than just a trailer. Here’s my take on Horizon Zero Dawn.

A good portion of what Sony has on the floor here at E3 happens to be just what we saw during the press conference and the same pretty much goes for Horizon Zero Dawn. We have another live demo put on from Guerrilla Games just for us but the only difference is that afterward we we allowed to actually put hands on with the game still waiting to launch on February 28th of 2017 on on the PS4. Of course it wasn’t of any new portion of Horizon Zero Dawn we have yet to see but that doesn’t change the fact that we got to actually play the game. Here’s a bit of how all of that went and just how the game feels.

Full disclosure here, we were only able to stay and play in the area where Aloy gains her mount in the demo shown on Monday or in the video below. It was selected for us to see how basic movement and combat plays out. We only were able to square off with the Seekers and the bison looking robots but it was supposed to be enough. Of course that would have been nice to know out the gate as I spent a good portion riding around and getting “Out Of Demo Area” messages but that isn’t the game’s fault here. Just the demo workers.

In any instance we got to kick the party off right in the mix of things for Horizon Zero Dawn. After a quick fall off a cliff or zip line ride depending on your actions we were placed in an area to scout and plan our attack. I started off by going long range as we see in the demo and it pretty much plays out just as any other archery style combat out there. It did seem like the longer that you held the arrow in the notch translated over to amount of damage. I can’t fully verify that as it always seemed I was able to get a head shot when I did that and when I took quick shots it always ended up hitting the torso but that was on my skill and not a mechanic I saw in the game.

After gaining my mount, as in the video, I rode off and the demo restarted due to me “going out of bounds.” That’s when I opted to give it a go again to check out how Horizon Zero Dawn’s melee combat worked. Wouldn’t you know it…it is tied to the R2 trigger here and not the traditional form that every other game out there has for this. It also came with a pretty steep learning curve as there was always too much of a wind up before the final blow went out. In fact I found myself having to cancel out and dodge more often than not. I’m not sure if it was based on the creatures I was fighting or if the mechanics are that sluggish but it just didn’t feel “right.” Of course this is an early demo so who knows at this point but Guerrilla Games?

Sadly that was the extent of the demo and not much else was shown off. It did have a lot of the feel of Tomb Raider (The newer ones) and a bit of Enslaved mixed together. If they fix the melee mechanics or allow for custom controls at the least then Horizon Zero Dawn does look like it will be another epic adventure to add into the gaming mix. Sadly, at least for me, if none of those are options coming soon then I se this game falling off and becoming another 3rd person shooter as no one will ever want to get up close and personal. This may harm the overall experience they are going for. At least in my eyes.

Horizon Zero Dawn — E3 2016 Gameplay Video

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