Horizon: Zero Dawn was released by Sony on 28th February 2017, having been developed by Guerrilla Games, a Dutch company who created the popular Killzone series. It sees gamers taking control of an outcast named Aloy, who has been forced to roam a post-apocalyptic world populated by savage tribes and ultra-violent robots. Involving hunting, battling, crafting and questing; it presents a diverse set of challenges for any gamer, and it’s becoming a modern classic.
If you want to purchase this cutting edge PS4 title, it might help to introduce a few of the themes and ways to purchase Horizon: Zero Dawn. This HotUKDeals buyer’s guide will provide all of the background you need before taking the plunge.
Open World Adventure in an Impressive Setting - Horizon: Zero Dawn
Although Horizon: Zero Dawn is meant to be the first instalment of a new gaming franchise, it hasn’t come out of the blue. The talents and themes behind the game have been developing for over a decade.
Horizon was developed by Guerrilla Games. Founded in 2000 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Guerrilla made their name with Killzone which debuted for the PS2 in 2004. Killzone 2 and 3 followed in 2009 and 2011 respectively, while the series was rounded off by Killzone: Shadow Fall in 2013, which was Guerrilla’s first PS4 offering.
Killzone and Horizon share some similarities, but are really quite different. Both are first person shooters to some degree (although Horizon has a more complex combat system and is more of an RPG). Both are also set in the distant future, when human destiny has gone awry, leading to catastrophic results. However, Guerrilla have made a huge leap with their new title.
When Killzone: Shadow Fall was released, Guerrilla realised that the series had run its course, and they cast around for a new character and gaming universe. They chose to create a much more ambitious universe, with a huge open zone to explore, a vast array of quests, enemies, skills, characters and weapons - in other words, a much deeper gaming experience.
When you take control of Aloy, you’ll be able to judge for yourself whether they have succeeded. The gaming media have been broadly supportive, citing its fantastic graphics as major asset. Utilising the PS4’s 4K mode to the full, Horizon: Zero Dawn could blow you away with its visuals, and hook you with its gameplay.
Horizon: Zero Dawn - Gameplay
What Systems Can Run Horizon: Zero Dawn?
The only way to play Horizon: Zero Dawn is by owning a PS4 (the PS4 Pro, Original or Slim), the game is an exclusive title for the PlayStation. With its 4K graphics, the game really shows off what Sony’s most powerful console can do, and for this reason alone it has been whetting the appetite of PS4 owners.
How does the Gameplay Work in Horizon: Zero Dawn?
Horizon: Zero Dawn sees you taking the role of Aloy, a human who has been cast adrift to survive in a world full of (mainly) hostile machines and other human tribes by completing quests, hunting and fighting machines. Here are the main elements of the gameplay you’ll encounter when you enter the Horizon universe:
Health - As with most in-game characters, Aloy has a finite amount of health. The good news is that you can replenish that health by picking up red flowers as you roam the world.
Resources - The Horizon universe is full of objects, most of which can be picked up and stored in Aloy’s pouch. These resources can then be crafted into usable items, so collecting as many as possible makes sense.
Hunting - The game world is populated by a mixture of biological animals and machines, and Aloy can hunt them all, accumulating experience points as she goes.
Weapons - When you play Horizon: Zero Dawn, you won’t be able to avoid fighting the machines who populate the game world. They may seem fearsome at first, but you’ll soon find out how to defeat the smaller machines, before graduating to larger enemies in no time. Fighting is crucial for Aloy. Not only does it help to boost her skill levels, it also provides her with essential resources.
Stealth - Aloy has the ability to hide and blend in with the foliage - a very useful trait when stalking machines to harvest their resources.
Quests - The game is built around quests, which vary in their difficulty and the amount of skill points you can earn by completing them. At first, you’ll only qualify for very simple tasks, but this swiftly changes as the game unfolds.
Open world exploration - You don’t have to spend all your time completing quests. The game also allows Aloy to roam as she wishes, vanquishing machines and encountering new characters. You can also use cauldrons to complete in-game tutorials. They are a handy source of guidance about how to fight different machines, so don’t forget about them.
Skills are a key part of Horizon: Zero Dawn and they probably deserve a section of their own. They come in three different varieties, each of which is necessary to give Aloy the right range of capabilities to complete her quests:
Prowler - A set of skills that relate mainly to fighting. Includes abilities like the Silent Strike, which kills many enemies instantly without expending ammo; Silent Drop, which makes you extra stealthy; Dodge Prowess, which makes Aloy even more nimble; and Quiet Sprint, which makes Aloy quieter when she runs.
Brave - Includes skills like Concentration which helps when using longer range weapons; Fast Reload, which boosts your firing rate, and Critical Hit, which gives your attacks a welcome boost.
Forager - Includes the Lure Call, which attracts a single to your location; Herbalist, which makes your medicinal potions more effective, and Disarm Traps, which enables you to take down poorly laid traps and relay them elsewhere.
These skills need to be purchased using in-game credits, and balancing them out is a vital part of the game (particularly when you are just starting out). So take some time to become acquainted with which skills do what, and you’ll have an instant advantage in the Horizon universe.
How Does Combat Work in Horizon: Zero Dawn?
As with almost all action RPGs, Horizon involves serious amounts of fighting, and if you are going to thrive in the wild, you’ll need to get used to the various battle techniques. Here are the major elements of the combat system:
Focus - Aloy wears a focus tool on her head that allows players to scan opponents before they engage them in combat. That way, you can assess their strengths and choose the right form of attack.
The combat notebook - Aloy makes a note of every scan she makes, and all the attacks she launches, a very handy resource to consult as you wander around the game world.
Range weapons - Weapons that are used for long distance attacks, including sharpshot bows, hunter bows and war bows (Aloy's main form of attack), along with tripcasters, ropecasters, slings, blasts slings and rattlers.
Melee combat - Aloy can also engage in short-range attacks, generally following periods of stealth. The lance allows her to ambush opponents and avoid their long-range weapons, adding another dimension to your attacks.
Stealth - Stealth mode is something that all players need to master, as it can be the only way to take down multiple opponents (for example, when they are guarding outposts that are quest objectives).
Types of damage - Different weapons deal different kinds of blows, which vary in effectiveness depending on who you are fighting.
Inventory - Aloy can only carry so many weapons or potions at one time, but you can upgrade her satchel by expending credits. The capacity of weapons like bows can also be increased in the same way.
A Quick Guide to the Machines in Horizon: Zero Dawn
Aloy has to contend with a huge variety of different foes, all of which have different strengths and weaknesses, so it takes some time to learn the intricacies of the game. Here are some of the most impressive and common machines you’ll have to vanquish:
Stormbirds - Terrifying to look at, Stormbirds swoop down and are capable of formidable aerial and ground-based attacks.
Sawtooths - Ultra-aggressive, Sawtooths are akin to sabre toothed tigers and will charge on sight, but are vulnerable to fire.
Tallnecks - Featuring soaring necks, these leviathans are a key part of the game mechanics. By climbing a Tallneck, Aloy can gain access to the maps they contain, expanding her knowledge of the world’s geography.
Watchers - Equipped with scanning devices for eyes, Watchers transmit data about approaching enemies to larger machines, and need to be taken down before mounting effective assaults.
Thunderjaws - Similar to a T Rex in shape and deadliness, Thunderjaws are the largest combat machines Aloy will contend with. They are a source of disc launchers which can be crafted into powerful weapons by hunters.
Broadheads - The cattle of the machine world, Broadheads can be hacked by human players and put to good use, and are also an excellent source of resources.
That’s just a small cross section of the machines you’ll come across when you play Horizon: Zero Dawn. As you can see, each machine is slightly different (dramatically so in terms of appearance), with different resources to harvest, different behaviours and ways of attacking. It all adds variety to the game, making it harder to master, even though it’s extremely easy to start playing.
Horizon: Friends and Foes
Can You Play the Game in Multiplayer Mode?
With such a massive game world to explore, it would have seemed odd if Guerrilla Games had omitted a multiplayer option of some form. However, prepare to be a little surprised: Horizon: Zero Dawn does not have a multiplayer mode where you can join clans and battle against other humans (or even take the role of machine clans).
Guerrilla explained that the reason was to foreground the gameplay in Horizon. Rather than spending time adding multiplayer modes that are found in most games, they tried to dedicate themselves to crafting a compelling scenario and character - an old-style, but effective way to create a game.
However, there is one way that more than one PS4 player can share the experience of taking control of Aloy. By using Sony’s SharePlay function, you can allow other PS4 owners to assume control, even if they don’t actually own a copy of the game. So, if you get stuck or tired of hunting for resources, a friend on the other side of town can step in and carry on your work.
Different Horizon: Zero Dawn Purchasing Options
If you like the sound of taking control of Aloy and doing battle against a world of corrupted machines, you will find several purchasing options.
The Standard Edition - Consisting of the game disc or a digital download from the PlayStation Store, along with some basic documentation.
Digital Deluxe Edition - Includes the game, as well as plenty of additional features. For example, you will receive extra armour, weapons, crafting techniques and items to help Aloy travel safely.
Collector’s Edition - The most expensive option, the Collector’s Edition features the game, various extras like armour and weapons, along with a 9 inch Aloy statue, an Artbook and a steel book case.
Which bundle is best for you? It all depends. If you want to dive into the gameplay and are confident that you have the skills to thrive, go for the basic edition. However, if you feel that you’ll need a helping hand to learn the ropes, the Digital Deluxe Edition could be the better choice. And, if you are a hardcore fan of Horizon, the Collector’s Edition will be a must (although it’s really only essential for serious gamers).
Then again, you may be coming to Horizon as a complete PS4 novice. If you are upgrading from a PS3 or moving across from an Xbox system, buying a Horizon: Zero Dawn PS4 bundle will provide the console, a Dualshock 4 controller and the game itself, which could be the best value way to make your console purchase.
What Accessories Can Enhance the Experience of Playing Horizon?
As with any console game, having the right accessories and add-ons can make playing Horizon: Zero Dawn more enjoyable and fulfilling. Here are some suggestions for related products that you will find on HotUKDeals:
PlayStation Plus subscriptions Purchasing access to PlayStation Plus allows players to use the SharePlay function, giving their friends the ability to play the game, even if they haven’t bought the disc.
Dualshock 4 controllers - To get the most out of Horizon, you’ll need an up to date Dualshock controller, and you’ll find them at big discounts at the HotUKDeals listings.
Strategy Guides - You can also purchase in depth strategy guides from expert players, which can be a great way to get accustomed to the various machines, attacks, skills and weapons.
How and When to Buy Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn is a cutting-edge game with stunning visuals and immersive gameplay, but it doesn’t always come cheap. Therefore, finding the best deal is really important.
If you want to find Horizon: Zero Dawn offers, you’ve come to the right place. At HotUKDeals, we collect together the latest discounts from the UK’s biggest gaming retailers, including plenty of reductions for Horizon. For example, you’ll find savings from GAME, Amazon, ShopTo and Very, as well as subscriptions to PlayStation Plus.
Shop around to find out who is offering the lowest prices, and pounce when the right deal emerges. You might also think about adding accessories (or even the PS4 console) to make bigger overall savings.
Another thing to think about is when to buy the game. If you can hold out that long, you are sure to find huge Horizon: Zero Dawn savings around Black Friday in November as well as the January Sales. However, there are always reductions for both the disc and the digital download, so stay alert and don’t miss out.
Purchase the Most Advanced Games Around at HotUKDeals
Horizon: Zero Dawn is set to be a must-have title for PS4 gamers, with its stunning graphics, absorbing gameplay and engaging storyline. If you want to explore what the game has to offer, check out the Horizon: Zero Dawn offers at HotUKDeals, where you will find deals from the UK’s favourite gaming retailers.