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Whenever I’m not writing, I’m usually playing video games. I tend toward role-playing, survival, building or planner games and typically on PC. However, I recently finished Horizon Zero Dawn (The Complete Edition) on a PS4 Pro and was thoroughly impressed. The graphics, narrative, voice acting and mechanics were on par with games like Mass Effect (before EA ruined it) and Bioshock. I was disappointed when it was over, if only because it was over.

The blend of futuristic robots terraforming the planet and tribal humans struggling to survive the fallout of what ancient man had done to their world made for both an engaging and mysterious story. Exploring the world, encountering new cultures, rediscovering the past and acquiring new loot all took place in a fun, rewarding manner that didn’t leave me feeling like I was being led by the hand. The world is fairly open, with dozens of side quests I could’ve ignored but felt compelled to help out once I’d heard their pleas. As much as I wanted to follow the main story to find out what was going on and the main character’s history, I didn’t want to leave behind all those other stories. I cared about the world, and I was making it a better place.

The combat was fun, fluid and tactical. There was a multitude of metal creatures, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Brute force was possible but drew unnecessary attention. I quickly discovered the stealth system and realized I wasn’t just fighting these enemies. I was hunting them. Sneaking around, hiding in tall grass, luring individuals from the pack for a quiet takedown was both smart and satisfying. It reminded why I enjoy games like Splinter Cell so much.

The quests and dialogue didn’t have the openness of a game like Fallout, where choice can change the story. It didn’t really need too, though. It was telling a story worth listening to. With the collection of voice recordings, texts and holographic playbacks, I could take in as much or as little of that story as I wanted.

All of the incredible voice acting, the amazing graphics of an environment that changed with the weather, the roaming wildlife that only spawned in particular areas, the variety and interactions of metal creatures with their surroundings all made for a world I was glad to take part in. I know I’ll miss it now the story’s over.

If you get a chance to play, you really owe it to yourself to give the game a try.

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