Known for their work on the long-running Killzone series available across the past few PlayStation consoles, Guerrilla Games has spent the last six years cooking up a new project with a completely different approach to game design for the PlayStation 4. Set to release next week, Horizon Zero Dawn is a third-person action role-playing game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Mass Effect which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world covered in robotic creatures known as Machines. You’ll be stepping into the shoes of a lone hunter named Aloy, who’s been sheltered her entire life by her people from the dangerous enemies that lurk outside the gate. Now, a tribal outcast looking for answers about the history of her world, she’s out on a quest to uncover the truth behind the some of the biggest mysteries her people have yet to solve.
With a such a drastic departure from the developer’s usual first-person formula and a series of mysteries we have yet to dive into for ourselves, here are a few things you should know before jumping into Horizon Zero Dawn on release day.
The game is a PlayStation 4 exclusive
If you were hoping to journey into the massive post-apocalyptic world available in Horizon Zero Dawn on your Xbox One or PC, you’ll have to start convincing a friend to let you borrow their PlayStation 4 or invest in a new console yourself for the game’s release. Since Guerrilla Games is a first-party development studio owned by Sony, Horizon Zero Dawn is only going to be available as a PlayStation 4 exclusive like every entry in the Killzone franchise, meaning that you’ll likely never see it on other platforms in the future.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a single-player experience
Even though we always knew that Horizon Zero Dawn was going to take place in an open-world environment, multiplayer wasn’t a subject which was addressed until later in the development process. While many of the video games Guerrilla Games have worked on in the past included a separate multiplayer component for players to dive into following the story, Horizon Zero Dawn is built as a single-player experienced with no competitive or cooperative play available between players. Certain social features were mentioned to be available in-game come launch for you to compare exploits with your friends, however, allowing you to challenge players to a bit of friendly competition when it comes to personal progress.
Exploring the open world
Like many other action role-playing games which have released over the last few years, Horizon Zero Dawn features a massive open world packed with different environments for players to navigate and explore during the experience. While the main story will carry you into each of the different areas over the course of the game, you’ll have time to freely explore and interact with the world around you in Aloy’s downtime: hunting robotic animals, hacking into their programming to ride them around the map, and collecting resources to build an entire set of upgrades for Aloy. There’s also numerous side quests scattered about the world for you to complete while on your adventure, so don’t hesitate to talk NPCs while roaming about.
Character customization is limited
While Horizon Zero Dawn does feature a standard set of RPG mechanics behind it, you won’t be able to completely customize the appearance of Aloy during the beginning of the game, as her appearance is set in stone. You will, however, be able to pick from dozens of different weapons, armor sets, and modifications to use on Aloy’s equipment by gathering them from around the world. Although they don’t carry as much weight on the lower difficulties, they can prove useful if you’re working to play with a specific approach like stealth in mind, allowing you to better utilize Aloy’s abilities to trap and eliminate your enemies without being seen.
Dialogue choices are present
Just like conversations with characters in other games like The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age, Horizon Zero Dawn features a dialogue wheel which allows you to choose how Aloy responds while conversing with the various characters you’ll meet throughout the game. Instead of having confusing dialogue options which don’t come out the way you intended, most of Aloy’s responses are designed to be faithful to the summaries you select from in the dialogue wheel, meaning less frustration when it comes to picking the appropriate option. The choices you make while interacting with the people you meet will also carry weight too, so make sure you’re ready to deal with the consequences when you chose a response in conversation.