The internet woke this morning to a wealth of Horizon Zero Dawn reviews – the embargo has lifted well ahead of the 1st March release date. Early embargo dates are usually a sign of a publisher’s faith that their new releases will gain glowing reviews, which is something that rings true here.
So far Guerilla’s open-world sci-fi opus has gained top marks from Giant Bomb, The Telegraph and PlayStation Lifestyle, along with impressively high scores from the likes of Polygon, God is a Geek and Jim Sterling.
Consensus has it that it does have a few faults, with voice acting and AI coming under scrutiny the most, but these issues are minor and easily excused. That said, US Gamer – amongst a few others – weren’t swallowed in by the fancy visuals and found the experience to be less of a revolution, and just another repetitive open-world game.
There’s also Eurogamer’s scoreless review to consider. “Horizon: Zero Dawn is a work of considerable finesse and technical bravado, but it falls into the trap of past Guerrilla games in being all too forgettable” was their verdict. It didn’t even gain a ‘recommended’ tag, which has so far lead to a 150+ comment ruckus.
Here are other choice cuts from critics:
5/5 – Giant Bomb: “Horizon: Zero Dawn is familiar but also really refreshing. It’s not a short game (I spent around 30 hours with it), but the storytelling still feels concise and efficient”
5/5 – The Telegraph: Aside from the occasional bit of weak voice acting and some bad lip sinc, there’s not a lot to complain about with Horizon.
10/10 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “This is a glorious game, the result of a team of masterful artisans who not only had a story that they wished to tell, but a world that was living inside of them which they wanted to share with us all”
9.5 – Polygon: “Horizon Zero Dawn thrums with the energy of a creative team finally allowed to explore something new. It builds on elements of open-world and loot-and-craft gameplay that we’ve seen before, but it does so within a context, a setting and a style that feel fresh”
9.5 – The Jimqusition: “Horizon: Zero Dawn is just brilliant. I speak as a critic who has played more “open sandbox” games than any one human should and has grown so very weary of them. I should have gotten sick of this thing in an hour, but I’ve been glued to it for days and days and I don’t want it to end”
9.5 – God is a Geek: “There’s so much to enjoy, and you’re never going to run out of cool stuff to do. The Carja AI is a little poor at times (if you see a dead body, making a song and dance about it!), and the GPS waypoint system can be misleading, but these are minor issues. This game is damn near perfect, and you’ll going to absolutely love it”
9.3 – IGN: “Though side questing could have been more imaginative, its missions are compelling thanks to a central mystery that led me down a deep rabbit hole to a genuinely surprising – and moving – conclusion”
4.5/5 – GamesRadar: “An endless sense of wonder and awe push you onward no matter what you’re doing. The more time I spend in Horizon: Zero Dawn’s world, the less I want to leave”
9/10 – GameSpot: “For every minor imperfection, there’s an element of greatness that recharges your desire to keep fighting and exploring Zero Dawn’s beautiful and perilous world. Guerilla Games has delivered one of the best open-world games of this generation, and redefined its team’s reputation in the process”
8.75 – GameInformer: “Horizon may not be a revolution for the open-world genre, but it is a highly polished and compelling adventure that proves Guerrilla is more than a single franchise”
8/10 – The Metro: “State-of-the-art visuals help create one of gaming’s most entertaining open worlds, even if the gameplay doesn’t quite reach the same standards”
7.5 – Destructoid: “Horizon Zero Dawn is a fascinating premise wrapped in a tortilla of tropes. It has detective vision, radio towers, skill trees, masked load screens (Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland gets no credit for popularizing this in 2005, by the way), and a world map littered with billions of points of interest — all stuff you’ve seen before. But after you set up and execute a cunning plan to decimate a pack of giant robot crocodiles and that smile hits your face, it’s more excusable”
2.5/5 – US Gamer: “Horizon Zero Dawn is disappointing. It has a story that I struggled to care about (complete with massive expository dumps—yay), a bland protagonist, and overtly repetitive and constraining missions that worked against its open world sensibilities”
Horizon: Zero Dawn is out 1st March on PS4.