Test De Horizon: Zero Dawn on Ps4: Guerrilla Games Has Found the Recipe for the Cult License


The PlayStation 4 Pro needed a foil to justify its existence. With Horizon: Zero Dawn, here’s one that’s even a little more than that.

After having stubbornly insisted on releasing futuristic war FPSs with a simple but effective formula, Guerrilla Games decided to offer Sony a new license on which its consoles, both current and future, will be able to rely. Ambitious as ever, Horizon: Zero Dawn promises to be the foundation stone of a building hoping to emulate a license like Uncharted, linking up with the PlayStation brand to become a must-have.

The face of the PlayStation 4 exclusive is a woman like Lara Croft: a fighter with a strong personality. His weapons are first to be found on the visual side: PS4 Pro optimizations and HDR technology to sublimate the whole. We know that Guerrilla Games is capable of making good games. Is it only able to go further?

HDR at its best

For a very long time Killzone: Shadow Fall, available at the same time as the PS4, was the best game available on the console launched in 2013. Proof that the studio is not the last when it comes to producing excellent graphics. This is more than ever the case with Horizon: Zero Dawn, production that delivers slaps every second, from the very nice introduction to the end credits.

So to speak, PS4 Pro owners will get their money’s worth, despite the absence of a native 4K on the horizon. Those who have an HDR-compatible TV all the more so: the developers have perfectly integrated the technology and you can feel it. The result is a real joy for the eyes.

More concretely, every reflection on the hyper-detailed armor of the characters is more realistic than ever. Every ray of sunshine, in addition to being a ray of hope in a post-apocalyptic world, is a pretext to be dazzled. Every crackling electric arc shines. Nourished by panoramas, designed to accommodate multiple visual atmospheres, Horizon : Zero Dawn is a marvel to display on a (beautiful) screen.

The waking dream is just tarnished by a few shadows on the board, linked to the very nature of the experience – an open world – and the indispensable grievances that come with it (rare collision bugs, a few textures that are not on time). But if you want to impress the gallery and justify the purchase of your latest TV set, exit Horizon: Zero Dawn . Appreciate and be appreciated.

Aloy is me

It must be said that there is no better argument than that of appearance to make a quick and good impression. What the title is obliged to do by its nature of novelty. With Horizon: Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games wants to prove itself by giving itself the means to achieve its ambitions. He proposes here a macabre universe by its background and beautiful by its environments.

At the centre is Aloy, a redheaded woman capable of showing off some of the greatest heroines that Pop culture has ever known. Her determination, her outspokenness, her past are like so many forces supporting her courage to accomplish her ultimately very personal quest: to understand who she is and what her place is in this Prehistory of the future – some would say Posthistory.

While the theme of singularity is nothing new, especially in recent years its possible consequences help to shape Horizon: Zero Dawn and the writers of Guerrilla Games have gone a long way to make it a coherent narrative and not forgetting much, including the social fracture that such a frightening evolution – because plausible in the more or less near future – could generate (the different tribes populating the map and the status of pariahs). The game then feeds on this double narrative: Aloy’s human adventure on the one hand and the setting up of a universe on the other, the two being inseparable. This bodes well for future episodes, as there is so much to tell about.

Fully formed

In sum, the background ofHorizon: Zero Dawn is transcended by form. And the form is not in vain thanks to such a background. Videographically speaking, it’s also very successful. Already because Guerrilla Games has not fallen into the clichés of the open world a genre that tends to do more and more and to fall into the too much rather than the good.

We’re more likely to talk about welcome generosity, as opposed to a delicacy in the form of a lottery ticket: when you scratch a little, it’s very rarely a winner. This is again explained by the writing quality, materialized by quests that could almost be compared to those of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in their propensity to be based on real dramatic issues. Careful, we’re witnessing the almost.

In addition to the main quest, which can take up to 30 hours (especially if you read/listen to all the descriptive collectibles), Horizon: Zero Dawn is based on side tasks avoiding duplication of effort. There are hunting areas to hone one’s skills, corruption areas to clean up, enemy bases to empty, activities given by crossed NPCs in the rare living areas, and more. Clearly there is nothing to be bored with and unemployed in this production that has been tailored to last.

Building a coherent world and filling it with accuracy is good, but it is still necessary to be able to wander around in it with pleasure. This is fortunately the case in Horizon: Zero Dawn. With a gameplay that will never really surprise you, the title is pleasant to handle, reciting a lesson learned by heart. Exploration to contemplate the scenery, experience to accumulate to make Aloy evolve, crafting for the survival aspect, successful infiltration to multiply the approaches: nothing is missing, especially since Guerrilla has opted for a rather lax formula.

In doing so, the player will never feel trapped in a square and it will even be up to him to shape his own story, often by poking around the menus to discover possibilities that the tutorial summary did not want to explain.

Requirement

A certain requirement that is also found in combat, which is more difficult than it seems. You can sense that the studio wanted to keep in mind that machines were much stronger than man. A leitmotiv very well retranscribed in the confrontations feeding on a varied bestiary, composed of frightening creatures each possessing their weaknesses. Knowing how to fight them makes life easier.

For the bow, Aloy’s main weapon, does not do much damage when the arrows fired don’t hit a weak spot. There is, in fact, a form of learning to be taken into account, allowing a certain structuring of brawls. Going headlong will not always be the solution, except in the face of disappointing human enemies. A mix with discretion, for once successful in an open world game on the other hand, will pay off.

The same cannot be said, however, for the platform phases. Their scarcity will not compensate for their failures and this is certainly the point to improve for a supposed Horizon 2. Too automatic and too buoyant, they cause frustration and inhibit otherwise flawless sensations. You can also shoot some contextual actions that are difficult to trigger and an Aloy likes to get stuck in certain elements of the set. Horizon: Zero Dawn could have been more fortunate. But it’s really just to nitpick.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is available on PS4 from €58.33.

In brief

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Indicative note : 5/5

Horizon: Zero Dawn exudes goodwill and good intentions in every compartment. Behind its forms, cut to make you dream and to make you dream, lies a well thought out and generous experience, all that is necessary without falling into the illusory accumulation and the diktat of the paradoxically so marked out genre of the open world. 

Above all, he manages to turn himself into a perfect first stone to polish to build a saga worthy of the name, which was never the Killzone of the same studio. When the form, magnified by the HDR, serves a background so justly arranged, one can only applaud. And because the demands and ambitions are high, the result is all the more beautiful. Literally and figuratively. 

Top

  • Pure beauty (especially in HDR)
  • Overall successful gameplay
  • Universe and heroine at the top

Bof

  • Minor technical faults
  • Platform phases to be 100% reviewed
  • You need an HDR TV
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