Title: Horizon Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds
Developer: Guerilla Games
Genre: Action role playing
Playtime: 20 hours
My rating: 10/10
Here’s a nice Solstice-themed review. Solstice in that it’s a blizzard-filled new foray into my favourite gaming world – Horizon Zero Dawn.
Oh, it’s so good to be back in Guerilla Games’ post-apocalyptic Wyoming! If you’ve read my review of Horizon Zero Dawn, you’ll know how much I can rave about this beautiful world, and this snow-lined new addition is certainly no disappointment.
Although only a fraction of the size of HZD‘s main world, The Frozen Wilds is no afternoon jolly. It boasts HZD‘s strong storyline precedent and then dumps a whole load of exciting new content and challenges in your lap for good measure. Thought the thunderjaw was difficult to defeat? Those seem like easy game in the face of new machines the frostclaw and the fireclaw. At least you could shoot components off the thunderjaw and render it practically harmless. Not so the new bear machines! And just when you thought you’d sorted your combat tactics, it all gets thrown out the window with the new kind of corruption in town. Don’t think your fancy shield armour will help you here! It all adds up to satisfyingly challenging gameplay, even if you’ve thoroughly mastered the main world.
There may have been a bit of snow in the main world, but this is the knee-deep kind that drastically slows you down as you try and sprint away from your new adversaries. And when a blizzard hits, you’ll struggle to see your arrow tip in front of your face. It makes for a genuinely harsh and challenging environment. But it also makes for an incredibly beautiful one. Among my favourite moments, are forging through a sparkling, untouched blanket of snow and standing on top of a mountain at night, the sky glittering with stars and awash with the gently undulating aurora as the white world stretches out before me. This is a fantastic area for my trademark tootling around!
The NPCs are up to their usual beguiling standards. There’s a whole new host of characters to care about, and the Banuk culture and mythology is just as fascinating and engaging as any other HZD culture. Also engaging is the well-developed storyline that is no mere footnote to the story of the main world. No spoilers, but the events of TFW very much build on the HZD events, rather than just being an ignorable side note. It’s well worth playing even just for the new tidbits of information about the apocalypse. When I found out what was behind the problems in the Cut, I gasped and cried out the name in epiphanic exultation. It was genuinely marvellous!
I hope there is more HZD DLC to come. To be honest, I will lap up anything to do with this world! And I’m attempting to use the Force to persuade Guerilla Games to make another full-blown game. Who knows if I have any aptitude in the Force, but hey.