Review: Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds | The Mary Sue

(Spoiler-free! Enjoy, kids.)

Horizon Zero Dawn‘s initial vital expansion, The Frozen Wilds, manages to feel identical to, and like a finish depart from, a strange bottom game. Using this enlargement as an forgive to get behind into a universe of Horizon Zero Dawn felt like removing re-acquainted with an aged friend, where you’re reminded of a pleasing eccentricities that make adult their personality. You can see how it would provoke some people to no end, and sometimes, in your possess moments, you’re angry by them too, yet we know that those nuances are what make them, well… them. And many of all, we know that we adore them given of those eccentricities, not notwithstanding them. That’s what it’s like playing The Frozen Wilds.

I’ll be honest: it took me a while to widen behind out and get behind into a pitch of things. we hadn’t picked up Horizon Zero Dawn for a small while, and removing re-introduced to a nuances of a combat, object management, and crafting systems took some removing used to all over again. If you’ve usually only been personification a game, afterwards you’ve got zero to worry about. But if you’re like me and it’s been a while, we should substantially settle in and get gentle with a thought that you’ll have to shake off a bit of decay to get behind into it.

To a credit, though, a enlargement does a best to wobble itself seamlessly into a landscape of a strange game. It starts like so many adventures do: around an overheard gossip in a swarming area. What’s more, it’s deftly gated by—what else—a hulk sight of a automatic bear who serves as a gatekeeper into a universe of The Frozen Wilds. It’s a tough quarrel if you’re not prepared for it, and sufficient it to contend that if your Aloy is underneath turn 30, afterwards you’re not prepared for it. Even then, we competence be a bit pulpy to understanding with that sold emanate with ease, so make certain we come scold when we try forth. (Sidebar: if you’ve already finished a strange game, this enlargement indeed takes we behind to right before a final act, a la some of Mass Effect 3‘s expansions and a like, so we really do not have to start all over only to knowledge it.)

Mechanically speaking, there aren’t any changes to quarrel or how Aloy gets around a world. Again, a enlargement is designed to some-more or reduction mix seamlessly into a diversion itself. Truth be told, if anything, we was a bit underwhelmed by a stretched ability tree abilities, that mostly core on possibly repair your mountain or depraved machine. There was one ability, though, that really felt like a vital quality-of-life improvement: a further of a “loot from your mount” skill, which, just, ruin yes. Aloy also gets her hands on dual new weapons over a march of a story, that fundamentally interpret to electricity and ice throwers.

I found myself frequency regulating them (if during all) via a beef of a enlargement itself, yet in some of a battles in a game’s final act, we leaned on them heavily. You also have an event to collect adult some new Banuk-themed armor and weapons for Aloy, that we can squeeze with Bluegleam, that is a prerogative apparatus that’s been combined to a diversion for this expansion. It’s sincerely rare, and in my barreling by to finish a categorical storyline, we finished adult with adequate to collect adult a rad new crawl before a final act yet not many else. we did skip some-more than a few side quests, any of that offering Bluegleam as a prerogative for completion, so that only felt like some-more of a personal problem than anything else.

Story-wise, a diversion doesn’t mangle too many new ground, as it once again places Aloy in a position of alien to a organisation of people, a Banuk. She has to win in their trust sequence to grasp her idea of training some-more about a universe she inhabits. The hearing to acquire that trust follows many of a same beats from a core story (do this activity to acquire some trust, finish this query to acquire more, etc.), yet I’ll contend here that this isn’t a hit opposite it. It indeed feels a bit like a refinement, and yet during initial we felt like a further of this “section” of a enlargement was a ploy during inflating a diversion time, that doubt faded fast as we staid into completing a tasks set before me.

Part of what helped that feeling blur was a ever-excellent voice behaving and much-improved animation. In a strange game, there were some-more than a few points where a facial syncing and animation felt only a bit off, yet in a time given a strange recover (and generally in this expansion), things have gotten so many better. This fact extends into a “B-plot” of a expansion, so to speak, that unlocks by a diary entries and voice logs Aloy finds by her Focus tool. The voice behaving there is equally as glorious as that of a categorical game, and suggests an courtesy to fact that is really many appreciated. we found myself invested in a backstory, a whys and a wherefores, rather than observation these pieces and bobs as pieces to be collected.

This diversion feels like some-more of a same—both good and not-so-good. It’s good given it’s an further to an already fun game, and serves as a glorious forgive to spend some-more time in a captivating, officious gorgeously designed world. It’s not-so-good given it still borrows from some of a some-more cryptic elements of informative allowance that plagued a core game. There were even a few points where we disturbed that a enlargement competence excavate into The Last Samurai territory, yet those fears were after upended and dispelled by a story indicate that I’ll not get into here for fear of vital spoilers. Suffice it to contend that in amplifying what done a core diversion so great, they also managed to amplify some of a cryptic elements as well, and that’s something to keep in mind. (Paste put out an glorious essay that explores a expansion’s issues with informative appropriation.)

If we enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn, afterwards exploring The Frozen Wilds is good value your time. It’s a lot of diversion for a decent price, and again, it gives we some-more to do in a universe that’s already flattering fun. we consider it’s a estimable further to one of my many favorite games of a year, and we consider it could be yours, too.

Sony supposing representation copies of a enlargement for a functions of this review.

(images: Guerrilla Games/Sony)

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