Being a PlayStation gamer has never been better. After a solid 2017 with exclusives right up until the end of the year, it’s gotten hard to keep up. There’s also a ton of new games that have released in the past two months so you can understand when I say this is the busiest time of the year in this industry.
Guerilla Games released Horizon Zero Dawn back in February but the timing was off, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild releasing just a week after this game, hype quickly shifted to Nintendo’s latest Zelda title. This is a shame because Guerilla did right by the open-world formula, with a tight narrative, expansive but detailed environments, and characters worth their salt.
Thankfully, with 2017 almost done, now is the perfect time for Guerilla Games to strike and drop their first and only expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn. I’m glad to be back in this beautiful, chaotic world. I had forgotten how easy it was to get lost, running around the map is all it takes to get back into the swing of Horizon’s wonderful gameplay.
The Frozen Wilds isn’t endgame content, instead, Guerilla Games drops us mid to end game and moves the action to an entirely new Biome called The Cut, an entirely new area. This story is set apart from the main campaign, a story that resonated with me when I originally reviewed it. I platinumed that game as quickly as I could, spending time listening to every log I came across.
Guerilla made sure that this expansion seamlessly integrated into the existing world and campaign, but the developers recommend tackling no earlier than level 30. If you try, you’ll be met with a harsh reality.
In this new area, you’ll encounter the nomadic Banuk Tribe, who worship the robots who inhabit the lands. In this new region, Aloy must help the Banuk with a crisis they are currently engaged in. Once you begin your journey into this frozen mass of land, your task is to seek out a shaman who introduces a Daemon who is corrupting the land. So, it is told, the Daemon is making the robots in the area stronger and in turn more vicious, it is up to Aloy to discover why this is happening.
Playing The Frozen Wilds will be familiar, as you go from encampment to encampment, Aloy must perform tasks for the inhabitants, fight against enemies, complete new hunting challenges and learn the truth about the way the world is.
Combat is largely unchanged, there are noticeable improvements to the lip-syncing and animation overall and the quests are varied enough and provide adequate rewards. Being in Banuk territory, Aloy unlocks weapons bade by the Banuk, including the super cool Stormslinger and Forgefire.
The new skill tree incorporated into the new area is lacking for the most part. A good chunk of the new abilities tries to harmonize Aloy with friendly robots, but a certain scavenger skill that allows supplies to be automatically picked up on a mount is handy. Then with Shard Salvager, you can break down resources and modifications for half their worth.
Returning to the post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn is a treat, even though it’s brutal setting and engaging difficulty might put some off people off, there’s beauty, too. It’s easy to forget that in today’s current market trends of microtransactions and loot boxes that a sizeable chunk of content like The Frozen Wilds is the real bread and butter. You’re getting a sizeable expansion that that reminds you how wonderful and captivating Horizon Zero Dawn is, and while The Frozen Wilds doesn’t reinvent the gameplay, it reminds you how good a single player game can be.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]