One of the standout games at this year?s E3 was the action/RPG Horizon: Zero Dawn. Set 1,000 years in the future, the game focuses on main character Aloy?s search for answers about herself, about her world and about the corruption seeping through mechanical monstrosities roaming the Earth. The result is a sprawling adventure?epic seems like an understatement ? into a new sort of world that will feel familiar yet foreign at the same time. Here are five reasons we?re excited for the game and why you should be too:
The world of Horizon exists at a strange crossroads in time. Due to some apocalyptic tragedy (we?re not sure what), humans have reverted to living like their prehistoric ancestors. Tribal villages that dot the landscape are filled with a primitive, superstitious population. In the meantime, technological relics ? big and small, quick and lumbering, peaceful and hostile ? can help or hinder your journey. Aloy must discover why so many of these machines are becoming corrupt, before whatever is behind it destroys what?s left of the world.
Fast action with the depth of an RPG
Some gamers don?t enjoy RPGs because of the pacing. Even those with real-time battle systems often seem to drag on with one boring battle after another after another. Not here. While Aloy hunts and tracks, she must stay on her toes given how many creatures roam the land and how much damage they can do if they catch her. Fortunately, Aloy has a number of tricks up her sleeve, including wicked archery skills, the ability to craft bombs and traps, and even the means to tether up these beasties like a cowgirl tying a calf at a rodeo.
A new and different sort of game world
The conceit has been tried before: Civilization falls and mankind must rebuild on its ashes. However, the world of Horizon feels different, perhaps because humanity appears to have lost any sophistication. People, steeping with superstition and fear, have reverted back to tribes. With little interest in the lost technology ? that?s not what the goddess wants them to concentrate on ? they are too afraid to explore and discover the world around them, to even seek out the most basic answers. Because of this, Aloy must struggle with the challenges that await her in the wilderness, as well as the resistance she faces within her society.
It features a strong, complicated female protagonist
Let?s face it, video games do not feature enough female protagonists. After Lara Croft and Samus Aran the ranks get pretty thin, making it more exciting to play as Aloy. She?s not some sexed-up tart meant to titillate, but instead a complex, realistic character with deep motivations and serious skills. In the demo, a man she rescues tells her to run, and she makes it clear that she doesn?t run when others are in danger. He calls her ?crazy? but she doesn?t mind. As he runs off to safety, she continues on her quest to find answers and make her world a safer place.
The game is sent in Colorado?or not
Residents of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston and Chicago frequently see their cities immortalized in games. However, those of us from the Mile High City have seen very little tribute paid to our beautiful home. While the developers will not confirm that the game is set in Colorado, one look at the majestic mountains, the lush plains and the general vibe of the whole shebang gives away the true setting. My only fear is that people will see this and decide to move to Colorado, which is already full of transplants driving the natives crazy. On second thought, it?s not Colorado at all. It?s Canada. Beautiful, beautiful Canada. Please move there instead.