Horizon Zero Dawn: Hands On PAX West 2016

During our coverage of PAX West 2016, I got the chance to get some hands on time with Horizon Zero Dawn. The upcoming game was previewed to us in a theater where the combat system was shown off as well as the grand scope of the game where the central character fought a series of enemies. We saw a field of pack beasts which were needed for travel to a nearby community. Naturally this was not as easy as it sounded as the protectors had to be dealt with and were in a dazzling mix of arrows and a spear like weapon.

Once a mount was obtained, the player rode into a town and we could see the branching dialogue as players were free to select their responses and thus the direction of the narrative.

The final segment we saw was with a large creature which was responsible for corrupting other enemy units and increasing their hostility.

The combat was intense and combined attacking while on a mount, ducking and rolling, and analyzing the enemy to find a weakness One analysis revealed that enemy unit was susceptible to fire and as such, flaming arrows was used to weaken the unit. It did not go down easy as a barrage of stones and other deadly projectiles followed.

Once weakened, a core was exposed and the player was able to dispatch it and end the mission.

After the demo ended, it was time for us to get into the action and I quickly learned how much open areas there were to explore The navigation was easy enough and the directional pad was used to select items such as a flaming trap and healing options. I was able to grab items for crafting and loot from enemy units during my exploration.

I came across a heard which stampeded and I drew the attention of their protector units. I was able to dispatch them with a mix of arrows and impaling attacks and when my arrows ran out, I had to slide, hack, and slash my way to success. I got caught up in the diversity and size of the world and although the demo took some getting used to, the game shows great potential and I look forward to seeing the final game.