Platinum review – Horizon Zero Dawn

Hello everyone and welcome to platinum review, a series where we talk about some amazing games, break down the roadmap to platinum trophy and I share with you my experiences of playing and completing them to help you find your next platinum trophy to add to your collection.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

My Thoughts About the Game

Horizon Zero Dawn takes place in the future when humans are not the dominant species anymore. Their population basically reduced to tribes and they are mostly hunters and gatherers again and for some reason mechanized animals rule this world.

We are following Alloy, a young outcast who wants to find out why was she casted out at birth. On her journey she discovers what happened to the “ancient ones” and why their civilization has fallen.

I absolutely loved the story and found it realistic, believable and engaging. The characters are done right and have their own personality and motivations, which comes a long way to make you care for them.

The world building is incredible and immersive, so you can easily find yourself just running around for hours to explore the map and talk to people.

I found the side quests to be the weakest part of the game though. Despite the fact that you meet more characters, get additional dialogue and backstory this way, they mostly follow the same structure gameplay wise. Go to a place, investigate, follow the evidence and fight some machines. Not that it’s a bad formula, but after doing it time and time again it does get kind of repetitive.

Because in its core the game is an open world action-adventure RPG, there are skills and progression systems in place. By doing miscellaneous tasks you will earn XP, that will allow you to unlock more skills and get more health. Killing and looting machines will grant you materials to sell to traders or use for crafting that will allow you to get better gear. I found the progression system solid and well balanced, keep in mind though, unless you play on easy, if you focus just on the main missions, you will be severely underpowered by the end of the game, so you should do some side quests.

I really enjoyed the combat system in this game. It makes you think on your feet and you will have to find different strategies for every combat machine. You can use traps, basic arrows, elemental effects or even tearblast arrows to remove components and use them against your opponents. There are also human enemies, but I honestly found them more boring, although I still enjoyed those sections, especially by taking a stealth approach that I really like doing.

On the technical perspective, the game runs great on PS4, but has some serious weirdness on PS5. While replaying it recently on PS5 I found a lot of glitches and immersion breaking bugs that were not present on PS4, they were not too bad but still noticeable. To be fair, there is currently no native PS5 version and backwards compatibility can be a bit finicky, something I did notice in other games as well. Also, loading times are not great on either console, but again, it is a PS4 version, so you can’t really blame Guerrilla for that. So, you own both consoles, I would actually recommend playing it on PS4.

All in all, you should definitely play this game, because you can really see the passion the developers poured in it and the story itself is really worth playing to experience for yourself.

Roadmap & Trophy List

The roadmap to platinum trophy is actually really straight forward this time around, nothing is missable and there are no difficulty related trophies, so you are actually free to approach it in any way you want. My personal preferred approach in open-world games is to do everything that I can before finishing the main story and have the trophy for finishing the game be my final one before the platinum, which is exactly what I did this time around.

One object that I urge you to obtain as soon as you can, which will be when you made it to the second part of the map, is Golden Fast Travel Pack. This will allow you to fast travel without limitation to any camp you discovered previously and save you a lot of running. To get it you will need 10 fatty meat, that you get from killing animals, and trade it with an NPC.

What you will actually need to do to get this platinum trophy is to complete the main story and all the side quests, find all the collectibles, scan and kill all the machines and do some miscellaneous tasks. Now, that might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s better than you think.

The only trophy that you might want to keep in mind is “All Allies Joined”. To get it you have to complete some of the optional storylines before starting the last mission. No worries though, after completing the game it resets to just before the last mission takes place, so even if you missed it, you can just complete the required side-quests and replay the last mission again.

You will discover the side quests by entering a settlement and watching out for NPCs with green exclamation mark on the minimap.

Other type of side quests is cleaning out corrupted zones by killing all the machines in them, and I actually found those ones very fun. You will also have to clear out bandit camps, which is, well, exactly what it sounds like. Other than that, there are cauldrons, which reminded me of dungeons in their structure, with a machine that is basically a boss fight in the end. Competing these will grant you an ability to override machines to use for travel or to fight by your side, something that can be very useful.

Last type of quests is Hunting Grounds and they are basically in-game challenges. This will be the hardest part of your platinum journey. You have to complete all of them with a Blazing Sun mark, which is basically 3 stars. Some of them are not that bad, but with other I actually struggled for a bit. If you have a hard time with some of them, I would actually recommend you to take a break and focus on other missions instead and come back when you are higher level with more skills and/or better equipped.

What was a game changer for me is finding Shield-Weaver armor, which is the best armor in the game. You will have to get it anyway for a trophy, although you can only obtain it pretty far into the main story, it is still totally worth it. With Shield-Weaver armor the trials get much easier, you should aim to get it as soon as possible. To get it you will need to find 5 power cells that can be found throughout the game, take them back to where they belong and solve a puzzle. You should aim to get it as soon as possible.

Miscellaneous trophies are not that bad, and you will probably get most of the naturally, but even if you didn’t you shouldn’t worry too much about them.

There is a huge number of audio logs and text messages you will find throughout the game, but they are actually not required for a platinum trophy which I am very thankful for. What you will need to find is 83 collectibles that are divided into 5 categories. Finding them is actually really simple because you can buy maps that will give you their location, and the price of the maps is reasonable, so should just get them as soon as you can. By the way, after finding the collectibles you can actually trade them for better gear with special merchants, so you actually have a good reason to collect them. I wish more games did collectibles this way, basically no guide needed and you are rewarded for finding them.

Probably last thing you will have to do is to get to level 50. Even if you finished all the missions and side quests you might not be quite there yet, but you would be very close. To get the last XP points quickly you can replay one of the Hunting Ground Trials you good at, since it will give you 10000XP each time for getting a Blazing Sun mark. I followed the suggestion to replay the Thunderjaw vs Ravager trial, since it is reasonably quick and not hard to do and managed to knock it off actually relatively fast.

Conclusions

So, should you go for a platinum trophy in this game?

I absolutely believe that you should. The game itself is great, the platinum platinum journey is not hard or grindy at any point and you can play on any difficulty. I really believe that any gamer can achieve this platinum trophy and have a good time while doing so.

Even the side-quests that were a tiny bit repetitive were still enjoyable for the most part and the bonus interactions were still useful for more world building and immersion into this world.

Collectibles are not intrusive and you are actually rewarded for finding them, so I actually had fun looking for them, something that don’t really happen very often.

For me completing this game was a great experience and getting another platinum trophy out of it was just an icing in a cake.

 

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