Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (HZD:TFW) is the first story dlc for HZD. The story dlc adds more lore to Horizon but it also add more gameplay components plus extra trophies to boot. Do the Frozen Wilds add more value to an already amazing game?
The setting of TFW is the a new mountainous/volcanic region called “The Cut”. It is the home area of the Banuk tribe. Alloy, the main protagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn, will partake on an epic journey unveiling the mysteries of the Banuk and it’s relationship with The Cut. She will encouner new interesting characters, new enemies and areas to explore.
Speaking of areas of exploration, The Frozen Wilds is an absoulte stunning visual experience. The team at Guerilla Games did an phenominal job of creating a frozen wilderness that can give The National Geographic pause to use for m1agazine covers. The snow landscapes plus the amazing attention to detail to how the snow behaves and sounds is spectacular. The draw distance is what really unitfies the visual experience.
If you have even the smallest intrest in photography, you will often have the urge to stop playing and take a photo of the landscape in photo mode. It looks that good!
It is a given the The Frozen Wilds (Plus HZD in general) is a visual masterpiece.
The Frozen Wilds does add more gameplay elements while retaining the formula from the main game.
It is not mandatory but it is GREATLY recomended to be at least level 30 with the Shield Outfit to begin TFW. The difficulty on TFW has increase due to a story plot device that increases the aggressiveness of enemies.
If you do use the Sheild Outfit, it can also nuetralize the shield properties, thus making Alloy more suceptiple to the BIG damage enemies can afflict. Plus, it will buff enemies by restoring their health and making them more resistant to shock damage. Essentially, you have alot less breathing room when brawling with enemies. You can easily get overwhelmed if you are not on point, so be careful.
The good news is that if players take a stealthier approach (when applicable), that experience remains the same.
The only down side to the gameplay is operating the camera while in the thick of battle. Some enemies (mostly the new additions) have attacks that go past Alloy on hit and when Alloy dodges them. This means keeping the camera on Alloy while fighting can be hastle when dodging incoming enemy attacks, going offensive and keeping your awareness of other enemies on screen. There will be moments where you can lose track of the enemies when they go on the offense, especially all at once. My advice is to keep as much distance as you can to keep enemies in view at all times.
The Frozen Wilds also adds more weapons/customization and a new level up tree. In TFW, you will have access to your weapon aresenal up to the point of your playthrough from the main game. Players can get new weapons that will turn Alloy into even more formidable one woman army. She can gain better bows and spears, more outfits, plus the ability to customize her spears with additonal mod buffs. Even though TFW has tougher enemies, it is balanced with increased weaponary and optimized effectiveness.
With addition of new leveling up tree known as “Traveler” Alloy can increase her effectiveness traversing the land such as converting unused mods and resources into metals shard, increase her carry load of resources, repair her mounts and the enemies she overides to assist her in battle, and use her mount as an offensive option to strike enemies with plus more. The Traveler part of Alloy’s skillset is a welcome addition. It makes traveling and managing resources alot more efficient.
There are more puzzles too in The Frozen Wilds. Although the puzzle are challenging and fun, what takes the cake is the battles in TFW.
Also added to The Frozen Wilds is New Game + and Face Paint. New Game + is simply replaying the story with all the skills (Except those gained through story progression), weapons, mods and resources you gained from your game save and further level up Alloy to the Max level 50. This feature will indefinently add more replay value to Horizon Zero Dawn.
The Face paint feature is a customization tool you gain after you beat the game on harder difficulties. By beating the game, you can unlock face paint to add on Alloy to add a more personalized touch to the character.
In all, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds is an excellent DLC. It adds about 15 hours of additional gameplay to the main story, fleshes out the gameplay mechanics even further, and increases the replay value with New Game +. Even with minor camera issues during battle, HZD: The Frozen Wilds is a great example of the tremendous value DLC can bring to already amazing game!
Release Date: November 7th, 2017