Phew, what a year! So many games were touted for a Game of the Year in 2017. Almost too many. Team Ready Up have been tying themselves up in knots trying to pick just one and only one game as their personal favourite game of the year for 2017. We are mean to them but it had to be done. In this series, we see which games the team loved last year, and why.
Verity – Horizon Zero Dawn
If Horizon Zero Dawn had come out any other year it would have blown all the competition away. It’s an epic tale set in an uncertain human future where robot animals roam the Earth and you can hunt them with a goddamn bow and arrow. Unfortunately however, Guerilla Games chose early 2017 to release their post-apocalyptic masterpiece. So by the time all the Marios and Zeldas and Personas had done their rounds, and 2017 was drawing to a close, the brilliance of HZD was a little bit forgotten. Something of a tragedy really, because it was pure gold in story, design and concept, from start to finish.
From the first trailer I was fascinated by the world Horizon Zero Dawn had to offer and the mysteries it contained. Was it really Earth? What had happened to the humans? Where did all those crazy animal robots come from? Is that a robot giraffe? Can you really kill a robot T-Rex with archery? The answer to that one is yes. Yes you can, and goddamn, it feels real.
The combat system in general is brilliant and designed to make you feel like a true hunter from the silent stalking in the bushes to the identifying and exploiting each machine’s weakness. Your choices matter, especially on higher difficulties. When you get hit, you get hit hard.
Horizon Zero Dawn has drawn obvious comparison to the Witcher 3, which is absolutely no bad thing, as both are epic RPGs that also make you want to stand on digitised clifftops and watch the gorgeous digitised sunsets. The main difference being that in Aloy’s case she can also snap a heart-hands selfie whilst she’s at it.
But it’s the story that really made Horizon Zero Dawn Game of The Year material for me. As you play it unwraps all of its narrative mysteries slowly and purposefully, teasing just enough at each stage to draw you in deeper and deeper. It delights you at each reveal when you start to overlay the pieces of the old world onto the new. Until, eventually, you just have to know: what happened?
Prepare to feel many, many feels when you do.