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Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review

From IGN - November 6, 2017
By Lucy O'Brien

As it turns out, Aloy had it too easy in Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Frozen Wilds is proof of it. This major expansion is a wonderfully challenging 15-hour adventure thats peppered with creative side quests, a thoughtful story, and the best battles Aloys seen to date.

Its story integrates with the main game and can be played after finishing the main quest, so it works both for completionists and those who never quite finished the story quests. You can travel to a new, gorgeous area on the existing map as soon as you install it, though youd risk crossing the line between bravery and stupidity to attempt it before level 30. In this terrain, youll explore the mysteries surrounding the nomadic Banuk tribemysteries which made for one of the most memorable side quests in Zero Dawn. The Frozen Wilds delves deeper into into the fascinating intricacies of their structure and spirituality.

Specifically, it zooms in on the compelling idea of gods and demons as the explanation for the apocalyptic world full of dinosaur-like robots. Though its story occasionally veers into jargon-heavy convolution - speak English, people! - by the end I had been asked some genuinely thought-provoking questions on the place faith has in such a brutal world.

For her part, Aloy remains an endearingly warm character. At this point in the story shes strong and skilled enough to pull rank when the situation demands it, and her personality fills that role nicely. Shes also the voice of reason, and whenever The Frozen Wilds stumbles into silliness, Aloy is there to point it out with dry quips delivered with bite by voice actress Ashly Burch.

Shes well matched by a new supporting cast, the most interesting and eccentric of whom appear in the many side quests peppered throughout the expansion. These adventures are some of the best weve seen yet, with a particular focus on Uncharted/Tomb Raider-style platforming as you climb up ominously vertical playgrounds, breathless battles, and hilarious banter.

Theyre worth it on a practical level, too, as youll want to keep levelling up (if youre not level 50 already) to get stronger weapons and materials. Though mostly familiar from Zero Dawn, the monsters that roam The Frozen Wilds are not playing around; if youre ganged up on, expect to have an extremely tough fight on your hands. Developer Guerilla has justified this major stat boost by means of a daemonic force that has infiltrated the robots systems, so fighting a daemonic thunderjaw is going to be a much more frightening proposition than fighting its regular counterpart. Its just as large and imposing, but deadly enough to restore the fear thatd been lost.

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