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Catch Up: Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds

In March of 2017, Guerrilla Games greeted the world with a brand-new IP that they had been toiling over since the release of Killzone: Shadow Fall. In a year that also saw the release of some amazing games, such as Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon: Zero Dawn still succeeded in becoming a legitimate “game of the year” contender.

Admittedly, I missed a lot of the top releases last year, but I did find the time to play through Horizon, and boy what an experience it was! The game was fantastic, and is not only my favourite game from the last year, but one of my favourite games to come out on this generation of consoles.

With the release of its first expansion; The Frozen Wilds, I’m happy to report that the fun carries on. The Frozen Wilds places our heroine Aloy in the snowy lands known as The Cut, where she must assist the people (known as the Banuk) in the territory to overcome troubled times within the region.

The Cut is a beautiful location. I’ve always been a fan of snowy locations in games, and Guerrilla Games have produced a playable space that stands with the best of them. Snow sprinkles the area throughout the landscape, with new wildlife added in to enhance the experience. It truly is spectacular.

New enemies have also been introduced in the form of the Scorcher, a quick moving wolf-like enemy that attacks with great speed, and the Frostclaw (and its Fireclaw variant), which is a much larger enemy that’s as difficult to face as the Thunderjaw from the base game. The new enemies are a welcome addition to the game, providing a fresh challenge for players to enjoy.

The Frozen Wilds addresses one of my only issues that I had with the base game; the lip syncing. This is an issue that plagued many cutscenes in Zero Dawn, particularly those related to side quests, and it often pulled me out of the experience. This problem was completely absent in my playthrough of the expansion, and it gives me hope that it will remain that way in the future.

I did come across a few issues during my playthrough. Playing on a regular PS4, I was met with some framerate drops during intense moments, such as the first major fight that takes place in the game. Additionally, there were some points in the game where character models failed to load in initially, however, this only occurred once or twice and it fixed itself in a matter of seconds.

The Frozen Wilds is an enjoyable experience, fitting for a game that provided the same fun earlier in the year. I’ve always questioned the price of downloadable content, so I chose to wait for a sale before jumping in, but if you’re a fan of Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Frozen Wilds provides enough new content to justify the price of the expansion.

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