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Horizon Zero Dawn – Worth it in 2023?

Don’t get me wrong, the entire Horizon (Zero/Forbidden) franchise is among my favorite games of all time, along with ARK Survival, and Monster Hunter (World/Rise). I love the fact that there are robotic dinosaurs in this amazing game series. But there are some things that when this game was released in 2017 were considered ‘top of the line,’ but this is no longer the case. The small Quality of Life improvements in Forbidden West, along with a Spinosaurus-looking machine (below), make Forbidden West my favorite among the two games.

While this post is about Horizon Zero Dawn, I do have a Forbidden West review in the works at the same time, as well. One of my favorite aspects about the first game, Zero Dawn, is that you get to explore Aloy’s origin story. In Forbidden West, it is less about her own story and more about saving the world (which you do in both games). Being able to explore the main character’s own origin story is a big part of my experiences in single-player games.​

Horizon Zero Dawn - An Amazing Game

Things I Love About Horizon Zero Dawn​

There are plenty of things to love about the Horizon (Zero/Forbidden) universe. It’s single-player, story-driven, and open-world; all at the same time. It seems that a lot of gamers don’t enjoy good single-player experiences as much as we used to, and prioritize multiplayer experiences. There are benefits to both Single-Player and Multiplayer, of course. Single-Player lets you sit back, relax, and play a game at your own pace, since in 99.9% of Single-Player games, you can pause it at any time (or near any time).

NOTE for Parents: In Multiplayer games, you can not really pause these games, since there is multiple real humans involved in the session. That alone makes it nearly impossible to pause a Multiplayer game. Very minimal games can be online paused. Some that come to mind are the LEGO series of games. It is not possible to pause 99.999% of Multiplayer games. If your kids are in a multiplayer session, give them time to finish their current round/match/game. Usually, they last no longer than 15-20 minutes per round unless its a stalemate in some genres.​

That is one of my favorite things about Horizon Zero Dawn & Forbidden West. The fact that they are single-player, so I can pause at any time to take care of things IRL, like family emergencies (should they come up), chatting to my stream at length about a specific topic that requires my full attention, and similar. Single-player games are great for that, and the fact that the first two (and upcoming third) Horizon games are Single-Player, is perfect for a chill community & stream.

Another one of my favorite parts of Horizon is all the dinosaur-like machines. From the Tallnecks that look like Sauropods to the Slaughterspine in Forbidden West that looks like my #1 favorite dinosaur, the Spinosaurus, Sunwings (which are like Pterosaurs, not technically dinosaurs but in the same time periods), Grimhorns (similar to Triceratops), and others. Many machines give off dinosaur-like vibes, but not all are modeled after them, like the Fireclaw and Frostclaw which are modeled after bears.​

HZD's Fun Storyline

Horizon Zero Dawn’s Storyline​

The storyline, in my opinion, is pretty well-written. It isn’t the best storyline of course, but it isn’t a bad one either. (minor spoiler) You start as a young Aloy around 6 years old, for a good bit. You’ll finish the tutorial when she is an adult. I do feel like the storyline in Zero Dawn is a bit better than the story in Forbidden West, though they are both good stories in my opinion. If you don’t own the first game, but plan to play the second game, I recommend checking out my streams (I replay it once in a while), or a YouTube video, to get the general gist of the story, at least.

There are some areas that they could improve upon in the first game’s story; once you arrive in Meridian, for example, some of the story at that point feels a little dull, in my opinion. The beginning of the story is good, and the game in the mid to end-game areas is better. And in Forbidden West, I would say its a similar story; parts of it are great, some are “eh,” and others are also good.

The Many Machines of Horizon Zero Dawn​

There are many, many types of machines. Some resemble dinosaurs, some resemble mammals, and others are more fantasy (like the Corruptor)! While my favorite, the Slaughterspine, isn’t in the first game, it is in the second. It will hopefully be added into the third game as well, whenever that releases. Here are some of my favorite machines from Zero Dawn:

HZD's Snapmaw
HZD's Tallneck
HZD's Watcher

​There is a wide variety of machines between the two games. That allows for some very nice, unique combat between all the machines. I’ve seen some interesting videos where some people override a large machine and have it combat another large machine. For example, a Slaughterspine vs. a Thunderjaw. There is an area in Forbidden West that has both of those machines very close to one another so it’s easy to get them to fight each other without any real difficulty.

HZD's Slaughterspine
Slaughterspine in Horizon Forbidden West (Taken by me)​

What I Want To See In The Second Sequel​

After spotlighting all the people moving up the ranks at Guerrilla, the statement goes on to talk about what comes next: “We have full confidence in our new leadership as they steer Guerrilla towards a bright future,” it reads, “expanding the world of Horizon with Aloy’s next adventure and our exciting online project.”

Push Square, Stephen Tailby

As Push Square mentioned in their post, a third game is all but confirmed at this point. That is something I am very excited to see. And there’s even confirmation at the end of the second game, in a sense, as Push Square continues:

If these words from the dev aren’t enough of a clue, Horizon Forbidden West — game number two in what will become a trilogy — ends with a lot left hanging in the air. No spoilers of course, but the seeds were clearly planted for a third game, which looks to raise the stakes even higher for Aloy and her allies.

At the end of the second game, there is clear evidence that a new threat is on its way to Earth via space. That is something I will be very hyped for and will want to stream or make a video series of it within the first few days of its release. You can bet your dollars that I will be getting into the third game within the first couple of days!


Horizon Zero Dawn, even though its graphics are a bit dated in comparison to Forbidden West, is still worth playing in 2023. If you have a PS5, you can play both games at no extra cost with PS Plus. For Zero Dawn, there’s also a Steam release on PC. Hopefully, this means in the future, Forbidden West will come to PC as well. Thankfully, I finally got a PS5 thanks to a friend/business partner, so I was able to play through the second game without having to avoid spoilers for multiple years.

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Kenson M

Kenson M

Owner of Mesozoic Haven since 2015, when it was previously known as Jurassic Kingdoms. Is a family-friendly content livestreamer and lives in Texas.View Author posts

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I agree with you that Horizon Zero Dawn is still worth being played even in 2024. The storyline is one that is good and can keep you glued to this game for a very long period of time. I’ve enjoyed playing this game and still do so to date.

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