In any other year,would have likely won a haul of Game of the Year awards. I loved the universe Guerrilla Games created in this action-adventure masterpiece (CNET's Jeff Bakalar had a bit more of a love/hate relationship with it in ), and Aloy stands out as a capable heroine who's also full of compassion.
But this isn't any other year. It's 2017, so HZD will be battling it out with the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey ($54 at Amazon), , Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and more. Seriously, y'all: as far as games are concerned, 2017 is an outright embarrassment of riches.
Maybe that's why it feels like we don't deserve Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds in the same calendar year as the original game. I was a little worried as I downloaded the expansion, which is available on Tuesday, Nov. 7 from the PlayStation Store for $20, £16 or AU$30, with a discount for PS Plus subscribers. Am I exhausted from all of this year's outrageously good games? Will I experience some kind of overhyped expectations? Could Frozen Wilds let me down because I enjoyed the main game almost too much?
I'm happy to say the answer to all of these questions is a resounding nope. The Frozen Wilds is an excellent continuation of Horizon Zero Dawn and neatly lays the groundwork for future expansions.
In this expansion, Aloy travels to an icy northern region called The Cut, which is filled with new allies, new enemies and new mysteries. If you've got a post-completion save from your first time through HZD, you'll be able to load it up and head to The Cut immediately… but I should warn you, if you're not sufficiently geared up (read: end-game equipment and mods, and probably around level 40), you'll probably struggle right out of the gate during the very first fight you encounter. The Cut is an inhospitable place, but the Banuk, a nomadic tribe you might remember from the first game, say there's a new kind of corruption in town. It makes the machines stronger. Meaner.
"Easy mode," I thought. "I have my Shield-Weaver armor from my first play through. I'm basically invincible in it."
Yeah… not so much.
Not only are machine foes more difficult to dispatch in Frozen Wilds, there are also towers littered around The Cut that pulsate with purple light, healing any machine in the vicinity. And and it shorts out the Shield-Weaver armor's force field, rendering it effectively worthless anywhere near those towers.