Review: Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4)

8.5

Great

When Horizon Zero Dawn released in February this year, it took the world a little bit by storm. Everyone kind of expected it to be good, but nobody really expected it to be as great as it turned out. And because of that, fans started clamouring for more of Aloy and the fascinating world that she inhabits. Luckily Guerilla Games answered the call and gave us a solid and competent addition called The Frozen Wilds.

Not quite a full expansion, but a decent amount of flesh to it

The Frozen Wilds see Aloy go north to explore the land of the Banuk and uncover the mystery of a different threat that looms there. That is the basic premise of why the DLC exists. There is a lot to play here, roughly 17 odd hours or so, which is not bad. A lot of developers will call this an expansion of their games, and so was the case with The Frozen Wilds, but overall, I think it falls a bit short of that title.

It offers a fair amount of new content, such as added skills, a raised level cap and a couple of added machines to take down, as well as a solid, fleshed out narrative, but overall, I couldn’t help but feel like it is all just a side mission to the main game that came out earlier this year. Even the game structure made it feel that way, with everything that’s happening sitting in the Side Mission Tab of the menu. That said, I still enjoyed played The Frozen Wilds a lot, and it truly is a worthy addition to Aloy’s adventure and story.

It offers a fair amount of new content but overall, I couldn’t help but feel like it is all just a side mission to the main game.

As mentioned earlier, it takes a fair amount of time to get through all of the content on offer. You could probably blast through the story mission in about five hours or so, but that is not what this game is about, and doing all the extra and wonderful side missions and errands is what makes the Horizon Zero Dawn experience so worth it. And getting lost in this strange new frozen world is part of that experience.

If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it

In terms of gameplay, The Frozen Wilds really doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. The core gameplay mechanics of Horizon Zero Dawn still remains, but we do get a few added weapons that we can use and upgrade. Each of these weapons uses the Freeze, Fire or Shock elements, and feel a bit different from each other and how you use them, but adding these things to your arsenal make you feel truly OP at times. That said, these new weapons are kind of necessary to take on some of the new machines that you will encounter during your adventures. The number of new enemies isn’t that high, but they do pack a serious punch, and fighting them does feel fresh, new and challenging.

You also get a few more perks added to your skill tree, which includes being able to take down enemies from a mounted position, as well as picking up any type of loot while passing by while riding a machine. These skills don’t drastically change the way the game plays, but it does add to the overall gameplay experience, and make Aloy feel like more of a badass than she already is.

I need to mention that I did encounter a few serious framerate drops with the game, especially when thing got a bit busy on screen. It got really bad on a few occasions, with the framerate probably dropping into single digits. This is not something I remember experiencing in the base game, and it is by no means game-breaking,  but it was very noticeable while playing. Also, do note that I played on the standard PS4, and I don’t know if the same issue is present on the PS4 Pro.

It got really bad on a few occasions, with the framerate probably dropping into single digits. This is not something I remember experiencing in the base game.

The DLC also brings in few new kind of collectables, and once again, there’s not too many of it and it’s not overly complex to find, which makes it fun to go after them. One of the collectables actually adds a very funny joke that plays on the people inhabiting the new world’s ignorance of the old world that came before it.

Adds to the overall package

The Frozen Wilds doesn’t change the formula at all, and it is clear that anything that it brings to the table, it is to add to the overall experience of the game. Being a person that went 100% with Horizon Zero Dawn, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the added DLC and spending some more time with one of my favourite characters of the year. I don’t think that the DLC is an absolute must have in order to love and experience the original game to its fullest, but it does add a lot of extra meat to an already great and very fleshed out game. The Frozen Wilds certainly gets my full recommendation for any person that liked the standard game and want to experience more of the world Guerilla Games created.

Now just to wait for that damn sequel.

Good

  • More of HZD, which is a good thing
  • Some decent story
  • A few nice added perks

Bad

  • The odd frame drop
  • Feels more like an extended side mission
  • The horrible wait to see what's next for Aloy

Summary

The Frozen Wilds offers a lot more to the overall experience of Horizon Zero Dawn, but it's not quite the stand-alone experience that we want it to be.
8.5

Great

  • Dian Fourie

    Still wanna play the original. Maybe one day 🙂

    • One thing that most people don’t talk about is that Horizon Zero Dawn is actually quite a tough game. You can’t just waltz in and kill everything in sight. It’s this strategic element to the battles that are really enjoyable. Think you guys will love it.

      • Nucleous

        Especially the new game + ultra hard difficulty that was patched in, Oh my it’s kicking my backside! Old patch still with no backup save. Wondering if I can change difficulty with the DLC? Have not bought it yet, no time for games atm so will wait for special Black Friday or Christmas? *Holding thumbs*

  • John Recruit

    So far no frame rate issues on Ps Pro. Game is gorgeous… Machines are a lot harder as well!

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