The Frozen Wilds provides more of the same wonderful combat and immersive story we experienced in the core Horizon Zero Dawn game.
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best games of 2017. It stands to reason, then, that many who tackled the PS4-exclusive earlier in the year have dug through everything the base game has to offer, and have been waiting for a new adventure from Guerrilla Games to journey through as the powerful huntress Aloy.
Your prayers have been answered. HZD’s first – and only – drop of DLC, The Frozen Wilds, allows Aloy to venture into the Cut; a new arctic region set to the North of the current map. The long and short of it is – it’s more of the same. If you loved everything about HZD, chances are you’ll love FW just as much.
Of course, there’s new stuff to be found too. FW takes place to the North of the main map, in a beautiful Winter wonderland that has to be seen to be believed. The Cut is home to the Banuk tribe, who had a small role in the main game but really come into play here. Some of the new weapons and armour available to Aloy are even inspired by the tribe’s look. The Banuk are concerned about a new Daemon overlord that is corrupting the local machines, and – as is your duty as Aloy – it’s up to you to find out what’s at the core of the issue and put a stop to it – in between taking pictures with the Photo Mode, of course.
Let’s get one thing straight here. The recommended level for you to tackle The Frozen Wilds is 30, but it would be advisable to be considerably over that if you want to stand a chance. It’s relentless, and it does well to remind you of that first really tough machine you faced on your original Horizon Zero Dawn playthrough, and the sheer awe – and fear – you felt. You’ll also have to have completed the Seeker at the Gates quest.
FW also adds a new branch to your skill tree – Traveller. Essentially it’s an improvement to your hunter/gatherer skills, allowing you to do stuff like gather resources while on your Strider or Broadhead. A small improvement, and by all means an obvious one, but a helpful one nonetheless.
The new area is beautiful. The snow-covered tundras are a welcome break from the grasses and deserts of the main map, and snowstorms that reduce your vision are a nice (challenging) addition. This includes the new machines that populate the land. We won’t give anything away here, but they’re just as testing as you’d imagine – and really fast. You’re gonna need your wits about you at all times.
The great writing and voice acting makes a return, with facial animations looking more realistic than ever. Though the story of FW isn’t as emotionally involved as the main quest, it’s still so expertly crafted that it’s fine for it to exist by itself. Considering it’s an expansion, you wouldn’t expect huge emotional levity.
The Frozen Wilds doesn’t really bring anything new to the Horizon Zero Dawn experience – and that’s totally fine. It’s more of the same brilliance ushered in by the base game. Get ready to fall in love with Guerrilla Games’ masterpiece all over again. P.S. – there are a bunch of new POP! Vinyls out, too.