Earlier this year, Horizon Zero Dawn launched to high critical appraise, and right into my heart. A wonderful game that is set in the future, where mankind has rebuilt a simple civilisation after an apocalyptic event occurred, resulting in tribes that are unaware of our current times and science, only knowing the technology already in their world. This wound up with a game feeling prehistoric, and futuristic, in a perfect merge to make a unique and amazing story, and now the DLC The Frozen Wilds has finally been released, and it’s amazing.
Aloy is back, and investigating a disturbance in the north, up in Banuk territory, an area inhabited by a mysterious tribe of people known in the main game by evidence of their presence via paintings, and collectables scattered around the world. Now Aloy is faced with these people and their mysterious ways, while she tries to help protect them and the entire world from the new threat.
The Frozen Wilds adds a new area to the map in the top right, which is a vast snowy area. Included in this area is a new cauldron, Bandit camp, collectables, hunting challenges and more importantly, machines. The cauldron is the weaker of the few, with it being relatively short, but the Bandit camp brought some new human enemies, and was a worthy fight.
The new machines, and stronger old machines, offer a welcome variety. The most impressive of which resembles a monstrous gorilla and it is ready to beat you into the ground. Early on you get one to challenge which is optional, but it doesn’t take long before Aloy must fight multiple so it is worth getting the early one in. This is especially important if you have previously beaten the game as you should be strong enough to tackle them.
The most jarring issue is the climbing, which when released was fine, but since then there has been some games that do it so much better, in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and in Assassin’s Creed Origins. This does take a moment to remember that climbing everything isn’t quite an option, and to look for linear paths, but off the heels it is worth noting it does take a moment to adjust.
The game is still gorgeous, and the new DLC continues this. Despite The Frozen Wilds being set in a mostly snowy area, thanks to how vertical the game goes you will see some gorgeous views when you get high, and the rock formations are wonderfully beautiful. As you climb higher the game goes for some unique colour blends in some volcanic pools that contrasts beautifully against the softer colours of the rocks and snow.
The other interesting addition to the aesthetic is the Banuk tribes, who bring their own distinct style including their hair having electrical parts intertwined, and their caves being full of the paintings that have been lightly dotted around the rest of the world. They also bring interesting personalities, with their trials and internal challenges consisting of battles, but not person on person ones as you may expect.
10/10 – The Frozen Wilds is everything I wanted from a HZD expansion. With a new area, introducing new enemies and challenges of each assortment, along with an interesting little side plot, it is easily worth the price of admission, and a worthy addition to the game.