Parents' Guide to

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Expansion offers new map, missions, intense robot combat.

Game PlayStation 4 2017
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Poster Image

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If a game studio releases just a single expansion for a great game, this is the way to do it. Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds' gorgeous open world, intense and strategic combat, and strong storytelling provides somewhere between 12 and 15 hours of play that ought to remind most people of everything they loved about the base game. The new enemy types force players to figure out new ways to fight, using tools like Aloy's fire-resistance elixir to reduce elemental damage while learning to recognize attack patterns and how to exploit weaknesses with the proper weapons and traps. And the snowy new map -- called The Cut -- is just as bleak and pretty as anything in the original game, featuring gorgeous lighting, snow blowing effects, and a massive volcano that belches out plumes of mesmerizing smoke. The new characters we encounter in this land -- whose expressive facial animations have been tweaked to seem more lifelike -- provide Aloy with original quests which, even if they don't reveal much more about the game's central mysteries, are fascinating in their own right.

And there's more than just new people to meet, machines to fight, and places to see. An entirely new branch on Aloy's skill tree gives players a chance to learn abilities that address some of the (few) problems players had with the original game by increasing players' inventory and allowing them to pick up loot without dismounting a machine. These quality of life enhancements will prove especially handy for players who are only midway through the main game, as they carry over to everything players do there. Add in some new outfits and weapons designed to make taking down the new machines a little easier -- including the shockingly effective Stormslinger, which might actually make some battles too simple -- and Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds provides plenty of reasons for players to return to Aloy's world for a little more of its distinctive and dazzling action.

Game Details

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