GamesBeat has already wrapped up all the news and trailers from the past week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles. The crew has also talked about some of its favorite games from first and second days on the show floor. Now, it’s time to pull the hype train into its final destination.
The team is traveling or preparing to travel at this point, but GamesBeat reporter Jeffrey Grubb and community manager Mike Minotti had one final chance to take some appointments. They decided today should go to Horizon: Zero Dawn, the open-world role-playing game from Sony Interactive Entertainment. Let’s join their conversation already in progress.
Jeffrey Grubb, GamesBeat reporter: Thursday at E3 is always weird. Everyone wants to go home, but you’re still supposed to try to work. I only saw two things today, but I want to talk about both. The first is Horizon: Zero Dawn, which I think looks fantastic and is a ton of fun to play. I know you got to try it a bit as well, what are your thoughts about one of PlayStation 4’s most interesting exclusives and new properties?
Mike Minotti, GamesBeat community manager: I was into it. I thought it looked cool back when it debuted last year, and the demo lived up to my expectations. It’s definitely in that Tomb Raider/Far Cry mold. Horizon is an open-world game with a lot of hunting and gathering. But it takes place in a really cool world. It’s lush, primitive, and alien. It’s also filled with robots, which is always a big plus for me. I think it’s funny how, on paper anyway, it’s very similar to our favorite game from Day 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild (I get a lash every time I accidentally call it Breath of the Wind). But they’re really very different games. Horizon feels more structured.
Jeff: Yeah. I was absolutely going to ask you if you’re worried about how this game is a lot like Zelda, but you bring up a good point. They have some fundamental differences. The big one is that you’re probably going to want to spend most of your time in Horizon on the main quest like in Rise of the Tomb Raider. In Zelda, I’m going to spend hours getting lost exploring the world. Those are separate ways of taking on open-world games, and I think I can make room for two (Zelda and Horizon) because they are coming from opposite directions that fulfill different desires for me.
But I shouldn’t make this all about Zelda. Horizon’s biggest surprise is its combat. Your character primarily takes on the mechanical enemies with bow weapons, which sounds awful since most of those electronic beasts attack you by coming in close. But by using stealth and tools like ropes that tie down your enemies, which feels straight out of Jurassic Park, you can typically avoid direct head-on fights. Even when you do have to go toe-to-toe, you almost always have multiple options for retreating and gaining distance. My favorite is whistling for your steed that you can hop on even while at a full sprint. I really like that combat I’ve seen requires you to sneak around while up close and escaping out of major encounters rather than giving you a sword or something to survive in every circumstance. It’s a weird thing to say, but it’s more realistic.
Mike: I like how scrappy I felt in that world. I do worry that, since it has so many RPG mechanics, I’ll eventually become super powerful and can just easily kill even the biggest of those enemies. Hopefully Horizon scales well.
I can tell you one thing. I already like it more than any Killzone game.
Jeff: Absolutely. The only other games I want to point out are Titanfall 2 and Agents of Mayhem. Titanfall 2 looks like it has figured out exactly what that series needs: grappling hooks. Or, that is to say, it needs to amp up its on-foot movement and weapon variety. I’m also excited to see it has weapon leveling.
Agents of Mayhem is the new one from the Saint’s Row team, and I think that crew knows what they’re doing. The third and fourth Saints Row games were big for me because they had these lovable, diverse characters. Now, with what seems to be a remix of G.I. Joe, developer Volition is applying that same formula to something that feels fresh, and it has me excited to see if it can re-create that magic.
Any final thoughts on that, Mike?
Mike: *Mike falls asleep*
Jeff: Aw, poor guy. He’s all tuckered out. Well, I think that does it for us at E3. You should check out the rest of our coverage here, and we’ll have plenty of more thoughts on the show once we all get back to our respective homes and families and catch up on some rest. Thanks for joining us this year, gang. It was a blast.