It’s a long way off, but we got some thinkings on how Horizon Zero Dawn 2 can be even better than the original game.
1. NEW LOCATIONS
Horizon Zero Dawn is a beautiful game with a wide variety of locations, including lush forests of the Nora Sacred Lands, the booming city of Meridian, and dry Carja deserts. While these areas were fun to explore, players wouldn’t want to experience the same places in a new game. Besides, there are so many places already established in the lore that Aloy has never been to, like the northern Banuk region known as Ban-Ur. Apparently, there is a lot of infighting taking place in Ban-Ur during the events of HZD. During the Red Raids, Carja soldiers were too afraid to invade Ban-Ur because of their strength and the dangerous mists and geysers that plague the land. It’d be amazing to explore an area that even the mighty Carja decided to avoid, where the danger comes not only from hostile machines and humans but the land itself.
Another great area to explore would be The Forbidden West. Everyone knows the best way to make someone want to do something is by telling them not to do it! The area west of Sunfall is forbidden because most people who venture out there either come back nearly dead or insane due to what they witnessed. Most explorers don’t return at all, including Irv, the Carja’s sixth Sun-King. Rost also journeyed into the Forbidden West when he went after the twelve bandits that killed his wife and daughter.
All we know about the Forbidden West so far is that it is home to vicious machines far worse than the ones we’ve already encountered. I think I speak for all players when I say the Forbidden West must be explored in the sequel.
2. NEW MACHINES
As Aloy would say, the machines would be so fascinating — if they weren’t trying to kill you. There are 26 different machines in the base game, and 29 if you include the new creatures introduced in The Frozen Wilds DLC. Most of the machines were built to imitate real animals: snapmaws are akin to alligators, glinthawks resemble buzzards. I don’t know what the incredible thunderjaws were supposed to be, some type of dinosaur I guess, but anyway, there are many more animals that deserve machine counterparts. There could be machines based on snakes that slither along the ground and tie you up if you don’t destroy them in time. Maybe an arachnid type with long legs that have to be destroyed. Or what about one based on primates that swings from trees and throws poop on you?
Those are small machines, though. We need something huge, even bigger than a thunderjaw and deadlier than a fireclaw. Maybe there could be a giant King Kong type machine that throws trees and even other machines at you. The idea is a bit over the top, I’ll admit. But you can’t say it wouldn’t be cool trying to figure out how to bring a giant gorilla robot down.
3. NEW WEAPONS/GADGETS
If you’re going up against new machines, you’ll need new weapons to defeat them with. Of course, Aloy is going to have her Spear and Bow and Arrow, and we’ll see the return of her Slingshots and Ropecaster. The fire, ice, shock, and corruption weapons will also come back, but what about new things? One of the best parts of fighting thunderjaws was knocking their disc launchers off and using it against them. It’d be great to have a heavy weapon you can carry around at all times. The Oseram Cannon is another cool weapon that can, unfortunately, only be used twice in the original game.
The Focus should have some new abilities as well. Maybe Aloy can learn how to disrupt other focuses by herself in order to distract guards or even do damage to them. Or she’ll be able to hack into machines from a distance and give them one or two orders.
4. BETTER MELEE COMBAT
Melee combat wasn’t HZD’s strong point. It wasn’t bad, but it could be a lot better than just swinging Aloy’s spear around. Human enemies often had melee weapons of their own, so instead of hitting the attack button and hoping Aloy hits them before they hit her, there should be a way to block or even counter an enemy’s attack. Besides, enemies can block Aloy’s attacks so why can’t she block theirs? Maybe a good upgrade for Aloy would be a “Perfect Block/Dodge” that opens an enemy up for a counterattack if she times her block/dodge just right. This system can also be implemented with smaller machines like Watchers and maybe Striders.
5. MORE SYLENS
Sylens is a jerk. I love him as a character, but I hate him as a human being.That’s exactly how we’re supposed to feel about him though. He does manage to provide Aloy with a lot of assistance, but in actuality he was just helping himself. The ending of HZD sets up Sylens to be an antagonist, but the guy isn’t evil. He just wants to know more about life before the machines took over. He’ll probably be the enemy in the sequel, but hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be your typical hand-rubbing bad guy.
6. SURVIVAL ELEMENTS
In addition to hunting machines, Aloy also hunted wildlife. The animals drop loot that the player can use to trade with merchants or craft items. Even though Aloy sometimes mentions the taste of the animals, she doesn’t actually eat them. I’m not suggesting that in the sequel the player should be forced into hunting for food and water in order to avoid dying, but it would be cool if eating food provides perks. For example, eating boar meat might make Aloy stronger, while fox meat makes her faster. Some animal meat may be able to protect her from certain attacks, just like certain potions did in the original game. The potions may even be replaced entirely by this new mechanic.
7. PLAYER CHOICE
In Horizon Zero Dawn, there are moments where the player can choose what Aloy says in a conversation. Her response can be kind, aggressive, or neutral. Unfortunately, these moments are scarce and they don’t affect the overall story at all. While defeating bandit camps, you can have an assassin named Nil help you out if you want. Then when all the bandits are killed, you can choose to battle with Nil. If you choose not to, Nil will show up to help you in the game’s climax. In fact, a lot of side characters come to help if you complete their side missions. That’s a nice touch by the developers, but there’s still a huge room for improvement.
In the next game, dialogue options should have more meaning. For example, if you’re nice to someone they may decide to help you out later on in the game. But what if the person you’re nice to is somebody another character hates? Then that character will decide to not help you. There are so many different types of tribes in the H:ZD universe. Maybe doing tasks for one tribe can make things more difficult for other tribes and you have to choose who Aloy sides with, much like the different factions in the Fallout series.
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best action adventure games to date. Hopefully, the sequel will be just as good, if not better, than the original.
“Horizon Zero Dawn boasts a stunningly realized vision of the post-post-apocalypse, accompanied by a fascinating and chilling mystery surrounding the fall of civilization and surprisingly deep and strategic combat which combine to create one of the best new IPs in years.”