Way back in February, Guerrilla Games and Sony released what will most certainly end up being in my top 5 games of the year. Horizon Zero Dawn is a gorgeous and engaging game with great characters and an interesting story. When I heard that there was an expansion forthcoming, my digital salivary glands went into overdrive.
Now that I have spent the last 10 hours with that expansion, The Frozen Wilds, let's take a brief look at all the new things this expansion has to offer and what exactly you're going to get for your $19.99
Let's get it started!
The Frozen Wilds patches into the core game of Zero Dawn relatively seamlessly and you can engage with the content whether you have completed the main storyline or not. That being said, it has been recommended that you don't take off into the great white north until you are at least level 30.
I started at level 35 and I can confirm that that is some sound advice. Things are a bit tougher this go-around. As far as traveling to the new world goes, you don't have to take a boat and a load-screen to an island where the expansion lives. All you have to do is navigate your way to the new chunk of the map.
The where of 'The Frozen Wilds'
Apparently, there is a sanctioned quest to get you started with Frozen Wilds that can be picked up at the Daytower Fort but it is ostensibly just a method of dropping a waypoint for you. If you want to go that route just hit the Daytower and look for a gentleman named Ohtur.
If you prefer to go your own way, just head to the northeast corner of the map where the Grave Hoard quest took place. Once there, you simply scale the wall and you are in The Frozen Wilds. Just as the name might suggest, boy, are these wilds frozen. It's a beautiful break from the largely arid visuals of the core game and I would guess that it adds an additional 15% of territory to explore.
If you can't seem to find Ohtur, and don't see the yellow climbing wall, then you may need to restart your console in order for the expansion to become fully available. If you open your map you ought to see an entirely new area at the far NorthEast of the map, fully fogged over. You'll also see a new campfire directly north of the Gravehoard.
The who of what's new
Any good map expansion should have a population and The Frozen Wilds sees its new area peopled by the Banuk. As one might expect from a tribe living a hard life on the edge of the world, the Banuk are an insular people who will take some convincing when it comes to accepting Aloy as an equal.
However, the Banuk are in the midst of a problem that only you can solve. It seems that the mountain upon which they worship and the local machines have been infected by a daemon which makes them more terrifying and difficult to take down. It's up to you to prove your mettle and save the tribe. Of course, you'll also run into other Outsiders, like Carja and Oseram, during the course of your adventures.
So what else is new?
There are plenty of other little things scattered throughout the Frozen Wilds which add to the experience, the play time, and in turn, the bang for your buck. There is a whole new Traveler skill tree to drop points into which will provide you with aid in this new portion of the world. Aside from three new machines to battle, there is the addition of the small towers scattered across the map that provide buffs for said machines and essentially serve as a sort of area capture mechanic.
There are a few puzzles that provided the only frustration for me, not in that they were difficult but that I felt they slowed the flow of the story. Throughout the map, you can find plenty of new data points which just enrich the existing story even further. In addition, there are some all-new collectibles to add color and give completionists a new goal to go after. Finally, there's a new regional currency in the Frozen Wilds which you can acquire and use to purchase all kinds of new gear.
Is it worth it?
For twenty bucks and a 10-hour expansion of an already fantastic game, I would say that The Frozen Wilds is absolutely worth your time and money. If you played the core game and you loved it the way I did, I have no doubt that you will enjoy your time in The Frozen Wilds. It may not be the biggest expansion ever offered but it fits so well into the existing game that it absolutely serves to deepen a world that I already love being in.
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