Guer­ril­la Games expan­sion for Hori­zon Zero Dawn, The Frozen Wilds, released on Novem­ber 7th. Since then, I’ve been delv­ing into the ruins of the Cut and explor­ing what the frozen wilder­ness has to offer. It’s more than what you were prob­a­bly expect­ing.


The entire sto­ry revolves around the mys­te­ri­ous Banuk, their odd cul­ture, and Aloy help­ing them defeat a Dae­mon which is caus­ing the machines to become extreme­ly hos­tile. A Chief­tain name Aratak and his Shaman — Ourea are attempt­ing to hunt this Dae­mon down, try­ing to calm the machines, los­ing many warriors/hunters in the process. Aloy reach­es Aratak right at the begin­ning of the Cut, after being warned by a trav­el­er of the dan­ger she faces ahead.

Oth­er Banuk tribes are… dis­tant with Aratak’s, believ­ing them to be fool­ish. The rest I will not spoil.

As far as where this sto­ry is placed, these events appar­ent­ly hap­pen before the end of bat­tle of the game. Cilens chimed in over my Focus to tell me to get back to the task at hand, even though I had already com­plet­ed all of the main game mis­sions.


So when I arrived to the Cut, I fig­ured com­bat was going to be a breeze. Wrong. The Dae­mon I spoke of ear­li­er, it affects most of the machines, mak­ing them seri­ous­ly strong. They appear to be anoth­er ver­sion of cor­rupt­ed machines, but instead of see­ing red while look­ing through your Focus, you see pur­ple.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Dae­mon­ic Scrap­per vs. a reg­u­lar one

These machines are a lot tougher to play ball with though, but once you get a rhyme down it does become eas­i­er to deal with them. It’s the new machines you real­ly need to watch out for, as they have some inter­est­ing ways to kill you.

There is also a new addi­tion to the sec­tion of pas­sive-aggres­sive machines that’s unique to The Frozen Wilds. It’s called a Con­trol Tow­er. From the devel­op­ment side it’s genius, on the play­er side, it’s down­right cru­el.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Con­trol Tow­er send­ing its sig­nal

Con­trol Tow­ers send sig­nals to a sur­round­ing area to all near­by machines, friend­ly and foe. All friend­ly machines are affect­ed neg­a­tive­ly, like your mount will be shocked and you will get kicked off of it (even my Shield-Weaver armors force shield would deplete when it shot out a sig­nal). The real dirty part is, every hos­tile machine you are fight­ing near it will heal every time it shoots a sig­nal. It’s a seri­ous pain to get rid of the tow­ers, espe­cial­ly when they are being guard­ed by some­thing heav­ing hit­ting or fast, like a Dae­mon­ic Stalk­er. Def­i­nite­ly take out the Con­trol Tow­er first, if you can.


The Frozen Wilds intro­duced 8 new skills into the tree. Some of which I wish were in the orig­i­nal game. A few of these stand out:

  1. Mount­ed Pick­up — This allows play­ers to pick up resources and search downed ene­mies while stay­ing mount­ed. Sooo use­ful.
  2. Shard Sal­vager — Dis­as­sem­ble resources and mods into 50% of their Met­al Shard val­ue. No more wast­ed items!
  3. Mount Repair — Repair your dam­aged mount with Met­al Shards.
  4. Dis­mount Strike — Press Square to launch off your mount with a jump­ing attack. It dam­ages medi­um machines and can take down small machine and humans. Also real­ly use­ful.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review

Those were just four of the eight skills in The Frozen Wilds sec­tions of skills. All of them have their own uses and come in handy. It makes me want to play New Game+ all over again.

Weapons and Armor

If you have played through the main sto­ry of Hori­zon Zero Dawn, then you should be lev­el enough and most like­ly have pur­chased every­thing in the orig­i­nal sec­tion of the game. So, the upgrades to some of the best weapons and armor are a sight for sore eyes.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Shad­ow Hunter Bow with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tions
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Banuk Strik­er Bow, bought from The Frozen Wilds mer­chant. Same bow, but bet­ter stats.

You can pur­chase these weapons and armor from blue marked mer­chants on the map. How­ev­er, it can only be pur­chased with Blue­gleam cur­ren­cy, which is native to this expan­sion. You can find Blue­gleam around the map, or by doing side quests.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
The Frozen Wilds mer­chant is marked in blue and the mark­ers next to them are blue­gleam.


You would think, “Ohh, who wants to look at the snow all the time?” Well, it’s actu­al­ly not that bad. You don’t just see the snow though, you see oth­er amaz­ing views like gey­sers, frozen caves, beau­ti­ful lakes. Also, the snow­storms are inter­est­ing to be in when rid­ing on a mount, espe­cial­ly in the dark. Feels like I can’t see any­thing. Makes for a good expe­ri­ence.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
A geyser and it’s recre­ation cen­ter, long for­got­ten, in the back­ground.
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Pic­ture I took exit­ing from a cave dur­ing a snow­storm.

There are also tons of new ani­mals in the Cut includ­ing goats, squir­rels, owls, bad­gers, as well as some oth­ers. There are also a cou­ple reg­u­lars, like fox­es, boars, and trout. As usu­al, the ani­mals are need­ed for craft­ing and obtain­ing maps for col­lec­tables, as well as small amounts of XP.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review


They gave a decent sized area for you to explore, includ­ing anoth­er Hunt­ing Grounds to com­plete, a ban­dit camp to flush out, along with side mis­sions to dis­tract you from your sto­ry task. There are also new col­lec­tables, like Pig­ments, Ani­mal Fig­urines, and new reg­u­lars like audio, text and holo­gram dat­a­points. If you are into Pho­to Mode, The Frozen Wilds is a great place for it. Espe­cial­ly when the heavy snow starts to fall.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Pig­ments on top. Ani­mal Fig­urines on bot­tom.
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds Review
Aloy looks cold.

The Bottom Line

Hori­zon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds does offer enough game­play for the val­ue it’s worth. When doing all this expan­sion gives, it should have at least 15 hours worth of DLC. If you real­ly enjoyed Hori­zon Zero Dawn, it’s game­play, and the way it’s sto­ry was told, The Frozen Wilds is worth the pick up. If you are don’t like the idea of being stuck in the same envi­ron­ment the entire time, the set­ting is actu­al­ly way bet­ter than I expect­ed. You for­get about the snow and focus more on what you are doing in it.