It's easy to say in hindsight that Horizon: Zero Dawn has been a huge success. The sale numbers alone are just... staggering, making Guerilla Game's new IP a verified blockbuster and one of the top games of 2017. DLC was bound to come sooner or later, and "later" is finally here as The Frozen Wilds is finally out. However, is this DLC more of what you've come to expect, or will it leave you out in the cold?
The very first thing you should know about The Frozen Wilds is that, as DLC, it opens up Aloy's world just a little bit more and doesn't force you to load into a new area. Returning players who beat the game will find themselves with the game's last main quest staring them in the face and, to the northeast, a vast chunk of land just begging to be explored (and if you haven't finished the game yet, you aren't locked out of this area whatsoever, although I will say that you will want to be level 30+ before taking it on).
Throughout Horizon's main story we heard about a shamanic tribe to the north called the Banuk and even collected their figurines. The Frozen Wilds finally brings these people into the fold as a new story line draws us to the northeast when Aloy hears of new machines rampaging in the frozen land, giving you a whole new story thread to follow and a new tribe to interact with. As a whole, the story here is a solid addition to the game with some interesting characters to interact with and a handful of dramatic (and even touching) moments, but it really doesn't eclipse the main tale in any way.
What The Frozen Wilds does exceptionally well is checking the boxes that you'd expect out of a DLC. More robotic creatures to fight? Check. New weapons, armor and collectibles to acquire? You got it. Upping the level cap and adding a new skill set that Aloy can learn? Absolutely. More animals to hunt and pouches to upgrade? Well... you get the point.
Nearly everything you liked about Horizon: Zero Dawn has been expanded on here. Aloy's level cap is 60 now, with a new set of skills called Traveler that you can invest in. A couple of these skills are things that main-game players would have LOVED in the beginning, such as the ability to harvest items from your mount (which is just fantastic). The new weapons are some of the best in the game and include brand new weapon types as well as upgrades to previous bows (although, when it comes to the armor, the "Shield Weaver" armor from the base game is still likely the best armor in the game). Overall, The Frozen Wilds just adds MORE of what you enjoyed in the first game.
Not everything is perfect here of course. One of my biggest disappointments is with the new robotic enemies you get to fight. Don't get me wrong, the new Scorcher (a fire-based canine foe) and Frost Claw (a frost-infused machine resembling a Grizzly Bear) enemies are fantastic. The encounters with these foes are some of the finest in the game. However, these two designs are really all you encounter in a game (along with an elemental variant that I'll leave as a surprise). It just left me wanting more. Another annoying thing is that the same button you use to harvest items from a mount is the SAME button you use to dismount (how they thought this was a good idea is beyond me). Still, when "wanting more" is one of your biggest gripes with the game, you're in luck.
Visually, The Frozen Wilds is beautiful, but that's probably not surprising to anyone who played the first game (I even played around with the game's "Photo Mode" up above, just for you guys). The change of scenery to a primarily winter landscape adds some great variety to the game and also gives you a chance to take in some great sights. Star-studded vistas and the Northern Lights help to make this a memorable adventure. The audio also remains solid here, with good voice acting choices throughout. You'll also get several new lines of Aloy talking to herself when you are traveling around (and trust me when I say that you'll hear how cold Aloy is more than once).
One of the biggest questions people usually have about DLC is "How long is it?". For The Frozen Wilds, you are looking at about 8+ hours to get through the main quest lines and 15+ hours to collecting every item and do every errand and activity you can find. A fairly good amount of content. The game also comes with TWO new trophy lists (one for the quests and another for different feats you can do), which is quite odd but I assume was done so Guerilla Games could fit more trophies in (21 new trophies in total).
In the end, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds does what every good DLC should set out to do: give players more of what they love. Needless to say, if you enjoyed the base game, you will undoubtedly enjoy The Frozen Wilds as well. Given the game's success up to this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Banuk isn't the last new tribe we'll encounter. For now though, just remember to dress in layers and stay warm!
It's good to meet you! I'm better known online as "Bkstunt_31" and have been writing Reviews and video game Strategy Guides/Walkthroughs for WAY too many years! Feel free to stop my my Facebook page and say hello! Have fun and keep playing!