This contains spoilers for the story of Horizon Zero Dawn!
Players all around the world have recently dived into the excellent Horizon Forbidden West. But what about diving into an old story illustrated on the pages of a book?
Published by Titan Comics, Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation is a graphic novel from writer Anne Toole and illustrator Elmer Damaso. The story follows Aloy and Erend as they venture across the far-future Earth that players of Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West will be very familiar with.
One particular quest in Horizon Zero Dawn has Aloy helping to bring down a man named Dervahl. Dervhal is responsible for the death of Erend’s sister, Ersa, Captain of the Carja Vanguard. The story told in Liberation takes place just after these events. Erend needs Aloy’s help again. As the two hunt down a dangerous individual who murdered an important member of the Oseram Tribe, Erend fills the quiet moments with the tale of how Ersa was murdered.
Part of what makes Horizon Zero Dawn so special is its unique environments. Based in a far-future version of US states Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, players are able to witness and venture through deep desert canyons, lush forests and more. And these environments shine easily on the pages of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation with the use of bright colours and an incredible amount of detail. Erend and Aloy push through these environments expertly, Aloy more so than Erend of course, fighting off machines and enemies along the way.
This story also follows Ersa, Erend’s sister, in the time when the reign of the Mad Sun-King continued to burn fiercely. While players may be familiar with Ersa’s tale, Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation gives a much closer look at just how strong Ersa was before her death in the game. Readers will also get to see just how brutal the Mad Sun-King was before Avad teamed with Ersa and the Carja to defeat his father once and for all. Getting to see these small glimpses of moments not told or highlighted in the game is a great way to bring this world back to life once again.
And, of course, this story wouldn’t be complete without deadly machines. Damaso paints them beautifully. From deadly Stalkers to the graceful, towering Tallnecks, seeing these creatures drawn in such detail is incredibly impressive. These machines might be great to look at but are, of course, dangerous and deadly, as is highlighted in Liberation’s pages.
Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation expands on the world expertly crafted by Guerrilla Games by focusing on a story that the game wasn’t able to tell. And in comic book format, it works spectacularly. Erend is a fantastic character and listening to him regale a well-known story from the first game to Aloy as they trek through the dangerous world is a great experience. Pair that with intense action sequences scattered every few pages, gorgeously illustrated characters and environments, and a story that was just begging to be told all along, and Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation is a tale that every fan of the series will enjoy.
Browse more images from the graphic novel below:
Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation is available now. Thank you to Titan Comics for providing access to a review copy for the purposes of this article.