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Topic: Horizon Zero Dawn

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Octane

Main problem with the story is that most of it is told through voice recorders (in the second half of the game at least). I don't like that. Too much waiting around and listening, and not enough action.

Octane

JohnnyShoulder

@Octane I think HZD at least tried to do things a bit differently using the holograms now and again which I thought were very cool.

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

Ralizah

@Th3solution I think I've grown accustomed to the character animations. I just don't like them. This game would have looked so much better with a more stylized and less realistic approach to character animation and design.

But, you know, I could enjoy Zero Time Dilemma despite the infinitely worse character animations, and the same is true of this title.

As to the story: I think it's fine so far. I like the setting. I've always enjoyed it when science-fiction stories adopt a more mythic approach to storytelling usually reserved for fantasy, and this game has an interesting, somewhat Native American-feeling spin on that.

The strongly matriarchal structure of her society is also very interesting. As is the kind of nuanced approach to it. It's undoubtedly feminist sci-fi, but it doesn't feel propagandistic or preachy (so far, at least).

I get the feeling the majority of the backstory is going to be communicated via audio logs. Reminds me of those random notes people left lying around in old Resident Evil games that detailed important information for the player. All well and good, but still lazy story-telling. That aspect of a game is always going to be secondary for me, though, and I think it's important for a game to prioritize elements that make the game more fun to play, so I can't complain too much. I'd also rather listen to an audio log than have someone follow me around and chat my ear off.

Which isn't to say that information isn't presented in more naturalistic ways as well. I learned about the 'creation myth' of this new world at that event Aloy attended before heading to the Proving. It wasn't forced on me at all: some lady was up in front of an audience reciting it to a crowd, so I had Aloy just plant herself on a log and listen. Very cool.

@Kidfried At least this game spares me the indignity of gory skinning animations!

I will say, though, that it does a great job of using body language to make the machines somewhat sympathetic. Wounding a grazer enough will usually make it start limping like an injured deer, and it immediately elicits a feeling of remorse in me. Reminds me of how Pixar movies often use animations to characterize objects you ordinarily wouldn't attribute any agency or emotion to whatsoever.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah You're picking up on a lot of things that I noticed / felt about Horizon, specifically a concern that it looked a bit too fantasy (with bows and arrows and people wearing feathers in their wood hut villages, etc.) when not shoving giant robot animals in your face. I'm glad I overcame that because despite my general dislike of fantasy, some of my favourite science fiction tries, with varying degrees of success, to bridge that gap and Horizon does it very effectively. It isn't too forced or heavy-handed, rather feeling instantly natural and accessible. It was easy to "get" the world around Aloy, which then made her and the supporting cast more sympathetic and relatable than they perhaps should've been.

And yeah, I also treated the robots as I would real animals. They've got bags of physical personality and there are distinct differences between the various species / types you'll encounter. Some I genuinely grew to hate because they felt vicious, evil and opportunistic, whereas others I'd protect (or at least, avoid harming) because they're just trying to go about their day. They were more important to get right than the vast majority of the supporting human characters, and they feel way more alive as a result.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Th3solution

@Ralizah Yeah, I think you’re spot on. The game’s strengths and weaknesses are more apparent to me in retrospect. For Horizon 2 I hope they tweak the conversation animations. The story-telling gets more overt toward the end and starts to take a little more of a front row seat.
I also appreciated the Native American / tribal custom and societal setting. It’s rarely been done in video games, at least not to this extent. Assassin’s Creed 3, Red Dead Redemption... some of those games with historical settings do have brushes with tribal politics and narrative but it’s always a side point where in HZD the social constructs that have evolved in the world are at the center of a lot of the narrative. It is an interesting amalgamation with the futuristic Sci-Fi backdrop, as you say.

I realize you have a ways to go in the story yet, but how do you like Aloy as a protagonist so far? I found her to be well crafted for the most part. She lacks the levity of a Nathan Drake, Delsin Rowe, Ellie, or even Kat (to reference some other notable exclusive protagonists) but is not as stiff and serious as Kratos, Galahad, or others. She does seem very real and down to earth. I enjoyed playing as her and she was just relatable enough to make me feel emotionally tied to her plight. If I remember correctly, she won the PS character tournament a couple years ago we had, but I can’t remember for sure. I do think she benefitted from being the most recent big new character when we did that poll, but I’d still surmise she’s one of the biggest PlayStation icons at present. All due respect to Deacon St. John, but Kratos is the only one who could have supplanted her right now.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Kidfried

@Th3solution Yes, I loved Aloy. I think you describe pretty much why she grew on me so much.

At first I felt like she lacked personality, but she just isn't outspoken that way, and it's great to see such a kind of character get the spotlight in a video game. She's not overly cute, funny or strong, but she also never tried to be anything other than herself.

And Burch's voice acting is so good. Just listen to her laugh, I giggled along with her every time.

Kidfried

ApostateMage

The facial animations are massively improved in The Frozen Wilds add-on, as is the voice acting. It certainly bodes well for the inevitable sequel.

ApostateMage

Rudy_Manchego

Great convo - was thinking about this the other day.

@Ralizah Interestingly, I played HZD and BOTW near enough in parallel as I was glued to this when I got the Switch and swapped between the two. I came away thinking that if you could blend the strengths of each, you would possibly have a perfect open world game.

So for example, the world in HZD is amazing yet you often need to follow set paths or get funneled into certain areas, and I longed to be able just to completely 100% explore like BOTW and wander around. I also found that the side content was very icon heavy, so your map was constantly filled whereas BOTW streamlined that so much and tied it into exploration. At the same time, I found the narrative for HZD and its central 'mystery' drove me forward and I liked some of the missions and the way the backstory was introduced. I also loved the random encounters and focus on hunting which was more fun than BOTW.

They are very different games, obviously, but they both show the strengths of good open worlds in different ways.

Now I may be an idiot, but there's one thing I am not sir, and that sir, is an idiot

https://jambags.co.uk

PSN: Rudy_Manchego | Twitter:

Ralizah

Somehow managed to get into a fight with two Sawtooths and a Scrapper all at the same time. That was... something...

Thankfully, multiple layers of blast wires make short work of the Sawtooths!

The fire bug robots suck, though. I need to find frost arrows or something to deal with them.

@Rudy_Manchego So far, while I think Horizon benefits being open world in its design, the best aspects of the game have very little to do with the environment itself. The spectacular combat and the persistent drive to upgrade my equipment are its main strengths as a game (putting aside the visuals). The actual environments are largely window-dressing, though. Aloy doesn't get cold, wet, hungry, etc. She doesn't feel like she's a part of that world.

BotW could do with better combat encounters and perhaps a busier ecosystem, but, otherwise, it's the most integrated and fully-realized open world I've ever seen in a video game, and Link feels intimately connected to it by being forced to adapt to and live off of the land. There are so many things to do in it, so many ways to play off your surroundings.

I feel both games kind of reflect the priorities of their parent companies. Sony is interested in mature, original experiences that push visual and narrative boundaries for the medium. For Nintendo, on the other hand, everything is about crafting a fun and memorable experience for the player. Sony innovates conceptually in its games, but tends to be fairly conservative in terms of how its games actually play. Nintendo innovates, often wildly, in terms of how its games are played, but tends to be conservative conceptually, sticking to long-running franchises with established motifs and themes.

I'm not sure both could, or should, be reconciled in terms of their design philosophies, though. While Horizon could do with more fleshed-out environmental interactivity, and BotW could do with more or better setpieces, I feel like the limitations of each help to define the sort of games they are, and draw attention to their respective strengths, as well.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Octane

@Ralizah ''fire bug robots''. Do you mean the Bellowbacks? The ones that are like a walking flamethrower? Or the scorpion-like ''evil'' robots?

Octane

Ralizah

@Octane Yeah, the big beetle things that keep spitting fireballs at me. I shoot at their components, but my arrows barely do any damage. I might as well be throwing rocks at them.

@Th3solution To be honest, I have almost no opinion whatsoever on Aloy thus far. She doesn't strike me as much of a character beyond being vaguely heroic and purpose-driven, which is pretty typical for stories of this type.

I'm not too far into the story, though, and have been busy upgrading my stuff and trying to find collectibles. And killing machines for fun and parts, of course.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Octane

@Ralizah Just to be sure, the one that's walking on two legs, right? Cause I don't think there's a beetle robot in the game.

Anyway, if that's the one, you may want to try to damage their fuel sack on their backs. Shooting regular arrows may cause it to leak, but a few fire arrows could be interesting as well considering the contents

Octane

Ralizah

@Octane Yeah, that's the one.

Oh? You can actually make the component on their backs explode with fire arrows? Interesting. I'll try it out the next time I stumble across one!

I assume arrows with a tear focus are better for exposing the fuel to my fire arrows, then?

That's a cool detail.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Octane

@Ralizah Yeah, I think so. It's been a while since I played the game. I loved the tear arrows because they did massive damage, but they only destroy stuff. Fire arrows can blow stuff up, like the fuel pouches on their backs. I'm not sure if you have to damage them first or not. Tear arrows may destroy them before you get a chance to use the fire arrows. Just try and experiment when you encounter them!

Don't forget that they also have separate fuel tubes underneath their head/neck that supplies the nozzle.

Octane

Thrillho

@Ralizah The enemy information screen (I forget what word this game used) gave you info on weak spots like that I think?

Thrillho

JohnnyShoulder

@Octane @Ralizah IIRC some machines have armour plates which you have to tear off before you can damage them.

We are now in a world of people being offended for other people who they think should be offended, who arent offended.

PSN: JohnnyShoulder

ApostateMage

At first the weak spots are all exposed but they adapt to how they're hunted and are later created with protective armour. I thought this was brilliant when I first found out.

ApostateMage

themcnoisy

@Ralizah Ye of little faith. You just wait until it all kicks off! It wasn't voted the forums best game ever for nothing.

I love HZD brilliant hairstyles ftw.

Forum Best Game of All Time Awards

Multiplat 2018: Horizon Zero Dawn
Nintendo 2017: Super Mario Bros 3
Playstation 2016: Uncharted 2
Multiplat 2015: Final Fantasy 7

PSN: mc_noisy

Ralizah

@Octane I tried your strategy. It didn't work for me. Fortunately, I found one that did. Unload shock arrows into their stupid faces until they're stunned and then shoot the pouch in the back with precision arrows to get rid of the ranged attack. I killed frost and fire breathing ones at the same time that way.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Octane

@Ralizah I looked up a video online, and precision arrows seem to do the trick as well. If you hit the fuel sac and the gullet with precision arrows it should explode after a while. They stunned them in the video, making it easier, but I don't think it affects the exploding part.

Octane

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