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    dkirschner's Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

    [May 19, 2023 08:23:25 AM]
    Finally finished this last night. It has its ups and downs, and I probably shouldn't have played another open world game with stealth, crafting and etc. after playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey. My girlfriend called it "jank Assassin's Creed." It's different, of course, notably for the unique worldbuilding, story, and the giant robots. Well, any robots. Assassin's Creed has no robots. But Horizon Zero Dawn has no Templars. But it does have a cult. The comparisons are endless.

    Anyway, you play as a young woman named Aloy, an outcast from her tribe with a mysterious connection to the past. If I say too much about the plot, I'll spoil things, but suffice to say that the overarching story is really, really interesting. It's revealed bit by bit, such that I often thought I understood what was going on, and then it would reveal another layer. In the latter quarter of the game, you get a ton of answers and learn so much about the history of the game world. The way you learn about the world must mirror the way that its inhabitants, or humans in general, knew nothing, and then made discovery after discovery that illuminated the darkness.

    The sense of discovery isn't just the story, but the gameplay as well. Yes, the open world is beautiful, etc., etc., but there are giant robots everywhere! They are like "species," meant to resemble animals: some have herd behaviors (like horses), there are robot crocodiles, robot bulls, giant robot killer sandworms, robot pterodactyls, robot T-Rex, robot velociraptors, and a giant spider mech that looks like something out of Metal Gear. As you progress through the world, you encounter ever more dangerous robots and, if you're brave enough, can learn how to override them to make them fight each other (very entertaining).

    Combat is largely bow-and-arrow-based, with various types of ammo that have various effects. There are other weapons, bombs, traps, and so on, some of which have novel uses. For example, you can lay down trip wires, then herd robots into them. Honestly, I barely used anything except my bow and arrow and my spear. The spear is useful for stealth. You can hide in tall grass, lure enemies, and stealth kill them (humans or weaker robots) or override them (robots). I guess I played the game a lot like it was an Assassin's Creed game. But I generally found the crafting, looting, and upgrading systems tedious, so I didn't bother. Another neat thing about the combat with robots is that you can shoot off parts of them. Robot firing missiles at you? Destroy its rocket launcher. It might even pop off for you to pick up. Need materials for crafting fire arrows? Shoot the incendiary containers off the backs of robots. It was fun to slowly dismantle the bigger robots like this.

    Overall, it was neat to play Horizon Zero Dawn. I enjoyed the overarching story the most, but the moment-to-moment gameplay was fun too, with combat being an intense affair, especially against the more challenging robots. Segments where you have to clear human bandit camps were less inspiring. Side quests and characters were also pretty uninspiring, and I did stick mostly to the main storyline. There is a sequel out that I don't think I'll play, though I wouldn't mind reading about it.
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    dkirschner's Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 3 March, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 18 May, 2023

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Impressive so far. Crunchy, engaging combat. ---------- Last a long time, really great overarching story.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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