By Nick Schifani
Since we last talked I've continued my journey through the beautiful terrain of Horizon: Zero Dawn. I can't seem to get enough of this game. This game is the only thing I want to spend my time with, outside my family of course. Everything from the story to running errands to mechanical creatures has me in absolute awe of this game.
Something I've started to notice I love doing in the game is exploring this vast world. I find myself not using the "fast travel" ability as much as I probably should. The only defense I have for not using it is simple, I honestly don’t want to miss out on anything. I feel like if I fast travel I may miss an opportunity to hunt more amazing creatures or a good chance to snap a breathtaking picture. Frankly, I think this may be the reason why I'm not done with the game. Normally, I would fast track through the game. I would worry more about the main story missions and shun everything else. I want to see everything in all its glory.
Speaking of missions there are a few side missions that I can't 100% get behind. I understand their value of gaining more XP (experience points), but some of them get a bit tedious. Raiding bandit camps, or taking part in the Hunting Lodge missions seem to take time away from my main objectives.
I reached out to a couple of fellow gamers (@johnsbernardo and @lostthenumbers. Thanks, guys!) to ask their thoughts about some of the side missions. Both reached back out and agreed with me. Some side missions are there only to gain XP, but they aren’t too terribly fun. Though, one side mission I seem to enjoy is clearing areas of corrupted machines. That seems to serve more of a purpose to me. Plus, I like to hunt and interact with the machines more than bandits. If I wanted to focus on bandits I would play another game. The gigantic machines are the selling points of this game.
Keeping that thought in mind I love spending time in the cauldrons. Cauldrons are areas in the game that allow you to learn a special ability to give you the upper hand in your fight with the robots. The cauldrons get you out of the normal forest and mountain landscape, and into a deep cavern of machine-controlled areas. These areas pack a lot of fun in a quick amount of time. There are puzzles to decipher, robots to avoid, and a boss fight that makes you think quick on your feet. I wish I could spend more time in these areas, but once cleared they are gone forever.
Earlier, I spoke about the main story missions. I feel like I'm making my way through them at a decent pace. I adore where this story is taking me. It shows the time and passion Guerrilla Games put into this adventure. I never feel like a story mission is forced, or that it's shoved in for dramatic effect. This game is one of the most fluently paced games I've ever played. I think a majority of this fluid feeling has to do with our lead character, Aloy.
I spoke highly of Aloy in my last post. There's no doubt she is going to a big name in video games for years to come. Again, I think that has to a huge compliment to the team members that created her. The best part about her is her confidence. Even as a child she never lacked in that department, and as the game progresses it's obvious why she doesn’t. She knows how good she is, and she knows with the help of the Focus she can accomplish almost anything. It cracks me up how confident she has become as the game moves along. I find myself audibly getting involved in her conversations with other characters. Which looking back may not be the healthiest habit. Either way, I'm having the best time in the world with Aloy. I seriously can't get enough of her and her fight with giant robots.
Boy, those giant robots are breathtaking. I know for the most part stealth is the name of the game with these amazing creatures. But, sometimes I can’t help to stir them. I want to fight them. I want to capture an awesome picture of them. I want to test my own fighting abilities against them. I want as much interaction as I can with them. So, sure I may die a good bit, but I feel like that's the beauty of this game. Explore, test yourself, and create your own adventure. I'll take running with a group of Grazers, battling a raging Sawtooth, or pinning down a Glinthawk to never interacting with the creatures at all.
I like to believe I'm pretty close to the end at this point. Even once I'm done I intend to keep these posts as spoiler free as I can. Last time I mentioned a possible video going up about the game. Well, by the time you read this that will be true. Adam and I are going to making our debut on the 2 Player Co-op Podcast. It should go up Friday this week as one of their Quick Hits episodes. We're super excited about joining Kevin and Sean White. It's one of the awesome perks we have now! Keep a lookout for that to drop Friday, and as always stay tuned for more Horizon talk here on the site. Please, feel welcomed to give me a shout on Twitter too. You can catch me @WebHeadNick86 or @Nerd_901. All the best!