[Playing Things] Horizon Zero Dawn

The other day, I was inspired by the words of an evil friend:”Oh, you still have a backlog – we all do. You’re just not giving it control over your life anymore.”

With these wise words in mind, and fueled by the free caffeine of the raging Canadian Coffee Chain Wars, I evicted Fallout 4 from my PS4 and started playing Horizon Zero Dawn tonight (the first game I’ve touched in weeks). Yeah: Fallout 4, Final Fantasy IV, ReCore, they are all still in progress. I don’t care, they can wait. I’m not motivated to play them right now, and I want to play a game on launch day for once. Horizon has been hyped for a while now and I was expecting great things. I didn’t check any reviews beforehand, so disappointment was a high probability. I know no one asked this but, what did I think? Well, for one, my avatar picture is different now…

Fancy Plastic Statues

Amiibo are a gateway drug…

I have ZERO willpower, and usually preorder CEs of games if they come with neat plastic figures. I know, I’m part of the problem. Anyway, I’m also usually disappointed by subpar quality. This one had the usual bad smell when I opened the package, but this figure is hands down the best quality I’ve ever seen. The details are perfect, the paint is flawless, and it feels like a premium statue. It truly represents this main character, Aloy, who I didn’t know much about, yet. It also came with the expected steel case and tiny artbook. Little things I really don’t care about, but I’ll proudly stick them on my shelf anyway.

The Game

Useless material goods aside, how did I feel about the game? Story is one of the most important to me when playing a game. I can almost always forgive other faults if an epic narrative pulls me in. I won’t go into spoilers, but chills were running down my spine after the opening scene. Let’s just say there’s an emotional father/daughter relationship introduced that got me right in the feels. As I started Aloy’s journey and began learning more about her, something happened to me that hasn’t happened since I played Final Fantasy XIII: I instantly felt a special connection with an inspiring female protagonist.

She may not have pink hair or a gunblade, but Aloy is still a badass!

Again tip-toeing around spoilers, Aloy is an outcast and shunned by the people around her. As the ignorant people started treating her like less than nothing, I could almost feel the rage and sorrow she was starting to bottle up. This is something I can 100% relate to while I was growing up. There is one particular scene early on, where the response system is introduced, that brought familiar tears to my eyes and stirred fire in my heart. I seriously wanted to smash someone in the head with a certain rock, but I chose the slightly nicer option (the result was still satisfying). Aloy is also very protective of the friendlier people around her, and she would risk her very life to save strangers, even if they hate her. She seems very intuitive and empathetic in most of the scenes. Oh and she’s cracked me up a few times with her golden smartass comments. My favourite quote: “Good thing I’m shunned or I’d have to talk to these idiots.” Watch out Lightning Farron, I think you have serious competition for my obsessive fandom (I never thought I’d ever type that).

The gameplay is another selling point for me. I haven’t got too far yet (I’m about to got to the Proving area), but I’ve had a blast learning the controls. There is a heavy emphasis on stealth, but I’m so jacked up on coffee, I’ve just been smashing my way through all the wild robots. I suspect this “strategy” will get me killed later on, but for now it’s working for me. It is truly spectacular to watch Aloy dive bomb a spear into a deadly robot. There’s also a interesting crafting and ability system, that I’m still learning how to use. The graphics are amazing. This open world feels alive with the beautiful trees and skittering wildlife. I think I realized why other open world games (Fallout 4 I’m looking at you) failed to pull me in. I need to feel a special connection with the world, and this game has made one with me.

So yeah I love, love, love this game! It has made a spectacular first impression on me, and has reignited my interest in video games (and blogging) again. Will it hold my short attention span? Well, there is one thing that will kill this game for me: Zelda Breath of the Wild is coming out Friday. I highly doubt I’ll be able to keep two big games like this on the go, and Link’s next epic adventure will likely steal me away. Just bad timing unfortunately. I really hate that these two games are launched on the same week.

I haven’t seen this in game yet, and I’m not sure I want to.

38 thoughts on “[Playing Things] Horizon Zero Dawn

    1. OMG!!! The story in this game is so awesome (I just played it again and there are tears in my eyes). I highly recommend it when you have time. As a female gamer, I must say I’m enjoying the matriarchal society too. Now that I’ve spent more time in it, I can say it’s kind of like open world Assassin’s Creed, with a badass female lead (and deadly robots).

      In honor of my newest shero, I changed my profile pic and Twitter name. 🙂 Aloy hasn’t completely knocked Lightning off her pedestal yet, but she may be able to before the end of the game. Time will tell.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Ah! Now I understand your Twitter name! It’s so awesome how much you’re enjoying it! I actually didn’t know much about the game beyond last year’s E3 trailers, but Aloy sounds like an amazing character. I also grew relating to her (and your) plight, so it actually made me interested in her story. Thank you so much for sharing! I can tell how much “ditching” the backlog has affected how you encounter and write about games. It’s great! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, the name change is to honor my newest shero, haha. Thank you for the nice comment! I’m sorry you had to deal with that plight too. It’s definitely hard to deal with.

      I’m enjoying blogging and gaming again since I banished that evil backlog monster 🙂 Oh and Switch is coming soon!! I’m still hyped for Zelda. I think I can play Horizon and BoTW together, hopefully haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. HZD is going on the top of my MUST PLAY lists. So glad that the hype was in the right this time. Honestly, I watched the early gameplay demos a kind had a DEEP FEELING this was going a true hit. Looking forward to playing this and mass effect in the next few months.
    Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Methinks you need to give games that rhyme with “or” a break for a bit lol. Just a little observation. I was going to say games that have a “4” in them, but then you mentioned Recore, and there was the rhyme :p

    I saw the preview of this game, and I, too, am in love. I am so interested in the story of that world, and Aloy seems like such an amazing main character. The preview I saw didn’t get too much into her story, but I’m dying to know why there are advanced machines “living” alongside Stone Age (seeming) humans. Chris Odd is putting up an LP of this that I might check out after I finish ME3 and after I watch Athene’s ME let’s play (so many let’s plays). You should play what you enjoy, and it shouldn’t be an obligation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never noticed that, haha. Methinks you are correct! 🙂

      I want to say so many things! I’m several more hours into it now. I can say the plot is very interesting and emotional. Aloy is so awesome!! It’s too bad I’ll be abandoning this game tomorrow for a certain epic Hyrulean adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you got a preordered Switch! Ah I’m so excited for you!! One of the LPers I follow is doing a play through right away, and I may abandon his ME3 one to watch that. I’ve never done that before, but I love watching Zelda games, and the fact that there’s a new one makes it very tempting. God bless let’s plays. It allows those of us who either can’t play or don’t play certain games to experience them lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep! Thank you! I’m loving it so far. The controllers feel nice, and the system is a lot smaller than I pictured it. The new Zelda is incredibly fun, but it feels more like an anime Assassin’s Creed game to me, lol (which is perfectly fine with me)

          I never really liked LPs, until I started watching hungrygoriya’s epic ones. I’m really happy you get to experience more games through them though 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I am really loving this game as well. The combat has a lot of depth and strategy involved. And I’m loving the world they built here. It and the story are very intriguing. I’ve run into the same problem as you though… Zelda comes out tomorrow and this may move to the backburner at least for a bit. I don’t know if I can juggle two big open-world games like this at once. I guess we’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The combat is truly amazing. I had so much fun taking out that “Demon” robot after the Proving events. I’m going to try and juggle these two amazing games too, but I have a feeling Zelda will win for most of my attention, haha. Good luck to you!


  5. I’ve been interested in this game entirely because I like robot animals. I’m the type of gamer as well that can always find at least some value in games that have a good story, no matter how the gameplay is, so I’m really glad to hear it holds up on that front, too. Something that could draw me so much deeper into that world, so I can enjoy the robot animals more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The robot animals are so awesome! The story is very interesting too, and I think you’ll enjoy this game. I just wish Zelda wasn’t distracting me so I could pay more attention to this great game.


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