The Adventures of Aloy & Link: Part I – Finding Balance

I’m struggling with the best problem ever! There are two glorious open world games that I want to play, but I can’t play them both at the same time. It’s a good thing that Sony and Nintendo both hit home runs with Horizon Zero Dawn and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. It’s a bad thing they are competing for my attention since they were stupidly released at the same time. It truly speaks volumes for how much I love HZD if I still want to play it alongside what many are calling the “best Zelda ever”. I’ve spent over a week with both games, and my strategy of playing them on alternating days seems to be working well so far. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I actually wanted to play video games after a busy work day.

It’s all about balancing these two great games so I don’t forget what I’m doing, or how to play them. Since I have a short memory and get sidetracked easily, I decided to do some progress posts about my adventures in both spectacular worlds. These are all my screenshots, and I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but be warned there may be some.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170312083240
Aloy continues to earn her spot as my second place badass idol.

What I’ve Been Up To Thus Far:

Lightning won the brief battle for the title of “My Favourite Badass Idol”, but Aloy keeps reminding me why she is a very close second. I really haven’t been this inspired by a character since I played FFXIII. As I explore this dangerous world of hers, she keeps making me laugh by muttering hilarious sarcastic remarks to herself. She repels of cliffs with ease, smashes through robotic beasts, and knows how to survive on her own. She’s willing to help anyone in need, and she is not afraid to tell anyone off, if they deserve it. The intriguing story continues to unravel as I complete each quest. I’ve uncovered more details about why robotic animals are roaming post-apocalyptic Earth. I’ve learned lots of things about the cruel primitive society Aloy belongs to, and I also know why Aloy was an outcast at birth. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve almost cried twice now.

HZD 6
I really do wish I was as strong as you, girl.

I’ve settled comfortably into the controls and I’ve been having a blast with the combat in the game (especially since I’ve mastered the Blast Wire weapon). I’ve learned to be stealthy (when I have to), but I can usually defend myself when I screw up and alert the whole angry robotic neighbourhood about my presence. It plays a lot like Assassin’s Creed, but climbing a Tallneck is much cooler than climbing a boring old regular building.

Progression wise, I haven’t even uncovered 1/3 of the map yet. I’ve been undertaking every side quest I come across (of course). I have also been hunting a lot of traditional non-metal animals to get supplies to craft inventory upgrades. I’m currently trying to get a decent score in the 2nd Training Ground mini game (I find it’s a great way to get XP), before moving off to snag a few collectibles I see on my map. Then I’ll continue learning more from the main story quests. I have Platinum trophy plans for this game for sure.

Stats
Aloy’s Level – 16 (9865/16000 until next level up)
Game Completion – 18.33%
PSN Trophies Unlocked – 15/56

Aloy In Action:

Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170306222601
Nope, they did not like that at all.
Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170312092055
Hai guise! Uh, nothing to see here. I may have killed your Watcher, that’s all. Please don’t kill me…
Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170312132009
Hunting is as easy as shooting Trout in a river.
Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170312150819
I don’t like to brag, but yes, I did kill TWO Sawtooths that attacked me at the same time.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

botw 1
I’ve lost count of how many ways I’ve gotten poor Link killed.

What I’ve Been Up To Thus Far:

This game is truly about the epic journey, not reaching the destination of beating the final boss. There’s something special about this beautiful cel shaded game world that I’m incapable of describing. It’s all about survival in the unforgiving land of Hyrule. Weapons are disposable, you start off with nothing, and Rupees don’t hide in grass anymore. Everything can and will kill you. Feel free to go get slaughtered by Ganon out of the starting gate, but you might want to follow what little direction the game gives you. I’ve been mostly breaking into trial shrines and capturing horses, while trying not to get killed. I’ve enjoyed every single minute of the harsh experiences. I really wish that annoying Stamina meter was gone, but I understand why they included such a mechanic.

botw 3
Thanks for the encouraging words, sir…

I don’t have any clue where I am in the game, but my Link is getting better at surviving. I made it to Kakariko Village, the hard way, and was given a few options about where to go next. I decided to go with the “learning more about Link’s tablet option”, which led me to a new area on the massive map. Before departing, I scraped together enough money for most of the Sheik stealth outfit. Also, I found a really cool flame sword from a side quest. I don’t use it often though since I don’t want it to break. My Amiibo addiction has proven useful by netting me some nice loot. I’m still getting the hang of combat and the controls, but my skills are slowly improving.

botw 5
He looks tougher, but everything still kicks his ass.

I left off at the part where I’m about to unlock the basic functions of Link’s tablet. After that, I plan to scale the tower in the area to uncover the zone’s map (and likely giggle uncontrollably when it drips that knowledge down). I know I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg here. I plan to be spending lots of time in Hyrule for the foreseeable future.

Link In Action:

botw 2
I definitely took the WRONG way to Kakariko Village… It’s like it knew I killed its daddy, Thardus, in Metroid Prime.
botw 4
I’ll add FFXIII references whenever I can dammit!
botw 6
This creepy Dye Shop guy is the master of horrible puns.
botw 7
Paragliding is so much fun! Watch that damn Stamina meter though.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
-Overall, I’m enjoying both games immensely, but I’m much better at playing HZD. I’ll get the hang of BoTW eventually. Learning how to survive is what it’s all about I think.

38 thoughts on “The Adventures of Aloy & Link: Part I – Finding Balance

  1. Glad to see you’re enjoying it. I’m apparently not as good at finding the shrines, but I have found a ton of the towers. I’ve been trying to complete the map. It took forever for me to find horses, and stables, but I’ve stumbled onto a few boss encounters by accident, and have had a lot of fun experimenting with meals. One of which gave me 15 temporary hearts. (I’m saving that for the eventual Ganon fight.) It really is an engrossing Zelda.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I’ve been enjoying reading your thoughts on this great game. I think I’ve just been lucky with the shrines, haha. I might have to ask you for the recipe for that! Just like IRL, I’m horrible at cooking. My Link has been living on Dubious Food 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel you – I’m currently trying to balance/juggle The Witcher 3/Ghost Recon Wildlands, and I’ve *also* got HZD to start this week too. I’ve already a) cut down on “personal hygiene”, b) reduced human interaction to a bare minimum, and c) have Jerry-rigged a nosebag type contraption so’s I can eat and play at the same time (on the plus side, a + c make b somewhat easier, and invites to stuff have certainly dropped off sharply!).

    Out of interest – and given I’m relying on(/living vicariously through) you for Switch info – does the whole “Switch” thing help with this? I definitely feel like being able “pop out” The Witcher and grab a bit of time with it when I’m not sat in front of the TV would be a massive bonus!?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! That’s quite a juggling act you have there. I can’t wait to read what you, the master RPG champion in training, thinks about HZD! My friends and family gave up on me years ago so I’m free to game whenever I please 🙂

      I do find the Switch’s portable option helps. If I’m too tired to stare at a TV, I can curl up with my Nintendo tablet and lie down on the couch to play. The battery life could be better, but it works for me (I usually fall asleep long before it dies, haha). Oh and I haven’t played Witcher 3 yet so I’ve been living vicariously through you as well. Keep up those entertaining posts of yours! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cheers – you’re too kind!

        I’m hoping to get some time with HZD over the coming days, but I want it to be a decent chunk, given everybody’s saying great things about it.

        And I do really like the ‘curl up on the couch’ potential of the Switch. If I’m being honest, that’ll prob’ly be the thing that ultimately gets me on the Switch Train.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I applaud you for being able to juggle two amazing games. As I write this my fingers are itching to get that controller back in my hand and return to Hyrule. I am spellbound, mesmerized, awestruck, pick your word for it. My days at work drag now because all I can think about is this damn game. And when i’m not thinking about it I’m writing about it here. The infection has even spread to a co-worker… So we sit and hold laptops and look busy but all we are really doing is trading discoveries from Breath of The Wild. He found this armor here, I found this weapon here… I really should do my own write up of the game, but to do that I would have to stop playing the game… Not happening anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s not easy, but it’s fun so I don’t mind the challenge. BoTW is truly magnificent. It’s hard to describe how the world pulls you in. My coworker keeps asking me how the game is (he doesn’t own a newer Nintendo console yet, haha). I’d be really interested in reading your thoughts on the game, but playing it is definitely more important than writing about it.:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your co worker needs to go buy a used Wii U. If he is broke then still it, whatever it takes to play BoTW. *Disclaimer: Beal does not endorse stealing. Borrowing for extended periods… Acceptable.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You are doing better than me at balancing them than me.I pretty much just went full Zelda. I get too confused with the control schemes and stuff like that and am just a bit more into Zelda I guess. Plus got to put that Switch purchase to use. Decided I will just return to Horizon when I’m done. Both sweet games. As much as I’m liking Zelda I’m still excited to get back to Horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the whole journey thing. I wish I had more time o play!
    Hey, I’m hosting Kids’ Month on my blog. Do you have a game review to recommend to our youngest?
    If it’s good for kids,I’ll reblog it. I’d love to round out the creative in Kids’ Month.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It definitely takes some talent to be juggling multiple games and keep yourself up-to-date on them. I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey, though! And thanks for sharing it. Both of these are on my Definite To-Play list, but I haven’t picked them up yet due to my allergy to paying full-price for games, so I’ll have to be living vicariously for a little while in these worlds.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The further you get into Breath of the Wild, the more staggering it is. I bladdy love it, geeza, but it needs a slog of about 12 hours straight to really appreciate it. However, a small army of righteous gamers have taken to Metacritic to bombard it with 0/10 reviews, so I guess I must be wrong. I’m a NOOB!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m impressed by your ability to play two new (and massive) games at the same time. I’m having enough trouble with replaying Mass Effect and playing a previously-unfinished-game, and Andromeda is coming out soon…. But both games looks fabulous, and I’m glad you’re enjoying them. I also like your horse’s name, although at first glance I thought it was a reference to Din, goddess of fire, like “O Din…” But I like your reason too haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It helps that I don’t have any real life responsibilities outside of work, or even an annoying social life to deal with, haha. I really want to watch your Mass Effect LP, but I also want to play the game first. I’m thinking about starting a Bioware game after HZD is done. Should I go with Dragon Age Origins or Mass Effect first?

      “O din…” works too! I never thought of that. But yeah, Odin is Lightning’s summon and can turn into a horse. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clever name, then 😉 That’s cool that it turns into a horse!

        Oh my goodness, Mass Effect or Dragon Age?? Well… If you like fantasy more than sci-fi, definitely go for Dragon Age, first. I like both genres outside of video games, but fantasy always has a little more of a special place in my heart. If you prefer sci-fi, go for Mass Effect! They’re both fantastic, really.

        For me, I liked the nuance of the silent protagonist in Dragon Age: Origins, and the concrete feel of the conversation options (like, “these are the words that the character is going to say”). I also liked that it had more of what I considered a DnD feel, insofar as (at least for me) the stats I had influenced play more than I feel they do in Mass Effect (like, low dexterity consistently resulted in poor hits in DA vs my well-placed shots in ME were just more powerful, or the sniper rifle was a little steadier). Also, you’ve played DAII so it’d be fun to see what came before 🙂

        On the Mass Effect side, you know going in that you have three games that tie together and have consistent characters throughout, which is great for building relationships and immersion. The combat is a little more solid than Origins off the bat, as well, so it’s a little easier to get into in that regard.

        How am I doing screening my obvious bias? (rereads comment) Not too well, I see.

        BUT if you’re wanting to watch my LPs, I’d suggest Mass Effect then Dragon Age, because I’m planning on going through the Dragon Age series once I finish ME1-3 and Andromeda… 😉 But don’t play a game just because of that!! haha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll find a way to mention FFXIII whenever I can, haha.

        Thank you for your wise opinions (everyone is biased toward something lol). I figured Bioware’s number one fangirl would be the right person to ask! I slightly prefer fantasy but I do enjoy Sci-Fi as well. I guess that means Dragon Age will be first, then I’ll look into getting the Mass Effect games.

        I intend to watch ALL of your LPs. The only question is “when?” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m terrified the same thing’s going to happen with me in terms of having two much anticipated releases occur at the same time: the FFVII Remake and The Winds of Winter. I feel it in my bones that they’re both going to come out at the same time. I guess I luck out that they’re two different media, and since FFVII will be on the PS4, I’ll have to vie with my husband for time on that system (I really want to get my own PS4, but expensive D:).

    Horizon: Zero Dawn piqued my interest the instant I saw the demo, and it’s currently in my backlog, and all the wonderful things I’ve heard about BOTW have now convinced me to play it as opposed to watching an LP. I’m not sure when this is going to happen since I don’t yet own a Switch (and I’m not even sure I could find one yet). I’m very familiar with the story of Zelda in all its forms, but I’m extremely curious about what happened to Aloy’s world. The fact that there are robotic animals running around suggests something similar to a lot of George R R Martin stories actually lol. Where humanity loses a lot of its knowledge and reverts to a more primitive state, but the remnants of the more advanced past are left behind. I want to know what happened!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh no! That would be terrible. Hopefully PS4s have a massive sale by then 🙂

      I want to say so many things about HZD, but I won’t. I think you’ll really like the story! Good call on playing Zelda as opposed to watching it. It’s more about the experience of surviving, and I don’t think a LP can capture that feeling as much as playing it would. The Switches are still in the “stupid stock shortage” phase of the Nintendo product cycle. The Wii U version is good too. I actually loaned a coworker my Wii U so he could play the new Zelda. I felt bad for him and he wouldn’t stop whining, haha. I get to keep the copy of the game when he’s done. Seems like a fair deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I say that’s a really fair deal! I want to pick up a Wii U, too. Omg, you should see my Amazon wish list. All consoles and games, and the former is definitely over $1000. I looked up the Sega Master System, too just to see how much it was. I didn’t think it would be that much, but it was around $700 :O A Genesis equivalent to the NES Classic is only around $50, and I might pick one of those up. I never really played Sega growing up and I’d like to experience it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My wish list is likely well over 1k too, haha. That’s a crazy price for the SMS! I see them on Kijiji here all the time for $100-ish. I think I should get one after my bank account recovers from the Switch purchase. I was never into Sega growing up, but I want to collect their stuff now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Right?! I was talking with HG and Alessandro (of I ♥ Old Games) about it on Twitter, and she agreed. I wound up googling it and finding one WITH games for only around $130 so nuts to that $700 one on Amazon. I was never into Sega either lol. In fact that was about the only time I was involved in the so called console wars, when I was a kid. I was a Nintendo girl, but now I want to play them all, especially after seeing HG’s let’s plays.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. After enjoying Breath of the Wild, I want to try out Horizon Zero Dawn, especially since you’re giving it such praise! I have to complete as much as I can of BotW first though. I am truly impressed that you’re able to balance these two gigantic open-world games! I don’t think I could do it. Do you ever just imagine Link in Horizon or Aloy in BotW? Some kind of crossover would be something else, though I know it will never ever happen.

    Other thoughts: I love your screenshots. Odin is a wonderful name for a horse, FF reference or not. Aloy looks wonderful. And the paraglider is the best thing ever. If I didn’t have an insane fear of heights, I’d like to take a big sailcloth and glide down. I don’t think today is a good to dye. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The story in HZD really has me intrigued! I’d love to hear what you think about the game when you try it out 🙂 Thanks! It’s a fun challenge to play these two great games. I keep noticing similarities between the two games. You hunt animals, ride mounts, shoot bows, sneak up on enemies, and climb things in the environment. I like that Aloy doesn’t have a stamina meter and her weapons don’t break. I like that Link can paraglide and he can climb almost anything, while Aloy can only climb things that are designed to be climbed. A crossover would be so awesome though!

      Thank you! I really like how modern console take screenshots. It’s a great way to look back on games down the road. 🙂 I’m also terrified of heights so I’ll let Link have all the “fun”, haha

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post. Honestly, with both of these games being so amazing, I’m feeling pretty darned lucky to be a PS4/Switch owners. I think I was downright spoiled in fact! And don’t worry about not getting the hang of BotW as yet. It takes a little bit, but once it clicks, you’re going to be having a blast.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tackling both games at once sounds like an exciting endeavor! I plan to play them both, but haven’t picked up HZD yet. Seeing what you have to say about the game so far (both in this first post and in the second, which I decided to read first) has made it clear to me that this game belongs pretty high on my play-next list.

    I especially enjoyed your remarks on the complications of code-switching between the two games’ different control sets. It was cool to see that it didn’t take you long to get used to it and stop getting killed. I had a similar problem when I started Breath of the Wild. Whenever I went to sneak up on monsters with one-shot weapons like lightning arrows, I would inevitably fall back on the knowledge that down on the Dpad is usually crouch/sneak and announce myself to the whole pack!

    I also liked your share of running into that first Stone Tallus. I ran into it within a minute of running around Hyrule Field. I was excited to be off of the plateau and was so focused on sightseeing that I didn’t notice the behemoth rising up behind me until it sent me flying. I didn’t notice the music change because I had only just landed in the field.

    Thanks for a fun post, I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’m also glad you liked my post 🙂

      I hope you enjoy HZD when you get to it. HZD’s open world offers less freedom than BoTW (I think Nintendo raised the bar for the entire open world genre), but the story and combat are spectacular. Both games have their pros and cons, but I still consider both to be masterpieces 🙂

      Like

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