The Adventures of Aloy & Link: Part II – Hapless Critters

It is quite possibly the best problem ever! Two massively fantastic open world games were launched in the same week, and I desperately want to play both of them. Unfortunately, there’s only one of me and a finite quantity of the precious gaming time resource. This whenever-I-feel-like-posting-it mini series documents my struggles tackling Horizon Zero Dawn and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, at the same time. I’m having loads of that FUN thing, and that’s all that matters. If these are the only games I finish this year, I’ll call it an incredibly successful one.

Part I – Finding Balance

I’m not a monster, okay? In real life I love innocent creatures, and I wish I could do more to protect them from an ignorant human population that’s intent on destroying them. Even in video games I hate killing defenseless critters, but these two great games have left me with no other choice! I swear.

I need to sacrifice the non-robotic wildlife in Horizon Zero Dawn to gather resources to upgrade Aloy’s item carrying capacity and make health potions. Link keeps getting slaughtered in Breath of the Wild so I need to murder tasty animals to cook stat boosting dishes. Sorry little foxes, rabbits, boars, and misc. feathered friends! It’s nothing personal – I just need your lootz. You’ll respawn again anyway. No harm done, right? May both the All-Mother and Goddess Hylia forgive me…

Despite my nagging guilt, I’m still being thoroughly entertained by these two jaw-dropping masterpieces. I have to admit that even though I’ve had these for 2 months, I’m still nowhere near finished either of them. It’s not easy finding time for these massive open world games, and I’m playing them at the SAME time I want to stress. I’m just having fun poking along at my slow pace, and I’m not worrying about progressing on a timeline. Thankfully, I’ve reached a point in both games where I’m comfortable with the control scheme. I’m no longer launching Aloy to her death by pressing dodge by mistake, or forgetting that Link can lock-on to enemies in combat.

Current Stats

Aloy’s Post-Apocalyptic Earth Adventure
Level – 27 (14915/27000 until next level up)
Game Completion – 36.70%
PSN Trophies Unlocked – 22/56
Summary – I just left Nora territory for the first time.

Link’s Post-Apocalyptic Hyrule Adventure
Um, let’s see. Link has a house now, my ass is getting kicked less often, I climbed 3 towers, and I’ve done several shrines. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game.

These posts are mostly to remind myself what I’m doing, but feel free to check out the sections below for details on what I’ve been up to! If you have any sage advice, or just want to laugh at how slow I am, the comment area thingy is down there too.

Please note: These are all my screenshots and SPOILERS may be present for gameplay elements, locations, enemies, and side quests. I will not ramble about major plot details though. Honestly, just don’t read any further if you’re worried. My ramblings are not worth having these great games spoiled.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Make way for the badass Seeker!

I’m still gaga over Aloy’s awesomeness. She’s so focused on her goals, and no robotic beast or twisted human can stand in her way. Last post I had left off at the 2nd training grounds area. After I scored 3 Half Suns there (the 3rd place prizes…  I know, I suck) I moved on to finish a few main story quests. These had Aloy helping the Nora clan unleash righteous vengeance for a certain event. I also explored my first Cauldron area. All I can say is WOW! It’s a truly astonishing change of scenery, and the most memorable thing I’ve done so far. It honestly raised more questions than answers in terms of the overall story.

Aloy seemed to be just as stunned as I was after finishing Cauldron Sigma.

I’m an obsessive collector of things, and I’ve also been enjoying the collectibles in this game. My favourite has to be Vantage Points, which give some intriguing clues about what happened to Earth. I scoured the northern area of Nora territory in search of optional items, and I met some nice Banuk folks. They are a tribe that treat the angry machines like beasts with a soul to tame. They had a nice thing going for them in their camp, but some intruders kind of wrecked everything. After that side activity, I decided to finally head to the Carja controlled Daytower for the next main mission. On the journey there, I noticed the angry robots are getting more complex and difficult to take down. You have to learn to exploit their weaknesses or you’re not going to have a fun time. After dealing with Bellowbacks and Stalkers, I noticed Sawtooths, an enemy that scared me in the beginning, just seem like pushover robo-kitties to me now. My mad skillz are improving!

Roasted Sawtooh, anyone?

The badass Seeker busted through the gates of Daytower with no issues, instantly earning the respect of the Carja guards. After Aloy’s grand entrance I chatted a bit with the Captain of the settlement. He gave me a side errand, of course, and explained a bit about how their society works. The Nora, Aloy’s people, are ruled by a group of matriarchs, and the Carja are ruled by a Sun King. Their current Sun King is an upstanding dude, apparently, but it wasn’t always that way. I’ll just say there are lingering tensions between the Nora and Carja. Instead of going forward, I immediately went back to Nora lands to complete the side errand to find the Captain’s missing solider. That introduced me to a fun new enemy: Snapjaws! These crocodile-bots are so easy to take down, if you know their weakness. If you don’t, well be prepared to die or dodge a lot. Once that was expertly taken care of, I moved off into the desolate Carja lands. I had only seen the snowy Nora areas before, and this place has more of a harsh desert vibe.

Aloy’s hilariously honest answer to what this poor man smells like.

My first few steps into Carja territory resulted in a few shocking deaths by something angry’s electricity bolt strikes (I found it a tiny bit amusing that Lightning kept killing Aloy). After I remembered stealth was a thing, I moved on to my 3rd Hunting Ground area. This one was run by a rather smelly fellow, and the bots here were quite challenging. I bought the Shadow Hunter Bow to help with a few things, but the Glinthawk tie down was too much for me. I’ll be back when I’m stronger and armed to the teeth (my skillz aren’t that great after all). I climbed another Tallneck in gator-bot infested Copper Deeps (it was still as awesome as my first!). Then I decided to pursue a side quest where I freed a group of slaves from some heartless slaver assholes. I was so proud of all the badass things Aloy did during that quest! She’s so compassionate, takes crap from absolutely no one, and will risk her life to help people in trouble.

Aloy is a truly inspiring hero.

Where to next
I want to collect so many things I see on the map, but I also feel meh about it at the same time. I think it’s a sign burnout setting in so I will head to Meridian to continue the story instead.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

I still die A LOT, but not as much as I use to.

Last update I was about to get Link’s tablet upgraded by Purah, who is definitely not as young as she looks. The big upgrade was the ability to take pictures of objects with Link’s Sheikah Slate. Apparently you can take a picture of almost every item/creature/weapon in the game, and it will be added to an album called the Hyrule Compendium. Now my inner obsessive completionist wants to fill that virtual scrapbook (as if I didn’t have enough to do already). You can also use the slate’s sensor ability to find items that you’ve taken pictures of. That will likely be useful in the future.

I always giggle at the first part of the Shiekah Slate upgrade process. My silly brain needs to get out of the gutter… sigh.

The photo album app on Link’s tablet also had several pictures from Zelda preloaded. If Link travels to these locations he can unlock his memories. Purah sent me to go talk to Impa to learn more. The wise Impa advised me to go find a memory then talk to her again. I decided to explore a bit to find one. This led me to climb the Hateno Tower, but first I had to fight off a pack of Bokoblins with a mere mop. My survival skills are improving for sure! I also met Great Fairy Cotera near Kakariko Village. She demanded 100 rupees before making her grand entrance, and she basically upgrades Link’s equipment in exchange for materials. Cotera hinted there were more Great Fairy people around in the world who are better at it than she is.

The mop will do until I can find the Master Sword.

Eventually, I ended up at the gates of Mount Lanaryu where I unlocked Link’s first memory. It was a cut-scene, complete with voice acting, that shed some light on what happened 100 years ago. I really want to find more to see the whole story! After that I returned to chat with Impa, who rewarded me with the blue tunic that Link is always shown in. It has nice defense plus when Link wears it, enemy health is displayed above them. I moved on to complete my proudest achievement so far in this game: Beating the Major Test of Strength shrine off the coast of Hateno. Inside this terrible shrine is a really angry Guardian with 3,000 health and the ability to kill me with one shot. Thanks to my Amiibo addiction, I’ve had tons of materials to cook up tasty stat boosting dishes, which I used during the fight. About halfway through its health meter, all of my crappy weapons broke. Instead of giving up, I channeled my inner Lightning and spent the next 20 minutes running in circles throwing bombs at it. To my incredible surprise, I actually won!

My badass idol has taught me to never give in to a terrible fate. If it killed me at this point I would have definitely rage quit though.

Pwning that Guardian filled me with enough courage to go scale Mount Lanaryu next (the local villagers said the Shrine of Wisdom was at the top). I stealthed around the cranky centaur-like monster at the base, and then basically ran up the mountain as fast as I could go, avoiding every freezing enemy along the way. At the top was a very challenging task to cleanse corruption from a slippery dragon spirit by shooting creepy eyeballs on its body (this part seemed like something out of a Metroid Prime game). I sucked at first, but I used my long range Shiek bow and got the job done.

I could really see Samus doing something similar.

All that adventuring left me wanting to reward Link for his efforts, so I sold off most of my unneeded food and made enough money to buy Link a house in Hateno Village (I had to clear cut an innocent forest to get enough wood as well. I am a monster). I was disappointed to discover that the house was basically empty. The uh, airy gentlemen I bought it from offered to upgrade the house for more cash. Since this Amiibo addict is rich, I fully furnished everything. It was really tedious having to go through dialog for each upgrade. At least now I can store weapons, shields, and bows when my inventory is full, and I also have a place to call home in this cruel land of Hyrule.

I’m pretty sure there’s an innuendo here somewhere…

Where to next
I can’t believe it, but I’ve only been to 3 different areas so far. I guess I should go do a Divine Beast quest now and try to climb more towers. Off to Zora land next, I think.

27 thoughts on “The Adventures of Aloy & Link: Part II – Hapless Critters

  1. I skipped the HZD part since I just started playing it (finally), but BotW looks so lush. Also, this makes me want to hang a mop next to the swords I have on my wall….

    I get you! I’m still playing Andromeda, so that plus HZD is a balancing act!!! I commend you for your efforts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed playing and finishing the main story of Horizon Zero Dawn. Unfortunately I am not really a completionist so once I finished the main story, I was done. that’s not to say I didn’t do any side content because without that you won’t level up fast enough. Right now, I am going back to the witchewr 3, I am playing the expansion Blood & Wine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to avoid being a competionist since it’s really hard on my backlog, haha. I love HZD so much I do want to try and platinum it though. The side content really does level you up fast!

      Good luck with your gaming goals! I still need to play that game at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When you complete the Divine Beasts you get a special upgrade which makes travelling around Hyrule a heck of a lot easier. Not trying to give spoilers, but if you complete the bird one and the water one the two power ups are bloody essential and will save you a lot.

    Innit, geeza.

    I aim to get (i.e. steal) a PS4 later this year for some of the exclusives. The time is now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been told I should definitely do those two Divine Beast quests, ASAP. I just get distracted so easily, haha.

      Grand Theft Auto has taught me how to steal cars, but I know nothing about PS4 plundering. Good luck sir!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “but the Glinthawk tie down was too much for me. I’ll be back when I’m stronger and armed to the teeth (my skillz aren’t that great after all)”

    Yeah, if it makes you feel any better, I thought that was *the* hardest thing in the whole game, and I only got it once I’d maxed out everything, and [spoilers?] gotz me a super-duper, make-Aloy-pretty-much-untouchable outfit.

    In general though, you’re in for a lot more fun and general Gameplay-ey and Narrative awesomeness. I’ve been on hiatus for a while, but I just managed to wrap up HZD beforehand, and it was (to use the technical term) shit-kickingly awesome right up to the very end.

    Finally, my one piece of advice would be to visit [spoilers] Rost’s grave regularly if you haven’t been doing so – all different kinds of feelz to be had there, and it’ll make you love/appreciate Aloy that little bit more, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does make me feel better! Thanks. I think I have the quest for a super-duper looking outfit that I need more power cell thingys to get to, if that’s what you mean 🙂

      I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out! I visited that sad location once, and it did make me a bit teary-eyed. I’ll have to pay my respects more often. Aloy is so awesome!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Most of the fun of having an open world comes from completely ignoring the mainline quests in favor of the side content. It means you really end up taking your time in those games, but there ain’t no shame in that. Stop and smell the roses, feel the wind, murder the innocent little wildlife I guess, there’s nothing shameful of moving slowly through it. Especially now that you’ve freed yourself from your backlog.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Awesome! Sounds like you’re enjoying both your huge open-world games! Very impressed by your handiwork against that Guardian in the shrine. Those are hard to defeat, so you handled it well! Also, I actually haven’t yet done that Shrine of Wisdom quest, but wow, it looks amazing. I need to get back to it and try that out! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I do feel like I’m a bit behind the rest of the internet, but at least I’m having fun 🙂 I just found the Minor Test of Strength Shrine yesterday, and it defeated me, haha. I guess I was overconfident from beating his much stronger cousin. The Shrine of Wisdom was really amazing! I hope you enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have fully completed both games, and have a verdict for each, but they were amazing in their own ways. Nintendo and Guerrilla Games both crafted amazing open worlds that truly felt alive, and I’m jealous that you’re still working your way through these!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad to see you’re taking your time and most of all enjoying yourself! I skipped to the end after I read spoilers. I almost could have had a copy of HZD. My brother played and finished it, BUT he downloaded a digital copy instead of buying it. He’d have lent it to me it that had happened. No matter, I can still pick it up myself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Video gaming is all about the journey, not the destination. I just wish there weren’t many, many other games I want to play to, haha. Another pitfall of digital only: you can’t lend games to people. I would love to read your opinions on HZD when you play it. Aloy is so awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] Last update I left off by saying I was getting bored with the collectibles, and that I was going to head to Meridian for the first time (finally). Well, I lied. I took a slight detour to climb another Tallneck wandering around inside of a heavily fortified evil human cultist camp (after an embarrassing first encounter with a Thunderjaw). I just wanted to innocently climb the Tallneck, to reveal more juicy map details, but everyone insisted on attacking Aloy. I had no choice but to level the entire camp, using their own weapons against them. It was purely self-defence, I swear. […]


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