The Adventures of Aloy (Sorry, Link)

Uh okay, I’m not sure how to say this so I’m just gonna say it. I have a huge confession to make: I like Horizon Zero Dawn more than The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. There I said it! I’m a terrible Nintendo fangirl… You know what though? I’m use to having the wrong opinion on video games. Flame away, internet!

lightning girl on fire
Step aside, Katniss Everdeen. Lightning can pull off a pretty badass “the girl on fire” routine too.

It’s not by much, but it’s enough for me to shove “the best game ever” aside in favor of finishing Aloy’s adventure first. The brutal truth is that HZD’s story has me captivated, and Link’s adventure is still essentially “Go save the princess!” (even if she is doing something useful). The cranky old woman I have become prefers narrative above most other things. I’d be crushed if something spoiled Aloy’s story for me so I need to see it through, as quickly as possible. In addition, I feel a very special connection with Aloy, and it’s one the BoTW iteration of Link doesn’t even come close to having with me. There was brief time when Aloy rivaled even Lightning for the special place in my heart, designated for my favourite badass idol. Clearly, this special bond must be corrupting my video game judgement. Besides, Link’s seemingly endless land of Hyrule isn’t going anywhere. I think I’ll enjoy Breath of the Wild much more if it’s my sole focus.

new tv
Oh and the right sale finally came along! My 10 year old 32″ 720p TV has been upgraded to a cheap 43″ 4k capable model. HZD looks even more gorgeous in 1080p.

If you’re reading this, it means you haven’t rage-unfollowed me yet. I appreciate it! I feel free now that I have confessed my sin to the internet. Since Aloy has the majority of my short attention span, I’ve been making serious progress in Horizon Zero Dawn. And it’s not main story progress either. It’s a treat just to explore the hostile environments, figure out angry robot weaknesses, and to help out many unfortunate souls I’ve come across. I want to do all the side quests to see how Aloy reacts in certain situations, while learning more about the “Apocashitstorm” that reduced Earth’s humans to a primitive state. For once, side questing doesn’t feel like a chore I should do in order to level up, get cool weapons, and/or earn shiny trophies.

The side quests I’ve done so far have covered may depressing topics such as suicide, religious fanaticism, gender equality issues, poverty, technology dependence, and general trust issues. I love learning about this post-apocalyptic Earth, while watching Aloy destroy anyone dumb enough to try anything with her. I also enjoy the collecting the collectibles. There are only a few left for me to find and I’ve discovered many breathtaking views by going after them. To put into perspective just how much side content I’ve been doing, the next main story mission has a recommended level of 12. My Aloy is now at level 39, and she’s armed to the teeth with all the Shadow quality weapons.

Best. Banuk Figure location. Ever!

Current Stats

Aloy’s Level – 39 (2455/39000 until next level up)
Game Completion – 62.92%
PSN Trophies Unlocked – 27/56

Check below for details on what I’ve been up to. SPOILERS will be present so DO NOT read more of my ramblings, unless you want the game ruined. I’m serious!

SPOILER territory (last warning)⚡

hzd 2
Just let me climb the Tallneck and no one else gets hurt.

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.

hzd 4
Carja Guards also serve as the Sun Kingdom’s unofficial fashion police.

After that epic battle, I decided to head south in the direction of Meridian. After another detour to take in the sights of a Vantage Point, I arrived at the gates of Meridian city proper. The well-kept trail that led to the city was actually quite beautiful and felt alive with scenery. Along the way, many Carja Guards saluted Aloy as she passed them. Unlike the Nora tribe, most women in Carja society play a more traditional domestic role, but the respectful male guards give credit where it is due, no matter your gender. At first Aloy wasn’t having much luck convincing the guard to let her into the city. An evil group of humans, known as the Shadow Carja, had been attacking recently so the city’s defenses were to the max. A drunk old friend named Erden showed up and ordered the guard to let Aloy in. Erden was part of the Carja diplomat group that Aloy met, shortly before the unfortunate events that happened at The Proving.

hzd 3
When you see Aloy’s “I just got a crazy idea!” look, amazing things are about to happen.

Despite his newfound alcoholism, Erden is moving on up in the Sundom! He had recently been promoted to guard captain. Unfortunately, he was only promoted due to his sister’s murder, the former captain, at the hands of the Shadow Carja (alcoholism explained). Aloy convinced Erden to let her search Olin’s estate for clues about where the suspected traitor might be. It took some convincing but Erden finally agreed, and he escorted Aloy through the crowded city streets. An amusing chat between the pair made me chuckle:

“How do you think with so many people around?” – Aloy

“By keeping on drinking” – Erden

Using her Focus and a not-so-discreet crate drop technique, Aloy uncovered a secret area in Olin’s basement. It turns out Olin isn’t such a traitorous scumbag after all. The killers who murdered Rost (and many other Nora) at the Proving event are holding Olin’s family hostage. If he doesn’t cooperate they will be horrifically murdered. Aloy also discovers that the Shadow Carja’s evil god wants her dead. After finding the area, Erden wants Olin’s head, but he calms down when Aloy explains what she found. Aloy wants to run off solo to the area where Olin might currently be, but Erden wants her to help him avenge his sister’s murder. Aloy tells him he’s on his own, but Erden brings out the sad puppy dog eyes while saying: if Aloy can have vengeance, why can’t he? Not even Aloy can argue against that. She promises to help him out once she has free time.

hzd 5
Oh… So that’s why everyone’s scared of Redmaw

Two main story quests are now available, but I spent way too much time doing side activities on the opposite side of the map:

  • Exploring Meridian City. I found some vendors where you can exchange sets of the collectibles for reward boxes. One of the vendors seemed to be a hipster dude. He thought the Ancient Vessels (aka broken old coffee cups from pre-apocalypse era) were used by the lost civilization in beard shaving rituals.
  • Errand: Helping two merchants who couldn’t agree on what damn robot component they wanted.
  • Side quest: A priest in Meridian wanted Aloy to help 3 people with grieving rituals. This involved killing Snapjaws in a swamp, beating a flock of Glinthawaks on a mountain, and telling off an arrogant priest who preferred the ruthless ways of the former bad Sun King.
  • Side Quest: A distressed man approached Aloy in Meridian Village asking her to help his family’s estate. It was unexplainably attacked by angry machines. Long story short, the dude was secretly evil and set up a machine lure. He wanted his family dead so he could inherit the property. His plan backfired, Aloy kicked ass, and now his sister is the only person left alive in the family
  • Did all the trials in the stealth Hunting Grounds. I’m usually the guns blazing type of gamer so I needed to learn this.
  • Climbed another Tallneck (one more to go!)
  • Explored to find shiny collectibles, Corrupted Zones, Vantage Points, and Bandit Camps.
  • Cauldron XI: Guarded by human bandits. After reaching the core, there was an interesting 3 way battle going on (Aloy vs bandits vs angry machines).
  • Cauldron Rho: Pretty straightforward with easy fights. It was meant for level 11 and I was level 35 at the time. I did spend way too much time running around in circles in the Blaze Processing room though. There was an obvious Override Point bridge I kept missing.
  • Side Quest: A Carja prison was being attacked by Behemoths. After taking them out, a rare female Carja Guard asks Aloy to go hunt down 3 escaped criminals, and not to bother bringing them back alive. One attacks Aloy without provocation and is put down. Her crime was stealing a child and she feels the strong take from the weak. The second is an explosives nutcase that Aloy has to chase through a proximity bomb-ridden canyon. When she catches up to him, he blows himself up as Aloy safely dives into the water below. Aloy mumbled something very amusing to herself afterward: “At least he died doing what he loved.” The third is just a typical smuggler who got himself killed by messing with the wrong people.
  • Errand: A man who is obsessed with Aloy’s spear sends her off to go collect an artifact he can’t reach. It’s a trap and Aloy murders the group of thugs he sent after her. When she catches up to him, she let’s him go with a warning to all his bandit buddies: Nobody else messes with her, or her spear, and lives to tell about it. She’s such a badass!
  • Side Quest: A distraught man on a bridge is worried his depressed daughter might be suicidal and he can’t find her. Aloy tracks her to an island and discovers the girl is secretly seeing a Shadow Carja gentleman (treason!). The girl is upset he hasn’t shown up after lighting the signal fire, and Aloy agrees to go look for him. Aloy enters a Shadow Carja base and finds the man getting brutally interrogated for his odd behavior. Aloy kills the bad people, but unfortunately the man is beyond helping. In his dying breath, he gives Aloy a key and tells her he didn’t reveal any information about his lady friend. Aloy breaks the bad news to the girl, who now actually wants to commit suicide. Aloy empathetically talks her out of it (if the girl kills herself, he lover’s sacrifice would have been for nothing). Before leaving, Aloy convinces the father to have a heart-to-heart chat with his daughter.
  • Errand: A kind hearted fruit vendor lady noticed someone is stealing from her. Aloy offers to track down the thief and she finds him in trouble with a flock of Glinthawks. Aloy kills them and the impoverished man fears they were the Sun’s Judgement for his petty crimes. Aloy tells him to just go apologise to the nice lady (she will understand).
  • Hunter Lodge and Redmaw: The Hunter Lodge is place in Meridian where tough people who like destroying machines meet up. Aloy is reluctantly allowed in by the ignorant leader of the once boy’s club, Sunhawk Ahsis. She is assigned to protégé under a Hawk named Talanah. After proving herself, Talanah accepts Aloy as her Thrush (to the Sunhawk’s ignorant rage). After I take out my first Thunderjaw and Stormbird (I can’t describe how awesome those battles were), Aloy discovers Talanah and Ahsis ran off to go kill Redmaw, the mythical beast machine that kills everyone who goes near it. Ahsis, being the ass that he is, bribed some bandits to ambush Talanah so he would get the full glory of the kill. Aloy arrives to help her Hawk and they run after Redmaw together. They arrive just in time to see Ahsis get smashed into the side of a rock face (ouch!). Then the most epic battle ever ensued! I used Redmaw’s own severed Disk Launchers to dwindle its health and eventually destroyed the hulking monstrosity with many exploding things. Ahsis is alive enough to say some ignorant dying words, and Talanh is promoted to the progressive new Sunhawk. Aloy, Despite the Nora is now free to continue her main quest.
hzd 6
I was not prepared to see this thing! I handled it like a professional though.

After ALL of that, it was my intent to resume the main story. I headed north toward Olin’s last known location, but got sidetracked yet again. In a quarry area, 5 guards were brutally shredded by an unknown entity. Aloy investigated to discover my first Rockbreaker. It was also a tough machine to figure out! It burrows under soft ground and pops up under Aloy, along with violent projectile attacks. I used the Shadow Ropecaster to tie the beast above ground, and then unleashed the Shadow Rattler on its vulnerable exhaust ports. This did the trick nicely! Barring any unforeseen events, my next mission is to get some answers out of Olin.

End of spoiler territory

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:

Blogger Achievement Unlocked: 1337 Likes. WordPress seems to think I’m “elite” (HA! That’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen). Thanks to anyone who reads my posts and clicks that little “Like” button!
-My tattoo won’t be finished until Sept 7th now. The tattoo shop is undergoing that awful moving process, and the amazing artist has a HUGE waiting list, so I understand (But I’m still a little sad).

53 thoughts on “The Adventures of Aloy (Sorry, Link)

  1. You’re entitled to your opinion, madam, so preach it! However, this does mean we can no longer converse without me concluding each sentence with “noob”. Many apologies for the inconvenience, noob.

    That’s a bad ass gaming setup you have, though. I need a new TV. Mine is 7 years old. I’ll try and get a PS4 later this year to try out this game. Does look good. You think they’ll call the sequels Horizon One Dawn, Horizon Two Dawn etc.? T’would be cool.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. So, we’re going to have to start some kind of Aloy appreciation society, right!?

    Like, I feel if we legitimise it a bit – maybe get some official stationery and such – we’re going to look a bit less weird.

    Or *more* weird??

    Either way, I vote for some official stationery…..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I would never unfollow you for lifting up a seemingly wonderful game. I put Breath of the Wild down with no excuse other than I got a little bored, so I will join your club for the moment. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying Hero Horizon Dawn.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I loved Breath of the Wild, but if you’re gonna fault it on anything then narrative is absolutely the right place to do it. In a game where they worked so hard to challenge classic Zelda conventions, they did nothing unconventional with the story. I haven’t played HZD but as someone who loves narrative I can absolutely appreciate preferring that game for having a stronger one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Breath of the Wild was not a game I could successfully juggle with others, as I tend to do. I had to put 100% into it until at least the story was finished, and now I just go back whenever I want to dick around in Hyrule. I’d say you scared more folks away with XIII as your favorite FF (nyuk nyuk), not putting Horizon over Zelda!

    I’m glad you’re having so much fun in Horizon. Since most of the internet has already blazed through it, it’s really your post and tweets that keep reminding me that it’s still on my backlog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right! My love of the FFXIII trilogy should also distract the rage trolls from my gaming sin of liking HZD more than Zelda, lol 🙂

      Thanks! I hope you like HZD too when you play it. I can’t believe how fast people cleared it! I guess I’m just taking my time and enjoying destroying the angry robotic wildlife. Oh backlogs… I’m just pretending mine doesn’t exist anymore, haha.


  6. Horizon over LoZ? O-O Well, the game definitely looks like a lot of fun and they’re both pretty similar anyhow. Actually having a plot does give Horizon an edge. (Yes, Breath of the Wild has a plot, but there isn’t a lot of dialogue or cutscenes in it) Good to see you making a lot of headway in the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I personally enjoyed Zelda and Horizon about the same. I think they both excelled in different areas. Really loved the puzzles, exploring and the open-world in Zelda. Really loved the combat, more structured quests and story aspects of Horizon.

    I really loved that whole Hunting Lodge questline that ended with Redmaw. That was incredible.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They are both fantastic games with pros and cons. I just need a break from BoTW, I think.

      Redmaw was such a fun battle! I also liked how there was a data point in the Hunter Lodge, after the quest, that described what happened.


  8. You know what LE, I’m with you 100%, and I said as much in my post about video game selfies. I’ve had the luxury of having completed both games (though I did not get all the shrines yet in BotW), and I still maintain that opinion.

    BotW is a fantastic game, still highly rated in my books, but the story and mystery of the world simply didn’t hold a candle to Horizon. Usually Zelda games have better pacing and engaging story-lines, so while I understand that they went in a different direction for BotW, the story simply fell flat – which I guess is in part because it’s such a huge game in comparison to Horizon.

    Exploring the world of BotW is a lot of fun and full of adventure, but I fell in love with Aloy’s World, and desperately needed to know why that world became how it is and how I could fix it. Enjoy the ride!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The Legend of Zelda has pretty much told the same story over and over again with a few variations, not that his is anything against LoZ (especially considering Final Fantasy arguably does the same), so if narrative is your love, it stands to reason you’d prefer the post-apocalyptic story with the bad ass heroine. Hm, that sounds a bit familiar, and I bet I can think of 13 reasons why (omg I’m SO sorry for using that depressing thing as a bad pun). I haven’t played either (yet) so I have little to say besides you’re entitled to your informed opinion 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The game series is named after the princess so I guess its expected Link has to rescue her a lot, haha. I love Zelda and FF, even if the plots for each title are similar. I’m just in the mood for a unique post-apocalyptic story with a badass female lead. Depressing, bad puns are the best! Dark humor sheds light on sad situations 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Princess Peach has a game where she saves Mario, for once. Zelda definitely deserves a game more than she does, haha. There was actually an interesting fan idea floating around the internet years ago. It was a game where you played as Ocarina of Time Sheik (we all know who that really is) during the 7 years when Link was sealed in the Sacred Realm. It would also be very cool to see what Ganon did to Hyrule, not just witness the aftermath when adult Link finally wakes up.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Skipped the spoilers, since I’m continuing to plow through Andromeda so I can focus on Aloy’s story fully. I haven’t played Zelda yet, but I’d be inclined to believe that Aloy’s narrative is a little tighter than Zelda, which prides itself (from what I’ve seen) with being a huge game that relies more on exploration than tight storytelling…? Anyway, glad you’re having a good time 🙂 I’ll have to come back once I finally finish HZD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You didn’t miss much by skipping my ramblings in the spoiler section, haha. These progress posts help me keep track of what the hell I’m doing. Now when I shelve a game for a bit, it’s much easier to get back into it 🙂 HZD and BoTW are definitely two different style open world games. Aloy won me over to her game with all the amusing sarcasm and badass robot animal destroying 😀

      Good luck with Andromeda! I can’t wait to try a Mass Effect game, some year.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Horizon is great and is currently my GotY. I have a feeling once I get to BotW, I’ll enjoy it but I do love a good story and Horizon has a solid one, so I’m not convinced that Zelda will surpass it.

    I’ll be interested to see where you fall on Horizon’s story as more is revealed.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Confession alert: I haven’t played Breath of the Wild. I don’t own a switch and nobody I know owns one. If the games get better and more exclusive to the platform I’ll consider purchasing one and BoTW will definitely be the 1st game I buy. Aloy is so BADASS. I initially didn’t think I was gonna like Horizon, but I lept in without knowing much about it and adored the game. It’s GOTY contender for me so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally see why you wouldn’t want to buy a whole system for ONE game. I’m just an obsessive collector of video game stuff so I needed to get it, haha. I’m hoping lots of games come to the Switch. I’m glad you like HZD. Aloy is a total badass! I know I wouldn’t like HZD nearly as much without her 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! I get it, but I have not played this game.
    I’ve slacked off gaming in favor of blogging and other time consuming endeavors.
    Now, it’s Emmy season, and I get to vote. I am watching as many of the DVD’s they send me, as possible.
    How could I vote in true conscience, if I don’t watch the shows.
    In the end, I get to judge costumes… and more.
    As a Costume Designer I would love to design for a game.
    Well, a girl can dream!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YES!!!
        Oddly enough, when gaming was just gaining popularity, prior to PS1 I designed the costumes for a game. I can’t remember the name right now. Maybe it will come to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. From what I’ve seen and heard of HZD, I can’t blame you one bit! 😀 I really want to play it too. The game looks amazing. And Ashly Burch voices Aloy which only adds to its awesomeness in my book! 😛 Everyone I know who has played it has absolutely loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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