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Horizon Zero Dawn
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Synonamess Botch
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May 19, 2017 - 1:10 pm
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Go over to the Playstation blog and look for posts about Guerilla Games.  They have some good making-of stuff there.

One thing I completely ignored in this game was the Hunter's Lodge.  Why would I take part in these canned missions when the real world was waiting out there with much more interesting things to do?  I understand the appeal but only in terms of the huge rewards you could get.  Anyway I happily ignored it.

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xtal
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May 20, 2017 - 1:44 am
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Interesting. That's exactly where I left off! Just joined them, kinda. Or rather started out with them. I did think when they said "trophies" they maybe meant the various machine hearts. Sure enough, they meant some other unknown new thing of trophies. I'll check one out and see how it goes.

I collected a bunch of ancient vessels and handed some in to the guy in Meridian. The boxes he gave me were kinda crap. I guess the 500 shards is good.

I'm no longer part of this agency. You there, get my shoes!

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Synonamess Botch
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May 20, 2017 - 6:11 pm
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There's a hall in Meridian which you can't get into without a few ranks (I forget the exact term) in the Hunter's Lodge.  I believe there's a whole quest line associated with it, and a fair bit of intrigue.  I ran across someone in my travels who accused the Lodge of favoritism or some such (to which I replied in my head "its their lodge so why should I care?").  Anyway I'd be curious to see how far you progress since I'm pretty sure some of the later challenges are no joke.

Also, there's a lodge right near the gates of the Embrace.  That's where I first encountered them, attempted a couple of challenges, quickly got bored, and never went back.

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xtal
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May 29, 2017 - 11:48 pm
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Yeah I don't think the trials are great either. I've done three of the 15. I'll probably try to do the others sporadically in the hope of uncovering more of the game's mysteries.

Completed my second cauldron (Rho) today. After the first was intriguing and new, a second cauldron felt redundant because it didn't offer much, really. You're just sneaking and fighting and a bit of platforming. But all in an uninteresting looking underground that has no significant difference from the first cauldron. I'll do the others of course, because I assume there may be story related things to that. And obviously for the power to override.

Also scaled I believe my third Tallneck. Still have a northern section of the map covered, and some to the far south of that. Main quest wise I went to the Grave-Hoard, and to the Eclipse's Tallneck area. Next stop is Sunfall. Not sure what to expect but am still loving the game overall.

I'm no longer part of this agency. You there, get my shoes!

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Synonamess Botch
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May 31, 2017 - 9:07 am
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It's interesting how varied some of the reviews for this game are.  Some adore it, some think it's unforgivably derivative and does none of the open-world stuff very well.  Our pal Tom Chick has some pretty harsh criticisms (although he gave it 3 stars, which means he liked it) that I frankly don't understand.

He claims Far Cry Primal is better in almost every regard.  Has anyone played this game?  My mental filter tells me this one would not interest me in the slightest but who knows.  I've come to realize (may be echoing Steerpike here) that I rarely agree with Chick's opinions, but I like the way he expresses them.

He calls the writing terrible, which baffles me.  It's not transcendent or anything but I think it's rather good, better than most games I've played.

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xtal
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June 4, 2017 - 11:09 am
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I feel that way about Tom Chick too. I figure a lot of people do. I have radically different taste but still get value from reading his stuff because he's a straight shooter and good communicator. And I think he can be pretty funny. That one time he gave a Call of Duty game a better score than a Halo game his site (Qt3) got lit up.

OK - so I've been fucking flying through Horizon now. You know when you hit that point in a game where you're all in? The intrigue is maxed and you've gotta carry on. That's where I am. Over the past week I have: climbed every Tallneck and revealed the rest of the map; finished the Xi cauldron (which was WAY better than Rho); cleared every dang corrupted zone; got every half-sun and full-sun at the training grounds, and got nice new weapons for that; and have now defeated a handful of Thunderjaws, Stormbirds, and Rockbreakers (who are the hardest machines in the game to fight, for me) to the point that I feel like a confident machine hunter.

I'm level 49; don't know if there's a hard cap at 50? I have all but two or three skills unlocked. I think I've done every side quest and errand I had except for Redmaw (soon). Oh, and the uh, thing, you can get from that bunker back in the Nora lands. I still have only one power cell. Hoping I haven't missed any.

Main quest wise, I investigated the ruins beneath Sunfall, endured that capturing scene (the speech that guy gave Aloy in the cage I think was the most boring 10 minutes of the game). Got rescued by Lanc- er, Sylens. Went back to Mother's Watch and saved the hell outta All-Mother. Explored Eleuthia-9.

I love the story of this game so much. It's so good, I think it's actually probably going to happen in our world, right? That's how our world ends, for sure. Makes all the sense.

In any other game I can think of, the parts of it where you go spelunking and do "dungeons" or something different from the main rub of the game, those parts are usually my least favourite parts of games, but not in Horizon. I want more ruins and things to explore.

I was thinking of a comparison and got it recently: Horizon is like if the Assassin's Creed series delivered on the promise of the Desmond stuff. They stretched that out over what, five games? And it went nowhere.

Hey Ubisoft, so apparently you should call Guerilla about how to make games. They did it better than you.

Under Sunfall I was also very happy when General I-Ended-The-World gave his speech and was all "remember when we said Zero Dawn was this, well it ain't!" I love Mass Effect 3, but I was very happy to learn that Zero Dawn was not a crucible-type BS thing.

I could keep talking about this for a while so I'll just cut myself off here. I expect I'll report back when I finish the game? It feels like I'm getting pretty close.

I'm no longer part of this agency. You there, get my shoes!

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Synonamess Botch
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June 5, 2017 - 10:30 am
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That's it isn't it - the story delivers on its promises.  I think it's as simple as that.  Whatever flaws it may have, it satisfies emotionally and logically.

I know you've finished so I'm looking forward to more reports.

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xtal
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June 5, 2017 - 2:32 pm
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Yes, as I said, finished last night! Wowee what a ride. If Horizon had no story I would still have found the exploration of the world and the combat enough. Fortunately, it had a great story. And you said what it is there, it's the payoffs. There are continual payoffs in this game. Compare that to a game like, say, Bioshock Infinite. That game held all its cards until the torrential word-barf of an ending, expecting that people would lap up the bullshit from the altar of Bioshock. I've seen over the years many critics come around to my side of hating on Infinite. And I fully stand by that. What a garbage game, hoping to be salvaged by a "cool" ending full of revelations that are boring and nonsense.

Horizon is the most opposite game to Bioshock Infinite I can think of in the way it doles out its story. There are constant payoffs and actual good revelations. The story of Horizon may seem implausible but I love that they went for it. And like I said a few posts ago, as far as "apocalyptic" or "future" games are concerned, I think Horizon is one of the most grounded in reality and likeliness of things to happen. And with that they built an inspiring ass game. This game was like a good Christopher Nolan movie.

And where they went with that grounded foundation, I love. It was a bold and exciting tale, with characters that I cared about. To its fault perhaps, I think because of a lack of screen time, I cared more about some of the "old ones" than present day characters. I was very excited about Varl and Sona as characters after doing their side quest; but they mostly fell off the map at that point, only to make brief cameos later. Erend got more time than those two I think and I liked him a lot. Same with Avad!

Yeah, so Avad. This game had a sorta radical backwards concept of having kind, sensible leaders in place. I'm mostly speaking of Avad and Sona. Avad being the Sun King, and Sona being the Nora war chief.

I want to say this game is full of great characters, but I think they were used too sparingly (mostly) to be called great. But they did a fine job.

Also worth talking about is just what a leap this is for the developers themselves. Guerilla Games, with all due respect to their past, have shot into the stratosphere of devs in my mind with Horizon Zero Dawn. Like, the Killzone games were a thing, and they had an audience. I played KZ 2 and Shadow Fall; Thought KZ 2 was a real good game with a unique style; kinda hated Shadow Fall. To see them go from Shadow Fall to this is unbelievable. I guess it will probably mostly be compared to how Naughty Dog went from Jak & Daxter to Uncharted (though I was not paying attention to Uncharted/Naughty Dog at that time, so I'm going on the words of others).

I don't want to keep rambling and make this post unreadable, so I'll cut it short and close with a few things:

One, this game had collectibles that I actually cared about! They were very manageable (6 Banuk figures, 12 "ancient vessels" etc.) and added to the lore of the world. Oh, and I had my mind blown yesterday after I finished the game. I just happened to click on one of the metal flowers and found the poetry inside them! I don't know how I went the whole game and didn't click on one. I clicked the vantages and Banuk figures. Speaking of vantages, I enjoyed those too. That's how I found out where the game takes place; and the story of how they got there was nice. It reminded me of the guy whose letters you find in The Last of Us. Ish, I think his name was.

Two, I love the game's epilogue; it felt like the most logical thing to cover. And like any good epilogue, it filled me with emotions. The post-credits scene however just leaves me with more questions!!!

Last, I think this is a special game. A world filled with intrigue, beauty and sadness that deserves to be explored. Especially the sadness. I mean, fuck. Some of the revelations in the latter half ... if you're really trying to put your mind in the space of this art, it's filled with so many emotions, all underscored by a deep sadness.

If you love video games (duh) and good stories, I think you should play Horizon Zero Dawn.

I'm no longer part of this agency. You there, get my shoes!

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