Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review done by yours truly…the Baumeister. And man, it’s been a while. A long while. Why is that? Because I’ve been diving into a game that a lot of people have praised (and goaded upon for a little while by one of my closest friends to play). And that, dear reader, is…
I’m going to hit you with this…right here and now. Because there’s a lot of feelings that I have for this game…and mostly all of them are positive. So, let’s begin. (Finished the main game on May 23, 2019 for the first time in Story difficulty)
First off, I have to say that the visuals are STUNNING.
This is one of the in-game captures that I had taken while playing. There were times where I would just sit and pan around my current view of the world, just taking it in. Both in the main game, and in the DLC The Frozen Wastes. Now, I don’t mean to brag…but my neck of the world is beautiful. Granted, I’m not from where this game takes place, but I used to live near Yellowstone. Which is where The Frozen Wilds takes place. The fact that Colorado (and using a bit of map mischieving, Yellowstone National Park), has all the necessary terrain to make the world of Horizon Zero Dawn (further known as HZD) so vibrant…and unique.
The story that the game tells…one of machines overriding and destroying life on Earth as “we” knew it, and life advancing on hundreds upon hundreds of years later…is both absurd, and yet, strangely prophetic about how we are currently living. I’m not going to go into details here, because this is a game review, not a thesis on themature in video games. But, at the same time, the story is sorrowful. It grips you…makes you want to learn more. Take in every audio file, text file, and hologram to get the full enrichment of just what happened before this world came to be. I won’t lie to you, but there were a few times where I teared up…from the loss of Rost early on in the game, to the end game where all of those that we had connected with throughout of travels, even DLC characters, had come to our aid.
As for some of the gameplay mechanics, I found that, like a lot of other games that give options between ranged and melee, I chose ranged a lot of the time. Towards the end, it felt so satisfying to take down an Bellowback or two in one hit after a nice swift arrow in their weakest point (note: aim for the giant tank in the back before they have a chance to discharge it. If the arrow is aimed correctly, the tank will explode, taking out the Bellowback and any enemy in close proximity). There’s also nothing like taking on a Thunderjaw or a Fire/Frostclaw and getting a good amount of damage done to them before they get a chance to come up close. A huge part of that is using the Focus (a piece of Old World technology that Aloy picked up when she was younger and aids her in her travels, whether it’s scanning enemies, surveying her surroundings, or acting as a tracking device) just before combat to highlight some of the weaker spots on the enemies.
Now, the only negative I have about this game is item management. I’m a huge RPG player, so having the ability to store items that I don’t need can be crucial. This game…doesn’t have that. Up to a certain point, we the player only have a certain amount of item space (if we add all of the upgrades and perks to our initial carry weight, we can carry 120 resource stacks at max), and it doesn’t help that if we want to stockpile a certain amount of an item, it takes up multiple slots because it will only stock a “x” amount per slot (depending on the item, it could range between 5 and 250). ALSO, another thing that bugged me, tying into item management, is that merchants wouldn’t take the ridge-wood that I would accumulate over the course of the game. And, you will accumulate a lot of it. Even if one doesn’t pick up ANY of the available ridge-wood stalks that are spread out all across the world, one can find an overabundance in item boxes scattered across the world. And the wood is only really good for arrows. Sure, one can use a lot of arrows, but even then, it only takes like 1 piece of wood to build a bundle of 10 (or more, depending on if you have the proper crafting perk) arrows.
But, with all of my misgivings about the inventory space, I really, really enjoyed this game. It’s fantastic, and even with the characters that you just can’t stand, whether we’ve met them or not (I’m looking at YOU, Tom Faro), I implore you (at east, for any of those that are a PS4 user, since this game is a PS4 exclusive), to pick up this game. From those that I’ve talked to about this game in person, there does seem to be a mix of those who either love the game, or hate it, for a variety of reasons. And that’s perfectly ok. Not every game is for everyone.
I’m going to leave you with some more images that I had taken over the course of my playthrough. Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. Now that I’ve played through that, it’s time to get to editing content so that I have stuff up on YouTube for the month of June…I have it all recorded, just need to get it edited and uploaded. Anyway, I will catch you with the next review, and as always, I have been…obediently yours.