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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some minor spoilers for very early content in Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

Played until she grew up. (SPOILER: SHE GROWS UP!) Neat scene. Saw the excellent edit coming, but it was still a pretty excellent edit. (SPOILER: THERE’S A PRETTY EXCELLENT EDIT!)

I’ll wait to talk until I see where you are, as I don’t want to spoil.

Feminina:

STOP WITH THE SPOILERS YOU HAVE RUINED IT FOR ME!

Or you totally would have if I hadn’t also played that far. I actually played a little bit farther, because the universe must be in balance.

That was a pretty good montage/growing-up sequence. I liked how Rost’s beard got a little grayer.

What did you do at the decision point? I knocked the rock out of the other kid’s hand, so I bet you did too, because we always do the same thing. But prove me wrong!

And the way you learn to use the ear thingie (we’ve got to figure out what to call that) to avoid the machine was cool, although…if they have such a predictable pattern, couldn’t you just…wait and see where they walk? That’s what we always do when we want to sneak by Kevin in other games!

But maybe later there will be some with more complicated routes that would be harder to predict, or something. This WAS just the tutorial, after all.

A pretty good tutorial, though. It was fun to be a kid (I loved how if you wander off instead of following right behind Rost, he’ll call for you to hurry up in that impatient-patient parent voice we’ve all surely used with our own children: “Aloy, come NOW”), and the sneaking and harvesting and crafting and shooting mechanics were introduced in a plausible way because you’re a kid, and we learned a bit about the society, which is clearly matriarchal.

And we got to shoot a ROBOT DINOSAUR, although the striders are really more like robot horses.

I’m honestly a bit troubled by the machines, but am working hard to suspend disbelief and figure that there may be an explanation coming. It’s just…I mean…what do they DO? They graze, so…they use grass for fuel? That is a very efficient grass-burning motor!

Do they compete with living animals that also eat grass? How do they fit into a functioning ecosystem? What happens to them after you wreck them? Considering you only scavenge a few metal scraps for arrowheads, that’s a lot of machine parts left lying around. Are there carrion-eater machines that come and disassemble them?

And how do they reproduce?

SO MANY QUESTIONS. And having spent all of maybe two hours in this game, I will not complain that we don’t know the answers yet, but the questions do nag at me. The pre-apocalypse was very odd if this is what it left.

Butch:

I did exactly the same thing. Because the universe.

Very good montage, good tutorial.

Don’t be troubled by questions! There’s obviously shit going on, man! You’re used to short games where if things aren’t really cooking by two hours you’re worried cuz they’re half done! We got time here man. Let things unfold.

Speaking of robot horses, you can totally ride them later. Seriously.

Feminina:

Oh, yeah, I figured you’d be able to ride one. They’re clearly built for riding! Literally, perhaps. We don’t know who originally built them or for what, but they were built, and riding could certainly have been involved.

We’re going to have to at least attempt to occasionally do something different.

Butch:

We DO attempt to do different things. We just fail in our attempts.

We do need another term for “ear thingy.” Hard to type.

But on ear thingy….IS this a “chosen one” thing? I mean, Rost thought it was a trinket, and was surprised when it wasn’t. So was his surprise a “Whoa…she got that to do something?” or a “SHE got that to do something!” Could be either or. I mean, GETTING it to do something didn’t seem that hard. All Aloy did was put it on her head there. You’d think someone would try it before her.

I LIKE odd post apocalypse. You shrugged off a fungal zombie plague that turned people into really angry echo locating cannibals. THAT didn’t phase you. And that WAS the explanation.

There will be answers. They might be as spot on as really bad fungal infections, but answers be answers.

You want to know how they reproduce so you can get on that. Pervert.

Feminina:

I don’t know if she’s the Chosen One or not. It is hard to tell…maybe anyone could have picked this thing up and she’s just the one who happened to bother, or maybe it wouldn’t work for anyone else. Meaning, I guess, that her brain would be a throwback to the forgotten civilized days when these things worked for everyone. Which is probably only in some ways a compliment.

“Go away, no-mother old-brain!”

Dude, I don’t want to have a robot baby. I just want to breed my own strain of super robots. Is that so wrong?

Butch:

Why yes. Yes, it is.

It is hard to tell if she’s chosen, and that’s cool. Usually these games establish that shit in the opening five minutes (looking at you, DAI). Some vagueness is welcome.

On the go away thing…..

I found it interesting that when Aloy talked to the boy she saved, the BOY got in trouble. Usually, in an outcast/under caste situation, it’s the person who’s under that gets yelled at. “How dare you address your superior, outcast?” Here, it’s the boy. “Don’t talk to the outcasts.” Now, yes, sure, Rost was all submissive to the elder, kneeling, waiting to be told that he could speak, ok. And they were mean to him. But not this time.

Which makes me wonder: Are they outcast because they’ve done something bad/are perceived as worse/come from bad families/whatever, or are they outcast because people are afraid of them?

Feminina:

If breeding my own strain of super robots is wrong, man, I don’t want to be right.

This is how we’ll do something different.

The outcast thing is interesting. They’ve told us that Aloy is outcast because she doesn’t have a mother (so she’s illegitimate), and the Rost is outcast “by choice”–one wonders about that choice.

Butch:

OH MAN T SHIRT!!!!

Sounds good to me. You go romance bugs and breed robots. And…you just… keep that to yourself.

One does wonder about Rost’s choice.

And I kinda love it. We do love when games take cliches and tropes and mess with them. This COULD be a “outcast unloved child finds power blah blah blah” and maybe it is. But they’re doing ENOUGH with the whole outcast child finds power story that it’s…different. And keeping us guessing. And I kinda love when things do that.

Feminina:

Keep it to myself? But then how will I impress people with my latest highly promising infant robotic monster?

No, no, I must share my achievements with the world.

And even if it is just a straightforward ‘outcast child finds power’ story in the end, the fact that they bothered to do a gender switch on society makes it kind of new and interesting. We’ll all used to the powerful manly king figure…making the people in charge be women is different.

I think telling the same old story with the genders reversed is not on its own enough to make great art, but it is enough to make OK art more interesting than it otherwise would have been. (Not saying, obviously, that this will in fact be the same old story.)

Butch:

I have a feeling that it will not be the same old story. Or, at least, the same old story will have enough spin on it to be different enough to be interesting. So far it is.

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