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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for a Horizon Zero Dawn side quest

Butch:

Ok, once again….nothing.

I’ll try to play today. This is my kidless day. And yes, I do have to go buy all the stuff that goes with rich meat, I do. And some fatty meat. And I should probably clean my bathrooms. But I’d rather play.

I’ll likely play.

The good news is that next week Junior is going to New York with the grandparents from Tuesday on, which means both kids in bed by six, which means a whole extra hour a night to play. And believe me, playing’s gonna happen.

Feminina:

I also got nothing. It wasn’t my turn to play! We need to work out a better schedule than this or the blog will be all “well, I didn’t play.” “No, I didn’t either.” “So, how about them [topically relevant sports team]?” “How about the what now?”

Ha.

So. Um. OK, here’s a thing: Mr. O’ is enthusiastically playing MEA, and hasn’t commented on the characters being dull. I don’t really ask him about it because I prefer to remain as unspoiled as reasonably possible (without actually putting a hood over my head whenever he’s playing), but he did comment that “as always, there’s lots of banter,” and said that the range of romantic options appeared to be quite large (YES!).

So I think we’ll like it just fine, whenever we get to it. Last time I played I was at 49% of Horizon, so it’ll be a while. Even assuming that I won’t get to 100% because I won’t collect every trophy, there’s probably still around 30-40% left, right? Based purely on the numbers, I mean, and not in any way on what we know about the story.

Which my guess is, I could be a lot closer to finishing if I weren’t such a magpie, but all that really means is that I could not possibly be any closer to finishing.

Butch:

 

Yeah, I certainly get the sense that hating on Bioware seems to be a thing. Started with DA2 (which was a good game) and then ME3’s ending (which I really didn’t mind) and then sorta went from there. People seem to think that just because they haven’t made a game as good as DAO or ME2 in a while (which, I think, is more arguable than the internet thinks) that all their other games must be fair at best. This is bullshit.

You shouldn’t ever say “Well, this thing isn’t as good as this other thing, so it must suck.” And yet, the internet, and the reviewers, even good, respected reviewers, do just that.

I think DAI suffered in the public eye because it came out so close to TW3. Now, I think TW3 is a better game than DAI if I had to pick, but saying “Well, it’s not as good as TW3 OR DA:O so it must such” is silly. It was still a great game.

But bioware is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I mean, they could have just made a new space series, not had Krogan and Asari, started afresh, and people STILL would’ve compared it to ME. So unless they just outright abandon swords and space, they’re gonna get shit. They’ll probably still get shit.

Sounds about right in terms of percentage/time. Which, considering we’re already a good six weeks of real time into this one, is probably another month for you, six or seven weeks for me. That’s a good while. Might be less for me if I can catch up next week with Junior gone.

Well, and magpieing can be forgiven in this one. This game doesn’t have all that many silly errands. Few moldy flags,few fragments, few relics. Some, sure, but very, very few compared to other games, and the ones there are are pretty easy to find. With that one exception, I haven’t had a bit like the multiple bits in TR when that ONE thing is way up there and damned if I know how to get it. Those damn GPS caches, remember them? We don’t have that sort of thing, much, in this game.

The side stuff is either side quests with decent theme, very quick stuff like corrupted zones and bandit camps (which are quick if you’re not stupid like me), or stuff that fleshes out the story/world like cauldrons. And there isn’t even all that much of that. I’ve done three camps, and there aren’t many more on the map I’ve found. Even the reward of getting into the hunting lodge really didn’t take that much time. They knew that saying “Do all this hunting shit to get in” would suck, so it didn’t take much.

So enjoy. There’s still lots to go.

Feminina:

It’s true. Poor BioWare. They could come out with something completely new, like a racing game with a lot of romance options and collectible flags, and people would complain that it wasn’t as cool as their fantasy and space stuff.

Which it probably wouldn’t be, although I would probably play it if there was romance, even though racing is kind of my idea of video game hell.

DAI vs. TW3, eh? Now you’re just stirring up trouble.

Which I will happily have a big serving of!

Hm…I think I would probably agree that in terms of themes and depth of story, etc., TW3 has a bit more going on and is technically the better game. We reference it a lot more often than we do DAI, which suggests that it sticks in our minds in a way that DAI doesn’t as much.

However, if I were going to replay one of them, it would probably be DAI, because it has more roleplaying choices. I mean, we could make different choices as Geralt, but we’re always Geralt, and Geralt is great but if I’m going to spend 800 hours on a game I’ve played before I would probably rather make up a new character.

Since I’m never going to have the time to replay anything ever, it’s a moot point, but I think it’s worth considering from a kind of “how much fun is this” standpoint. I’ll also hasten to say that I enjoyed both of them a lot and would play more of either of them if it were available and I had time.

Butch:

And story! And themes! And, of course, BHBEBBs.

That’s how we do. Stir up trouble.

I also point out that you did have time to play DLC, and you played the DLC of TW3, not DAI (of which there was….probably DLC? I dunno. I don’t stay up on that. But knowing EA, there was DLC). But point taken on replayability.

Which some people take very seriously. I see a lot of criticism by the internet leveled at games for “no replay value.” This, as you know, has never bugged me, but it sure as shit bugs some people. I know people who love playing games over and over. My friend down the street has played TLOU FOUR TIMES. Now that…that’s not even a RPG! It’s totally linear! You know what’s going to happen the whole time!

But then, there are lots of people who have seen a movie a dozen or more times, or read the same book a dozen or more times, and that’s the same. Hell, I’ve seen movies more than once. So maybe it’s not that odd.

Ok, just for you, skipped some chores to play. Ha.

Finished up with Daughter’s Vengence. Killed Zaid (bad man. Very bad man), which was HARD man. Those spear guys, on hard, can almost kill you with one whack. Had to use an exploit where I hid right away, and they didn’t chase, and gave up, and sat still long enough for me to trap the fuck out of the place.

Not sure where they thought I went. Ah, well.

But win I did.

There’s another theme I’m seeing here: the fleeting nature of family. There’s a lot of folks who seem to be wanting to keep a family together, and, through tragedy (Rost) or intent (Nakoa, Varl and Soma, Aloy’s mother) they aren’t. People keep leaving other people. People keep choosing NOT to go back or stay. It’s rare in games. Usually, a happy ending in reuniting. Here, she stays gone.

Outcast imagery.

And remember: I picked “mother” at that lantern ceremony, and Aloy, rather bitterly, mentioned she was abandoned. There is abandonment abounding.

But now I’m at that point in games where the game is saying “Get on with it.” I have no more side quests or errands. I only have hunting grounds and fuck that.

Though interesting: On the progression screen (32.something) it says “main, side, cauldrons, tallnecks, bandit camps and ‘undiscovered.'” I have a whole category of activities what are undiscovered? Huh?

Feminina:

I would be very interested to see how all those things intersected with the world of racing! And I would hate the racing part. I would play it on easy, just for the story.

It’s true, I did play the TW3 expansions, but did not bother to seek out the (apparently quite extensive, according to a perfunctory web search) DAI DLC. So there’s that.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently odd about replaying games, if you have the time. I played DAO and ME2 twice each. And even for an everything-is-the-same linear game like TLOU, I can see being interested enough in the story and/or enjoying the gameplay enough to want to go through it again. Not me, for there are too many new things for me to spare the time to play old things, but in theory, it makes sense to me.

In theory, there are a number of games I might replay. Life is Strange, for sure, maybe even Gone Home. DAI, to see if I could get a better romance than Blackwall. Probably plenty more I’m not thinking of at the moment.

But it hardly matters, since I don’t have that kind of game time, and never will.

And you played! So nice of you. It’s true, family is not an uncomplicated good in this game. Sometimes people prefer to stay lost.

It definitely ties in with the fact that the larger family, the tribe, and by implication human society in general, is also not an uncomplicated good.

You have to live with other people so you can help each other gather food and fight off the monster, but also, other people can be really obnoxious. Rules may have some social purpose, and/or have made sense historically, but can also be illogical and unfair from the perspective of an individual, today.

Aloy seems to value other people, in the sense that she cares enough to help them at every opportunity, but she doesn’t necessarily seem to LIKE them or necessarily to want to be around them all the time. She’s pretty happy roaming alone in the wilderness.

And yet she does want to help, as proved by the fact that, as we keep saying, we literally cannot make her refuse any request: as if to stress that this isn’t just the game offering us, the players, the opportunity to take a quest and get some XP, this is Aloy, the character, saying “yes, I will help you” to every person who asks.

Butch:

Well, she is one of the ones who is looking for that connection. (She is, if I may, a “seeker.’) She misses Rost, and she is driven to find (and connect with) what she thinks is her family. She is Varl/Jun/etc. And their quests ended with the person they were seeking NOT coming back, saying “What are you doing here? How did you find me? WHY did you find me?”

Which makes me think someone’s gonna say that to Aloy.

You know, this might come back to something I’ve been wondering: In that dream sequence so long ago, Rost says he’s sorry, and it’s vague as for what. Abandoning her? Not telling her to not look? What?

Feminina:

She’s also seeking with technology, which few in this world do. This gives her a bit more of a connection to us: what are we doing with all our high tech toys, if not searching for meaning and connection? (Well…just searching for entertainment, maybe, but that doesn’t sound as poetic.)

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