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Some plot spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

Well, if last night didn’t move me markedly closer to the end, this game has no end.

Went to Meridian to shop, then decided to truck it up to Maker’s End.

Met ol’ friend Nil (who would totally be bangable in a bioware game, and CERTAINLY in a CDPR game), cleared out a really, REALLY big bandit camp at an old power plant or something, heard Daniels tell me about Elizabeth Sobeck (but had to redo it cuz the kids wouldn’t shut up), got to the campfire by Maker’s End, magpied to a vantage point (Day 1…this is where it all started…they don’t even know yet…etc…interesting), found a level 27 corrupted zone with fire bellowbacks and ravagers and noped it out of there, and then went into Maker’s End!

Did the first bit, killed ’em all. Did the second bit, decided if I just ran past the corrupter it would work (it did), fought the deathbringer (whoa…), did the bit where HADES was all “Unacceptable…” which was kind of a hoity toity thing for an evil thing to say, went through the crack and went through the door and hit save.

Phew.

Oh, and by the way, did it all on hard, all of it, and didn’t die once.

Who’s badass? This guy. And, gotta say, the fire armor helped.

Well then. That’s a lot.

Probably my single favorite moment was when, once again, Aloy spoke for us all. Yelling into her focus after the deathbringer fight “Hey! Hey! Mysterious voice! Did you see that? You gonna say anything about that?” How many times have we asked game voices that? All too many.

I also kind of loved that Aloy was all frustrated “Another one of these doors…” and was turning to go and give up when it opened. When do you see video game heroes be all “Oh man, this. I’ll just come back later…”

I mean, on their own. Not when they’re nopeing it out of there.

So…..

The thing genetically thinks she’s Elizabeth Sobeck, who is a doctor and stuff. She’s not. Which means the only two things I can think at this point (and, granted, my current quest is “find out about Elizabeth Sobeck,” so these thoughts might not last the day) are a) Aloy’s a clone or b) there’s some weird time travel shit involved here.

Which, considering we’ve been talking on this game having themes about humans and technology, is pretty interesting. Before we got this game, we were all “Future CAVEMEN and robot dinosaurs!” We saw Aloy as primitive. Shit, we did when we started playing. She was a CAVEWOMAN with a gizmo. She was the antithesis of technology. But now…is she the direct product of very impressive technology? Probably.

I should have done more, but it was late. Then I’d know more. But it was late.

But that’s something! Gotta be something! Right?

Feminina:

Yes! Good! That’s something! Closer to the end! Of the main story, anyway.

There’s a lot of plot at Maker’s End. Lots of information about machines and that whole fall of civilization thing. Not ALL the information, I’m still looking for some of it, but lots.

And yeah, I think we have to conclude that Aloy is some sort of clone of Dr. Sobeck, though how and why she was created behind that mysterious door in the mountain, I still have no idea. Was it an intentional part of the plan? Maybe whatever is going on with the machines, making them more hostile and causing them to develop new forms, resulted from a signal (things are breaking down, as you theorized) that prompted her ‘birth’ so Dr. Sobeck’s brain could work on the problem? Or are the machines outside just kind of evolving along their own path, building more machines from the components they find in the world, and similarly whatever machines are inside the mountain also evolved and built what they could build from the components they had, which maybe was Dr. Sobeck’s body if she died there?

Questions, questions.

Also, yeah, I totally loved her yelling at the voice. “Hey, you, maybe want to chime in with something USEFUL here?” Speaking for us all, in so many games.

Butch:

And I did a bandit camp! And a vantage! STUFF!

HOORAY! (Still not the endgame though, is it?)

I get the sense I have more to learn before really contributing much on the many questions. So, once again, I played like holy hell, and did a ton, and yet did not a whole lot.

At least I got some pictures. I couldn’t believe she did that lean her head back thing at the campfire that I sent you. It’s like she knew I liked photo mode. Thanks, Aloy! Work it, sister!

Why do I have a feeling that many of these questions will be addressed in sequels? Plural?

She’s speaking for us all especially since Daniels knew about the forces there. “Expect a lot of eclipse troops.” Thanks. If you knew that, couldn’t you have added “And they have this thing called a deathbringer?” Maybe Daniels knew that if he had said that there was a pretty good possibility of her saying “Well…fuck that. Back to hunting bony turkeys for me.”

Though the deathbringer wasn’t all that bad, gotta say. I just kept peeking out from the alley there, and either triple shotting tearblasts at the guns or tripleshotting fire at the weak points until it died. The pesky fire lobbing dudes were a bigger problem.

Now, if (when) I have to fight multiple ones of those and/or fight without a convenient alley, that might suck.

Could you figure out what exactly they were doing there other than sitting around waiting to be a boss fight? They were right by the damn door thing. What were they blowing up?

Feminina:

Endgame? Oh lord no.

And this is only the main storyline, too–you’ve still got that major secondary storyline with Erend and his sister and the king in Meridian. Plus 10 or 20 minor side quests here and there.

But stuff! Good stuff! And you sent a very dramatic screencap, gazing at the heavens like that. She’s thinking “what the hell, Lt. Daniels, are you seriously not going to give me any more to go on than “lots of Eclipse?'”

We should really put some of those on here to liven up the joint. That’s on you, you’re our photographer.

I agree, the deathbringer was considerably less challenging than it looked at first. I saw it and thought “noooooooo!!!!!” but then, like you, I just lurked out of the way and sniped at it for a while and it was no big.

But hey, it’s just barely possible the next one you meet will be a lot tougher. Yay?

My impression was that the bad guys were kind of in the middle of reviving/unearthing/something the deathbringer, and that’s why they were all there? Like, it just happened to be there for whatever reason (who knows why machines are anywhere?) and Hades or something told them about it, so they went there to wake it up or whatever. Because their–or Hades’–ultimate plan is to unleash the soothing lilac hordes, etc.

And, obviously, to provide a boss fight for poor Aloy who was just looking for information.

Butch:

THIS GAME NEVER ENDS!!!!!!

At least I’m liking it.

They were there for boss fight reasons. It’s what all the Kevins aspire to. “Sure, I’m a target in the tutorial now, but, if I work hard, someday I’ll make mid game boss fight target!”

Every game from here out needs photo mode. Needs. It.

I mean, you can change the time of day.

If MEA has it, I’m gonna go nuts.

I do have some backed up on Amazon Prime I could share….Not the Morrigan ones.  Well, not ALL the Morrigan ones.  Not that there ARE Morrigan ones….
Uh…ROBOT DINOSAURS!

Feminina:

Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Robot dinosaurs. Upload some of THOSE pictures.

Butch:

I want the record to show the dinosaurs are also scantily clad.

Feminina:

They certainly are. Just those tiny bits of coverage from parts you can shoot off…all sauntering around daring you to get them completely naked…
Um. That got odd.
Butch:

Hey, it’s my foggy time of day.  I can’t be held responsible.

Feminina:

Well I’m certainly not responsible! I can’t even organize a HUD! I’m hopeless in every way, unless you need something looted and/or set on fire.
Butch:
This HUD thing is going to excuse so very much, isn’t it?
Hey guess what else the patch does: Gives you more options for CLEANING UP YOUR HUD!
Get on that shit.
Feminina:
But then what would I use for excuses? You have medication, I have a cluttered HUD. Anyway, you haven’t seen my office. My desk is being swallowed by piles of paper. I thrive in chaos.
Butch:
My meds excuse nothing! I never get weird foggy!  Cuz I go to sleep.   
Feminina:
“It couldn’t have been me. I was sleeping. Because of medication.”
“Well, it couldn’t have been me. I couldn’t concentrate. Because of all the crap on my HUD.”
In conclusion, it could only have been internet gremlins whenever anything weird happens on the blog.
So basically, everything on the blog is gremlins.
Butch:
I approve this message. 
Were we talking about something? 
Maybe how THIS GAME NEVER ENDS!!!!!!

Feminina:

HZD: Oh, were you expecting a game that ended? Hahahahaha.

At least I’m liking it too. I did a bit last night. In case you were thinking of NOT clearing all the bandit camps…do clear all the bandit camps. There’s a bit of odd character/story bit. I’ll say no more.

I mean, unless you decide not to clear all the bandit camps, in which case I’ll just spoil. See, what happens is

[Convenient gremlin attack]

Butch:

I think I may well know what you might be hinting at.

After clearing the very bigassed camp I cleared last night, got a lot of details (well, not a lot, per se) about ol’ Nil. His two years in prison for confessing to war crimes, that sort of thing. Interesting that you get little tid bits from an NPC after each side thing. Usually it’s “meet NPC, do NPC’s thing, NPC will say the same one line to you forever.”

Nice touch.

Though the two camps I cleared before last night Nil was nowhere to be found. I hope I didn’t do things all wrong. I haven’t seen Nil since that first one long, long ago. Hmm.

I do like those convenient gremlins.

T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

Yes, that. A bit more of that Nil story.

And yeah, I was also a little confused…I think that if you approach the camps from a certain way, Nil is always waiting to help you, but you can miss him by going from another direction?

Which doesn’t make all that much sense as a mechanic, really, unless some aspect of the plot hinges on whether or not you missed him, which doesn’t seem to be the case. I only had him with me I think twice out of all the camps, but then after I did the last one he showed up saying something like “it’s been great clearing out all these camps with you” as if he’d been there for every one of them.

And I don’t know, maybe he’s meant to be a brazen liar pretending he was helping when he wasn’t, but it seemed sincere, so I THINK the game assumes he actually was there helping, and that you’re sort of ‘supposed’ to approach each camp along the most obvious road or something, where you would meet him and you’d go in together. Whereas I tended to come upon them during random cross-country exploration, and I’d sneak in the back by clambering through the fence or something and then only realize later that “oh, there’s a whole big front entrance here where the grass has been permitted to grow recklessly long and I could have stealthed in and backstabbed 30 of these dudes.”

I was kind of annoyed because he might actually have been useful in some of those endless 500-bandit battles. So, I dunno, maybe next time you get to a camp, wander around and see if you can find him, to test my theory?

But if you don’t ever see Nil before or during the bandit camp fights, don’t worry, the story will unfold just as if he’d been there all along. We’ll talk. Later.

Butch:

Figured. I had all but forgotten about him. And then, after our mighty victory, he was all chatty and stuff. An NPC is usually “Glad we worked together again. Please, take this thing that is so underleveled as a reward.” I was taken aback.

HA! Yes, they are stupid about mowing, aren’t they? But can you blame them?

“Kevin, go mow.”
“Oh HELL no.”
“Why? It’s not such a bad chore. I’ll get you a beer after.”
“It’s not that, dude.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“The last seven guys who went to mow there got killed.”
“Aren’t you being a tad overly dramatic, Kevin? I mean, it IS a bit of a chore but…”
“No, dude, there’s their bodies, all on top of each other, all with rather obvious stab marks.”
“Kevin, look, that does look a tad suspicious, it’s true, but I’m sure there’s an explanation. I’ll just go over and check it” R1 CRITICAL HIT!
*****long pause*****
“Maybe I should go tell the guy with the firespitter…..”
*****yellow circle goes away****
“Nah.”

I don’t think Nil was there, though. When I approached the camp last night, LONG before I got there a green exclamation point appeared. “I wonder what that is?” I said, and, what do you know? Nil. And it was there from a LONG ways off. So, had he been there, I think he’d have a green exclamation point.

Of course we’ll talk later. It’s how we do.

Feminina:

Hm. Well, maybe he is just meant to be making it all up.

“No, I was there all along helping you, didn’t you notice? You didn’t? Well, it’s because I’m so stealthy and stuff. But hey, we share a special bond now, right?”

Or maybe he means, you took care of some camps, and he was also out taking care of some other camps that you never even saw because he killed everyone and by the time you got there it was a peaceable tiny settlement? That would be kind of an interesting twist, a side character who actually DOES stuff you’d otherwise have to do, but it really was’t presented that way. He was definitely talking as if he’d been by your side all along.

Not that I would put it past him to in fact be a bald-faced liar. That guy’s weird and creepy. Like a spooky-eyed Jared Leto. Who even KNOWS what he’s done or thinks he’s done?

And yeah, good point about the mowing. No way in hell I’D sign up for that. Just leave the grass alone, guys. Just leave it.

Butch:

Yeah, he certainly has been up to all sorts of stuff before. He doesn’t strike me as the kind who would wait around. He’s probably out killin’ dudes. If I finish the game short a couple metal flowers, I’ll assume he got them for me.

You gotta be careful about NOT mowing, too.

“Oh man…I really hope that no one asks me to mow when I’m over there. I don’t even want to go over there, but, you know, I’m on this track. Oh…phew. No one else around. Just eight dead colleagues. Great. Now I can turn around, go back in and grab a beer without anyone telling me to do any chores. Hmm. I seem to be on fire. How’d that happen?”

Feminina:

Life is fraught with unseen peril when you’re Kevin.

Just trying to do your job, maybe someday work your way up to the mid-game boss fight, and people are always stabbing you from the grass or setting you on fire before you even get to your beer.

Butch:

Life is cruel to Kevin. But someone’s gotta Kevin.

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