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Some story spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

Played! There was a tallneck, and picking flowers, and fighting sneaking running my way to Cauldron Xi, where I am about to kill a buncha dudes and fight my way in. That isn’t the one with the thunderjaw, is it?

But before that I saved Olin’s family and let’s talk about that, shall we?

So when I did it, I thought “That wasn’t much of anything. Pretty basic side quest.” And it was. We’ve done that quest a million times. Save the family, they’re all grateful, they’re gonna go off somewhere and live happily ever after and never forget us and we get 4000 XP and the end.

And then it occurred to me that in THIS game that isn’t a normal side quest. The families don’t go all happy ever after. This is the first “normal” side quest I’ve done.

And it’s the one quest we could have “refused,” in a way. We had the chance to kill Olin. It may well have been more in character if we had. Had we done so, then there is no happily ever after. So the normal, the happy, the typical “family is good and I’m glad we’re together” stuff is because we didn’t kill the “bad guy.” It wasn’t just a “wander into village and someone needs saving” deal. I’m going to go a step further and bet that the majority of people who played this game killed Olin and never got this ending.

There’s something to all of that. But I haven’t digested it, really, because all of this occurred to me an hour ago. I was going to start today’s post with the fact that there was a glitch during the quest that made it impossible to kill the bazillion animals in the eclipse base. But this is more interesting.

Feminina:

Yay, playing! No, Xi isn’t the thunderjaw, that’s Zeta. Xi should be the one that lets you override glinthawks, though! Which seriously helps out in a fight.

I also played. Killed a stormbird. It’s supposedly level 27 and I was level 40, and it was still a huge pain in the neck. So. Many. Hit points. So. Many. Attempts. To kill it.

I overrode some broadheads, hoping it would attack them and they’d fight back, but no, it ignored them and they just stood around.

And there were a couple of them in sort of adjacent territories, so I got one tied down with a ropecaster and figured, hey, rather than pick away at its enormous HP reserve while it blasts me with lightning, I’ll override it and then it will fight with the other one, one of them will die and I’ll loot it, problem solved! Nope. The one I overrode sailed off and completely ignored the still-hostile one, which I went over and antagonized and tried to make follow me back into the other one’s territory, but no, apparently they respect boundaries and it wouldn’t pursue me that far.

Oh, and speaking of boundaries one time I had one down to about a third of its HP and then it took off and I ran around looking for it to continue fighting but apparently I accidentally ran outside the boundaries of the Fight Zone, and it disappeared, and the next time I saw one it was of course completely healthy.

Eventually I had a stroke of luck when some Carja archers happened by and started shooting at one that was attacking me (thanks, guys!), and together we brought it down. I like to imagine I shared the metal shards among them, although that was not a dialogue option, and in fact the survivors just marched off on their merry way.

Anyway, I finally killed one, got the trophy, and Talanah had damn well better be impressed because that was a lot of work. The thunderjaw was a piece of cake by comparison.

It’s true about Olin and his family and their happy ending. I was initially quite distrustful of that happy ending, because as you say we haven’t seen many of them in this game, but…it was nice. I was glad I hadn’t killed him. Not so much for his sake, it wasn’t entirely his fault but he still did me a bad turn and I could kind of take or leave him, but it was nice that his wife and son didn’t lose him along with all their other troubles. Things rarely work out well for families in this game–people are always dying or betraying each other–and as you say, it’s interesting that in this case where it did work out, that was based on our/Aloy’s choice. It could just as easily have been another story about a family where someone died and the survivors are mourning (ideally near a snapmaw-infested pond).

WE made that happy ending! Way to go us! (Or, alternatively, shame on us for giving these people a moment’s false hope that things might not be terrible, because now they’ll probably all be trampled by Redmaw on the way home.)

I’ve been unable to kill animals in all the settled areas where I’ve tried it. You can’t shoot the boars in towns, etc. Maybe the game considers the Eclipse base a settlement for this purpose and that’s why you couldn’t hunt there?

Besides fighting 6 stormbirds and killing one, I spent most of my playing time churning through tutorials, just to get them off my list. And trying unsuccessfully to find a rabbit with a skin, because I need a rabbit skin to get that Shadow Rattler. I must have shot 20 rabbits, and I have a whole pocketful of rabbits bones, but not one of them with a skin. It’s quite troubling, really.

I also need a fox skin, and finally accidentally got one of those when it was killed in the crossfire of one of my stormbird fights. So, yay for that.

Oh, I also cleared the corrupted zone with the rockbreakers in it, and Oh. My. Metal Devil. Those things are NASTY. Honestly the thing that turned it in my favor in the end was me getting them to the very edge of the corrupted zone, where some other machines coincidentally noticed them (and not me), and apparently normal machines don’t like corrupted machines, because they were really going after the rockbreakers. A behemoth got involved, which probably saved the day for me. It was the only thing left standing (besides me–I had wisely taken cover a safe distance away when I realized there was a giant machine battle underway), limping off with sparks flying and a tiny sliver of hit points left. Practically speaking I should have killed it, which I could probably have done with a single hit, but it had done me such a huge favor I couldn’t bring myself to attack it. It wandered off, at least less likely than before to destroy a small village.

Rockbreakers suck.

This concludes the update.

Butch:

Oh fucking COOL. I was hoping for that glinthawk override.

This game just isn’t gonna help us out with the levels ever, is it? I figure I have to get good at killing the weaker birds before even thinking about the strong ones. Fuck the birds, man.

MAN that sucks about the stormbirds. I hate it when they don’t fight. FIGHT FOR ME! Though yesterday I did manage to get a sawtooth to go nuts on a couple longlegs…longlegese? (again with the plurals) And I got a trampler to go nuts on EVERYFUCKINGTHING which was very, very satisfying. That was insane.

And dude, that can happen? You go away and they heal up? I thought you could leave and they’d be dutifully still hurt. That sucks.

I am not looking forward to any of this.

HA! I was skeptical about Olin’s happy ending, too. Like “Someday, I will find he has sold them into slavery and I should’ve just killed him.” Which, were we playing The Witcher, is totally what would have happened. But this game is rated T, so we’re probably cool.

Or not. Still could end that way.

(I’m kinda surprised you don’t know. I figured you’d be done this weekend for sure.)

Again, rated T. We’re cool. Probably.

So it wasn’t a glitch in the settlement! But I DID kill a boar in that first carja settlement…sun’s…something or other. Ah, well. I got in there and it was a damn all you can eat buffet of all of God’s creatures, which, frankly, I wanted/needed to loot far more than the dudes I killed. But no. Nothing. Immortal animals.

Collateral damage animals are the best. I still haven’t matched the whole fishing with exploding snapmaws incident, but I keep hoping.

Especially as I took your advice and got me that sling with the proximity bombs and stuff. I tried it out once, and I think I still need to get the hang of it. I’m hoping that getting into this cauldron gives me a chance to blow up some dudes with it. You know, practice.

Dude….what? Devils…I mean, I’m now level…29? I’m now officially past 50% complete, which, as you know, means I’m WAY more than halfway finished with what I’m going to do. And there’s all sorts of really hard shit I haven’t even SEEN? Metal Devils? WHAT? I’ve only seen one behemoth, from a distance, and I didn’t want any part of that.

This game man.

While I don’t want you too far ahead of me, I was kind of hoping you’d be finished, because then, at least, I would know this game does have an end, and that end is something a normal human can reach in a lifetime.

Now I’m not so sure.

Feminina:

No, no, sorry, Metal Devil is not the name of a new, hard machine! You’ve met a rockbreaker before, at that quarry side mission. I was just saying Oh. My. Metal Devil. as a play on Oh. My. God. Because…the cultists talk about the metal devil, the big old machine frozen up by the grave horde? You know, the thing with the tentacles reaching over mountaintops, that you screencapped a million years ago.

Um…if you haven’t heard them refer to a metal devil yet, nevermind. Anyway, it’s not a new horrible thing you have to fight.

At least, I haven’t had to fight it…yet…it could be the endgame boss fight, I suppose, if the cultists bring it back to life. But I don’t know anything about that, since I am not done yet. It’ll be kind of a cheat if it does come to life, though, since according to the info screens, I have found all the machines in the Machine Catalog. But that could be the twist!

I think I’m CLOSE to done? Like, maybe I could be done if I’d skipped the tutorials (though that was really only…an hour, maybe) and the Lodge hunting trips and gone right for the main story? But one has to finish the Lodge thing, which probably means fighting either Redmaw the giant thunderjaw or Redmaw the strange twist monster.

Also I have to finish up this one sidequest that I was multitasking for with the stormbird. (And incidentally, if you want to minimize your stormbird exposure…there’s one you’ll run into in the course of the Erend/Meridian story. I killed it a long time ago and it wasn’t so bad. Not as bad as this last time I tried to kill one, anyway. So get all your stormbird-related needs in order before you go…into the mountains…to follow what’s-his-name…and then you’ll only have to face one of the damn things.)

I think after that I’ll pretty much have nothing left to do but main story.

So it’s in sight, somewhere. Out there.

Butch:

No, I heard about metal devils. Remember WAY back when when I sat down and listened to an old lady tell of the olden times? The one you ran right by cuz you wanted to get to the proving or whatever? And I told you about the metal devil?

That’s how long this game is. We’ve forgotten what we forgot cuz we forgot it so long ago.

Oh, shit, really? Multiple stormbird needs? Cuz that was the next thing I was going to do (Well, I after I take out this bandit camp near where I am and go back to the ruins to use the power cell to get the fancy armor….but THEN the next thing….), and I’m not sure I want to now….

But this week. Mrs. McP has two nights out this week, and a couple more next week. I’m ON this! I so am! I’ll be done…like…August….

Feminina:

Oh man, you’re right…you WERE the one who told me about the Metal Devil first. Well. So it’s up there. And as far as I know it doesn’t do anything interesting. (Yet.) No spoilers here.

Well, to be honest, the other thing you could need a stormbird for is…quite a few steps of a side quest away. It’s one of those “here’s that thing you wanted” “oh, thanks, and by the way could you get this other thing?” quests.

You might not want to wait that long if you’re trying to actually make progress. So never mind, follow what’s his name into the mountains ASAP so we can talk about story. You might never get around to finishing up the Brin quests anyway.

Butch:

My own metal devil spoiler came back. Boomerang spoiler. Whoa.

Dude, I still haven’t met this Brin.

Again, 50%+ done, STILL haven’t even started some shit. The fuck, game.

So do Erand’s bit? I want to do Erand’s bit. That’s the best bit now?

Feminina:

Yeah, totally pursue the Erend story. There’s some interesting stuff there. Flirty Sun King, possibly dead sister, evil dude, intertribal hostilities…politics, family, plotting, all kinds of themes. Do it!

Butch:

I will! Right after the cauldron! And the bandit camp (which, in my defense, you told me to do yourself)! And the armor thing!

Maybe the armor thing can wait. I think Erand and the King dig my outfit.

Feminina:

I’m not sure I’m ever going to get that armor. And maybe it would have been easier to handle the stormbirds if I had it, but…whatever. I’ve been doing OK with what I’ve got. I’m probably not going to get around to scouring everywhere I’ve already been to find those fuel cells, honestly.

Or maybe I will–it’s not like me to leave something like this undone (“I’ll climb 30 mountains to gather every metal flower and Banuk figure, but don’t ask me to revisit a location I’ve already been to look for a battery!”). Maybe it’s just that I don’t really SEE Aloy in high tech armor, so it’s always been a low priority for me.

And the armor is pretty much the only quest I have left other than the aforementioned Brin, Hunting Lodge and main story. That and the tutorials for the rattler, which I don’t have yet.

Butch:

I have to try, man! I have to try! I have another one, so…she even said “This will help me get that armor!” Should I let her down?

Anyway, if it’s super strong, it’s probably skimpier than what I’ve got.

HA! Yeah. So in character. “Yeah, sure, I didn’t get that really useful stuff that the game told me about in the first hour, but at least I have these mugs.”

WHO THE HELL IS BRIN?????

Feminina:

Brin. He’s the mysterious weirdo. He has…visions. He wants you to kill a stormbird. Eventually.

There’s some discussable material there, but it’s not exactly critical story. If you don’t get to it, it’s not the end of the world.

And I do, man. I have the mugs. That’s the important thing. Possibly useful, major-quest-related items? Whatever. Mugs? KEY.

I’m comfortable with my choice.

Butch:

I HAVE NOT MET THE MYSTERIOUS WEIRDO!

I don’t judge. I have 11 out of 12 mugs. Even I may get them all.

I find it funny the merchants are still selling maps to where they are. Though maybe they’ve been altered. Maybe the maps are all to us. Or to the dweeb in Meridian. We shall never know.

Feminina:

Ha! Yes–I’m going to imagine the mug maps now just point to that dude I gave them all to. “Looking for mugs? Ask this guy!” That’s actually extremely helpful information for anyone who wants to know.

Ah, you have not met the mysterious weirdo. He’s kind of south? In the desert somewhere. I don’t know, I just stumbled across him, as one does. He’s an extreme weirdo. But has some interesting stuff to say.

Butch:

DAMMIT WHERE IS THE WEIRDO??????? Is there a quest that points to the weirdo? I WANT TO MEET THE WEIRDO!!!!!

Pretty much three T SHIRTS!!!!!

Feminina:

Pretty much all the T shirts, man.

Vive le weirdo!

I think if you wander by where he is, there’s an exclamation point to let you know there’s a quest there–that’s how I found him. If you want to find him…he’s east of one of the hunting grounds. Sun Furrows. You probably haven’t been there because hunting grounds are annoying, but if you find Sun Furrows, wander east and look for exclamation points.

There’s a mysterious weirdo in them thar hills.

Butch:

Sun Furrows? Where do they come UP with this shit?

I’ll find the weirdo. After the cauldron. And the bandit camp. And the snazzy armor. And Erand’s thing. Or before. Or something.

I’m just gonna write Vive la Weirdo on a T SHIRT I already have cuz I need that.

Feminina:

We ALL need that shirt.

Is it ‘la weirdo’? I guessed ‘le’ because I thought weirdo might be masculine, but your French is better (i.e., more existent) than mine.

BUTTONS! COME SETTLE OUR FRENCH QUESTIONS!

Yeah, just put finding the weirdo on your to-do list, after the Meridian story, and the bandit camps, and the ancient armor, and the cauldrons, and the mugs. You’ll get there.

I really wish there were more to do in this game…ha.

Butch:

I think it speaks well for the game, though, that there’s all this shit to do and we WANT to do it. We’ve ignored a whole lot of stuff in a whole lot of games before. We don’t seem to be ignoring this.

Except the damn blazing suns. Fuck that.

Feminina:

Yeah. Blazing suns can go to hell. THOSE quest lines are going to be on my list forever. Not going to do them.

Once again, I wish for a “refuse quest” option where you could just accept a ‘failed’ mark or whatever and delete something from your active list.

Maybe in the sequel.

Butch:

Or maybe get some therapy for the OCD that makes you care about a jumbly quest list.

I mean, shit. You’ve played Bethesda games. This is nothing compared to that. Now that’s some jumbly quest list.

Feminina:

I don’t have time for therapy. I have quests to obsessively complete.

Butch:

BEST T SHIRT OF THE DAY!!!!!

Between these shirts and the promising pear harvest, who needs a pension?

 

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