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Spoilers for key plot section in Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

Well, was going up to the cheating, dirty campfire of shame, but decided to be a good, ethical gamer and did the crash the network bit.

If and when this game finally ends, I am really, REALLY going to miss a hero that says what I think. “We? I’m the one who does dangerous stuff.” “Who put these here? Right…I didn’t really expect an answer.” Sometimes I think that Ashley Burch, who had a gaming related web series called “Hey Ash, whatcha playing?” before getting into voice acting, and is a gamer herself, did all this without a script. That would be awesome.

So some thoughts:

1) We haven’t bitched about leveling in this game in a while, so allow me: I did this pretty much right after the Grave Hoard (still don’t know why it’s called that), so I can compare apples to apples. The Grave Hoard was hard. Like HARD. That deathbringer? That was hard. This was not hard. I think the only fight where I took any significant damage was the first bit against the corrupted longlegs (THIS FRIDAY ONLY, joining GRAVE HOARD and METAL DEVIL live onstage give it up for CORRUPTED LONGLEGS!). That was a tough fight. I was thinking “Oh dear, this is going to end harder than that deathbringer. But then it was, what? A few corrupted scrappers that met their end at the end of silent strikes, a few dudes, none of whom even had heavy weapons, and a run run run bit. Shit, at the end there when HADES was all “Destroy the entity” and that tank thing came at me, I was thinking “AH! Here’s the deathbringer fight!” and no. Run run run over.

Game…really. It’s supposed to get progressively, slowly, more difficult. Work on that.

2) A ways back we talked about how the factions in this game are more interesting that average. They’re more nuanced than “nature guys in woods” and “Mean, nasty fanatics” and “Scottish merchant types.” That was good. This…those data points from the fanatic type were pretty one dimensional, and read like “video game fanatic bad guy.” The stuff with his wife, “I woke up and she was there with me on the floor” was kinda cool. Humanized him some. But still. Less nuance.

3) I don’t trust Lt. Daniels. Not one little bit. What was he hiding? “Don’t go there. Stay focused. Don’t get distracted. Do it now!” Totally don’t trust him.

4) What exactly the fuck is HADES? Is it a thing? Or a program? Or what? You probably know. Don’t spoil.

5) I’m still only 65% done. And I got a metal flower, too!

Sigh.

Feminina:

Yeah, Aloy’s saying what we were thinking is pretty great. She’s not afraid to say what’s on our minds. Now if she would only occasionally talk about looting and how great it is to set things on fire with flaming arrows, she’d be my soulmate.

HADES is…one of those things you said. I’ll say no more. Proceed.

I actually kind of liked the less-challenging, less-fighty nature of this part of the story. I thought it was a nice change of pace. Like, not everything that advances the story has to be a murderous deathfight! Well…strictly speaking in that instance it does, but it doesn’t have to be a really HARD one.

Also, MURDEROUS DEATHFIGHT is another good band name. The redundancy makes it extra hardcore.

I did like the bit about the wife, in those fanatic villain datapoints. Other than that, as you said, it’s a bit Villainy 101, but that was a nice touch. Also made me kind of want to know more about the wife. Was she, or did she become, a believer in his cause, or was she just trying to be a supportive spouse?

“Lie by your man…and show the world you love him, assuming the world knows you were sleeping on the cold stone floor…” (That doesn’t scan, but she was probably really tired.)

Lt. Daniels definitely has his own agenda here. I trust him in that his information has been good and he’s been helpful, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point (which has not happened so far, so not spoiling, just speculating) his agenda and Aloy’s diverge, and they wind up enemies. It’s just the sort of thing that happens when you’re a mysteriously wise weirdo who tells other people what to do without explaining anything.

Butch:

You go for that. It might actually happen. I sorta doubt she’ll ever say “Damn, that is one HOT black haired sorceress,” but ya never know. A man can dream.

Oh I didn’t mind the change of pace, not at all. Trust me, I am not hankering for another endless deathbringer fight. I’m saying I was READY for another endless deathbringer fight, as usually games get harder. Shit, I really, REALLY thought when it was all “Destroy the entity” that it was ON. I was surprised, frankly, pleasantly surprised, when there was no endless deathbringer fight.

That is a good band name! And their first album: “Reaper moment.”

I’d dig it even more if the wife became worse than he did. Like, he was the next to last boss, and we find that the wife has become some sort of overlord and SHE’S the one we have to worry about.

Maybe this is yet another sequel set up. She’ll be the baddie in the sequel. We’ll get a datapoint near the end that’ll be all “And then she went forth to spread our fanatical evilness. She went to the Western lands…or the plains…can’t decide…she was vague…because we haven’t started working on the sequel yet. But she’s out there! And BOY is she mean!”

Sylens IS the wife! Kidding. Sorta.

It was the fact he sounded like he was trying to hide something, or get her not to notice something. “Yes, yes, nothing to see here, go to the tallneck, don’t think, do.” He didn’t want her to look around. Suspicious.

Feminina:

Daniels–I mean Sylens–is the wife! Now THAT’S a twist. Some serious gender reassignment surgery would be involved (OR Sylens doesn’t actually look/sound like that, because after all, everything Aloy’s seen and heard of him so far has been moderated by a computer), but anything is possible. Machines could handle it.

I am totally on board with the wife being either the ultimate villain in this game, or the main villain in the next one. After all, assuming she shared his beliefs, it would be easy to say that he only failed because he was weak. She can do better! She will not falter! She will be waaaaaaaaay meaner than he was. Sacrificing way more people. Out there in the Western Lands or the Far North or wherever, we’ll figure out the details later.

I’ll play it.

Butch:

Villain wife makes sense. This game does like its strong women.

You know, we haven’t ever really seen that in a game, a woman hero vs. a woman uber villain. Sure, we had what’s her name in RotTR, but that wasn’t some fanatic in really big armor with a really big weapon.

It’s time.

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