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Spoilers ahoy for late-game plot developments in Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

This GAME, man.

This fucking GAME, man.

Ok, I played. A lot. By my standards anyway. Over two hours. And I STILL didn’t get all the way to Sobeck’s office (well, I did, but just to the door).

Now game….listen.

I have limited time here. I wanted to get through a quest. This is even more pressing as my blogmate forgets more and more details by the hour. I TRIED to finish a quest! I didn’t get distracted by side quests or flowers or anything! Sure, I did look in every corner for that power cell (and didn’t find it, which has me vaguely panicked), but I stayed on track! Really I did! I didn’t even get bogged down in fights (though that one with three dudes with firestrikers in a hallway was kinda hard)! I didn’t have much trouble with that door puzzle! I MOVED man!

And I STILL didn’t get to Sobeck’s office!

Game…for real. I do not have time for this.

But I certainly got a lot of data points, that I did. I did do that.

Man, Zero Dawn is a whole lot more complex than I thought. They let everything die?

That trick of giving us the first interview, then the decision was rather harrowing. Nicely done, game.

But MAN have some mother imagery! I mean, we found a womb. An actual womb, for crissakes.

And bravo to the game for answering some questions. I was wondering: why would a combat machine company make grazers? They don’t do much. Now I know, and the reason made some sense (in game).

I like it when games answer questions with answers that make some semblance of sense.

But game….c’mon. Let a guy catch up to his blogmate.

Feminina:

Dude, don’t knock yourself out looking for power cells in Sunfall. As far as I know, there isn’t one there. I didn’t find one, anyway. I found one later on…at the place you haven’t been yet.

I found mine at the Grave Hoard, Maker’s End, the place you haven’t been yet, and then way earlier on, in the ruins where you found the focus, and in the Mother Temple back in Nora lands. Maybe go back to one of those places if you missed one? I went back to Maker’s End for that one.

And yeah, Zero Dawn was hardcore. “Everything’s going to die, that’s a given. Then what?” It’s kind of interesting that this typical video game “aaaaah, the world is going to end!!!” moment was a long time ago, and that the usual heroic efforts we’d expect to be taken to fend that off in a game, all failed–gave up, in fact. The world did end. Whoa.

Of course, now we have a new “aaaaah, the world is going to end!!!” moment, when hopefully we will succeed in averting the crisis this time, but the fact that the machines won once before makes it a little more plausible to imagine that we might fail. (I mean, it would be really hard to get the planned sequels off the ground if Aloy died, but I guess the next game could be a thousand years later still, and she comes back to try AGAIN…)

Butch:

NOW you tell me. Heh.

(I kinda looked on the internet.)

Though now I’m back on my way to the Mother Temple cuz I played more. More in a bit.

I know! The skyhole won! The Wild Hunt won! And Sylens was wrong! All of his “It must’ve worked, we’re still here” was an “Ah HA!” thing.

Oh don’t even talk about coming back in a thousand years to try again.

Or a different protagonist, but that would be unlikely.

So finished up the office, met the weirdo, took FORFUCKINGEVER killing the behemoth, could kiss sylens cuz if I had had to kill those corruptors I just would have asked you to tell me the end so I could skip the whole rest of the game.

Bravo, game, in also giving us a reason why there are some animals, not others. Didn’t we talk on that? We said “Where’s the rest of the animals? Why’d rabbits survive?” Now we know.

But…I’m gonna bitch about a little thing (as we do): So after the explosion there, you wake up and Helis is over you…in first person. You come to looking down at your legs….in first person. Then it goes back to normal.

If I remember correctly, there was this 30 seconds of first person at the end of the dream sequence in UC3, and I didn’t like it then either.

What gives? Is it something content like, like they didn’t want to show a big dude stomping a woman in third person? Or…what? It was jarring.

I just don’t dig that. It’s like the RotTR stuff where we saw stuff Lara didn’t see.

I sure hope I can get into the part of the Mother’s Temple I need to get to. Need that thing.

Feminina:

I told you before! I told you it wasn’t Sunfall! Although I had to think to remember where all I did find them.

But the internet always comes through in a pinch. Well…often, anyway. Usually, if it’s about a game.

That behemoth fight was nasty. I was very glad to see Sylens at that point. Riding to the rescue on some overridden striders, with ravagers at his heels! Man, I wish I could control overridden machines that well. My ravagers always just go about their business. Which is great if their business is attacking my enemies who wander by, but if my enemies are somewhere else, like in a sunring somewhere, I’ve got nothin.’ Sylens modified my override code for the better–and then didn’t share!

But you notice he did give you some armor so you can go back to Sunfall if you want.

As for the shift in perspective, yeah, it was weird, but I took it as kind of representative of the disorientation of being knocked out? Like, she’s disoriented and so are we by being forced into her perspective for a minute? We suddenly don’t know any more than she does, so she’s limited by being all groggy and we’re limited by being stuck in her head? It’s not entirely logical, and maybe doesn’t entirely work, but that’s how I read it.

Butch:

Dude, when you start a sentence with “I’m not sure I remember correctly, but I don’t think it was…” I’m gonna check. You did not tell me with any degree of conviction that it wasn’t sunfall. You were right, though. Have conviction the next time! Unless you’re wrong. Then don’t.

LONG T SHIRT! THAT LAST BIT ANYWAY!

But no, man, Sylens had a lure! He rode in and put that stake in the ground in a dramatic fashion, and that told his ravager buddies where to go!

We gotta get those lures. And tie them to the rocks we inevitably fling at dumb times. (I did fling a rock during the behemoth fight. “Uhhh…I’m over there! Not buying it, huh?”)

Yes, he gave me armor with a fetching mask! Which won’t appear on me cuz I’ve turned off headgear, which’ll be kinda funny. “Who’s that? Can’t be the person we put in the ring….”

I’ll explain it by saying they must’ve been staring at my gorgeous, fireproof midriff and didn’t notice the face.

By the way, didn’t you think it was pretty great that Aloy went into the dust cloud in the ring there and managed to change clothes? Into the midriff/boot/tights thing no less!

Regarding the first-person shift…I guess, but I still don’t like it. I mean, first person is a THING in games. If you were reading a book, and it went into first person for a chapter for no real reason, you’d find it jarring, and all the more jarring because first person books exist. It wouldn’t be experimental and edgy, it would be a book that forgot what it was for a chapter.

Weird.

Feminina:

Yeah, he did have a lure, but they were still right behind him when he came charging in. Mine never follow right behind me. And he was riding one strider and another one was following along. Another one never follows along for me.

I guess he’s just that cool. Which…OK, you know what, I will accept that explanation. He IS Lt. Daniels.

It was really, truly, fabulously great when she went into the dustcloud and then came out fully dressed. In my case in a set of heavy armor because that’s what I was wearing earlier, but hey, same idea. She has a future on Broadway with those quick-change skills.

Butch:

He also has all that shit woven into his skin (ouch). That seems to work for the Banuk.

All this made me wonder what was up with THAT. The thing in the ground? Friendly machines? Not all questions have yet been answered.

And they’ll have to take a break cuz I’m putting on my maskless disguise and going after flirty quest giver.

I’m STILL only at 70%.

Dude, in real life, it would take at least 10 minutes just to get into the tights.

At least my Aloy didn’t have to get the headgear just so.

I dislike these big, long fights. Though, to the game’s credit, it probably shouldn’t have been so long. I always forget that, when one on one, a ropecaster is key.

Waaaaaaaaiiiiiiittttt…… can you tie down deathbringers? CAN YOU?

Shit.

In other news, in case you noticed I haven’t been bugging you about FREE GAMES in June… Our choices are a zombie survival game, which is supposed to be good but not our thing, and Life is Strange, which we kinda have.

I’m usually annoyed when something I have goes free, but for 20 bucks I’m glad I played it when I did.

Feminina:

Whew! I totally don’t need more things to have to play someday. And yeah, I’m just as glad to have paid $20 and already played Life is Strange. Worth it!

Speaking of percents, I forgot to tell you: I checked, and I finished it at 94% complete (having done everything there was to do except four trophies and the full sun/blazing sun hunting ground assignments). That took me, apparently, 95 hours. So if you’re going for a similar number of finished quests, plan on playing for a while yet. Sorry.

I mean…you’ve got the Sunfall lady’s side quest, then back to the Nora, do some things there, hopefully find a power cell, then off to a new place, do some stuff, learn some things, then back to the other place that we already know is the Spire, endgame…you’re close. Really you are. But there’s also some time-consuming business in there.

Ropecaster was key on the behemoth! I didn’t actually try it on the deathbringer, weirdly. Something about not wanting to get too close to those guns. I’m not sure if it works or not. Can’t hurt to try! I mean, other than that it will hurt a lot to get shot by those guns.

Butch:

It was worth it. That game has already sold upwards of 3.5 million copies, a massive amount for a game like that. Bravo, dontnod! If it’s free this month, that’s a lot of copies.

I have no idea how the economics of that work, though. I mean, dontnod has to get some money, right? I’ll ask Mrs. McP. She has an MBA.

Ninety. Four. And I have 70% and about 70 hours. I’m screwed.

When did you play all that? Weekends. Has to be weekends.

I’m trying, man! I play and I play and I play. How many “I got nothings” have there been? Even on Mondays! Not that many!

Well…try not to forget the first half of MEA. I’ll get there. I promise.

I’ve already decided that I’m not going near the hunting grounds. And I’m not doing Brin or the lodge unless it’s done in the course of playing other stuff. Which it probably will be.

Just… there’s gonna be a couple side quests there, too, aren’t there?

Speaking of completion and all that, did the “undiscovered” thing ever reveal itself? Or is it e’er a mystery?

I always forget I have the ropecaster until I’m out of ammo for everything, and I’m desperately looking at my weapons screen and I, rather sheepishly, say “Oh…heh…I guess I have ammo for that…heh….”

Feminina:

Oh, man, I forgot to check if that ‘undiscovered’ line had filled in! I never came across anything that was an obvious “Oh, THIS is that thing” moment, though, so…I don’t know. It may be that it will e’er be a mystery, as you say.

There are actually not really side quests once you get back to the Nora lands. Sunfall is the last place they seemed to show up. It’s pretty much straight ahead until morning from here on.

I mean, obviously you could pause to do any side quests you have lingering from earlier, but you don’t get a bunch of new ones. So that’s a bit of cheery news!

Butch:

Dude you gotta load it one last time to check that.

Feminina:

I guess I probably do. That one will haunt us forever.

Butch:

We could ask the internet……..

Nah.

Oh, and thinking randomly of past posts reminded me of something. So we talked about how, well, I’ll just quote you:

picking the heart option, the suggestion that, well, even if this person you loved is gone, there are still other people who love you and you can find meaning in that. Which sort of ties into our recent discussion about whether the game’s overall message is along the lines of “human relationships will bring you suffering, but are still what makes life worthwhile.” Because we basically told her “live, because you still have relationships that matter.”

See, I just played the part where dudes had to pick whether to be part of Zero Dawn or commit suicide. Is it good enough to live underground, waiting to die? Or is that just not living? Even if you’re with loved ones? And how does that play with “Relationships bring you suffering, but are still what makes life worthwhile?”

Because: One who picked death was the one who said “What could I do, start a family?” and was told no. One who lived was one who met someone AT ZERO DAWN (the artist).

But then, one who happily lived, the happiest, if you will, was the fast talker who said that “18 months hard labor in exchange for 30 years watching porn? Sign me up!” He was thrilled, and that’s hardly close human contact.

Lots of complexities on that theme, which I totally forgot about until I re-read that post.

Lot going on in this game.

Feminina:

So true! We can’t overlook the theminess of the ancient materials.

And how DOES the valuing of human relationships play when compared with the fate of living for 30 years underground?

I think it does…I mean, the woman who chose suicide because she can’t start a family is saying without the possibility of meaningful human relationships, what’s the point?

But then, as you say, there’s Travis Tate, who’s totally psyched to hang out for 30 years alone with his porn. He’s pretty clearly presented as an aberration, though: a creepy weirdo in all sorts of ways. One could argue it’s not exactly fair (especially to an audience likely to contain a lot of teenage boys?) to imply that being into porn makes you a sick weirdo, but he’s presented in pretty much every way as being antisocial and not a well-integrated part of society, so he’s the exception rather than the rule.

NORMAL people value human relationships, maybe it’s saying, but the fact that not everyone does can come in handy if it means someone will be around to wait out the apocalypse and work on the code.

We could perhaps usefully compare Travis Tate to Nil. Both of them are, let’s say ‘not quite right,’ and neither of them appears to value other humans in the way that most of the game’s stories seem to say is normal and appropriate. But both of them, perhaps, have an important role to play under the right circumstances (all those bandits weren’t going to kill themselves!), even if they’re creepy and downright dangerous in normal situations.

Have you gotten to where it tells you about what, specifically, Travis was working on in Zero Dawn? Because we could tie that back into this very tidily.

Butch:

He’s working on Hades, yes? He’s the mohawked metal head druggie?

Feminina:

Yup. Hades. The “sometimes destruction is necessary” part of the system. So, very neatly, sometimes antisocial creepy dangerous weirdos are also a necessary part of the system, right?

We all have a role to play! It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiircle of LIIIIIIIIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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