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Some spoilers for progress markers in Horizon Zero Dawn

Butch:

You lie. This game never ends. Ever. EVER.

I played. I did. Just to make progress. Just to get closer. Just to have some hope.

I found the last figurines. That’s something. Three flowers. And then….ANOTHER SIDE QUEST! A new one! Which I did. Took forever. It was finding a woman’s husband, he wanted me to get booze from a herd of tramplers….that one. And while doing THAT one, I got another one! (Glinthawks hitting pitchcliff). Didn’t do that one.

So, in my efforts to make progress, I did nothing I intended to do, and my quest list got longer.

Seriously.

Got the figures, though.

So there’s theme!

So the way I read the figure guy, our mighty hero was really just a dude who had an affair with someone he shouldn’t have, got himself banished, and saddled his love with shame and guilt. Which, again, is not the kind of story we usually get in such epics. Interesting. I have thoughts, but I’m in a hurry.

And as for the “find my husband” quest, that was pretty fucking awesome. Usually, it’s “spouse has left, bring spouse back.” This was “I left, spouse is following, please help.” The quest giver has run away, and WANTS the spouse to follow. That’s a new one. So here, we have a happy ending, for once, in a quest that we didn’t have a choice in (like Olin), but it was one that’s a twist on convention. Again. Neat.

This is a very good game. Which is good cuz I’ll be playing it for the rest of my life.

Feminina:

Dude. I’m sorry about the extra side quests. I did explicitly tell you there weren’t any more, and that was a filthy lie. But an inadvertent one!

I had already done those quests by the time I got to this point, so it didn’t occur to me that they’d pop up here. I wasn’t thinking. My bad. I apologize.

But yeah, I kind of loved the spouse with the booze. “I can’t go back to her without booze! I’d be a failure!”

And the sneaking around the herds of machines trying to find the booze was pretty sweet. I wound up instigating a lot of fights to get them to move so I could grab casks.

And I do like to make machines fight each other for my benefit.

Butch:

I know. You tried. You forgot that I miss so very much stuff, and I totally ran by a level 15 quest (15, for fucks sake) in the early game. This is me, here. I’m still in shock I got the relics AND the figures! WOW!

At least there was themey shit. That does make it worth it. I really, really, REALLY want to see how this franchise (but not this game, per se) deals with tropes of romance and sex in games. They’ve do SO well playing with pretty much every other trope.

Though I have to say, trucking back up to a corner of the map that’s completely the other way just to fight glinthawks does not fill me with a great deal of excitement. No thanks. Well, maybe later. Mrs. McP is out of town all next weekend……

Feminina:

Relics and figures! And you’ll get the vantage points too, I bet. The last one is up along a place where you’re going anyway, eventually. You’ll get there.

I agree about the figurine story dude. I mean, it was very sad he was banished and all, but it felt that the original story (he was a horrible murderer) was no more or less true than the current story (he was a banished hero): it was just different people telling it. Which was kind of an interesting reflection on history, as well as tragic love.

Also interesting, given the game’s strong focus on parent/child relationships, is that all of the exiled guy’s messages were for his kid. He’s not really pining for his lost love, although he seems to remember her fondly: he’s regretting that he doesn’t get to know his child, and that his child can never know him. A much different take on tragic love, which doesn’t usually spare a thought for children.

So both the vantage point story and the figurine story are about parents and children, one ending somewhat positively, in a dark way (the world is ending, but at least it once held a son who loved his mother), and one ending bleakly in what might be seen as a lighter way (the world continues, but I will never see my child).

Interesting stuff.

I did like this game a lot. So much so, that although I’m enjoying Andromeda, I keep thinking of HZD when I think “time to play,” and then being just slightly disappointed when I remember that actually it’s over. I mean no slight to Andromeda here, it seems fun and I’m looking forward to playing more–but it hasn’t yet caught me the same way.

Butch:

The last vantage point is nowhere near where I’m going! I’m going back to Mother’s whatever and the last one is….

Wait….

WAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIITTTTTT………………..

Shit.

There’s a whole bunch of shit up there, isn’t there?

Ah, see, I, in the end, saw the figurines’ tragic love as the parent/child one and only that. I thought a neat twist was that, as I read it, she didn’t really love him. She saw him as a fling that screwed up her life pretty damn well. He might have loved her, but ending talking about the “coal of guilt you’ll always carry” and the scowl in her eyes when she last saw him….this was NOT a love story. At least not a story of mutual love. It SEEMED that way, like here was a woman who fell for another man, and they had this child, and circumstances doomed it, etc., but it wasn’t, was it? She never loved him.

And I got the sense, too, that the child had no idea who his father was. That these messages were there for…maybe being found? But I think the child thinks that his real dad is the dead chief. Which was another neat twist.

Very interesting stuff. And from COLLECTIBLES! It makes me want to read flower poetry, but that would mean getting them all, and I’m still WAY behind on that. And games march on. And I’ve been playing this forever.

MEA will catch you when you meet your big brooding bug.

It’s good though, right? I can see an adjustment. HZD is very, very good. MEA can still be very good and not be as good as HZD.

 

Feminina:

Hm…that’s true. Yeah, “fondly” isn’t the right word. I actually considered “cordially,” which also doesn’t seem right.

Really, “without hostility” is what I was kind of thinking, but took the lazily inaccurate way out with “fondly.”: he doesn’t love her now (maybe never really did), but he doesn’t seem to blame her any more than he blames himself. They’re equally responsible for what happened, and he doesn’t harbor some terrible grudge against her for not leaving the tribe with him or whatever.

Which is quite mature of the exiled dude, assuming we can actually read his messages that way.

And I agree, he doesn’t actually expect the kid to ever get the messages, or to know anything about him, and as you say, that’s kind of the real tragic love here, not the fling between the two adults.

Losing the chance to know and be known by his child is the tragedy. The relationship with the mother would have been just one of those flings that happens and don’t work out, except that unfortunately it ended in murder (d’oh!)–but the relationship with the child, that would have been important.

Oh, and there’s not “a whole bunch” of stuff up there past that vantage point, there’s just ONE thing up there.

One thing that has a power cell in it. And a bunch of machines before you get to it.

You’re gonna do great.

Butch:

WAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

Feminina:

There’s a stormbird up there! You can kill it for Brin!

Or just override it, which is what I did. But I was jaded by then.

Butch:

I can’t override them, because I still haven’t done a cauldron or two, and, as I know what they are, they lack theme, and I still haven’t killed a thunderjaw without finding a place to hide and snipe, I think finishing them will be unlikely.

Now you’ll say ‘Yeah, but if you don’t, you won’t get this thing you’ll SO want….”

Feminina:

Ah, right. Cauldrons. Well, no worries. Brin and Talanah will be psyched. You’ve GOT this stormbird! It’ll be fine.

Man, there’s a lot of stuff in this game.

Butch:

It’s massive. I still haven’t gotten to redmaw.

How the hell did you finish so fast? I’m PLAYING this game, man! This isn’t my usual “take a couple days off” pattern! I’m PLAYING!!!!!

Feminina:

I don’t know! Playing on Normal, maybe?

I made my choice, and I’m at peace with it. I put Andromeda on Normal too. I can always put it higher if I get bored, but I have limited time to play games, you know? Maybe I just want to play at a level where I can enjoy a modest challenge but not have to sweep up the pieces of my shattered character every single evening.

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