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Horizon: Zero Dawn

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Made a start last night.  It's great to be back in the Horizon universe.

Spoiler

Fought one of the new beasts on my way to the first mission point.  It took some doing, it's a tough sob.  Had to use a few stickies to get it down in health, it's weak to frost.  Story is strong so far.  However i've been exploring the wilderness more than the story.  There's a Tallneck stuck in ice which you have to free, and that means collecting parts around the area.  And more fighting against more of the new versions of beasts. 

I came across the new towers which repair the machines.  You can hack them, however you gotta take out the machines in the area.  It's sort of a timer on it, as the tower will repair the machines if you're not quick enough.

Can't wait to get back into this tonight.

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It's been a little while since I've been around these parts. But new content for Horizon, as well as other titles, has brought me out of the dark :D

I'm loving what I've played of The Frozen Wilds so far. It feels great to be back in the world Guerrilla Games have created, the attention to detail in the environments is incredible and the new effects brought in here are on an entirely different level. It was already a fantastic looking game but going hunting through The Cut for badger bones and goat skins and having a mini blizzard kick in and seeing the way snow flurries are blown about is amazing. And it still handles like an absolute dream. Having played a few other open world titles recently, the control over your bow and weapons here is some of the tightest and best handling I've seen in a game.

I love the world they've created though and the little details again going in to develop the world that was there before. I found a data log about a park ranger station last night and just reading it reminded me of how well made the world is; how fleshed out the history is for those that want to experience it and soak in it. The last time a game and it's world enamoured me so much was The Witcher 3 and while I don't think it will ever beat that game for the world building, Horizon is definitely up there in terms of the best world in a game on top of the great story telling, combat and presentation.

Really looking forward to jumping back in and seeing what else The Cut has to offer. Some reviews have lamented that it doesn't do much more over the base game but more of what was already there with added challenge is all I wanted and it hits the nail on the head perfectly. It was already my GotY but now with The Frozen Wilds, there's no questioning that and that's with having picked up a Switch a month or two back and putting time into Zelda on it. Actually, after playing a bit of Zelda, coming back to this is a breath of fresh air as I haven't enjoyed that game at all so far (it's not a bad game, it's just that it feels like I'm playing a mid era Xbox 360 open world title that feels like the foundations for what's to come next with many of the current issues with that genre still abundantly clear, such as towers and a world that's too big and sparse. Nintendo's missed a prime opportunity for a more naturalistic approach to Zelda and it's light RPG elements but that really is a discussion for elsewhere).

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Just finished Frozen WIlds.  More of what we love about Horizon, with some additional new stuff added.

Spoiler

Fireclaws are tough and fast.  The story is interesting, it does tie in nicely with the main story and the Eclipse.  The new weapons do make the final boss on the main story easier than before.  However, the final boss in the Frozen Wilds (basically, a bear-like Fireclaw) is tough even on normal difficulty.  It's nice to see a new AI in the game, something other than GAIA.

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Edited by Jimbob
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I've finished the main story from the Frozen Wilds DLC and I'm just on mopping up the remaining trophies.

Its an absolutely fantastic bit of extra content and it's made me fall in love with the game all over again.

The new enemy machines introduced in this expansion are a blast to fight. I found myself having to use a mix of different weapons in order to get the better of them.

The setting and general atmosphere in the new area is amazing. It really reminds you of winter, just in the way that when the snow starts falling and the sky goes black but the world around you seems so peaceful.

I remember having a conversation with a mate of mine a few weeks back about how one of the best things about when it snows IRL is just how peaceful everything seems. The game captures that perfectly.

I had Mario Odyssey pegged as my GOTY but playing this just reminds me what a masterpiece the game really is. 

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I got the complete edition a couple of weeks back, been really impressed with it so far. It just keeps getting better as I unlock new skills and more machine overrides. Bandit camps are also surprisingly fun, the stealth works really well. It does a lot of things better than Breath of the Wild.

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I finally got round to playing this after having purchased it in November and, unfortunately, I just can't get into it at all.

I'm not saying the game isn't good, it's just not for me. And whilst I'm not comparing it to say Breath of the Wild, I think I am subconciously comparing it to other open world games like the Batman games and Assassin's Creed.

Off the bat, I thought the introduction was incredibly slow. Aylo seems like a great character but she talks far too much, at least early on. Whenever something happens, before I even have the chance to think about what is going on, she comments on it. I know it sounds like a really pedantic thing but it completely breaks the immersion for me - it feels like I am watching Aylo instead of playing as her. I'm fully aware that other characters talk a lot in other open world games (mainly in cut scenes) but I just couldn't stand the opening couple of hours in Horizon.

Secondly, the open world is just dull. In many ways it's actually very realistically constructed (compared to say BOTW which uses the triangular method of hills and drops to build a world) but it just isn't fun to go through. They seem to have overpopulated the world with machines too, which makes me less inclined to venture off the beaten path. Looking back at it, I think the reason why I love the Arkham and AC games is because there is a great degree of verticality in the world, but you don't get that here.

The combat is decent but certainly not the best of an any open world game that I've played, and ultimately it's just not my cup of tea. Graphically the game is stunning though - probably the best looking game I've ever played.

Anyway, I'm a bit gutted. It's probably down to me not the game, but I imagine this is like listening to a really good album and just finding it a bit 'meh' :( 

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I would personally just stick with it. I wasn't immediately wowed by it, but it has a certain quality that does suck you in. It gets better the more you get into it. 

(also, no album is ever really good on just a first playthrough. They take repeated listens, time to digest and getting used to it. This is more of the equivalent of judging Radiohead's OK Computer after the first two songs and only one listen)

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It might be worth sticking with it just to see how the combat improves. Once you get a smattering of weapon types, taking down large machines becomes hugely fun.

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3 hours ago, Goron_3 said:

I finally got round to playing this after having purchased it in November and, unfortunately, I just can't get into it at all.

I'm not saying the game isn't good, it's just not for me. And whilst I'm not comparing it to say Breath of the Wild, I think I am subconciously comparing it to other open world games like the Batman games and Assassin's Creed.

Off the bat, I thought the introduction was incredibly slow. Aylo seems like a great character but she talks far too much, at least early on. Whenever something happens, before I even have the chance to think about what is going on, she comments on it. I know it sounds like a really pedantic thing but it completely breaks the immersion for me - it feels like I am watching Aylo instead of playing as her. I'm fully aware that other characters talk a lot in other open world games (mainly in cut scenes) but I just couldn't stand the opening couple of hours in Horizon.

Secondly, the open world is just dull. In many ways it's actually very realistically constructed (compared to say BOTW which uses the triangular method of hills and drops to build a world) but it just isn't fun to go through. They seem to have overpopulated the world with machines too, which makes me less inclined to venture off the beaten path. Looking back at it, I think the reason why I love the Arkham and AC games is because there is a great degree of verticality in the world, but you don't get that here.

The combat is decent but certainly not the best of an any open world game that I've played, and ultimately it's just not my cup of tea. Graphically the game is stunning though - probably the best looking game I've ever played.

Anyway, I'm a bit gutted. It's probably down to me not the game, but I imagine this is like listening to a really good album and just finding it a bit 'meh' :( 

Man, I'm glad I'm not alone I think mine is the only negative comment in this thread through the past twenty pages. I'm sticking on with the game as I'm close-ish to the end but still really not feeling it. I'm increasingly thinking that Ashley Burch's performance is maybe one of my main issues - the character comes off as so monotone and portentous, it's really hard to get behind the plot as a result. The talking to herself thing definitely grates too. I think it's definitely the direction not helping rather than necessarily the actress; she seems a much more natural fit in Borderlands.

Agreed on the open world. Obviously suffers by comparison to BOTW but I really think this is an example of a game that might've been better as a linear or semi-linear design

They seem to have overpopulated the world with machines too, which makes me less inclined to venture off the beaten path - Actually this is one bit I've grown to quite like - it's a pain in the arse as getting anywhere can be a chore if you can't be bothered to take, but it is very cool in that almost any enemy can be hard to beat if you don't properly plan for it.

- Looking through the old ruins of places is initially interesting but quite repetitive when 80% of the game's lore seems to come out in the same way. Most of the juicy bits you have to literally stand still and wait to listen for. All the locations also end up looking more or less identical too, even if they again initially look quite interesting.

- A lot of the big boss battles I'm not sure if I'm playing right; hiding behind cover and popping out on a lot of them seems the best tactic but also feels at odds with how fluid the rest of the battles are, I'm not sure if I'm cheesing them or not.

- The whole game feels way too self serious for a franchise that's literally about Robot Dinosaurs.

Anyway, not to toally rag on it - there is stuff I like about the game - when the combat works, against the robos it is pretty excellent, and the sound design on the robots is insanely good, and ultimately I'm glad that such a fresh new big budget IP has done so well, but I'm definitely a lot less impressed than everyone else!

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I’d argue that you’re both certifiably wrong. To claim that the world is worse than BotW is interesting, especially to suggest more linearity. Linear could probably help both games. 

Over populated I’d argue against as well. I never really had an issue just going wherever I felt like in Horizon. I could either just run past whatever enemies were present or just take a slight detour around, the detour also being exploration. 

Aloy talking, well yeah it’s a stilted performance at times but honestly I found her well written. Including talking to herself. 

 

Also the franchise is not just about “robo dinosaurs” If that’s what you come away with after playing there’s just no hope. 

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14 hours ago, dan-likes-trees said:

Man, I'm glad I'm not alone I think mine is the only negative comment in this thread through the past twenty pages. I'm sticking on with the game as I'm close-ish to the end but still really not feeling it. I'm increasingly thinking that Ashley Burch's performance is maybe one of my main issues - the character comes off as so monotone and portentous, it's really hard to get behind the plot as a result. The talking to herself thing definitely grates too. I think it's definitely the direction not helping rather than necessarily the actress; she seems a much more natural fit in Borderlands.

Agreed on the open world. Obviously suffers by comparison to BOTW but I really think this is an example of a game that might've been better as a linear or semi-linear design

They seem to have overpopulated the world with machines too, which makes me less inclined to venture off the beaten path - Actually this is one bit I've grown to quite like - it's a pain in the arse as getting anywhere can be a chore if you can't be bothered to take, but it is very cool in that almost any enemy can be hard to beat if you don't properly plan for it.

- Looking through the old ruins of places is initially interesting but quite repetitive when 80% of the game's lore seems to come out in the same way. Most of the juicy bits you have to literally stand still and wait to listen for. All the locations also end up looking more or less identical too, even if they again initially look quite interesting.

- A lot of the big boss battles I'm not sure if I'm playing right; hiding behind cover and popping out on a lot of them seems the best tactic but also feels at odds with how fluid the rest of the battles are, I'm not sure if I'm cheesing them or not.

- The whole game feels way too self serious for a franchise that's literally about Robot Dinosaurs.

Anyway, not to toally rag on it - there is stuff I like about the game - when the combat works, against the robos it is pretty excellent, and the sound design on the robots is insanely good, and ultimately I'm glad that such a fresh new big budget IP has done so well, but I'm definitely a lot less impressed than everyone else!

Definitely agree about the bolded. I think I might be more inclined to stick with it if that were the case.

Thanks for the comments @Fierce_LiNk @bob @Nolan but I've decided to move on from the game. I've put about 10 hours into it so far and it's just not clicking. Better to cut my losses and move onto Uncharted 4 and XC2.

 

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19 hours ago, Nolan said:

I’d argue that you’re both certifiably wrong. To claim that the world is worse than BotW is interesting, especially to suggest more linearity. Linear could probably help both games. 

Over populated I’d argue against as well. I never really had an issue just going wherever I felt like in Horizon. I could either just run past whatever enemies were present or just take a slight detour around, the detour also being exploration. 

Aloy talking, well yeah it’s a stilted performance at times but honestly I found her well written. Including talking to herself. 

 

Also the franchise is not just about “robo dinosaurs” If that’s what you come away with after playing there’s just no hope. 

Ha alright, steady on.. I didn't say that's all it's about, but the robot fights are clearly the game's USP; without those what's to distinguish the central concept / plot from that of fallout or any other post apocalyptic tale (an oversaturated genre anyway)? Even fans of the game seem to find the tribal stuff pretty tiring / hackneyed.

My point was, as I said, I've an issue with how devoid of humour and levity the game is, and how it seems a bit of a waste of quite a fun concept to have it all buried in self-seriousness. The majority of the best games (alongside TV) of the last few years have a lot of humour amongst the darker themes. Hard to care about any of the characters when none of them speak like real people (the goateed guy in Meridian and Sylus aside).

Can't see how Breath of the Wild, a game, unlike Horizon, fundamentally built around using a open world and being widely acclaimed for it, could be comparably improved by being linear but there we go.

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23 hours ago, dan-likes-trees said:

Man, I'm glad I'm not alone I think mine is the only negative comment in this thread through the past twenty pages. I'm sticking on with the game as I'm close-ish to the end but still really not feeling it. I'm increasingly thinking that Ashley Burch's performance is maybe one of my main issues - the character comes off as so monotone and portentous, it's really hard to get behind the plot as a result. The talking to herself thing definitely grates too. I think it's definitely the direction not helping rather than necessarily the actress; she seems a much more natural fit in Borderlands.

Agreed on the open world. Obviously suffers by comparison to BOTW but I really think this is an example of a game that might've been better as a linear or semi-linear design

They seem to have overpopulated the world with machines too, which makes me less inclined to venture off the beaten path - Actually this is one bit I've grown to quite like - it's a pain in the arse as getting anywhere can be a chore if you can't be bothered to take, but it is very cool in that almost any enemy can be hard to beat if you don't properly plan for it.

- Looking through the old ruins of places is initially interesting but quite repetitive when 80% of the game's lore seems to come out in the same way. Most of the juicy bits you have to literally stand still and wait to listen for. All the locations also end up looking more or less identical too, even if they again initially look quite interesting.

- A lot of the big boss battles I'm not sure if I'm playing right; hiding behind cover and popping out on a lot of them seems the best tactic but also feels at odds with how fluid the rest of the battles are, I'm not sure if I'm cheesing them or not.

- The whole game feels way too self serious for a franchise that's literally about Robot Dinosaurs.

Anyway, not to toally rag on it - there is stuff I like about the game - when the combat works, against the robos it is pretty excellent, and the sound design on the robots is insanely good, and ultimately I'm glad that such a fresh new big budget IP has done so well, but I'm definitely a lot less impressed than everyone else!

If it makes you feel any better I ragged on the game before it was released. People say you can only judge a game if you've played it, and there's an element of truth to that, but if you've played games for a serious length of time you can usually trust your buyer's instinct.

The issues you mention aren't too surprising in light of the fact that Guerilla worked on Killzone for 10 years, one of the most linear and humourless series of videogames in history (albeit stonking good fun in multiplayer).

BotW ftw.

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15 hours ago, dwarf said:

If it makes you feel any better I ragged on the game before it was released. People say you can only judge a game if you've played it, and there's an element of truth to that, but if you've played games for a serious length of time you can usually trust your buyer's instinct.

That's basically what ended my interest in the game just before Christmas when I was considering picking it up for £18.99 from Argos in their sale (I even reserved it) but when I went through countless reviews and videos, I just didn't feel that desire.

The heart wants what it wants, I guess :smile:

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You can download a one year anniversary dynamic theme available for free on the store.

That made me realize I've actually used the same Horizon theme for over a year now. I actually like that one better but I'll switch it up for now.

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This game. Love how well its designed. Definitely the RPG game to follow. Mechanically its just so fantastic. Playing other games you wonder why so many old archaic RPG features still exist. 

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Because those old archaic mechanics are still enjoyable to plenty of people. Also combine the fact that Horizon isn’t that much of an RPG. It’s a stellar game in all aspects but it’s not much of a RPG to me.

 

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Started playing this a few days ago. Enjoying it a fair bit overall but it's quite jarring going back to it after playing God of War, it makes Horizon feel quite dated even though it was only a year old.

What's surprising is how little I'm invested into exploring the world itself, it looks pretty for sure but I just find it quite a boring place. Breath of the Wild had me stopping every few minutes to take in the sights and it made me want to explore every corner of the world, this I couldn't really care less, as long as I'm hunting the next checkbox to tick off a list. The level design here feels a little uninspired. I usually like to take my time and enjoy the sights of games, but this just feels quite boring and I'm just running through everything.

Loving the combat though, at least against the machines. Very enjoyable taking down a Sawtooth. Human wise I find it strange how an arrow to the head doesn't kill him, and I often have to hit him 5 times for him to finally go down.

The personality they've tried to cellotape onto Aloy feels a little weird to be honest. I can't say the conversations or story moments are particularly enthralling. Good performances though.

Visuals are nice, if a little over-sharp sometimes. Sound design is good. Music... is there any?

The loot system... they give you so much I don't bother reading what I'm picking up anymore.

So yeah, so far, great fun but apart from the combat, nothing particularly amazing or memorable as of yet.

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Wow, the cauldrons are literally identical to the vaults in Mass Effect Andromeda. Even down to the triangular sliding doorways! Weird.

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Finished this last night. Fantastic overall, once the story finally got interesting about half way through I started to enjoy it a lot more, especially as I was getting better at combat by then.

Combat and narrative obviously the game's strong points and both were expertly put together. Conversely, no puzzle solving (apart from the laughably simple and repetitive circular ones), repetitive side quest structure, invisible walls, tedious climbing, and dodgy physics (BOTW has spoiled me in this regard) knock it down a peg.

I also still found the openworld itself boring to explore and not much of it stands out. It was just a means to get to the next quest marker/machine encounter really. Cauldrons were ok but just just more of the same really, just in a linear path.

Still, very much loved it. Looking forward to Horizon 2 on PS5!

Edited by Ronnie

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My copy is still in its wrapper! There has been so much quality it has been difficult to get through everything. I'm playing through God of War at the minute.

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I have now played through the entire game and also the DLC.

I have very mixed feelings towards this game but I have come away thinking it was fantastic and actually want more.

In my view, the game started off pretty strongly but became lost in the middle. I felt that the story was weak and woolly. The gameplay was very strong throughout. I also thought some of the side missions were a bit dull.

I couldn't help comparing the game to Witcher 3. It uses so many of the ideas that game has. In my opinion the main story, the connection to the characters and the side missions are a lot stronger than HZD.

I remember when this game was first released and a lot of people made comparisons to BOTW. I think I really benefited by playing the two games at completely different times as in my opinion they share very little and aim to achieve different things. As I said, I do think a better comparison is to W3.

The fighting with the machines in this game is where it absolutely shines. I remember starting and feeling intimidated by a Watcher but then as the game went on I became more confident and skilful that I could easily take down a Thunderjaw. I loved it.

The story became into its own in the final third when you find out why the world was the way it was etc. This was quality story telling. However, I feel that there was a case of too little and too late. They really could have gone to town on it but left it to the final third of the game. I was a little disappointed.

Overall though it was a cracking game and these observations are just minor issues in the grand scheme of things. The DLC was quality - nice little story, great setting and fantastic new (and more difficult) machines.

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