So Horizon Zero Dawn…
This is a real mixed bag of a game.
Aesthetically, it is quite brilliant and a very good looking game indeed.
Story-telling? Pretty good. Game menus - seem to be OK, fairly standard but standard exists for a reason, no need to go re-inventing the wheel.
The one big flaw is the game asks you to save a tribe that treated you like shit for the entirety of your life and Aloy is apparently OK with this. There is no ‘go fuck yourselves’ dialogue option and there should have been. The only good development is a sicko called Bast got killed off, bye bye you psycho shitebag, no one misses you.
The problems? Ah, quite a few:
- Potions - So I go to use a potion in the standard way, it’s displayed on the D-Pad right, so just hit that direction? No. Instead:
“Using items in Horizon Zero Dawn is actually incredibly easy. The d-pad is used to harbor all of your consumables. Up will allow you to use your medicine pouch, and right and left will cycle through the different items you can use. Then, once you’ve found the item you want to use, all you need to do is press down on the d-pad. After a short animation, Aloy should reap the rewards or be able to use items you’ve selected.”
- Easy? Bullshit. At no point during the start did the game actually explain this quite crucial mechanism. This does continue the tendency of recent years to make games difficult by screwing around with healing mechanisms.
- Changing weapons / grabbing loot: Someone had the idea that the action should not stop while you do this! Wonderful, whoever decided that, punch yourself in the balls.
- Tagging a target: Makes bugger all difference, no the camera will not track it for you, then the point of it is?
- The “aim”: Frankly, they’d have been better off not even offering aiming, just point and shoot and hope it hits because it probably won’t. There were times when I pulled incredibly good shots, while other times I’d have the target on a head-shot and the arrow goes way wide just because.
- Stealth: Hugely variable and it seems to depend on whether the game decides you’ve been seen or not, with the long grasses being hugely variable in how far they extend.
- Main quest: Anything involving the main quest will involve a combat sequence of total arse where you’re best to sling the difficulty down to easy and head butt them all to death.
Damage also varies greatly - I’ll shoot an entire piece off a robot and then shoot a human with fire arrow, setting him on fire and this has nowhere near the panic or indeed damage you would expect. Similarly I’ll be whacking a guy with the spear and there’s no recognition of pain or damage, which is kind of crap.
Due to this during the game I’ve either pulled off a superb array of silent strikes or bow shots, or I’ve resorted to just pounding the crap out of everything up close because there’s no point trying to be strategic about it. The problem being that I would have liked to have been! I would have liked to shoot them with arrows from on high but due to how unreliable the aim is that no longer works.
- Doing the first Tallneck is superb.
- When it works, the stealth takedowns are superb.
- Robo-enemies are wonderfully designed and unique.
- World aesthetics are excellent.
- Story is good.
Maybe it’ll get better as it goes on, but after this first 6 hours I’m really uncertain due how badly they screwed the aiming, which is near enough the main mechanic for me right now. So I don’t know how far I’ll be able to get in this one due to cluster**** controls, which clearly require more dexterity than I have.
EDIT: All right enough of this shit, it’s getting sold. Why the fuck they spent a shitoad of time designing a game of robodinosaurs and then throw in a load of humans that are somehow far harder to deal with, I don’t know.
EDIT 2: That was fast, I have a sale. It’s also, thinking about it, has the same kind of flaws that killed the Tomb Raider reboot for me.
EDIT 3: As that sale just got a cancel request, I’m actually quite reluctant to give in completely on this, so maybe the solution is stuff the main plot and anything involving killing humans and just explore the world while killing robodinos? Hmm, perhaps.
EDIT 4 - 24hrs later:
OK, so tried the bandit camp again after last night’s rage-quit.
Ye gods, who came up with this? It was an exercise in tedium: Spot grey-black enemies on a grey-black background, with an aim that is at least 1/3 luck no matter what you do - yes, I pulled off a small amount of headshots but no one near what I should given I had the target on their head! Another time I shot a bandit in the head, with a fire arrow no less and it still took two more to kill him. Add in silent strike sequences where as you hit them the enemy is allowed to cry out and you can’t do anything about it, arbitrarily removing your stealth while still crouched because Super-Bandit has spotted you. Towards the end, I was searching for the last two and they apparently picked me up while being all the way at the top of a building on the other side of camp!
Despite it feeling like the bandit bastards had access to cloning, I kept killing them, more by silent strike in the grass than arrows, because the latter remains unreliable - also concentration needs to slow down time more, the amount of movement permitted is still a pain in the arse to deal with. So did finally get the camp, but if I compare this to taking out a Bandit Camp in Witcher 3, it’s no contest - W3 was far more thrilling.
Oh yeah, Nil - total idiot, I somehow got spotted so went and hid in the grass, what does he do? Stands up and gives away where we are! Bastard. I legged it and left the macho moron there, unfortunately he has Game Immortality perk active.
There needs to be a way to at least recon the camp without being spotted, so you have some idea where the cover grass spots are. Equally a Bandit level, so you’ve an idea of how many are left.
Still, let’s be more positive:
- The opening sections are genius, the idea of playing Aloy as a kid then adult is extremely effective. Even the stealth quest with Teb was quite smart in how it taught you the core aspects of that.
- The world design is incredible - I walked over a river, onto a pair of rusted car frames and then ran up a collapsed wall or stairway. Weather effects are well done, as is the day / night cycle.
- Talking of Witcher 3, you can see the influence of that game to a degree on this.
- The game only went downhill with the fight at the end of the Proving, that entire section was dreadful and that was where my opinion of it went way down - less humans, more robots!