Author Topic: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake  (Read 1388 times)

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Offline The E

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Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
TL;DR: If you have a PS4 and the words "robot dinosaur hunting" seem appealing to you, you should consider adding this game to your library.

This game has taken an uncomfortably large amount of my time recently. It's a third-person, open world action RPG made by Guerrilla Games (previously known for the not-as-good-as-hoped Killzone series), and it's excellent. It combines a sort of  :v:-esque approach to game design (as in, take the best ideas of other games in the same genre and make them work) with a beautifully realized world. The combat (at least when going up against the aforementioned robot dinosaurs) is frantic and meaty, with an emphasis on proper preparation and planning before kicking off the killing. That the human enemies are comparatively unengaging and kind of stupid is a bit of a letdown, but then you realize that your character's skillset and gear is built to take down robot T-Rexes, and that humans going down in one or two arrow hits shouldn't be surprising at all.

Oh, and it also has strongly compelling writing and good VA performances across the board, and a background lore that is so bleak in its implications that it could've been sprung from the brain of Peter Watts.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
I can only recommend the game as well (as I did in the "What are playing"-topic)

It lacks some convience features (e.g. the time you waste hunting wildlife because the map doesnt track wildlife only machines) and they are obviously sequel-baiting, esspecially around the 50%-mark of the main story, but neither distracts from the good experience.

One important shout-out: the game stays techno-positive all the way through
Spoiler:
While Earth was stripped of its biosphere by defective militarized robots, the answer was to entrust defeating them to and rebuilding the planet by an massive life-positive AI-construct, which did its job
That's quite rare in the handeling of AI in fiction recently and in games inparticular (Note: I follow the AI Now Iniative with great interest)

EDIT: Full disclosure: Because the marketing campaign focussed heavily on the robot hunts (which I was rather lukewarm about) I got myself placed on a influcencer/multiplier-list and got the game for free (FYI not proud of it, but a person has got the right to be cheap)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 07:32:08 am by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
So hey,

the DLC came out a week ago (?) and I really like to encourage players to support this game (again).

Granted the DLC is not as good as the main game but it is good a value - adding a section to the game world which while mabye not visually interesting to anyone but snow-enthusiasts (like me) as well as new weapons and skills which add a bit of quality of life to game.

The story of the DLC is while integrated into the story of the main game (i.e. its still before the final mission "The Looming Shadow") doesn't add much to the plot of the game per se or carry the same weight. However once you completed the story of the DLC you will have opportunity to have some minor elements of the world "explained", unless of course you already put a version of it together via an extensive collectophon.

Alloy's dialogue is good as ever and that alone is worth checking out.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline The E

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
The Frozen Wastes is pretty good, yes. The new enemies are really quite a challenge to deal with, the story is okay (but, as you pointed out, lacks the immediacy and drive of the main one); As a few reviews have put it, if you liked HZD, this is more HZD.

This DLC has, however, shown the problems with games that structure their story in the way HZD did: By making the ending a complete break with the previous story (When you finish the main campaign, it's implied that Aloy is going on a trek to find the body of Elisabet Sobeck, her "mother"; after the credits have rolled, the game resets to just before the last mission), any additions to the story have to be slotted into its middle or end. This means that the game has to do extra work to justify Aloy going on a detour while there is an apocalypse to stop, and that's always a bit of a drawback.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
PC Release date has been announced - August 7th 2020.


So mark the calendar, and keep an ear to the ground as the quality of the port.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline Vidmaster

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
If you have ANY interest in modern Action-Adventure Games, you should purchase this game. Seriously, it is THE game of the console generation.

Hear ye, hear ye, these are the reasons why you should play this game:

 * it presents a well written story in an interesting world that manages to successfully marry story urgency to open world gameplay (unlike the Witcher 3)

 * its pseudo-fantasy setting in the post-post-apocalypse is still largely "fertile land" when it comes to settings and most competitors are way less grounded (like Numenera)

 * its systems successfully manage to walk the line between the modern trends of crafting- and rpg-systems and actually living an adventure (unlike like pretty much every other modern open world game)

Speaking for myself, I not only finished this game, I actually completed every single side-quest aside from the collectibles. Being 30+ now, that never happens for me in this day and age. It is that good  :nod:

Seriously, I cannot stress the sheer quality of this production enough and the fact that Guerilla Games managed to nail both exploration and story-telling on this leven with their very first attempt at such a game.
When asked what the game of the decade would be, I could not decide between this and Subnautica but considering all the other great products we have been getting in the past years (including other quality singleplayer games from Sony first party studios), that is saying something.

Horizon is coming to the PC. Some weird fanboys see this as a betrayal and they are foolish :nervous:. The more people get to enjoy a brilliant game, the better.


This DLC has, however, shown the problems with games that structure their story in the way HZD did: By making the ending a complete break with the previous story ([...SPOILER...]), any additions to the story have to be slotted into its middle or end. This means that the game has to do extra work to justify Aloy going on a detour while there is an apocalypse to stop, and that's always a bit of a drawback.

I think this is a somewhat unfair criticism because it implies a problem with the main story. However, the problem you mention arises only when trying to insert something into a perfectly fine story with a beginning, middle and end, as this DLC attempts. Which is, in any medium, always bound to create problems, be it the prequel, sidestory, spin-off or other type of insertion. I would even argue that the fact that the DLC's story feels somewhat disconnected shows how tight and complete HZD's main story is! It is an actual tale rather than a collection of separate and semi-random episodes into which one can always just insert another (looking at you, Ubisoft). Which, in my book at least, is what I want from a story: A real plot, with real arcs.

Yes, it makes the DLC's plot weaker. But that is not the fault of the main narrative but instead the fault of the DLC business model. I think Sony's Tsushima will to the same thing their recent God of War did, not attempt such an insert into an actual and existing plot. These flagship-type games are made to be system sellers first and foremost, in constrast to a Ubisoft- or similar third-party company's product which must stand and make a profit on its own.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 03:25:54 am by Vidmaster »
Devoted member of the Official Karajorma Fan Club (Founded and Led by Mobius).

Does crazy Software Engineering for a living, until he finally musters the courage to start building games for real. Might never happen.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
This DLC has, however, shown the problems with games that structure their story in the way HZD did: By making the ending a complete break with the previous story ([...SPOILER...]), any additions to the story have to be slotted into its middle or end. This means that the game has to do extra work to justify Aloy going on a detour while there is an apocalypse to stop, and that's always a bit of a drawback.

I think this is a somewhat unfair criticism because it implies a problem with the main story. However, the problem you mention arises only when trying to insert something into a perfectly fine story with a beginning, middle and end, as this DLC attempts. Which is, in any medium, always bound to create problems, be it the prequel, sidestory, spin-off or other type of insertion. I would even argue that the fact that the DLC's story feels somewhat disconnected shows how tight and complete HZD's main story is! It is an actual tale rather than a collection of separate and semi-random episodes into which one can always just insert another (looking at you, Ubisoft). Which, in my book at least, is what I want from a story: A real plot, with real arcs.

I don't know how my criticisms are unfair when they're exactly the same things you are talking about :D

Frozen Wastes, when it first came out, slotted awkwardly into the game for me because I played it after the main story was over; It still feels distinctly separate (but not jarringly so) from the main campaign now that it is fully integrated from the start. Its main problem, narratively speaking, is that it is explicitly a diversion from the main plot that doesn't affect the main plot at all; In a game as tightly structured as HZD is, that's going to be a problem. It is, essentially, filler content: Good filler content with some awesome bits in it, but filler content nonetheless.
Compare and contrast this with Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC: It, too, slotted into the endgame. It, too, was explicitly a diversion from the main plot; however, as it was purposefully built to be a fun last hurrah for the entire Mass Effect cast, a party at the end of the world, its addition to ME3's endgame fitted in more smoothly than Frozen Wastes did for HZD because it filled a gap in ME3's narrative structure.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
Horizon: Zero Dawn has what is easily one of the most compelling stories I have ever experienced in a video game.  I genuinely can't remember the last game that has left me thinking about its plot developments and implications for days after experiencing events.  As The E said originally, there's a bleakness to its backstory, but one that's chillingly plausible.  "Here is the way we ****ed up the planet, then scrambled to un**** it, and then ****ed it up far, far worse..oh, and we're already doing the first part in reality."  The world ends not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with unadulterated corporate greed.  Fitting, no?

Oh, and the game's environments are absolutely gorgeous, and the fundamental gameplay loop of taking on these hulking robotic beasts is immensely satisfying.  If you don't own a PS4, and the PC port is even remotely good, definitely consider giving it a try.

As for The Frozen Wilds, playing it after completing the main story would definitely make for something of an awkward experience, but mostly by chance I wound up playing it right around where the developers said they felt it fit best, just before the Grave Hoard mission.  At that point you know enough backstory to get a better appreciation for what's going on in the expansion, but there's still enough unknown so that the sense of mystery is maintained, and it doesn't feel like you're delaying taking care of an imminent threat.  You're also far enough in that you get the extra dialog about Sylens.  Plus the Frozen Wilds area is right next to the starting point of that mission, so it's handy if you're lazy and don't feel like going up there twice. :D

  

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Horizon Zero Dawn - Boston Dynamics was a mistake
most competitors are way less grounded (like Numenera)

To be fair Tides of Numenera, the mandate for TTRPG it based on is "not just to be weird, but the weirdest possible thing" - for it the whole post-multiple-apocalypse scenario is an excuse to have as much weirdness and excentricty as it can (e.g. a monster that is actually a colony of beings with only a single spacial dimension per individual who bond together so they can influnce the 3 dimensional world).
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."