I spent most of my weekend playing Horizon Zero Dawn instead of Destiny 2 for a change. On Saturday night we recorded our September game club show and as a result I pushed myself to beat the main story quest in HZD. Firstly… this is really a foreign mode of play for me and in many ways it takes a lot of fun for me out of the game to focus fire on the main story. I remember bowing out of the FFXV show in part because I didn’t want to ruin the game by forcing myself to ignore all of the side stuff. With Horizon Zero Dawn I am sorta glad that I forced myself past this hump and buckled down on finishing. This might be some of the best science fiction that I have experienced regardless of form factor be it book, movie or game. The problem is it takes a really long time into the game before the hooks are set and you get enough of an inkling of what might be happening just beneath the surface. There is this place that a lot of people seem to stall out, where you exit the sacred lands of the Nora and before you are handed the reins to the real story of the game. I personally stalled out here as did Void and I have a sneaking suspicion SquirrelPope did as well based on some comments last night. Once you get past this hump however it is an amazing roller coaster of a ride all the way to the finish.
Since I was forced to play in a manner that is really not my style, I spent some time Sunday going back and meandering my way through the world. The game does the whole hand wavy “the final events have yet to happen” thing after you finish the credit roll. I feel this obligation to sit through the credits as a sort of homage to all of the people and work that went into making the game. This one however tested my resolve because it is quite possibly the longest credit roll I have seen, but it just shows how much effort goes into making a modern AAA blockbuster. I do however highly suggest you wade through because there is a massive payoff at the end that explains one of the weird little things that happens in the world as you explore it. I think more than anything that is what I love the most about this game… it is constantly planting seeds that do in fact grow into something cool by the end of the game. There seems to be nothing placed in this world that does not at least eventually lend its way to a larger purpose. The secrets of the game are revealed to you at the same time as they are to your character Aloy, and as a result the experience is really interesting. There were several times I thought I had guessed how this was all going to play out in the end, but the game kept throwing me curve balls. The end result is a mythos as rich as any of the big tenets of geekdom, and I am absolutely rabidly looking forward to the expansion that is coming in November.