By lkpower 0 Comments
The sun paints the sky with magnificent tones of yellow and orange as it draws lower and lower towards the snow-capped mountain peaks.Dusk approaches. Aloy, a Nora Woman, hair as red as the sun at her back, jogs with purpose up the snowy mountainside that separates Carja territory from the sacred land of the Nora. As Alloy ascends, she comments on a palpable chill in the air. Snow and heavy winds bombard her face without warning. Aloy’s posture changes from a purposeful steady gate to a to that of a laboured traveler battling the elements; her arms drawn in close, her red hair turned lily white by the unrelenting wind and snow. Aloy presses on, her vision clouded by a by a persistent white haze obscuring the truth about the road ahead. Aloy continues up the mountain path, her hands outstretched, shielding her face from the cold, she could hear the unmistakable thump thump thump of something dangerous.
A being that would neither care about nor be affected by the weather or the treacherous terrain. Aloy took a quiet and defensive posture as she switched on her focus. The semi-translucent purple display silhouetted not one but two lurking figures in her path. Sawtooths. Huge, magnificent lumbering predators that could make short work of Aloy if she got careless. Aloy traced the tracks of one of the beasts and carefully crept up behind the it. She gingerly turned her spear over and began to override her unsuspecting foe and gain an ally for the fight ahead. The machine’s piercing eyes changed color to a tranquil blue. It was now charmed, under Aloy’s control. Aloy drew her bow back sticking in arrow in the the rear powercell of the remaining unfriendly sawtooth. The clockwork monster roared, jerked its head around and narrowed its blood red gaze on Aloy. The attacker took to the air, hurling itself full force toward the two-legged aggressor. Just then, another battle cry rang out. The allied beast slid in front of Aloy, absorbing the hit and charging its former partner with its dense metal head. A one-time predator was now a sworn protector to its new human counterpart. The blue eyed machine kept fighting blow by blow with its identical enemy. A cacophony of of metal on metal friction rang out. Sparks and and plating dotted the trail. Aloy’s blue eyed friend emerged victorious as its adversary sat in a crumpled up heap, smoking and sparking, motionless. The protector simply surveyed its kill to ensure victory before resuming its patrol as though the encounter never happened.
The preceding text is a vivid description of of of a tense encounter that I saw first hand in Horizon. I will admit that encounters like this may be few and far between but this type of gameplay is what I have enjoyed the most about the game. Before I wrap up, I feel it is important to clarify just how I am choosing to approach Horizon. First off, I am playing on hard. After seeing the quicklook the AI seemed a bit too simply. It just did not seem dangerous. I set difficulty to hard from the very beginning. If I’m going to spend 30 + hours hunting mechanical dinosaurs I want a sense of danger. Second, I have not purchased any of the the maps that highlight collectables (nor do I plan to). Third, I turned pathfinding off, forcing me to get a feel for my surroundings and make my own path to quest markers. My play parameters have lead to what a feel is a tense, gripping and unique experience brought about through the the the perfect blend of the game’s visuals, environment, mechanics and player tools. Some of the most harrowing times I have had with Horizon have been when I am simply making my way from place to place. The world of Horizon a mysterious and dangerous place. A living breathing place with culture, life and intrigue something bigger and broader than Aloy and her quest. One that I look forward to losing myself in again and again.