Where I’ve Been–Horizon Zero Dawn Has Sucked the Life Out of Me

In case you were wondering, no, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. Even worse, I have fallen into Horizon Zero Dawn. I needed a break from blogging, I feel like I lost my reading mojo, so I decided to take a little break and try something new. Or something old that I haven’t participated in for years and years.

This all started because of Let’s Go, Eevee! I ordered a Nintendo Switch, and pre-ordered the game and the pokeball bundle, but guess what? I had that new console sitting on the shelf, and no games to play, so I bought Skyrim. This was a fantastic re-introduction to the Elder Scrolls series. The last Elder Scrolls game I played was the second installment. I enjoy how open ended these games are, and was having a blast playing.

Then I saw the PS4 Red Dead Redemption 2 bundle, and thought, in for a penny, in for a pound. I bought it, loaded it all up (it took almost 3 hours to install the game!), but I just wasn’t clicking with the game. Don’t get me wrong – the graphics are drop-dead gorgeous, the story is engrossing, and the voice acting superb. And there are horses! That you have to bond with. But the story that RDR2 tells isn’t one I want to play right now. Arthur is an outlaw, he is protecting his little band of misfit thugs, and that’s not what I was in the mood for. I played for 12 hours and decided it’s not the game I need right now.

So I dropped twenty bucks on Horizon Zero Dawn. This is the game I need right now. The graphics, again, are gorgeous, the story is engrossing, and the game mechanics are, while not perfect, fairly straightforward. With its open world and massive map, the game has offered up 50 hours of play so far, and I’m not even halfway through the game. Could I finish the game faster? Yes, but I love just wandering around, beating the bolts off of the various mechanical monsters the world offers up. There are some play sessions that I don’t even advance the storyline or any of the side quests; I just creep across one field after another, hiding in the swaying grasses, and enticing Striders, Grazers, or Broadheads close enough to perform a Silent Strike, a massive attack that swiftly, and quietly, whittles down enemy herds.

In RDR2, Arthur is, at his core, a monster. He protects thieves and murderers, and is one himself. Depending on your play style, you can fashion him into an “ethical” bad guy. But to me, at least, he is one of the monsters that inhabit his world. I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of character. I wanted to play as a hero who runs around slaying monsters, and doing some good for people in need at the same time. Aloy hits all those notes for me, and the infinitely spawning monsters mean that we are never far from a battle to the death. There is something so satisfying about lobbing fire arrow after fire arrow at a massive Sawtooth or Snapjaw, and then hearing the resulting explosion when the machine combusts. It is so much fun I can’t stop playing.

So this post is to let you know what I’ve been doing. We went to Disney World the middle of October, and I’ll write up a post about that. But since we got back home, the urge to write blog posts hasn’t been there. Some of this blah feeling is due to the upcoming holidays. It’s been three years since my mom passed away, but gosh darn it, this time of year is really hard for me. Of course I miss her on the holidays, but I also miss her on my birthday in December, because she was the only human being on earth who never forgot to call me and wish me a happy birthday.  But now I’m getting maudlin, so I’ll bring this to a close.

I should be able to get some manga read over Thanksgiving break, and I’ll write up my thoughts on those. Let’s Go, Eevee comes out on Friday, and I’ll share my impressions of the game after I’ve spent a little time with it. I am mostly interested in how the pokeball interfaces with Pokemon Go, which I still play every day, even if it’s just to catch a poke and spin a stop. I didn’t think you’d want to hear about my re-reads of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books, this time in audio, so I’ll just say – if you haven’t started these yet, why haven’t you?