I thought it was phenomenal. Holy crap. I'm not someone who's ever really been into open world games. I've never dabbled in Assassins Creed games or Uncharted and I tend to wait for the hype to die down before messing with something even if it did catch my eye. When I saw the HZD: Complete Edition was on sale for $10 at Gamestop I figured it would finally be the right time to drop in.
1) The game is drop dead gorgeous. I have a regular old PS4 and it still looked great in my eyes and I never had any issues with framerate. In terms of the pure landscape, it is the prettiest game I have ever played.
2) Aloy is wonderful. I wasn't sure how I felt at the beginning with the decision to give you the option to control her response to situations, but I thought the options they gave was fair. I didn't always choose compassion. I played Aloy as though she still had a bit of resentment with how the Nora ostracized her, and told Helis to look at the sun when I finally got to kill him. The good thing is it never felt completely out of left field which was nice. Some of the other characters were also compelling, while I felt King Avad was a bit bland, I enjoyed Varl and thought Sylens was fantastic and loved his voice actor.
3) Weapon diversity is dependent upon you. I've been going through a few user reviews of this game and a common complaint I've seen is that combat got a bit boring. Once you know the enemies, hit them in the same locations over and over. BUT, I realized that it was my fault I was only using arrows. The game offers a plethora of weapons (blast sling, ropecaster, shock ray, etc…) that you can use. Once I made that adjustment, the monotony went away.
4) The "HOLY CRAP I WANNA FIGHT THAT" effect. I looked at 0 reviews or gameplay trailers before buying this. I didn't dig in on the hype and looked at a ton of videos when it came out. Once I got to the Carja and accidentally stumbled upon my first Stormbird and Thunderjaw it was a "holy crap how do I kill this" feeling that was fantastic. More games should have moments like those.
5) The game on the whole, is very player-friendly. Generous in allowing maps for collectibles, a solid fast-travel system all around, and doing simple things like letting you complete a quest without even knowing it such as if you killed the Rockbreaker in the Quarry before you knew you had to and such. The one exception is the HORRIFIC climbing system but I'll forgive it(but seriously tho why not highlight it with the focus?)
I know this is probably way late and it's like someone reviewing Spider-Man in December of 2019 but still, fantastic and I highly recommend HZD to anyone who hasn't taken the plunge yet.
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