Crouching in tall grass, I scan the horizon making zero noise. There is a rabbit. A boar. Nothing to worry about. One slow step after another takes me higher up the rise of the earth. The edge of the tall grass greats me.
Another moment to scan. The coast seems clear. I pop up and run toward the next patch of tall grass to disappear into. I scan the horizon again. Danger.
Redmaw is a massive beast that has been wreaking havoc among hunters. Many have died attempting to bring down the marked thunderjaw. I see him, off in the distance, lumbering around in the valley below.
Height brings protection.
I head toward the cliffs and climb. I make my way around a circuitous route to find a ledge near the top of the rocks. Higher than Redmaw’s head and inaccessible from the valley, this ledge will provide the protection I need.
The first video games I played were on an Atari 2600. It was late in the product’s lifespan, but it opened a whole new world of entertainment.
Soon, the Nintendo Entertainment System entered my world. Overnight I became a master at killing ducks and throwing fireballs. By the time Super Mario World 3 emerged, I was also a master at blowing dust out of the cartridges.
From the NES, I graduated to the Sega Genesis, a GameBoy, and the Sony PlayStation. In college, I upgraded to the PlayStation 2 and then the X-Box 360. I now play games on a PS4.
Video games are part of me. I rarely chase hype or marketing for games, leaving my playing to just a handful of games a year.
The games I play all carry one thing in common: great stories.
Video games that tell amazing stories and provide quality game play are better than any movie and most tv shows. They are interactive. They allow you to explore the character’s world through movement and conversation.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is one such game.
You play as Aloy, an outcast of the Nora tribe living in a post-apocalyptic world where massive machines run wild. The initial moments of the game teach you to hunt and disappear back into the brush — traits essential for survival in Aloy’s world.
As the game unfolds, you learn about Aloy’s predicament and her world. The setting unfolds into a massive world ripe for exploration. There are different tribes, factions, friends, and foes.
Killing Redmaw is a mission to support a friend. Bringing the massive terror down is something that fits my understanding of Aloy’s character. Another player might disagree and play differently.
That’s the beauty of a game like Horizon.
I draw a tear arrow from my quiver. And another for good measure. Disabling the giant’s ranged weapons first will be key. Without those, he’ll be at the mercy of my arrows raining down from above.
The arrows strike Redmaw with a thump. I’m not longer hidden. He turns and moves toward me when the tear arrows explode, taking off pieces of the massive machine. I fire two more sets as fast as possible. Components explode and fall into the valley.
Redmaw doesn’t attack. His ranged weapons lay on the valley floor. Redmaw might not know it yet, but he’s done for. All that stand between me and his trophy are time and a quiver of ranged arrows.
Redmaw falls and I drop back to the valley floor. His trophy and the glory that comes with it are mine. I loot the giant’s remains and disappear back into the forest. Ready for the next challenge.
I purchased Horizon knowing almost nothing about the game — which is unusual for me. I watched one trailer and read one synopsis. Sold, I invested $50 into the game.
It was worth it.
Over forty hours of game play under my belt, I’m still wading through tall grass looking for the next adventure. I have quests to complete and there’s the ever-present main storyline I’m still progressing in.
Aloy has a destiny and I am at the wheel. Clues that point her in new directions to discover the answer to her ultimate question: who is her mother?
I can’t wait to find out.