Another 20 hours later and I finally managed to clear out everything in the land except for the final main quest. After neglecting the main storyline for so long, I had quite a few main quests to do in a row. After finally seeing the meat of the story, I was left with mixed feelings. I won’t spoil the details, but I did find it a little strange that so much of the story was delivered in the form of big info dumps.
To be more specific (but still not spoiler-y), a lot of the main quests involve exploring various underground sci-fi ruins, and oddly enough the further you get into the story, the less interactive each of these ruins becomes, leaving the story to be told by piles of text, audio, and hologram logs. There are times where you’re literally just sitting there listening to audio logs for almost an hour. It’s a very strange choice, and I imagine that the pacing here is probably the subject of a lot of debate, but somehow I didn’t find myself minding all that much. I get bored really easily, but the writing and the voice acting in all this exposition was so good that it all managed to retain my attention.
As for the plot itself, it’s pretty hard to get into without giving things away, but let’s just say that the history of how exactly the world ended up in this strange state and the secrets behind Aloy’s mysterious past are all revealed, and they’re all really fascinating. There was a lot of thought put into this world besides just “let’s blow up some robot dinosaurs!”.
Before it all ended though, there was still The Frozen Wilds to be conquered. This was another nice surprise. This is not one of those modern day cash grab DLCs that just give you another 1-2 hours of content made up of recycled assets, this is a full on real expansion, the way expansions used to be! There’s a whole new huge area with a really impressive winter theme. It’s not just more of the same, but all re-colored white, this is an incredibly detailed winter wonderland with easily the best looking snow effects and physics that I’ve ever seen in a game.
There are also new quests, outfits, weapons, and enemies. Enough to keep you busy for another 15 hours or so. These new enemies are no pushovers either. Even if you’re coming into this area at the previous level cap of 50, you’re still going to have to work hard to survive these new guys. You’ll have to learn all new tactics and make good use of the new weapons provided, and you better have saved up a lot of money in the main game because these powerful new weapons blow through a ridiculous amount of ammo.
But now it’s finally all over. 66 hours to nearly 100% the main game and expansion (I seem to be missing a few text logs that are randomly scattered around the gigantic world, oh well). It was a hell of a ride, one that I would highly recommend to just about anyone who likes games (and don’t worry, there are several easier and harder difficulty levels too). I would definitely now call this one of the top 5 games of last year (sorry Evil Within 2…), and if (when) a sequel comes out, I think I’ll have to pick it up immediately next time instead of sale-waiting.
I see that this developer was also responsible for the Killzone series, another one that I’ve never gotten around to. Guess I’ll have to move those up the list…