Tag Archives: horizon zero dawn

The Problem of Side Quests in Open-World Games


Open-world games really need to stop doing that thing where dozens of side quests and collectibles pop up as soon as you open the map. This is a well-discussed issue, but all the games I’ve been playing recently really highlight the differences between how some open-world games handle side content, and what the main problems with these games are.

I’ve been playing Yakuza 5 for a while, I recently started getting further into Horizon: Zero Dawn, I finished the main story of Assassin’s Creed Unity recently, and I started a new game in The Witcher 3. I guess I’ve also been playing the extra difficulty mode in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on and off. In Horizon I’m pretty much just blazing through the main quest, as I did in Unity, but in all the other games I’m getting pulled into the side quests. Continue reading

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All Open-World Games Need “Discovery Tour” Modes


Assassin’s Creed: Origins is going to have a “Discovery Tour” mode that will strip out the story and combat and let players simply explore the game’s open world with some commentary from historians. People are already lauding this as an excellent use of all the historical research that goes into the Creed games. I think similar functionality should be expanded to virtually all open-world games.

It’s really just another step in the conversation surrounding “story mode” difficulty levels. I don’t see “discovery tour” as an actual difficulty mode though, but just another way to get use out of the art assets developers spend so much time and money putting into games. Maybe it’s not for everyone but it could offer some people yet another reason to buy a game. Continue reading

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“Story Mode,” Action Games, And Interactive Fiction


So Horizon Zero Dawn is the latest big budget game to include a “story mode” or what people are calling super-easy modes now. While some may argue against modes that significantly de-emphasize or nullify combat, they’re really part of a larger trend along with “walking simulators” and new adventure games. Continue reading

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Which Games Do New Game+ The Best?


Among the changes Horizon Zero Dawn is getting with its 1.30 update is a New Game+. I feel like that feature is sort of coming back a little bit and developers are only just now realizing its benefits. It’s really a wonder why more games aren’t doing it.

I’m not gonna go counting but I feel like New Game+ is one of those things that was more common in the heyday of original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, and then was forgotten in the rush for more heavily scripted linear games. I remember New Game+ being a notable inclusion in Dead Space back in 2008, and we’re starting to see it slip back into relevance with popular games like The Witcher 3. Like HorizonDishonored 2 has had New Game+ added post-launch. Continue reading

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What Q1 2017 Means, And Zelda’s Use Of Geography


My time over the last few weeks has been taken up by Zelda and a few other relatively big things going on in my life. I guess I can take a moment though to at least say something about my time with Zelda and look back at what has been an uncommonly good first quarter of the year in video games.

It almost feels like a fall release schedule in that there has simply been too much new stuff for any one person to play thoroughly, between Gravity Rush 2Yakuza 0Resident Evil 7NiohNier: AutomataHorizon: Zero DawnMass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s interesting to look at though is that it has been an uncommonly good quarter for console games. Of what I mentioned, only RE7, Nier, and Andromeda have PC versions. If I’d been able to play these games I would have actually gotten some use out of my consoles. Possibly more important though is that this quarter likely signifies 2017 as sort of the year Japanese console games came back. Continue reading

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The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games


Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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What Separates Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn From Other Games?


With lots of hype comes lots of scrutiny. As of this writing I haven’t touched either Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, and before I (or you) do I think it would be good to examine that scrutiny and think about what each game needs to do to rise above it. Continue reading

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