I didn’t really plan on writing this right now (it’s 11:30 pm on a Thursday) but I just sort of have to express some of what I’m feeling right now after getting near Horizon: Zero Dawn’s endgame. Thats right I haven’t finished the game yet, I am just very close to it, and it’s already tearing me up inside. Spoilers ahead I guess but, seeing as how I haven’t finished the game, I don’t think they will be major.
You head back to Meridian to start the sequence that begins the final story quest. You talk to King Avad and his right hand man who receive Aloy’s heeding about an impending attack and begin to prepare the city. There are a couple optional choices you have before you go rest to prepare for whatever is coming next. To anyone who is playing or thinking about playing this game, these optional waypoints are a must. Aloy goes to see how the city is being prepared, and as you get to each of these points you run into all the people you have helped during your journey. Some them where quests directly tied to the main story, and others were side quests/errands that you completed where you helped some specific person out. These were wonderful moments that brought back Nora characters from very early in the game and people from random side quests that I didn’t think I’d ever see again. There’s a woman from the Banuk tribe, Teb from the very beginning of the game, Vanasha from Sunfall, and Petra from Freeheap. You interact with each of these characters who have come, largely, because of their gratitude to Aloy and what she did for them. It made me wonder if I had done all I could out in the world, helped everyone I needed to to, and made me wish I had done more of the side quests/errands. I’ve done about half of them so I image that I am not even getting the full effect of this sequence. It adds even more meaning to everything that you’ve been doing that, here at the end, there are people who respect you enough to face the end with you. To be a character that others want to stand at the side of is a very effecting sentiment. I’ve been trying to play Aloy in a certain way (via dialogue and quest options) and then for there to be this unexpected payoff that somehow those small decisions mattered, is so beautiful. Aloy never asked for any of this, she was just a girl with a question who said yes I’ll help when others turned away. To see appreciation for the type of person she is and, even though she isn’t always comfortable with it, her being able to receive this gratitude for what she has done is amazing. I feel like I am not using the right words to describe how much I loved this little bit of the story or to contextualize it, but I just had try and get something out. The idea that the type of person you are in a game or in life matters is an, if not the most, important lesson. It mattered the type of person Aloy was, it mattered the type of person Elisabet Sobek was. It doesn’t make either of them better than anyone else, but because of their character they faced down horrors and challenges, not always alone, that most other people chose to ignore and they made the world a little bit better because of what they were willing to do.
Anyways, that’s my piece for now. I’m loving this game and I’ll be finishing the main story in the next couple days and then working on the DLC after that. I will have a lot more to say/write about concerning Horizon in the coming months as I am already preparing for a new game+ playthrough after I finish the DLC. Now I better get to sleep.