17 Reviews liked by LIEV_008

The announcement of this game as a replacement for COD MW2 Story Mode in Russian PS Plus in July of 2020 and the intense reaction that followed is the best thing to ever happen in Russian playstation community.

Quite a bad game, especially compared to the other options out there. I think about how this responds to Breath of the Wild which blew the first Horizon out of the water in 2017 in terms of exploration and combat and atmosphere. This game tries to adopt the parasail tool to allow you to glide over the terrain much like Breath of the Wild - but unlike Breath of the Wild which allowed you to open it with a satisfying "pop" by just hitting a button, offering fast maneuvering and flexibility, Horizon needs a long-hold. That, to me, is the crux of everything wrong with the spirit of this game. Maybe it's on theme? Everything is mechanical to the point of sucking the life out of it. The gameplay's sluggish movements, Aloy's magnetic sticking to ledges... it all creates an on-rails-like experience that is the antithesis of the free-form exploration of something like Breath of the Wild that used actually game MECHANICS to make something unique and fun to explore. While Horizon, with its long holds and insanely convoluted menus and items and pouches and sockets, is basically a series of guided paths that it funnels you through giving you some limited form of freedom and experimentation, but all within the confines of the tools it wants YOU to use and places it wants YOU to climb, rather than things that YOU want IT to provide for you.
Taking it a step further, the idiot logic of the game also includes Aloy - a character so annoying she can't help herself but spoil her own puzzles. She is faced with a world of mystery and yet if she sees a mysterious growth on a door she is confident within a second of seeing it that she can't do anything about it. Nevermind that she is an unstoppable force in this world, but this door is too much, she's decided. Of course, she's just telling the player we don't have the tool to open it yet, but her constantly yammering about anything and everything in front of you removes any semblance of atmosphere from the world, as Aloy always holds this tone of bemused impatience. Her story bends over backwards to insist it needs to be told in order to justify this game existing but it's basically just one big McGuffin: chasing a dragon from one place to the next dressed up in some of the corniest "lore" given to a property of this budget. The fact that people attest to this game's world as being compelling is just mystifying to me. They want to make a TV show? Of this? Even efforts to voice-act even trivial conversations actually becomes another burden, not a boon, because the writers can't help themselves but write and write and write for the most benign interactions. Every chore in this game truly does indeed feel like a chore.
There is also a personal element to this: I am, like many people, just tired of opening a map and seeing an onslaught of icons telling me that there is some item to pick up somewhere and I should go there to see it. The world is lavish, and yet completely without personality. Once again to go back to Breath of the Wild: a game with much more limited graphical horsepower and yet it's beautiful and, most importantly, I can actually see things. Horizon, similar to the first game, is so littered with particle effects, sun flares, foliage, mist, ruins that it is a visual mess. Everything is cluttered. The low camera makes it hard to see vistas unless you find the designated "look at the pretty view" spots, riding a mount creates a claustrophobic blur on the edges of frame to, I guess, simulate the pure intense adrenaline of riding.. kinda fast. It's just a big ol dump of colours and textures.
And then, at the end of the day, this really just isn't that fun to play. The AI is atrocious, making it tediously easy to destroy a gang of enemies. When Aloy is hit it doesn't really register so you'll be surprised when you discover you are low on health. I have had many encounters where the AI breaks and the robots just sit around while I wail on them. Melee is unremarkable. And too much of the game is spent digging through a skill tree that is... quite literally... extremely wide and but insanely shallow. You have a half-dozen "options" for what to invest skill points in, and very few of them make you feel stronger or give you new fun abilities to experiment with or change how you play. A lot of it is passive or, frankly, just useless. And then there is the whole armour modding system that puts God of War Ragnarok to shame with its overly complex nature for a game that is brain-dead stupid easy to begin with.
In conclusion, this game is an expensive Big Mac - looks good from afar, but once you've got your hands on it, it's just a reheated mess; a real disappointment.

Freedom is the very core of Breath of the Wild. Go anywhere, do anything. However, this also becomes the game’s greatest downfall. Having the ability to complete this game in any way, in any order, causes a multitude of problems with the progression, story, puzzles, and other central game mechanics. The inability for the developers to regulate and curate a definitive player experience leads to a jumbled, shallow, mess of a game that, while entertaining, lacks the depth of previous games in the Zelda series. The idea of a full world to explore sounds fantastic, and for many, it is. However, freedom is not definitively better than linearity. A massive open world produces many extended periods of time with simply nothing happening. However, exploration and discovery are still key parts of this game, and they’re great… right? Well, it’s not that simple. Exploring the world of Hyrule does lead to a lot of discovery— of the same thing. A shrine. Or a Korok seed. See, a major problem with the exploration in this game is that, no matter what, there are almost no surprises to what one actually discovers. Oh, a hidden cave inside of a mountain? It’s a shrine. A massive skeleton of an ancient beast? It’s a shrine. A forest cursed by some overbearing darkness? It’s a shrine. No matter what, any exploration and “discovery” leads to the same thing. The joy quickly dissipated from finding anything new as I realized it would always just be another shrine. Knowing exactly what will happen— that’s not really a discovery, is it? There’s another problem. The progression. In typical Zelda games, the player becomes more powerful throughout the game as they discover more key items that expand their moveset and abilities. In Breath of the Wild, everything is given to the player at the start of the game. The only progression in this game is obtaining more hearts and stamina, along with more powerful weapons. This creates an inherent problem with the progression— there isn’t really much at all. Nothing changes, and the game isn’t given a chance to introduce new mechanics and ideas. Personally, I feel this makes the flow of the game much less interesting and fun. Abilities aren’t ever-changing and dynamic, they are introduced at the start and become static. In fact, that’s how a lot of this game goes. The beginning is a condensed explosion of new discoveries, mechanics, and unfamiliar situations. As time goes on, however, the game becomes predictable, shallow, and boring. Some of it, unnecessary, even. Combat in this game is fun. However, it is superfluous. Other than miniboss shrines and the four painfully underwhelming dungeon bosses, fighting is almost never required. That would be fine, if fighting was at least worth doing, but it’s not. Engaging in combat results in the damaging of weapons and using of resources, all for what? The chance to obtain a single mediocre weapon from a chest? It’s just not worth it. In previous games, fighting was necessary, whether an enemy was blocking your path, necessary to kill to unlock a room, or a unique boss for a bombastic dungeon finale. In Breath of the Wild, it takes no effort or resources to just walk around encounters. Or, if you do decide to fight, just pause and heal as much as you want. There is no reason to fight, and it is, for lack of a better word, lame. Just like a lot of this game, it presents itself as a deep and engaging mechanic, when really, it is shallow and redundant.
What defines the Zelda series? To some, story. To more, exploration. To me, puzzle-solving. Both inside and outside of dungeons, I believe that every aspect of the world should be looked at with a critical and creative eye to see solutions to problems. Breath of the Wild is not that. It attempts to incorporate puzzles into its open world by including shrines that dot the landscape. These shrines contain bite-sized puzzles to spice up the normal flow of exploration. Once again, though, there is a fundamental problem with this idea. Due to the fact that any shrine can be done in any order, and the requirement that they must be short, all of the shrines with puzzles inside are incredibly shallow and simple. Because of the game’s open nature, the puzzles are not able to build upon themselves and flesh out the ideas presented by the challenges. They remain as surface-level 2-minute romps that feel unsatisfying and are unable to scratch the itch I have to be stumped by a confusing, intertwining labyrinth. “But what about the divine beasts?” I hear you ask. The Divine Beasts are some of the worst excuses for dungeons in the entire Zelda franchise. The complaints that I often hear with them is that they look too similar and there are too few of them. I agree with this sentiment, especially that they all look and feel much too alike one another, creating no strong sense of identity or uniqueness with them. However, there is a much deeper problem with the Divine Beasts that I rarely hear anyone bring up: terminals. The way Divine Beasts function is that there are five separate consoles that must be activated in any order to fight the boss and finish the dungeon. In any order. That’s a problem. These terminals are just five disconnected mini-challenges that, like shrines, don’t allow for any depth or building upon of ideas. Divine Beasts don’t become more challenging or thought-provoking as time goes on, they just continue the trend of short and shallow puzzles that provide no sense of challenge. It is frustrating and disappointing. In the overworld, there are small puzzles that result in the earning of a Korok seed. 900 of them. This, of course, means that there are only a few challenges that are copy-and-pasted ad nauseam to pad out playtime. My problem with these, as well as shrines, in the world is that they are an excuse to say the world plays out like a puzzle with constant thought around every corner, when in reality, that is not the case. They are small, self-contained bits that require little thought. In fact, the world is not designed like a puzzle. Past games, yes, those games had worlds that required even a puzzle-minded brain in the overworld, because those worlds played out similarly to dungeons, even if they were not presented as such. In Breath of the Wild, the player never has to think about how to explore, rather, they just do it. There’s always a way around everything and a simple solution that does not require thought to execute.
Throughout the Zelda series, something, or rather, someone, has always tied it together. Link. The protagonist is an essential part of this franchise, one who represents the struggles of living up to expectations and fulfilling prophecy. Link in this game is, needless to say, underwhelming. Starting off, he has amnesia at the beginning of the story, already an overused trope that can be made interesting if done properly, but in this game, it is not. What this does for Link’s character is infinitely more harm than good. He has absolutely no real intrinsic motivation that pushes him to become the hero that he is. He saves Hyrule because he’s told to by the dead king. He’s told he’s a legendary hero, but as he is now, he’s not one. He’s just an emotionless, distant character that has no personal connection to the story itself. And yes, he rarely shows any emotion that allows the player to understand and connect with him more. Compared to the last big 3D game that came directly prior, Skyward Sword, where Link had personal relationships with the other characters and had a real desire to do what he did, showing his pain when terrible things happened, his joyousness when able to bask in happiness with his loved ones, his surprise at unexpected moments, it allows his character to be much more fleshed out than just a blank nothing. In Breath of the Wild, there are themes that would be great to explore and flesh out, like the isolation of being in a collapsed society all alone. But we never see that. Link never displays any sign of internal suffering or introspection, and the supposed themes of this game are never taken very seriously because it seems that multiple cultures and societies are still flourishing. On top of that, the full story is lacking any and all pivotal moments that progress things forward. Because the game is so open, and can be completed in just over 20 minutes, it is devoid of story beats that make a game interesting. Link is told that Zelda is in trouble by the former king of Hyrule, and that’s about it. We are told, not shown, that Link was a great hero who tried to stop Ganon before. Most of the “story” takes place in flashbacks to events long passed. These don’t change anything, because they already happened. The story of this game is so incredibly minimal and lacks the unique charm that previous games had. What else is lacking is the respect and love for the franchise as a whole. The Master Sword is completely irrelevant, as it is apparently no longer necessary to seal the darkness, despite that being its main purpose. The triforce is also not important, as it’s shown in one flashback being used by Zelda and never once mentioned again. There are lore inconsistencies, surprising omissions, and changes to series staples that makes me just disappointed as a longtime fan of this series that desperately wants this game to be a special celebration of progress, rather than an abandonment of identity.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild suffers from a numerous amount of problems. It wants to be a free, open-world game, while still retaining the puzzles from Zelda games of old. This causes a split in that the game is unable to fully commit to either side, thus leaving both aspects of its identity shallow. I could go on about my nitpicks with this game. I feel its art style is not the most pretty to look at, especially compared to previous titles. It has a forgettable and disappointing soundtrack that leaves much to be desired. The side characters and NPCs are not nearly as interesting or fleshed out as past games. However, these are not the fundamental flaws that make Breath of the Wild what it is to me. In fact, there is enjoyment to be had playing this game. Breath of the Wild is addicting. I can spend several hours playing it and it only feels like minutes have passed. The act of simply playing the game was enjoyable. It wasn’t a game that tired me out or left a sour taste in my mouth, somehow. This game is addictive. Like, really addictive. When I tuned out all of my negative feelings about the game, I was able to actually enjoy it. The sound design is absolutely stellar. The gameplay loop is satisfying, albeit incredibly superficial. Is Breath of the Wild a terrible and offensive game? No. Is it a masterpiece? Not even close. Breath of the Wild is a hooking but shallow experience that, while feeling fresh and new, abandons the ideas that made Zelda so great in the first place. It is unable to go all the way with its new identity, and feels conflicted about its existence. What will this game mean for the future of the series? I can’t say. It is a foggy and concerning path that the franchise is heading down for me, but I will be there every step of the way.
Goodbye, Breath of the Wild.

It'll always make me sad that this game gets dumped on so hard. The thing everyone is mad at is that the standard-bearer of the single least enjoyable format of platformer, the collectathon, got replaced by a game that asks people to be creative and think about problem solving, and everyone fuckin revolted.
Like, think about that for a second. The last collectathon game this studio made was Donkey Kong 64, which was panned. The spiritual successor to that format of platformer, Yooka Laylee, didn't do much better. Is it perchance possible that this style of platformer is trapped in its era? There's not been good collectathon platformers in years, and I don't think that's as much about the existence of 3D platformers as it is about how much time people have to put into a game like that and how many ideas can possibly be left for that format.
So yeah, when they decided "man let's switch things up, I don't want to just do this again," and everyone interpreted that as betrayal, it just makes me sad as hell. The actual game here is neat as heck. Fealty to intellectual property can kill hearts. I don't know how many more times we're going to have to learn that lesson.

Sub 3.0? Pfft, if this came out on GameCube published by Nintendo as planned this would be considered an underrated masterpiece.

This game establishes the Horizon series as the most creatively bankrupt in the Sony stable. There isn't a single mechanic in this game that hasn't been done to death by dozens of other games over the last 10 years. Every open world trope is here. The dialogue is just awkward exposition delivered by some really lifeless characters. This is the most inessential game I've played in years.



All the weirdos proclaiming that "Survival horror is back" because they're doing Dead Space but shiny, RE4 but with lighting, and bafflingly gave Bloober Team permission to remake fucking Silent Hill 2 would do well to look past the latest AAA £70 prettied up offering and see the indies who've been keeping it going for years.
Alisa rules.

if the game wasn't forcefully pre-packaged with a mediocre brawler this game would rule, however...

The only way Blinx could beat Mario was to rewind time enough to stop him from being created