Horizon Zero Dawn: A late appreciation post.

Oh boy, when I first turned my PS4, setting up my account and booting up my first love of a game, Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, all focus around me was concentrated in the beautiful landscape in its tutorial section as you start and play as a young “Aloy”. The fluidity of the controls, to its choice of narrative that will only leave you to question everything from the origin of the mechanical quadrupeds, to the politics of each tribe, Horizon Zero Dawn is an experience worth taking the time to get into.  

This post is less of a review, and more as the title documents it as; a “late appreciation post”. I thought that reviewing the game would be pointless at this time, as truthfully, enough posts out there have praised HZD, and with good reason. For now, I would simply just like to talk about this game, as if I were convincing someone who is clueless about the wonders of HZD.

There are many features that draw me into playing as Aloy time and time again. Aside from its obvious “New Game Plus” and added DLC “Frozen Wilds”. Below are what I believe to be its most powerful and compelling qualities.

1.) Aloy


A hell of a view. (The background’s nice too)

Aloy will always be a favourite for a number of reasons. 

Her design is near flawless in my eyes. The tribal clothing fits her so well as an outcast. Aloy’s fiery-red hair is a notable feature for her character too! Along the way, players will find tall, red grass that they can use to sneak around the mechanical threats surrounding the world, to which Aloy is able to utilize perfectly by blending in with her hair on top to act as a camouflage. Aloy’s look brings about the same pleasure as the views of the landscape you’ll get to see around. 

Not to mention her story origin. Her own character just speaks for a strong-independent woman. Labeled as an outcast, Aloy was cast aside by the Nora tribe due to her unusual birth. Seen as a threat by everyone around her, she was shunned and socially rejected by most of the tribe, aside from Rost who agreed to train her for the “Proving”, a test of agility and strength, in which the winner is able to be named as a “Brave”. In this, players can get a general feel of how Aloy’s athleticism will guide her throughout the game. She is fast, nimble and hard-hitting towards the “end” of the Proving. 

Aloy’s character is an (obviously) iconic central figure within the game. She displays courage and empathy when faced with any challenge and interaction, perseverance and an aptitude for “coolness”. I mean, even without any weapons, she was able to handle a gigantic metal “beast” on her own. Definitely a memorable character in video game culture. 

2.) A.I. Life

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! A robot! All three?! 

The variety of the mechanical beasts that’s hunt-able by Aloy ranges from the calm and reliable Strider, to the majestic and terrifying Snapmaws. With each robotic creature almost needing a different strategy to take down, the whole system of each enemy adds another layer of depth to the game’s combat. 

Whether you’d like to be stealthy or fight head on, each beast will indefinitely bring a satisfying challenge. 

In fact, I remember the first time I faced against a Stormbird through the game’s main story. The rush you feel when it raises to the air, dropping bombs on you while you dodge and attempt to hit it when it lands is a feeling so intense that you’d want to replay it again and again. 

Or even attempting to take down a Thunderjaw when you have had time to learn its movements and attacks. I snuck up to that bastard, laying a fire-trap by its fixed route, only for it to be set off by a damn watcher that I had missed taking down before facing it head on. The fight was cruel, but rewarding when I managed to beat it with its own weapon. 

An additional favour point for these machines are their design. When playing the game, you notice just how similar these creations are with their animal counterpart. A Thunderjaw moves so similar to a Tyrannosaurus, but its technological skin just brings another sliver of sharpness to its edge. 

3.) Story

It’s difficult for me to get into a game without at least one subject to pull me in its grasp. If its story, mechanics or charisma is not enough to attract my attention, then there’s a good chance my progression won’t be a fun one. Hell one of my favourite games of 2018 Monster Hunter World, only really had its gameplay structure to assist me in continuing to play. And it is quite rare to find all three embedded in certain games. Which is why I was lucky to have HZD to be my first game.

Guerilla Game’s writers did a splendid job in creating the story for HZD. I mean, you’re quite pulled into everything once you start the game anyway. You’re in a tribal land inhabited by both you and mechanical beings fit to roam every rocky crevice and snowy plains, and you can’t help but wonder, how does the contrast of both a historically appointed civilisation and developed machinery live in one universe?

Every twist and turn that the narrative takes on becomes a sweetened form of luxury as you play and progress through the story. The more you find out about the world in which Aloy lives in, the more satisfaction you receive from it. And it is an especially delectable treat when you are a brand new spectator in its landscapes.

4.) Too general? Too bad!

Okay I may have jumped the gun here. You might be thinking, “hold up, that’s just the game in its entirety! Are there no specific points or moments?” And I’m here to tell you that, nah, not really.

The thing is, it’s because of HZD’s generality that I’ve come to love the game. Everything about it is charismatic in its own right, and unique in its own way. And there are no specified points to it as I felt that the game’s entirety was enough for me to give it this type of post.

Point of this was just to appreciate my favourite game on the PS4. But if you’re reading this and haven’t gotten to play HZD yet then, what are you doing? Go out there and experience it yourself! And if you’re still not convinced that this will be your money’s worth, then take a look at this battle sequence and tell me otherwise. (Spoilers alert!)

I am an aspiring writer that seeks to build content for gaming. Any criticisms or tips to improve my writing, content style or content use, please let me know! Any suggestion is welcome, help a beginner writer out! =) 

-Lostar Gaming

Sources used:

Alan Plays (2017). Amazing Thunderjaw Batle! Retrieved at :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1shkGxwz7Ek

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Monster Hunter World: A review on its release and current state.

Monster Hunter World

As someone who started to play Monster Hunter World before any other previous installments, I have to admit that I regret missing out. Being able to fully utilize the means of being a hunter by collecting tracks, materials and other supplements to help you in your hunt, and finally having the showdown between you and the giant monster that you have been relentlessly hunting is a thrill that I could have experienced for days on end.

Monster Hunter World was amazing when it first came out. Sure it had its downsides such as having a (personally) slow introduction, with tutorial boxes popping up almost every second. It did help me, but there were times where I thought that “this is pretty obvious, did they really need to show this?” and found my time to be wasted.

BUT. That does not sway the fact that once the game gets you rolling, it is an experience that is worth writing about. I’ve never felt more of a beast than when I first got through my “wall” monster; Anjanath.

And with no prior experience with other Monster Hunter games, I had to fully rely on practice and preparation. Anjanath was capable of mass damage and fast hits. Its special attack, a fire breath that is able to dish out a one-shot kill (but not all the time, if you were prepared enough!) was the bane of my existence. However, I stood my ground and with enough training in my hands, I eventually slew the beast (and that felt sooo good to do, and say).

The rest of the game was just extraordinary. I mean, discovering a new map, and finding new monsters was such an uplifting moment as they held new armor pieces and weapons to craft. I was a big fan of the Dual blades due to its fast hits and mobility. But after a while, flying monsters such as the Legiana entered the scene. So ranged weapons were something that I had to try. And it was at this moment that I fell in love with the Bow. Not to mention, fully crafting Legiana’s armor and pursuing that sweet sweet Bow Charge Plus ability. I felt unstoppable, more or less.

MHW - Bow.jpg

I eventually came to the end game, where Tempered Monsters were introduced. It is essentially a beefed up version of an existing monster and beating these versions granted better rewards, such as Streamstones and Decorations, accessories that we could use to strengthen specific abilities such as Attack or Defense (or both!)

The problem that I feel Monster Hunter World has, is not entirely its lack of end-game content as Capcom is consistent in providing us with various events, but the quality of it.

Yes. If you have been playing Monster Hunter World, then you likely already have an idea of what I’m talking about; Arch-Tempered Monsters.

Now, we’ve had great additions to the game at the beginning that attached a sense of quality. For instance, Deviljho was the first addition, which provided a meaningful challenge for players. Its brute strength and vitality meant that those who were even slightly unprepared for the battle would prove to be Deviljho meat in mere seconds.

MHW- Deviljho

Another wonderful end-game monster was the introduction of Kulve Taroth, the golden-coated giant lizard monster that required 16 hunters to beat.. This was one of my favorite additions to the game as it not only provides you with the slickest and powerful armor sets, but also the chance to gain an insanely punishing weapon through the drops (and also some fairly bad weapons, but you can always sell them for a quick cash grab) that are required to be appraised afterward.

MHW - Kulve Taroth

Then comes the beautiful Lunastra, the luscious blue mate of Teostra that tortures her opponents with blazing damage over time.

MHW - Lunastra

The introduction of Arch-Tempered Monsters seemed promising at first; delivering stronger versions of Elder Dragons, crafting new armor sets from them, with bigger and better moves from the monsters as a challenge to boot.

Though, it seems as if there hasn’t been much justice done for these monsters.

The first issue is its change, being that there is a lack thereof. They are definitely stronger and healthier, packing a bigger punch than their Regular-Tempered versions, but that’s it. there is little to no change in its moveset. There are some alterations with some monsters, though because the difficulty is now moved higher than the Tempered-versions of these monsters, it is quite difficult to notice.

In fact, Vaal Hazaak probably has the most notable change, in which his “sleeping” pit is now located at the river below his nest, rather than his nest. Sure, the damage will be dealt for those that are fighting him at close range, but it can also be EASILY countered with a simple potion or even a change to a ranged weapon.

As well as this, they do also have new armor that hunters can craft. However, DarkHero Gaming also points out the issue with the new “Gamma armor set” that is provided, in that these armor sets are not even “game-changing” to say the least. They are simply a different version of their existing armor set.

In addition to this, we are consistently being showered with Layered armor sets. I can somewhat get behind it, as we have been getting some pretty bad-ass looking layered armor sets. However, that alone does not make me want to play the game’s end in its entirety.

The sense of quality that something like the Tempered versions of monsters bring about to the game is not the same as what AT monsters delivers. In fact, it just seems lesser than. Especially when Capcom even promised us that they would bring continuous content for Monster Hunter World after its release.

Now I can also understand that they had other priorities to worry about as well. Including the game’s release on PC, and also updating the game with events available for consoles. But I just can’t help but think the console players are also being neglected with what they were promised.

New monsters have yet to be released, and with the most recent addition of an AT Zorah Magdaros, and a hopeful release for the last AT Elder dragons Xenojiva and Nergigante, I sincerely wish that Capcom brings about their A-game for the rest of the year.

Heck, even a paid DLC with new monsters and possibly even a new area would be fantastic. I am grateful for the free content, but if Capcom wants the game to be continuously played, then they have to do more than this.

Fingers crossed for a surprise content release for Christmas or New Year.

I am an aspiring writer that seeks to build a blog for various gaming content. Any criticisms or tips to improve my writing, style or content use, please let me know! Any suggestion is welcome, help a beginner writer out!  

-Lo Star Gaming

Sources:

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Anjanath

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Bow+Charge+Plus

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Legiana

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Streamstone

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Decorations

https://monsterhunter.fandom.com/wiki/Tempered_State

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Kulve+Taroth

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Deviljho

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Teostra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGgB54xwROM (Arch Tempered Monsters Rant – DarkHero Gaming Channel, 2018)

https://monsterhunterworld.wiki.fextralife.com/Diver+Alpha+Armor+Set

God of War: What could come next?

This post contains heavy spoilers for God of War, 2018. If you care about spoilers and haven’t finished the game, it’s best that you don’t read on!

So I just recently finished the most recent God of War on PS4 (twice – the second on the new game plus mode. Sooooo good) and obviously had a blast playing it through the end. From Kratos’ attempt at parenting to the surprising announcement of Atreus’ true nature as Loki. Every bit of scenery was mesmerizing, and I always found myself in awe at every encounter. So with that in mind, what could come next in this franchise? How could Kratos and Atreus’ story unfold further? I’d like to discuss the possibilities and directions that God of War could take on their next game, as well as a small wishlist of what’s to come.

Freya’s vengeance: 

Towards the game’s end, we have a 3-way brawl with Kratos (and Atreus/Loki), Baldur and his mother, Freya. While Freya only tries to ease the fight between her son and Kratos, there were also times when she would intervene their fight by force by casting magics such as disabling their movement. The fight ultimately ends with Kratos finally ending Baldur’s life.

God of War- Kratos kills Baldur“The cycle ends here. We must be better than this.”

So after an all-round EPIC fight (seriously, an undead giant VS the World Serpent is nothing short of an epic battle, even just for a few seconds), Freya curses Kratos and threatens him, detailing her plan to parade his “cold dead body, from every corner, of every realm” and feed his soul to the “vilest filth in Hel”.

With this in mind, it seems inevitable that God of War’s sequel will include Freya as, at the very least, one of the more major bosses to be in the game. It’s also not hard to imagine. I mean, if you look at the final boss fight, Freya has the most capabilities when comparing the three. The ability to manipulate dead giants only serve to show us a potential mass-scale boss fight like in previous entries.

Not to mention her title as the “Queen of the Valkyries” detailed by the secret boss Sigrun. Yes, if you’ve tried that boss fight, you know what sort of trouble Kratos has gotten himself into. And the fact that Freya is the queen of these entities will be a definite challenge for our God of Anger and Violence.

This would definitely go to my wishlist. There’s nothing more dangerous for Kratos than a brokenhearted mother seeking revenge for her murdered son. EVEN MORE SO when she can freely control the will of nature and the Queen of the Valkyries. Yeah, Kratos has a lot on his hands. And I can’t wait to see it!

Baldur’s Death

If you’re like me and played God of War without any knowledge of Norse Mythology, chances it intrigued you enough to read about it. Whether it is to read about the origins of each god and places or to see the comparison of the game’s story and the mythology itself.

With all this, it seems like Baldur’s death has a significant impact on the whole world of Norse Myth. According to Norse Mythology, the death of Baldur was actually a “presage of Ragnarok” 

If anyone noticed after the end of the game, Mimir mentions (when Kratos and Atreus goes to spread Frigg’s ashes on top of Jotunheim) that someone was “bickering about the weather”, with the development of the game having a slightly stronger snowy weather.

There is also the suggestion that Baldur may be given a chance for life again. In Norse Myth, the god Hermod offers to travel to Hel in order to retrieve what could remain of Baldur. The god Hel agrees to provide Baldur’s soul back, on the condition of all life to weep for Baldur, and if even just one refuses, then the deal is off. Surprisingly enough, Loki disguised as another being refuses to offer his tears, and therefore Baldur’s soul is forever condemned within Hel.

The game could take a different turn with this section of the myth, which is something I’m looking forward to.

Maybe Kratos is visited by Odin, who is asked to retrieve Baldur, and blackmails him by kidnapping Loki? Or it could be an interesting idea to do a switch, a weaker Kratos is abducted and now the player is able to play as an older and stronger Loki? So many can be done, so here’s my hoping for something like this to happen.

Thor

God of War - Thor reaveal

This.

I, for sure, cannot wait for a showdown between Kratos/Atreus and Thor. With Marvel’s (and the original myth’s) take on Thor being an all-mighty and all-honorable figure for all of Midgard, it will be such a refreshing sight to possibly see him as a threat to our two protagonists.

C’mon. Tell me I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t SLIGHTLY disappointed that we didn’t see someone with the likes of Thor or Odin show as bosses or NPCs in the game? Other than some references, which only urged the desire to see them! But seeing that secret ending only made me more ecstatic, as it assured me that Thor is in fact in the game and will likely be seen in the next installment.

I can picture it already. Kratos and Thor, fiercely staring at each other, with Atreus by his father’s side, and Thor’s trusty hammer ready to aid him. After an intense staredown both quickly reach for their weapon, and rush towards each other with immense speed. Kratos attempts an overhead swipe with his Leviathan ax (or maybe a new weapon we may see), with Atreus showering their enemy with his arrows. Meanwhile Thor, despite his stature, dodges the projectiles with ease and hits Kratos’ ribcage with Mjolnir. The devastating and critical impact, sends him flying. Kratos barely gets up from the hit and prepares for his counter. The battle, therefore, begins…

…Okay, I might have gotten a little carried away there. Taking creative writing classes is starting to take its toll, but you get the idea. A battle between these two would be a sight to see. I’m putting all my trust in Cory!

Atreus/Loki

When I went through the game until the final boss, I kept wondering when I could finally get a glimpse of Loki. Thor and Odin had been given a well-deserved reputation, it seemed like. So I thought to myself “shit if they’re this bad then I can’t imagine how evil Loki could be”. The ol’ switcheroo that they devs did sure made for an exciting plot twist!

The reveal of Atreus being Loki was definitely the biggest surprise that I was shown. I figured the mention of Thor kind of cushioned my shock in seeing the secret ending. But showing Loki on the good side affected me more than anything in the game.

Playing as Loki isn’t too much of a stretch. We can sort of play as him anyway, utilizing his hunting capabilities with his bow and arrow to stun enemies. Heck, we can even upgrade and buy new armor for him to add more flair for his character. His potential is even shown when they are ambushed by Modi, to which he starts to use his Spartan Rage.

God of War- Atreus uses Spartan Rage

Looking at Loki’s original powers in the mythology can also add a variety of possibilities they can add to the game. From his shapeshifting to trickster reputation, and the extension of his Spartan rage, I can see nothing short of Loki turning himself into a raging bull that is enraged with Spartan energy. Epic.

What would you like to see in the next game?

Let me know below! We can discuss and fangirl at the same time.

I am an aspiring writer that seeks to build a blog for various gaming content. Any criticisms or tips to improve my writing, content style or content use, please let me know! Any suggestion is welcome, help a beginner writer out! =) 

-Lo Star Gaming

Media used:

Overwatch’s new hero; Ashe.

Ashe and Bob

Introduction

So here it is! The long-awaited Hero 29 has now come into reality (in Overwatch) as expected by many fans. Many speculations were made as to who it could be, but it seems that many were left surprised by the reveal of Elizabeth Caledonia Ashe at Blizzcon.

The badass and witty gunslinger, and founding member of the Deadlock gang, Ashe brings a hefty arsenal at her disposal to bring down her enemies (mainly McCree, watch the short here!), with the help of her trusty Viper rifle, and trustier big Omnic butler, or B.O.B.

Abilities

The Viper: “You wanna try me?” 

Say hello to the Viper, a semi-automatic rifle and Ashe’s main weapon. This particular gun has two firing modes; its primary hip fire and secondary aimed fire. The hip fire has a faster rate of shots, although its damage is far weaker than the Viper Rifle’s aimed fire. The zoomed shots from the rifle hits with a much more devastating damage and precise accuracy. The ammo capacity is limited with 12 bullets, but its weakness would probably come from its reload speed, as Ashe manually reloads each point of ammo.

Coach Gun: “Back off!” 

Ashe’s secondary weapon, the Coach Gun, is a sawed-off shotgun that is able to deal damage whilst also knocking back enemies at a fairly adequate distance from Ashe.  Another cool feature that can be used from this ability is a jump boost that can make Ashe reach to high ground, or let her get away from surrounding enemies when she’s in trouble. Ashe can also perform a jump shot by using her Coach gun, propelling herself upwards and use her aimed shot from her Viper Rifle to make some amazing headshots, similar to Widowmaker’s use of her rope ability. So if she’s ever in a pickle, this is the way to go.

Dynamite: “Now that gets the blood pumpin'” 

One of the coolest abilities to be added to the game, in my opinion. The Dynamite ability is basically a time bomb that can be thrown. Once it explodes, it damages the enemies but also including Ashe and her allies. Another feature that can help with the use of Dynamite is the ability to shoot it for an earlier and more deadly explosion. So positioning and timing are crucial to use this ability, as mastering it can be an important and extremely useful asset for Ashe’s set.

B.O.B: “B.O.B! Do somethin’!” 

Ashe’s ultimate ability and definitely one of the more interesting ults I’ve seen for the entire game is calling out for her big-omnic-butler companion to help her out of sticky situations. B.O.B comes by, rushing towards enemies and providing damage support. Once he gets in contact with them, he flings them in the air and attacks them with his built-in handgun to fire a barrage of bullets towards enemies. Also, something worth noting, when B.O.B is able to fling enemies up, they will have no control for movement whilst in the air (beneficial for those aimed shots). As well as this, B.O.B can also be buffed, debuffed, pinned, put to sleep etc. as if he is a separate hero, so it is ideal to combo him with other support heroes.

Gameplay/First Impressions 

Now, I’ve not exactly had the opportunity to play her in the PTR as I have no access to a PC. So any opinions and views that I have, please take with a grain of salt.

But from what I’ve observed in Ashe’s gameplay from video to video, her impact in the game will be mass in the hands of a skilled player, (which truthfully, can go with any other hero) to the point that she may need some nerfing to balance her abilities. Of course, with every character, comes with their counters and weaknesses.

As Gaming Curios mentions in his gameplay impressions of Ashe, tanks such as Wrecking Ball and Zarya are quite good counters for her as Wrecking Ball’s shield and mobility can overcome her damage capabilities, and because of her output, Zarya’s shield can also one-up Ashe by charging her shield with her shots and dynamite.

I can also see Winston counter her well with the right person playing him on a one-on-one duel. With Winston’s immense and easy-to-control mobility, he has a good chance of catching an Ashe off guard by flanking.

Support heroes could become easy victims for Ashe due to their squishy health. Certain abilities of particular heroes, such as Brigitte’s shield bash, Ana’s sleep dart and Lucio’s “boop” are good counters for her, however. I would say Brigitte would be more at a disadvantage when facing Ashe, as her dynamite and Brigitte’s movement speed can easily destroy her, even with her Inspire ability activated. With Lucio’s speed and wall climbing, and the duration of Ana’s Sleepdart, both heroes can make an escape with ease, or damage Ashe on the run.

It is quite difficult to identify which DPS heroes could counter her as Ashe’s initial gameplay make her devastating enough to counter enough of the damage characters. Ashe works better fighting at mid-range, between a backline healer/DPS and main tank, her playstyle can become very difficult to counter. Some exceptions include a fairly obvious Deflect from Genji, especially when Ashe utilizes her dynamite to inflict some DoT. I can also imagine Sombra’s Hack to be a frustrating counter; hack Ashe, she’s unable to escape, Sombra stays close so Ashe’s damage output is cut down, Sombra can get an easy kill.

Be that as it may, I am quite excited to try her out on release. Her abilities are definitely going to be a challenge to utilize properly and efficiently. But I’m certain that mastering her will be a rewarding task.

What do you guys think? Do you think she’s a good DPS character to add to the selection? Do we need another sniper-esque character or can Ashe be an exception because of her abilities? Let me know!

(Once her release rolls around, I will make a full review on her part. As practical experience makes for better-rounded views)

I am an aspiring writer that seeks to build a blog for various gaming content. Any criticisms or tips to improve my writing, content style or content use, please let me know! Any suggestion is welcome, help a beginner writer out! =) 

-Lo Star Gaming

Videos used:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKYVvPNhRR0 (“Reunion” by Play Overwatch, 2018)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVc5p_02FpY&t=203s (“NEW HERO ‘Ashe’ Gameplay ft Jeff Kaplan and Emongg” by TheFattenedSausage, 2018)
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRFyB7-5TBw (“ASHE IS ACTUALLY SO BROKEN!!! – Ashe Gameplay [New Overwatch Hero]” by Gaming Curios, 2018)

Lostar Gaming Introduction

 

God of War Controller

Thanks for joining me!

I would like to mainly improve my writing and its readability with the use of this blog. With that, I chose to write about gaming as it is something that can bring a sense of enthusiasm for me. I’ve been playing games since I was just a child, and I know a lot of you reading may have done so, too.

So because of this, I feel that writing about games, its content and updates, reviewing the latest and most controversial moments, will make writing a fun experience for me.

So with that out of the way, if you happen to stumble upon this page, please take some time to read some of my upcoming articles. If you’d like, leave me a suggestion or any type of criticism to help improve anything that needs improving! Any is welcomed and I would be so grateful.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and have a pleasant day!

Lostar Gaming.

 

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