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Horizon Zero Dawn – Complete Edition (inc Frozen Wilds)

Horizon Zero Dawn - Complete Edition
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Without a doubt, Horizon Zero Dawn is still one of the best games I've ever played. Fantastic visuals, great gameplay, incredible story… this is the complete package if anything ever was.

I had some trouble getting a working copy of the Frozen Wilds expansion and eventually did so by getting this "complete edition" which includes the base game and the Frozen Wilds expansion in one. Once I finally was able to play, I started from a new game and enjoyed it just as much times as the first two playthroughs. There were a few new skills, a few new characters, and of course the entire new area with new machines, new contacts, new stories, new collectibles and new challenges.

Story-wise, it perfectly meshes with the existing narrative in a way that makes it seem like a part of the original game – exactly what you'd want for an expansion. It gives some new weapons and armor that seem overpowered by comparison to the base equipment (and even the best options in the main game), but that's ok because the level requirement for Frozen Wilds makes it a good idea to only tackle when you're most of the way through the main story or at least well equipped and experienced. Despite that I still had some trouble with the machines there so fair warning: they're beastly.

The only downside I could point to was the ridiculous arm and neck waggling the characters did in talking scenes. It was like watching someone who mistakenly thought they were supposed to animate power rangers (who can only express emotion through constant flagellation of their bodies). It was out of place compared to the rest of the game, but really is a piss-poor animation style and is out of place anywhere.

I suppose most people wouldn't care as much as I did and I admit it was a very minor annoyance in an otherwise flawless game so I still recommend it. If you like great story-based single-player epics, this is as good as they come.

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Final Fantasy 15 – A beautifully rendered disappointment

Final Fantasy XV - PlayStation 4: Square Enix LLC: Video Games
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For full disclosure, FFX and 7 were my favorites, 9 and 12 were decent, 13 was barely playable, and 8 was my least favorite. If that lineup doesn't match yours, my review may not mean much to you. Fair warning

Final Fantasy XV is, at it heart, "A Jpop Band Tours Yosemite national park". You spend essentially the entire time driving and running back and forth, back and forth almost endlessly through the same terrain and areas. Yes, if you follow the main story over everything else, you see some neat maps and enemies, but the majorty of it is repetitive and far more "80 hours in a car with your family on summer vacation" than actual fantasy.

There's almost no sense of discovery because the game is completely open and you can pretty much see everything from the very start (and have to criss-cross it endlessly because of it – very much like FF8). Combat is moderately interesting, but I never felt like I was building power and capability like what made FF13 finally interesting (and most other FF games of course). As someone who likes to perfect characters and unlock new skills and powers, this game felt like you were only in control of the main character and the rest were pets that you could sometimes switch to when you got bored of Broody-mc-popstar's endlessly repetitive battle style.

The game honestly felt flat and dull. When something really interesting actually happens, you're left wondering why and maybe a little excited to find out, but you're locked out of most of the map and are stuck on a luge heading for the games highly mediocre ending. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that you could get about as much enjoyment from the game by watching other people play it on Youtube for a few weeks as you would from actually playing.

I can see that the Steam version has had some major updates (prominently displayed flying car) which is clearly their attempt to polish a turd. If you think that's good enough (or if the price is so cheap, it's worth it to you to find out for yourself) go for it. Otherwise, there are far, far better games to play.

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Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn - PlayStation 4: Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC: Video Games
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I first became interested in this game when I heard of the concept: bows and spears versus big robot dinosaurs. There's clearly much more to it than that, but I never regretted it playing it. Besides beautiful graphics, and exceptional gameplay, it has one of the best stories I've ever seen. Finding out what happened and how gave me tingles. This is a rare treasure to be sure and I highly recommend giving it a try if you have even a little interest in the descriptions or reviews you've read (click the pic to go to Amazon and learn more if you wish).

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