What a long, strange trip it’s been.
As of end of July (started very early July 2020), I have officially passed every Generation Zero story missions and I think 35 of 48 Side Missions. I started I think July 3rd, with relatively limited game time except on weekends. Trophies I am missing are; Fashionista, Kill 15 Tanks, Kill 15 Harvesters, Kill an enemy from 300 yards away, equip a 5 Star Weapon with all 5 star mods, have two different characters with active specializations.
EDIT: Also missing the “loot something while wearing an eyepatch” and “collect all different collectibles” trophies.
I have not had a game experience Like this in a looong time. Sure, by close to the end of the game I felt a BIT tough and not as squishy, but it wasn’t until finding 3 Command Bunkers that I managed to gather up enough courage to go out and successfully kill a Hunter. Ok, hmmm, I guess I did try to kill a couple Hunter rivals back in the Archipelago region, but they beat me down and put me off fighting Hunters for quite some time. And wow, what a GREAT feeling that was, seeing that first Hunter explode by my hand!
Also, randomly joining a multiplayer game in my first couple days of playing and seeing some God-like higher level player take down 2 Tanks and a bunch of Hunters at a Church in the Farmlands while I cowered inside said Church and died over and over again to various wall-piercing machine attacks gave me hope that even the biggest machines could actually be killed. The host was kind enough to let me loot it all before ending the session.
I have a ton of respect for the GZ devs making this game so non-handhold-y (especially in original release where someone told me they didn’t even have mission or objective markers!) and tense and fearful and paranoia inducing and bloody HARD. And I got in after the machines got made hyper aggressive and hard hitting, according to many posters on here and elsewhere. I was immediately drawn to both the atmospheric beauty of the pristine Swedish rugged / pastoral landscape, lit by those INCREDIBLE atmospheric effects, AND wanting to find out just what was going on with these scary and amazingly cool / brutal looking machines.
Never before have I died so often in a shooter (or any other type of game, really), but also, never have I felt so driven to survive to the next location / safehouse, sneaking past (or NOT sneaking past!), dying, and trying again, oh so very many times.
To be completely honest, I almost quit playing the game for good out of frustration a couple times. Especially after I left starter island and realized that almost every house and bunker and building in the game was basically identical, with identical things and objects aside. I am still so annoyed by this fact that I may not get my Platinum trophy simply because I don’t know if I can take however many potentially dozens of hours of randomly opening loot containers it will require to get the Fashionista trophy.
Also, at that point, I felt like I just couldn’t kill ANYTHING other than Doggos with my little 1 star MEWL-er Pistol (intentionally misspelling as it was weak as a mewling baby) and my sad little MEWL-er hunting rifle. The world also got so HUGE and open-ended after Starter-ville that I had no idea where to go and kept dying on random journeys out into the wild.
That was my closest almost quit.
Luckily I had a close buddy who I told about the game after I bought in who then purchased it sight unseen on my recommendation and he became OBSESSED with it (sadly, he is on XBox and I am on PS4 so we could not play together). He took some time off work and passed the entire game on Skirmish, deleted his character, and started fresh on Guerilla, in one crazy 3 day session.
He told me what really helped him early game was finding a map online that showed every Safehouse location and he would just go from one Safehouse to another looting and exploring and killing when he could along the way.
So I started doing this, finding safehouses and gathering resources and finding command bunkers and killing enemies for scanner codes and doing side missions along the way. My main combo became AG 4 with extended mag, barrel augmenter, and a normal / low light / X Ray vision module 4-8 scope and the semi auto shotty with a shotgun choke (am I wrong In thinking that the semi auto shotty can’t take any attachments other than a shotgun choke or silencer?), and I would situationally swap out the shotty with a PVG or an M49. By game’s end I had 4 stars of all my guns and attachments, a 5 star M49, a 5 star Klauke pistol, and various 5 star attachments. I never found an 8-16 rifle scope, or a 3 in 1 vision module (normal sight doesn’t count, right?). No experimental weapons either.
I worked through South Coast, Farmlands, Forest, North Coast, Mountain, Marshlands. Unlocking each command bunker, discovering safehouses, and doing side missions as I found them. Saved the bunker war board unlock missions for after discovering all region bunkers. I also discovered the joy of finding a Church or other Safehouse with a Tank or Harvester nearby and aggroing the big boys to start them summoning in wave after wave of Hunters & Dogs and just sitting there as far back in the building as possible and killing as many machines as possible (they’d all die in the end it was just a question of how long they’d keep summoning reinforcements in for). I finally ended up specializing in the one that gives you one free revive per combat. I also discovered WAY too late in the game just how effective flares and lures and fireworks can be in causing chaos amongst machine mobs and having them do a lot of your work against each other for you.
All told (and I have no way of knowing the exact number, thanks Playstation) I figure I did somewhere between 100 and 150 hours.
It was an awesome experience, but I AM disappointed about a few things, when all is said and done. And I discussed all these things with that good buddy of mine who got hard into the game as I was.
There are 2 things GZ did perfectly and amazingly and may never be topped for; gorgeously beautiful environments, lighting, and atmospheric effects, and crazy, intense, tactical, brutal, difficult, combat against machines.
As well, the story was an amazing mix of real life historical events and crazy robot apocalypse fiction.
(by the way I’m incredibly grateful to @aesyle for putting together that condensed GZ timeline for those of us who don’t have the time and patience to track down each little detail)
I do wish that they could have (and I realize this would have been pandering and unrealistic) had maybe a little video screen showing a talking character head or something for more of the dialogue in recordings you would find, or maybe even for written stuff. I know this doesn’t make sense as it was 1989 survivors and resisters desperately writing stuff down as they fled or died. I know it wasn’t as easy to take a video on the fly back then. But still. I would have appreciated it.
Also, again, I reiterate, the cookie cutter buildings and interiors really disappointed me. I know they were a small team, but Avalanche isn’t some tiny, threadbare, very limited funds company. But, even in Fallout, Skyrim, what have you, they had that problem as well to a lesser degree…there’s only so much you can do with house and building and vehicle interiors. Especially when you explore as much as I do. And when I realized that easily the best method to get ammo and heals was just by either looting command bunkers or doing a huge robot culling, I kind of stopped going out of my way to loot much at all.
EDIT: I was also disappointed at the shortness and random almost complete lack of enemies due to game spawning them not in bases, mission objective areas, etc, for soooo many missions, especially the final few.
Aside from those fairly minor concerns, though, I absolutely loved (LOVE) this game and it felt sooo good finally being able to start effectively taking the fight to the machines! Thank you all for reading AND for answering my questions along the way!