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April 6th, 2017

NOTE: Although I have done my very best to avoid all spoilers, I cannot guarantee that there aren't things in this article that some would consider minor spoilers for the story of Horizon: Zero Dawn. So consider this a MINOR SPOILER WARNING.

My sweetie got me a copy of Horizon: Zero Dawn a couple of weeks ago, and I have been enthralled with it from the moment I put it in my PS4 and started playing. The writing is top-notch, the graphics are incredibly beautiful, and the game play is challenging without being brutal. But the thing that both impresses and entrances me the most is the protagonist, Aloy.

When most people think of action RPG main characters, what usually comes to mind is either the bland but still masculine dude (like Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution or Nathan Drake of the Uncharted series) or the hypercompetent, hypersexualized woman (like Lara Croft of Tomb Raider* or the eponymous PC in Bayonetta). Certainly there are exceptions—for instance, Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher series is certainly masculine, but no one would call him bland; and Samus Aran of Metroid is almost always completely covered in battle armor—but the stereotypes are strong enough that it's often hard to see past them.

Aloy, however, is a particularly noteworthy exception, for many reasons. Here are five of them:Collapse )

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