Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy Shines In New Genshin Impact Crossover

A picture of Horizon Zero Dawn character Aloy pointing her bow at the viewer

Illustration: miHoYo

Aloy deserves to be in the Genshin Impact collaboration and the world it exists in. I’m not just saying that because she’s a great character. I enjoy seeing her thrive in Teyvat, which is kinder to her than her own Earth ever was.

Horizon Zero Dawn’s heroine was released for the gacha game on September 1, along with the major 2.1 update in Genshin Impact. At adventure level 20, players who log in on a PlayStation console can obtain her by heading into their in-game messages. Those who play on a PC or on a mobile device will have to wait for the 2.2 update.

Both Genshin Impact and Horizon Zero Dawn take place in worlds that are shaped by the gods, and both place a heavy emphasis on exploring an unnatural world. However, the world of Horizon Zero Dawn is an unforgivingly harsh place that doesn’t look kindly upon outsiders like Aloy. In contrast, Teyvat, the world in Genshin Impact, is mostly accepting of others, and each nation’s soldiers are tasked with defending those who are too weak to protect themselves. Aloy requires physical and mental strength to survive in her own world. Genshin Impact frees her of that burden.

Despite being a promotional character, Aloy plays rather solidly for a unit that I’ve just started to build. It’s been a few years since I’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn, but I could feel the parallels when I used her ranged attacks. Unfortunately, her own lore also locks her into the bow class. It makes perfect sense for her background as a hunter, but I usually switch my archers out after using their elemental burst attack. The class isn’t known for being popular among most Genshin players, either.

It’s a shame since Aloy is a free five-star character. Five-stars are regarded as the most powerful characters in the game, and their extreme rarity reflects their combat prowess. But it takes an immense amount of resources to max out newly acquired characters, so I can’t experience her full potential right away. I’m quick to switch Aloy out whenever an enemy approaches.

Unless a player has hoarded the resources needed to invest in her immediately, most players are going to struggle with using Aloy in combat. This is because the enemy levels in Genshin Impact are tied to World Level, which increases with the player’s experience. So I stuck with my level 40 Aloy and tried to protect her from being one-shotted by level 78 enemies.

Fortunately, Aloy is still useful. She has cryo abilities, so I used her to set up reactions such as melt, freeze, and superconduct. And since using her in combat is still underwhelming for now, I brought her to the starter area Mondstadt. That was where she really shined. I really enjoy hunting in this game, and her passive ability allowed me to sneak up to unsuspecting animals with anyone in the party. While the Anemo character Sayu shares a similar ability for insects, Aloy’s passive is for animals that specifically drop food, giving her a unique advantage.

Horizon Zero Dawn character Aloy points her bow at a boar roaming the Mondstadt grasslands.

Screenshot: miHoYo

Despite how well-integrated she is as a crossover character, Aloy is still portrayed as an outsider. She currently has no constellation upgrades, a trait only the Genshin protagonist has. Unlike every other recruitable character, she also does not have a favored furniture set.

Even more curiously, Aloy lacks a Cryo Vision despite being an ice bow user. Every recruitable character in Genshin Impact has a Vision to indicate that they were chosen by the gods. While the protagonist is also an outsider who lacks a Vision, they still rely on the blessings of the archons. Aloy gets by just fine with her Predator bow and the ice grenades she uses in her elemental attacks.

Fans of Horizon Zero Dawn don’t have to worry about Aloy’s lore. As far as I could tell, her voice lines and references are pretty faithful to her own game. What did give me pause were some of her dialogue in the Serenitea housing area. She expressed her preference for her old world despite admitting that it was a much more dangerous place to live. But I remember how rough Horizon Zero Dawn was in the early game. Without all of her upgrades, I spent most of my time sneaking around dangerous machines. Aloy doesn’t have to hide as much in a party-based game where her teammates could throw her a shield or heal her if she got injured.

I couldn’t help but think that her younger self wouldn’t have survived in her own world without Rost. Mondstadt, on the other hand, is a place where children can go on adventures without supervision, and people spend more free time on leisure than survival.

As much as Aloy struggled to adjust to Teyvat, it was obvious that she enjoyed staying here. She has a voiced line about how the people in Teyvat are nicer than the Nora who raised her. She sounded joyful when I used her to glide through the wind. She could be a normal girl rather than the savior of humanity. And being someone who could laugh so freely doesn’t disqualify her from being a hero.

As long as her own world wasn’t on fire, Teyvat is exactly where Aloy needs to be.

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