Horizon Zero Dawn's protagonist Aloy seems to be cropping up everywhere lately. For one thing, after Horizon Zero Dawn rocketed to fame thanks to its overwhelmingly positive reception, Aloy has become a major face of Sony's brand, appearing in tons of PlayStation-related advertising. For another, she's venturing out into other games. For instance, Fortnite fans recently got an Aloy skin, allowing her to rub shoulders with tons of classic pop culture characters like Marvel superheroes and Star Wars' biggest heroes and villains. Only the latest of Aloy's growing repertoire of guest appearances is her new venture into Genshin Impact, the extremely popular open-world action RPG from Chinese developer miHoYo.
Aloy's Genshin Impact appearance is especially remarkable because she's becoming a collectible playable character. Far from just a Horizon Zero Dawn skin, Aloy comes with a totally unique kit based on her abilities and fighting style from the Horizon series. Genshin Impact and Horizon Zero Dawn may both be action RPGs, but they're completely different games in terms of everything from core gameplay mechanics to art styles to story design. Even so, Aloy happens to fit into Genshin Impact pretty well thanks to its elemental damage system and Bow weapon specialty. Looking closely at Aloy's moves in Genshin Impact, fans can tell that miHoYo is well aware of Aloy's many talents.
Aloy's Mastery of the Bow
Throughout Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy picks up all kinds of interesting weapons. For instance, Aloy can get slings that launch several unique bomb types, as well as Tripcasters and Netcasters that Aloy can use to snare and impair her enemies, giving her the advantage in combat. Horizon Zero Dawn thoroughly rewards players for mastering and utilizing each of these weapons. However, there's no weapon of Aloy's that's more reliable than her bow. Bows are Aloy's main means of dealing damage in Horizon Zero Dawn. They come with all kinds of ammo types that reinforce Aloy's master of archery as her core combat competency.
With that in mind, there's no Genshin Impact weapon type that makes more sense for Aloy than Bows. She is in fact a bow character, coming with normal and charged attacks that let players choose between rapid-fire and precision, something that Horizon Zero Dawn players often have to choose between as well. Aloy does notably carry a spear around, meaning she could've been a Polearm character, but the spear isn't quite as important to her character. Aloy is a master of ranged weapons of all kinds, so it's only natural that she picks up Bows in Genshin Impact.
Applying Genshin Impact's Elements to Aloy
Aloy's design in Genshin Impact also reflects the importance of elemental damage types in both games. In Horizon Zero Dawn, players have to make the most of all kinds of different damage types. Each machine has its own weaknesses and resistances to various damage types, and it's up to Aloy to apply each damage type effectively. Freeze is a particularly valuable damage type. Once Aloy builds up enough Freeze on an enemy, they'll slow down and suffer greatly increased damage from all of Aloy's other attacks.
That powerful impact of Freeze is a large part of why Aloy is a Cryo character in Genshin Impact. miHoYo's RPG is particularly fond of elemental damage types, introducing tons of unique effects that trigger when players apply two different elements to an enemy. Aloy supplies Cryo damage to Genshin Impact teams in ways that are reflective of her unique origins. Unlike most other Genshin Impact characters who have magical abilities, Aloy uses technology, throwing Power Cells and Freeze Bombs at her enemies while pelting them with arrows. Just like in Horizon Zero Dawn, once Aloy hits an enemy with enough Cryo damage, she'll get a major damage boost that'll help her finish them off.
Horizon Zero Dawn's Hunting and Gathering
Interestingly, Horizon Zero Dawn's combat isn't all that inspired Genshin Impact's depiction of Aloy. As a wilderness survivor, Aloy has a knack for living off the land. Much of her ammunition and other equipment is created by harvesting materials from plants and animals. For instance, Aloy's healing potions are brewed with meat that Aloy can find by hunting all kinds of small animals that run around Horizon Zero Dawn's landscape. Between crafting and healing, Aloy has some important reasons to be a good hunter.
Notably, Genshin Impact also cares about food and encourages players to hunt. Genshin Impact has a cooking system that includes unique recipes for each playable character; players are encouraged to scavenge ingredients from the wilderness to create valuable consumable items. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that Aloy's Genshin Impact incarnation has a Utility Passive that makes it easier for her to approach animals that produce various kinds of valuable meat. In other words, aside from possessing some serious DPS, Aloy is a valuable source of consumable items.
Setting a Precedent for Future Aloy Appearances
Aloy's transition into a Genshin Impact character seems to have gone very smoothly. In spite of its many gameplay differences, Genshin Impact has perfectly adapted a great many of Aloy's core competencies into unique and useful abilities. She's a solid bridge between Genshin Impact's fantasy combat and Horizon Zero Dawn's sci-fi and survival elements. If miHoYo can so successfully reinterpret Aloy's skillset, one wonders if other studios could do the same thing. Maybe one day Aloy will star in a new PlayStation All-Stars title or feature as a guest in a Super Smash Bros game that makes broader use of her other weapons.
For now, though, Aloy's appearance in Genshin Impact is more than satisfactory and a good sign of what could be next for her. Guerrilla Games' Horizon series is only getting bigger, meaning there's sure to be more Aloy crossovers and cameos down the line. The core Horizon series certainly benefits from Aloy's voyages into other games, too. With Horizon Forbidden West only months away, her appearance in Genshin Impact is a fantastic way to advertise for the new game. Sony doesn't seem like it'll stop using Aloy as a brand ambassador anytime soon. It's just a matter of waiting and seeing what kind of adventure she goes on next.
Horizon Zero Dawn is available now for PC and PS4.