The Cut may just be among the, if not the most colourful area of the game. Of course, likely not as an absolute number - if you analyse all the various colours in a given area of the map, I'm sure the Sacred Land would do better, or even the Jewel, if you're so generous to grant different shades of green a colour status.
But despite - or rather, because - the ubiquitious white of the snow, each colour is highlighted so much more, and has a vibrancy to it that might not be uncommon in the game (especially if you like to play with the vibrant setting in photo mode) but is often not as apparent as here.
The Banuk themselves are a colourful people, as ensured by Luc de Haan according to The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn, dyeing their clothing in vibrant blues and yellows and cyans, a stark contrast to Nora or Oseram colour schemes. The inspiration for these colours is found all throughout the Cut, and likely also in Ban-Ur.
Past the Glarebreak, sandwiched between a Stormbird and just too many Thunderjaws, lies Free Heap, one of the few Oseram settlements in the game. True to Oseram fashion, there's not much left in the form of trees, giving the area it's own, almost ravaged feel. (Or maybe it is because every time I finally make it there, I was ravaged by either Thunderjaws or the Stormbird, although I've always felt Stormbirds were less of a challenge, as they need more time to compose themselves after being frozen compared to Thunderjaws, that mostly just shake it off and charge again.)
Most notably about the area however is the "heap", the scrap pile the settlement subsists on when it's not overtaken by a bandit clan and Scrappers, or they're not chasing down a herd of Behemoth in the pursuit of cables and young love.
It's also the first look at the Oseram cannon that becomes so useful during the final battle, and I do wonder - a friend rushed through her NG+ right upon finishing her first playthrough, focusing only on story missions, and was therefore able to answer the question whether the Oseram cannons are still there if you don't meet Petra at all. They are, since they seem to be so integral to the gameplay at that stage, but does it make a difference if you completed her quest, other that she comes to join the final fight? Petra tells Aloy the Oseram cannons that helped liberate Meridian - presumably the ones you use in that final battle - were a prototype to what she was working on in Free Heap (at least that is what I took from "this one's mother"), so I assumed the reason why there is no perceivable difference between her Free Heap model and the ones you use in Meridian is due to her improving on them/building new ones. So, if you never meet her, are those cannons somehow less effective? Is their aiming slightly more off? Do they differ in any way?
I might also just, once again, be putting too much thought into this.
#horizon zero dawn #sundom#free heap#photo mode#virtual photography #so i love petra #who doesn't really #but there's this one line that's eluding me #the very well struck #i've only seen it in compilations on yt #and apparently it's before the battle in meridian #which makes sense #but how come i've never seen it but exhausted all her dialogue options?