I just finished the game and while I thought the combat was amazing the story kinda left a bad taste. In the beginning it was intriguing, the mystery and scale of it all. But as the plot slowly unraveled it started to feel more and more like a certain other game I played a long time ago. After analyzing the game's story in depth now, I can say the the game's overall plot is an almost one for one retread of the first mass effect game. Fair warning, its a fairly in depth analysis and not for the TLDR kids. Here is my analysis (FULL SPOILERS):
The World/Galaxy is one where life is still only in its budding stages thanks to an extinction level event having wiped out the previous dominant and highly advanced race, the Old ones/Protheans. It is now filled with conflict due to various tribes/races vying for dominance like the Carja,Nora,Banuk / Human,Salarian,Turians.
Aloy/Shepard is a fighter of uncommon mettle and lowly origins that survived a disastrous event (the Proving/Akuze incident) and is chosen by the Matriarchs/Citadel Council to become the Seeker/Spectre, a title that grants special rights, extra freedom and immunity from the more mundane laws of the society, due to Aloy's/Shepards special link to the Old ones/Protheans thanks to contact with the Ruins of the Old ones/Prothean Beacons. Aloy's/Shepard's mission is to uncover the secrets of the past and stop Helis/Saren, who are outlaws wanted for murder and defection.
Aloy/Shepard causes many troubles for Helis/Saren thanks to betrayals by Olin/Benezia (who prove to be unwilling slaves working for the enemy) and help from other tribes/races (Carja/Salarians). After some investigation, they discover Helis/Saren are mere pawns of a far more ancient foe called Hades/Sovereign that has simply appealed to Helis/Saren's ideals by saying what they want to hear and are using them to amass the power and armies (Eclipse/Geth) required to carry out its plans. Helping Aloy,Helis/Shepard,Saren to understand the Old ones/Protheans are the Focus/Cipher that allow them to communicate indirectly with the Old ones/Protheans.
Helis/Saren knows Aloy/Shepard is after the same thing they are after i.e. more Ruins of the old ones/Prothean Beacons and tries to destroy the focus/Cipher before Aloy/Shepard can fully use it. Helis's/Saren's end goal is to obtain the Deathbringers/Conduit, which will make their mission much easier than otherwise. Further investigation and tips from allies lead Aloy/Shepard to the Zero Dawn facility/Virmire Base where they find another Old one Hologram/Prothean Beacon and learn where they need to go next and understand what caused the extinction i.e the Faro Plague/Reapers. They also encounter Helis/Saren here and is almost killed but bailed out by an ally (Sylence/Joker) using Overridden mounts/Normandy.
Aloy/Shepard thus head to All-Mother Mountain/Ilos Prothean Facility which is already overrun by the Eclipse/Geth and meets an ancient AI called Gaia/Vigil which was created by the Old ones/Protheans with the task of guiding the new races and preventing them from making the same mistakes that caused extinction. The Zero Dawn Scientists\Prothean Ilos Scientists survived the extinction and sacrificed themselves in order to aid the future races against the Faro Plague/Reapers. Gaia/Vigil explains that in order to prevent another extinction, Hades/Sovereign must be stopped from getting to the Spire/Citadel Relay, which is its true goal. The Spire/Citadel Relay is an ancient artifact that reactivates and recalls the dormant Faro Plague/Reapers and thus triggers the extinction event all over again.
Using help from multiple Tribes/Races and allies gathered throughout their mission, Aloy/Shepard is able to kill or convince Helis/Saren and stop Hades/Sovereign once and for all.
Needless to say, this rather impacted my experience with the game negatively, and when the Zero Dawn 'twist' was revealed, I could only manage a groan as I just felt it was mass effect all over again.
But what confounded me is how apparently nobody else has discussed about this anywhere on the net, even though I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed this sequence of .... suspicious coincidences. Usually something like this spawns a lot of discussion on reddit and stuff. So what are your thoughts? What did you think about the story? Are you accepting of something like this?