The vast open world Guerrilla Games created for Horizon: Zero Dawn is beautiful and impressive, but it's also filled with dangerous machines that can easily cause you a whole world of pain. That's why we created this guide, which includes 11 tips not only to improve your skills but also to help you enjoy your time more.
1. Hunt the animals
The world of Horizon: Zero Dawn is not only filled with huge mechanical beasts, but it also includes several live animals roaming the wilderness. These animals, including pigs, rabbits, turkeys, foxes, rats, fish, and birds, are not aggressive, and can be easily killed, which you should do, as their resources are very useful. The meat they provide can be used to create health potions, while skins are used to create new containers for the inventory or traded for suits, so there's every reason to hunt.
2. Grab everything not nailed to the floor.
It's not only animals that provide precious resources to survive your time in the game, but there's resources everywhere you look. There are several types of branches and plants scattered around the environment, which can be used to create potions to improve element resistance and arrows, and you will need several plants and branches to create a single unit of arrows or potions, so it's worth foraging as well as hunting.
3. Buy maps
Horizon: Zero Dawn is full of hidden collectibles in the game world, but you don't have to look for them all the old fashioned way. From a certain point in the story, you can buy maps from sellers that will reveal the location of four types of collectibles. These will give you a rough location, but once there you'll have to actually look for the collectible. These items, in addition to providing extra context and information about the game world, can also be sold to specific characters after you arrive at Meridian, the game's major city.
4. Keep a suit of each type
Aloy can purchase a number of suits from vendors, which vary in quality and type. There's a suit better equipped to handle physical attacks, another one that blocks corruption, and even a stealthy one too. You can change suits in the main menu, and you can do so at any time of play, even during fighting (realism is overrated it seems). Try to keep a suit of each type so you're better prepared for any eventuality, as you never know when you'll need something to protect you from the cold.
5. Keep a weapon of each type
Like the suits, there are also several types of weapons, and each includes different purposes. One weapon is ideal for removing pieces from the machines, while another allows you to place traps on the ground, and there's even one that holds enemies to the floor for a few seconds. There are also three types of bows, and each supports different types of ammunition. Keep the weapons of each type, but don't forget to go check the vendors for better versions, and when you buy a better version of something, go ahead and sell the old one.
6. Beware of what you sell
Speaking of selling, be careful what you sell. There are only a bunch of actually useless items in Horizon: Zero Dawn, and these can be identified through their description. These useless items include a single description "can be sold for shards", and serve no other purpose in the game. Having said that, you don't need to hoard everything until the end of the adventure. Items are usually stored in sets of 10, 20, 100 etc. depending on the type. When you have three sets or more from one item type, sell them until you only have two sets, since it's doubtful you'll need more at that point.
7. Study the machines
Killing human enemies, whether in Horizon: Zero Dawn or any other game, is relatively simple - just aim for the head. But to knock down the machines you will need to put in some extra effort. Attacks on the head or body of the machines usually have little impact, and you'll have to use specific tactics to deal with the most demanding machines. After investigating an enemy with Aloy's focus, you can find detailed information about the creature in the pause menu. Then you can study its weaknesses and strengths, what kinds of elements damage them, or what components can seriously harm them, and form a plan of attack with the information you gathered. Much of Horizon: Zero Dawn's combat, especially when you don't know an enemy, is based on trial and error, so don't be afraid to experiment with different tactics.
8. Undertake the tutorial missions
Although it's not really obvious, whenever you pick up a weapon you'll receive a tutorial mission. You can find these missions in the missions menu (who knew?), deep in the categories, but they're certainly worth your while. In addition to offering some interesting challenges to test your weapons, tutorial quests also provide experience points to level up Aloy.
9. Complete the hunting challenges
There are five groups of Hunters scattered around the world of Horizon: Zero Dawn, each with three challenges you must complete within a time limit. Depending on your performance, you'll be classified into three different categories, and when you have enough, you can travel to Meridian to join the hunter's guild and unlock a whole new set of goals, weapons, and quests. Another purpose for these challenges is to fine-tune your own hunting skills, as they offer advice in terms of tactics and techniques.
10. Use L1 to change items
L1 is the button used for real-time weapon selection, but its usefulness is not limited to weapons. When you press L1, the action slows slightly, and you can use this time to select items with directional keys. Because you'll have several items equipped (three types of bombs, three types of health potions, four resistance potions, etc.), it can be tricky to choose the right item when a giant monster is about to eat your face. Press L1, and take advantage of this slowdown to select the desired item.
11. Switch the HUD off
The Horizon: Zero Dawn HUD is intrusive, which is a crime considering how impressive the game world is. Fortunately, the options let you define what kind of information you want available on the screen. Alternatively, you can choose the general dynamic HUD setting, removing the HUD whenever it's not being used. For example, when you point your weapon, the ammunition count will appear, if you receive damage, the health bar will pop up, and so on. A light touch on the touch panel brings up the entire HUD for a few seconds though, if you want a full overview. In our opinion, the dynamic interface is by far the best option to play Horizon: Zero Dawn.
We hope this guide has been helpful to you, and we hope it will provide you with a stronger start on Horizon: Zero Dawn. Soon we will also publish a hunting guide with tactics to take down the most powerful enemies, so stay tuned to Gamereactor.
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