Hold your nerve and take aim with Aloy
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Essential tips to help conquer Horizon Zero Dawn

Aloy’s adventure is bigger than anyone imagined, but our tips will see you through.
Written by Adam Cook
6 min readPublished on
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2017, Guerrilla Games and Sony's Horizon Zero Dawn is a massive game, fit to burst with game mechanics, activities, and mysteries. In fact, we think you'd be hard pushed to get to the end within 30 hours.
It's also a different game than most people expected, meaning that when you pick this PS4 exclusive up, it might be a little much at first. Never fear, though, because with our tips you'll not only be able to tackle whatever's thrown at you, but we've even thrown a few in that will help you get the most out of the game, generally. Read on and you'll be riding mecha-dinos in no time.

Turn off the dynamic HUD

Horizon Zero Dawn is beautiful. Whether you're playing in 1080p or 4K (on PS4 Pro), with or without HDR, this is one of best looking and technically strong games we've seen this generation. So it’s a little strange, then, that developer Guerrilla Games decided to have the default option to have the entire HUD switched on.
We don't mind furniture, but we don't want it on our screen, and with the full user interface on, you're getting about half the screen real estate that you should. Switching it off will let you see the glorious visuals far better, and if you miss the HUD, all you have to do is rest your thumb on the touchpad to bring it back up.

Regularly check your equipment, and upgrade

An early quest will teach you how to hunt real animals (as well as mechanical dinos) in order to gain the required resources to trade for a new outfit. These aren't just cosmetic, and will upgrade Aloy's stats to make her stronger or more resilient to specific elements.
Likewise, weaponry is rated according to rarity (most games use colour to signify rarity and Horizon is no different), and it's easy to lose hours questing before realising you're still using the starting bow to whittle down enemy health at a rate best measured in years. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, by which we mean make sure you've purchased the best weapons and gear you can.
Aloy stalking prey in the new Horizon Zero Dawn video game developed by Guerrilla Games and Sony
Stick to the tall grass and win

This is a stealth game, predominantly

The trailers that have been released for Horizon Zero Dawn suggest an all out action game, and given that the development team is the same as the one behind the Killzone, you'd be forgiven for assuming it was a shooter. While open combat is definitely an option, this is a game that will kill you quickly unless you stick to the bushes, and strike silently. Aim for the weak spots, and don't miss.

Buy the whistle ability

As soon as you can, buy the whistle ability. This does exactly what it says on the tin, but it will only ever target one enemy at a time and draw them toward you, allowing for a stealth kill from the bushes. Use it wisely and often. Rather than jumping out and running around, stick to the shadows and thin the herd one at a time. Sometimes you can clear entire areas like this, but beware: human enemies will find bodies, and you can't move or hide them, so this is best used for your mechanical foes.
A mechanical T-Rex from the new Horizon Zero Dawn video game developed by Guerrilla Games and Sony
They don’t come much bigger than this

The bigger they are, the harder they hit

The temptation to take on a new, big monster is easy to understand. But there are two problems with this: firstly, it's rare to find an enemy on its own. The best laid plans will be ruined if you have a mecha-dino down to half health, only for two of his mates to come round the corner and change the whole situation. Secondly, unless you know exactly what you're doing against this particular foe, you're likely to come unstuck.

Turn off dynamic pathfinding

"What on earth are you talking about?", we hear you cry. Basically, another option that is switched on by default is the dynamic pathfinding. Think of this like a satnav in a car. When you first play, if you run a certain way, pathfinding will switch up and change to get you back on track.
Horizon Zero Dawn is at its best when you are exploring, and finding your own way through the world, but more than that, the dynamic method that changes your objective marker as you move is just plain confusing. It seems to want you to stick to the path, but you're better off roaming through the trees. With the dynamic pathfinding off, you'll always know exactly where your objective is, so get this switched off right away.
Aloy riding an overridden enemy in the new Horizon Zero Dawn video game by Sony
You can even ride enemies, if you override them

Explore and level up

It may seem silly, really, but it's important you don't funnel yourself down the main quest line and forget about the optional errands, hunts, and side quests. Like many action RPGs, there are skills you can unlock, and you're awarded a skill point every time you level up. The side quests may not always be the most exciting, but a few of them will get you a skill point, and some of the skills will give you a longer focus time, meaning you can aim in slow motion for longer.

Don’t worry about fast travel too much

Early on you'll be confused, and like us, probably think that making fast travel a consumable item is just plain mad. Eventually you'll have plenty of materials and money (shards) so that you can buy a fast travel pack any time. Better still, you can find an item from a merchant that gives you infinite fast travel. You know, like every other game does.
Enemy variety in Horizon Zero Dawn
Enemies will group together to cause you trouble

Study your enemy

Each of the enemies in the game have a distinct weakness. Turning on your focus vision will allow you to study each of your foes, and find out which parts of their body you'll want to target. Some are weak to fire, some to ice, but unless you study them, you'll never know, and every fight will be tough. Use your traps and every weapon at your disposal to ensure they never even get close to you.

Take your time

Horizon Zero Dawn is a big game, full of so many things to do. Rush it and you'll miss things. Take your time and explore the optional "cauldrons", side quests that give you access to old world underground lairs that culminate in a boss battle, of sorts. Doing these will gain you new override skills which, in turn, let you reprogram some enemies to fight for you, or let you ride them. There's so much to do so just relax and don't rush it.
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