Over the past few weeks I have been exploring the machine dominated lands of Horizon Zero Dawn. To say that these lands are savage and unrelating is a bit of an understatement. From the first time you take on the role of Aloy you are fully aware that you are not welcome here and that machines rule the earth, not humans!
This world can be quite overwhelming at first, true, the game does give you a tutorial and some basic understanding of what to do, but once you start exploring the world, things can get out of hand rather quickly. So let me give you a few pointers as I list some top beginner tips to surviving Horizon Zero Dawn.
Gathering medical plants
Whilst on your travels, keep your eyes peeled for red plants. These flowers will be scattered around in all sorts of places in the world and are used to fill your medicine pouch. This pouch is used to replenish your health bar, and from experience is more effective than standard health potions. Theses plants are not hard to miss as they will be flagged up on your HUD. Make sure you upgrade your medicine pouch in your skill tree as soon as you can, in order to carry more of that sweet sweet healing nectar.
Use your Focus
Possibly the handiest tool you will ever use in Horizon Zero Dawn, the focus lets you scan the surrounding area, and will flag up any enemies and machine wildlife in the vicinity. What’s more, it will also give you information on each machine you scan including elemental weaknesses, weak points, its patrol route and its level. So if you think you have the capabilities of taking down a Snap maw early in the game, give it a quick scan just to see how out matched you will be. The focus can also be used to tag enemies, just to give you that little bit of extra help when it comes to locating where your soon to be opponents are.
Sneaking and stealth are key
During my first few hours of the game I would run happily around the hills and dales. I learnt quickly that this frolicking attracted a lot of attention and I soon ended up dead. Machines usually roam the world in packs so it is best to keep a low profile whilst in those areas. Should you come across a herd, then make sure you land some sneak attacks as they can do some massive damage and will give you the upper hand. Herds are usually guarded by Watchers so make sure you pick them off with your bow and arrow as they have a nasty habit of alerting all the machines to your location.
Fun Fact: At night, fireflies will swarm around tall grass! This is a great signifier should you need a place to hide.
The Ropecaster and traps are your friends
All guns blazing is never a good idea in this game, I’ve tried it many time and have failed. Make sure you obtain the Tripcaster and Ropecaster as soon as possible (usually bought from a friendly shop keep). The Tripcaster will lay down a handy electrified trip wire at low levels (higher level Tripcasters will come with a variety of different trip wires). This combined with tagging a machines patrol route with your focus can help you take down a machine or 2 in no time.
If however you find yourself one on one with a machine then the Ropecaster will help you subdue the mechanical beast for a time. The Ropecaster fires a rope and automatically pins the machine to the ground. A few shots are needed to bring down the bigger beasts and once pinned, you are able then to go in with a flurry of melee attacks with your spear. Make sure you hit the critical strike when prompted.
Overriding machines can help you a lot
The phrase ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ could not be truer when it comes to Horizon Zero Dawn. On your map you will see ‘Cauldrons’ dotted here and there. These are mini dungeons that once completed will unlock the ability to override certain machines. All you have to do now is find a machine, sneak up and override it by holding down triangle. Overridden machines will then turn on their machines and start slaughtering them. Be warned however, if an over ridden machine kills another machine you will not get the XP for the kill.
You will soon discover that crafting is one of the most important things in Horizon Zero Dawn. You need to craft ammo, traps, potions, inventory space, EVERYTHING! So make sure you loot corpses and be on the look out for supply crates. You will thank me for it.
So there are just some of the top tips to get you started in Horizon Zero Dawn. Next on my personal list is finding the cauldron where I can override a ThunderJaw! I’ve always wanted a robot T-Rex as a pet.