Horizon Zero Dawn is out, and from what I’ve played of it so far, it’s pretty awesome! Guerrilla Games appear to be much better at creating fantastic open-world romps filled with robot dinosaurs than making fairly generic first-person shooters. You can check out the game’s opening scenes in the gameplay video from earlier this week, but if you’re jumping into this brave new world yourself, here are five quick little Horizon Zero Dawn tips to help you get started.
Tweak your visual options
There are one or two things you should switch off right at the start. The first is the full HUD. This game is gorgeous, and demands to be enjoyed visually. To that end, switch to the dynamic HUD, customise it to your liking, or turn it off completely. You’ll be able to bring it back up again at the tap of the touchpad, so don’t worry. With the dynamic HUD, things will only pop up when you need them, so that’s great. Just let your eyes drink in the sumptuous vistas of this new world.
The second thing you should do immediately is turn off dynamic pathfinding. Basically, the game will deliver waypoints designed to get you back on track to the selected mission. However, with dynamic pathfinding on, it’ll continuously adapt those waypoints to where you are on the map, trying to get you back to a well-beaten path instead of just telling you where your objective is. If you’re anything like me, and skip into the wilderness at the first opportunity, this is the last thing you’ll need. Turn it off, and cut cross-country for shortcuts.
Invest in stealth early on
Horizon might look like an action-packed sandbox, but it’s really a super-expansive stealth game. Imagine Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed having a baby…with a robo-dino midwife?? Never mind. The point is that you’re going to be sneaking around and taking out mechanical monsters from long grassy areas quite a bit. Thus, it’s important to invest in skills wisely. Silent Strike should absolutely be the first thing that you buy, but also consider splurging on Concentration (aiming slo-mo) and Lure Call (an Ass Creed-style whistle) early on as well. Sticking Watchers in the eyes and attracting the attention of enemies so you can shank them from the shadows will be much easier.
I mentioned Tomb Raider before, and that’s because, just as with Lara’s adventuring, Aloy is good at turning organic scrap into useful items. So pick up everything that you find, loot every machine corpse that you can, and spend some points on the Gatherer and Scavenger abilities. These skills will ensure that you gain more goodies from your foraging. Unlocking Disarm Traps will also mean that you can pick up pesky devices that might otherwise be used against you, and set them for your foes.
However, you should save some points for the Herbalist skill, which doubles the capacity of your medicine pouch. Yes, you can carry health potions, but the medicine pouch is your best friend, and herbs for it are plentiful (and free). Save up a couple of level points and increase its capacity as early as you can…it’s well worth it. The same goes for your resource satchel.
Be smart when it comes to Fast Travelling
Fast Travel is not free in Horizon Zero Dawn. You’ll unlock a plethora of points on your map by strolling up to campfires and pressing Triangle, but you’ll need to use a Fast Travel Pack to zip between them. However, some vendors do sell a Golden Fast Travel Pack, which will allow you to Fast Travel at will. All you’ll need is a bunch of shards, some fatty meat, and a fox skin to buy it. Then, simply track down a merchant with the crosshair symbol, and that’s it!
I would say, though, that it’s worth ignoring Fast Travel completely early on. You’ll earn a lot more XP, and you’ll have a much better time, if you just pick a direction and have a wander. Guerrilla have created a world filled with things to see and do and hunt. Make the most of it.
Have the Jurassic Park soundtrack on in the background
Don’t get me wrong, the soundtrack to this game is fantastic. It’s really good. But, just as Ace Combat comes alive when you’re dogfighting to Kenny Loggins, so too does Horizon Zero Dawn take on a whole new level of awesomeness with John Williams doing his thing. Climb up a Tallneck to the Jurassic Park main theme and tell me I’m wrong.
*Spoilers* I’m not.
Also let me know what Horizon Zero Dawn tips you guys have found super useful. I’ll have a review coming (relatively) soon!