A Few Tips to Get You Started on Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn has taken over my life, but I’m not complaining. It’s one of the most engaging games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. It’s not perfect, but it has a place in my list of games I want everyone to try. If you’re having a hard time starting, here’s a few tips to help you progress a little bit easier.

1. Look Up

There’s always another way to complete your objective. If you look up and see yellow, you can climb to a higher spot giving you an advantage by sight or attack.

2. Take the time to collect resources and hunt

This is important especially for the more difficult game play. You’ll need the resources to make almost everything that you need from ammo to increasing capacity on all of your items. You’ll also need resources to buy items from Merchants. Consider your resources as money and you want as much of it as possible.

3. Traps, Traps, Traps.

I don’t know how many fights I’ve been able to breeze through just by using traps. If you’re not a fan of traps, definitely try it without them. But if you find yourself on the losing end of the battle over and over, you’ll need to change something up. That change is traps.

It’s pretty safe to assume that once you engage, the enemy will attack you straight on. The best way to set up your traps is to put them in some sort of a straight line depending on what type of attack you’re trying to do. If you want to just blast your way to winning, set up Blast traps in a straight line, stand back, and antagonize your enemy friend. (**Note, the difference between blast traps and detonating blast traps are the detonating traps require damage to explode. My own preference are the proximity damage of the Blast traps, but if you’re stuck in a small area, these will also damage you.)

If you’re going up against an enemy that is weak to shock, place your shock traps, but stay close. You only have a few seconds while they’re incapacitated to run up and do a critical hit.

The hardest part about using traps is dictating how many you’ll need for an encounter. If you place a trap, you’ve lost that trap unless you’ve unlocked ‘Disarm Traps’ in your skill tree – but that probably won’t be until later on in the game. Don’t go too crazy, but make sure that you’re covered either way.

4. Use your focus on LITERALLY everything

I do mean everything. Using your focus will help you find animals to kill, keep track of the enemies around you, and help you find useful things that you’ll need. It also helps identify the robots and their weaknesses so you can plan your next attack. Not walking into a herd of enemies because you’re not paying attention is something that you kind of want to…avoid? Don’t be too much in a hurry. Use your focus.

5. Invest in R1 Critical early

This is something that I didn’t notice until later in the game, but I’m glad I did. The R1 Critical on downed enemies works for all incapacitated enemies – whether they’ve been downed by combat or by shock. The combined efforts of using a shock trap to disable and running up to do a critical hit is the most devastating attack I’ve seen so far in the game. You can defeat big bosses by using this tactic without using your arrows or losing health.

6. Override is your best friend

Override is that friend who brings you Gatorade and a cheeseburger after a long night of drinking and then holds your hair back while you puke up a bottle of Jameson at 10 in the morning – with no judgement. That’s how important Override is to you.

Here’s why:

It’s simple math. If there are 4 enemies and you use override on one of them, how many enemies are left? Not only are you down one enemy, but most of the friendly robots (with the exception of mounts) seek out non-friendly robots to kill. I’ve been able to take down entire herds just by overriding one robot. Even if that robot dies without killing anything, you’re still down one enemy without having to use any resources yourself.

This is easily done in stealth. Hide in tall grass, find your target, whistle for them to come over, hit the Override, and watch the fun begin. I’m probably about 20 hours into the game and still find the robot fights to be decently entertaining.

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