Horizon Zero Dawn: 10 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Playing For The First Time

With Horizon Forbidden West just around the corner, now is the perfect time to dive into the original game, Horizon Zero Dawn, if you missed it on the PS4. While Horizon Zero Dawn takes a lot of cues from similar open-world games, being something of a combination between Far Cry and The Witcher 3, its design is unlike either one and can’t be approached in the same way.

Trying to engage with Zero Dawn in the same way as other open-world action games is likely to result in many more game overs than is desirable, which is not helped by the game’s long load times between deaths that can turn people away from an otherwise amazing title.

10 Putting Too Much Weight On The Dialogue Options

Very early on, it becomes apparent that Aloy has multiple dialogue choices for any given situation, giving her either a compassionate, intelligent, or abrasive option. While this would lead you to believe that this would impact the gameplay somewhat, the reality is that it has very little impact outside of changing some of the NPC’s responses. The biggest change these dialogue options have is when talking to Bast before The Proving, as it depends entirely on Aloy’s actions as a child.

9 Ignoring Side Quests

For an open-world action game, Horizon has a surprisingly compelling story that is hard to ignore once the world’s history begins to open up to the player. That being said, you shouldn’t ignore any side quests that come along as they are often worth the time investment, either in their rewards or in the backstory they present. The side quest In Her Mother’s Footsteps, which can be done before crafting fire arrows for Rost, is one that all players should do before anything else, as it upgrades the damage done by Aloy’s Spear.

8 Ignoring Main Quests

While side quests grant Aloy various rewards that are worth investing in, several upgrades, weapons, and powers are locked behind the main questline, so it is wise to make sure you are progressing through the story at a relatively decent pace.

Sylens’ Spear and the override mechanic are both locked behind certain main quests and go a long way in making the rest of Aloy’s journey easier when attempting some side quests, particularly those centered around the Hunters Lodge.

7 Not Using Traps

Aloy has access to many different weapons, some of which are more suited for trapping enemies that dealing outright damage in the heat of the moment, though she also has access to various explosive traps that shouldn’t be ignored either. While they are utterly useless against flying enemies, traps that can be placed in the way of a machine’s walking path is a good way to instigate a fight and is one of the easier ways to hit a Sawtooth’s weak point on its belly, as well as being a decent alternative to the Tripcaster if need be.

6 Ignoring Overrides The Can’t Be Used As Mounts

Although it is a little disappointing that Aloy can’t use an overridden Thunderjaw as a mount, it does make sense to balance her combat abilities somewhat. That being said, overridden machines that can’t be used as mounts shouldn’t be ignored, as Sawtooths and Stalkers are very good for a stealthy approach, while Fire and Freeze Bellowbacks are great for battling Thunderjaws. Even weaker enemies, like the Watchers and Scrappers, both have their use in battle and shouldn’t be ignored just because you can’t ride them into battle.

5 Only Using Bows

The majority of Aloy’s weapons are different kinds of bows and between the Hunting Bow, Sharpshot Bow, and War Bow, you have access to just about every kind of damage in the game. However, using only bows leaves out a large portion of the game’s combat mechanics and tends to promote an overreliance on stealth. Bows are great for damage dealing, but Tripcasters, Ropecasters, and Slings all go a long way in helping to hit enemies effectively while avoiding damage and each has its own advantages over a bow in combat.

4 Focusing Solely On A Machine’s Weak Points

While hitting weak points is a great way to ensure you are taking down machines quickly and efficiently, it also usually means that you are losing out on crucial machine parts for upgrading. Shellwalker cargo packs are particularly large weak points, but destroying them will cost you precious loot should you take that option.

It is also very tempting to hit a Grazer’s Blaze Canister, as they tend to group together and can cause a large and explosive chain reaction that easily kills entire herds. However, Blaze is a precious commodity that is needed for both fire arrows and explosives, so it shouldn’t be the target of every attack.

3 Using Only Stealth

Stealth is a core aspect of combat and is one of Aloy’s greatest strengths throughout most of the game, but it isn’t her only strength and shouldn’t be relied on as her sole means of defeating enemies. Several main fights can’t be done stealthily and require the use of all of Aloy’s abilities, which can be very jarring to the player if they have gone through the entire game using nothing but stealth kills or avoiding combat altogether.

2 Ignoring The Spear

Aloy’s Spear is somewhat underwhelming in some regards, but it isn’t so bad that it should be ignored altogether and is capable of dealing a large amount of damage if you know how to use it properly. Sneak attacks with the Spear is great for quickly taking down weaker enemies like Watchers or dealing huge chunks of damage to enemies tied down with the Ropecaster. Spear attacks also won’t use up ammunition, which goes a long way in ensuring you have enough Shards to buy that cool outfit you’ve been eying off rather than having to use them to make more arrows.

1 Entering The Cut Too Early

The lone DLC of Horizon Zero Dawn can be accessed fairly soon after beginning the game, being open to Aloy once she becomes a Seeker. However, this new area, the Cut, isn’t designed to be entered early and many of the machines found here will easily kill Aloy in one or two hits. While it should be done before the final battle, it shouldn’t be attempted until you are confident enough to run headlong into battle with a Thunderjaw on a whim, as many of the machines found here are just as strong.

Next: Horizon Forbidden West: 5 Machines We Want To See Again (& 5 We Don’t)

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Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.

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