Horizon Zero Dawn tips and tricks

Open-world robot dinosaur hunting – what’s not to like about Horizon Zero Dawn? The PS4 exclusive blew us away during our test – especially on the PS4 Pro, where 4K HDR visuals or one of the most beautiful games of all time comes into play.

But these heavy metal beasts are a bit to beat. Want to stay one step ahead of the robot rex pack before tackling Horizon Zero Dawn? Read on for our insider tips and tricks for PlayStation’s latest must-play game.

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Never stop searching for herbs

Horizon harkens back to the days of old Resident Evils and uses a health system that includes either health potions (which are expensive and can only be found via merchants or looted from corpses) or freely available herbs that grow throughout Horizon’s open world.

The blue bar under your health, located at the top left of the screen, is your medicine bag. You can call it up by pressing the D-pad (this will replenish your health until it is fully restored or you are dehydrated Medicine). This bar can be filled up to three times at once (represented by a blue cross for each full bar). Make sure you keep fresh herbs with you on your travels (most have red rivers, although some of the whiter regions are white)..

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Use long grass to flank and lose enemies

Horizon’s stealth mechanic works similarly to recent Far Cry games – where your enemies can only track you if they have direct line of sight. Use patches of long grass for this purpose (these are usually found with red or bright tips) to encounter herds of robo-wildlife or human enemies.

Remember that Horizon’s robot monsters are also very sensitive to noise. So remember to press square to squat. This will hide you in the grass and reduce the sound of your footsteps. You can now start planning and searching for your chosen targets without being out in the open (it’s also great to get past bigger threats you’re not ready to face)..

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Get the right skills early

Like most action RPGs worth using, Horizon uses a skill tree system that unlocks special moves and actions that can make the difference between one bonfire and another. These skills are defined by three types: Prowler (hunting), Brave (combat), and Forager (resource gathering and crafting)..

On the Prowler side, invest in Silent Strike (a quiet stealth attack), Low Profile (visibility to enemies) and Dodge Prowess (which gives you two types of throw). On the Forager front, select Gatherer (which increases the number of herbs you select when foraging) and Healer (which speeds up healing). Finally, use Brave to get concentration (slow time by pressing R3) and precision (for a high probability of a critical hit)..

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Use focus before attacking a new robo-monster

Aloy’s head-mounted device is not only a plot point, but also an incredibly useful tool in the game. Apart from being able to follow tracks, focus can also be used to examine enemies and determine weaknesses and body parts suitable for critical hits (these are displayed in yellow when focus is activated by clicking L3)..

They move much slower and can’t aim in focus mode. So when you spot a new intimidating enemy, just slide into a nearby clump of long grass and use focus to aim it out. Focus can also see enemies through walls and can even be used to highlight patrol paths. Make the most of it before trying to clear a camp of bandits or a damaged zone.

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Buy certain types of arrows from merchants to unlock them

While some arrows are tied to specific bows – the precision bow, for example, will only fire precision arrows – your standard hunter bow (and its variants) can fire up to three different types of arrows. You can only fire and craft standard arrows from the start, which deal basic damage. However, you must buy fire arrows and hardpoint arrows from the merchants to be able to craft them from your radial wheel.

Press and hold R1 to bring it up, and you’ll see the three types on the far left of the wheel. Simply select which type you need to make, hold down X, and you can make up to 10 of these very different arrows in a few seconds. As an additional tip, you should collect loads of wood in the first few hours (you can carry as much as you want, as wood only takes up one space in your inventory) – you will need it.

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Study a monster’s weakness and use fire, ice and shock traps / ammo

Each of the robotic monsters that roam the Horizon wilderness usually has a certain strength and a certain weakness (for example, a snare draws strength from ice, but can be significantly weakened by fire). Always use your focus to know what you’re getting into before attacking the enemy (especially if it’s a new one).

When an enemy is weak to a certain element, a circle fills over it. Once it’s filled, it takes damage until the counter is empty. This will usually slow them down. Use this time to destroy armor plates and weapons.

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Use hardpoint arrows for critical hit damage

Another good tip is to use hardpoint arrows to clear the yellow highlighted areas. When you hit these areas, the monster will suffer a critical hit (you’ll know because the component you hit will flicker blue for a moment)..

Use your concentration ability (press R3 when aiming) to zoom in and unload when you have a clear shot. This tactic is crucial for fighting larger enemies like Thunderjaw, Trampler, Mole, and Stormbird. Another tip is to destroy weapons before you destroy armor. Once these weapons are gone, you’ll have one less threat to dodge. You can even pick up and use some of them!

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Fast free travel with the hidden Golden Fast Travel Pack

Horizon is full of bonfires that allow you to save your progress in seconds. These homely piles of sticks also serve as quick waypoints. The thing is that fast travel is not free and you have to spend a Fast Travel Pack to use one.

Here’s a quick tip: Only if you travel fast Yes really you must – you’ll level up faster by exploring more and participating in natural, systematic battles and hunts. If you really want to travel fast, you can buy a Golden Fast Travel Pack from a handful of merchants with the crosshair icon (we got this from one right before the Long Bridge of Meridian)..

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Do not rely on a single bow in battle

One of the main games Horizon draws from with its combat is the brilliant The Witcher 3. So if you’re playing as a White Wolf, you’ll need to use more than one weapon in each type of monster battle. Most weapons are available from merchants with crosshairs over their heads.

For example, if you’re fighting a thunderbolt, you’ll need a rope brace to tie it to the ground from multiple angles (so you can target key components with your hunter or sniper bow). Also try to use your sling to fire powerful bombs with fire damage. Experimentation is key, so don’t be afraid to play around with the campfire after a quick save.

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Use cauldrons, corrupted zones and big dinos to level up quickly

When it comes to a game with an XP system (in other words, any game), it’s great to know how to speed up the process if you want to gradually increase your health and gain skill points. Consistent exploration and the robot fights that take place in it (especially the big ones) are a surefire way for us to gobble up XP.

Clearing damaged zones (marked with an ‘X’ on your map) and cauldrons (Horizons dungeons) are also great XP treasure troves. If you have trouble finding them, tallnecks (found by tracking their signal through your focus) are shown on the map.

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