Horizon Zero Dawn
2017 action role-playing game
2017 video game
Horizon Zero Dawn is a 2017 action role-playing game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The plot follows Aloy, a young hunter in a world overrun by machines, who sets out to uncover her past. The player uses ranged weapons, a spear, and stealth to combat mechanical creatures and other enemy forces. A skill tree provides the player with new abilities and bonuses. The player can explore the open world to discover locations and take on side quests. It was released for the PlayStation 4 in 2017 and Microsoft Windows in 2020.
Horizon Zero Dawn is Guerrilla Games' first intellectual property since Killzone in 2004 and its first role-playing game. Development began in 2011 after the completion of Killzone 3, with director Mathijs de Jonge considering it the riskiest idea pitched at the time. The game engine, Decima, was developed for Killzone: Shadow Fall and altered for Horizon Zero Dawn. Being set in a post-apocalyptic setting, anthropologists were consulted to authenticate the world's decay over a millennium. The soundtrack was led by composer Joris de Man, featuring contributions from The Flight.
Horizon Zero Dawn was praised by critics for its open world, story, visuals, combat, characterization, and the performance of voice actress Ashly Burch; however, the dialogue, melee combat, and character models received some criticism. The game won numerous awards and sold over 10 million copies by February 2019, making it one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games. An expansion, The Frozen Wilds, was released in November 2017. A sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, is currently scheduled to be released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in 2022.
Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role-playing game played from a third-person view. Players take control of Aloy, a hunter who ventures through a post-apocalyptic land ruled by robotic creatures. Aloy can kill enemies in a variety of ways – setting traps such as tripwires using the Tripcaster, shooting them with arrows, using explosives, and a spear. Machine components, including electricity and the metal they are composed of, are vital to Aloy's survival; she can loot their remains for crafting resources. Ammo, resource satchels, pouches, quivers, resistance, antidotes, health potions, and traps can all be crafted. Weapons have modification slots for dealing more damage. Aloy wears a Focus, a small head piece that scans machines to determine their susceptibilities, identify their location, their level, and the nature of loot they will drop. One machine, the Stalker, can enable cloaking technology to avert the gaze of Aloy's Focus scan. Machines attack with defensive and offensive measures, and in either case react to a perceived threat by charging at it with brute force or projectiles. Exhibiting the behaviour of wild animals, some machines are inclined to move in herds, and others, with the ability to fly, do so in flocks. Unless hacked with the Override Tool, or sufficiently hit with corruption arrows, machines do not exert aggressive force against each other. Aloy also engages in battle with human enemies, such as bandits and the Eclipse cult.
Aloy can dodge, sprint, slide, or roll to evade her enemies' advances. Hiding in foliage to ambush nearby enemies can ensure immediate takedowns. Swimming may reach enemies stealthily or places otherwise unreachable on foot. She is able to hack a selection of machines with the Override Tool, some of which can be turned into makeshift mounts. Explorable ruins called Cauldrons unlock additional machines to override. Three categories occur in the skill tree: "Prowler" concerns stealth, "Brave" improves combat, and "Forager" increases healing and gathering capabilities. To level up, Aloy attains experience points from individual kills and completing quests. Upgrades in each category result in more adept use of the skills learned, with "Prowler" leading to silent takedowns, "Brave" to aiming a bow in slow motion, and "Forager" to an enlarged medicine pouch.The Frozen Wilds added "Traveler", which unlocks the ability to jump off a mount to attack enemies. The game has a seamless open world with a day-night cycle and dynamic weather system.
The map is composed of forest, jungle, desert, and snowy mountain regions. Mountainous terrain is traversed with the employment of parkour, and aided by the use of zip-lines. Corrupted Zones constitute areas that heighten difficulty and are populated by corrupted machines that behave with more aggression. To uncover more of the map, Aloy must scale large giraffe-like machines known as Tallnecks. Twenty-five robotic creature designs are present in the game.Save points and fast travel can be accessed by interacting with campfires, once discovered. The quest structure unfolds to accommodate the exploration of tribes, while the main story covers the entire world. Side quests involve Aloy completing tasks, like gathering materials, coming to the aid of individuals in danger of being killed, solving mysteries, assuming control of bandit camps, eliminating criminals and more difficult machines, accomplishing various challenges at any of the five Hunting Grounds, and obtaining an ancient armour that makes Aloy almost impervious to damage. A dialogue wheel is used to communicate with non-player characters. Collectibles include vantages that offer visual information of the Old World, metal flowers that contain poetry, and old relics, such as ancient mugs and tribal artifacts.
The story is set in post apocalyptic United States in the 31st century, humans live in scattered tribal-like populations with limited access to technology. Their technologically advanced predecessors are remembered as the "Old Ones". Large robotic creatures, known as "machines", dominate the Earth. For the most part, they peacefully coexist with humans, who occasionally hunt them for parts. However, a phenomenon known as the "Derangement" has caused machines to become more aggressive towards humans, and larger and deadlier machines have begun to appear. There are four tribes that are prominently featured: the Nora, the Carja, the Banuk, and the Oseram. The Nora are fierce hunter-gatherers who live in the mountains and worship nature as the "All-Mother". The Carja are desert-dwelling city builders who worship the Sun. The Banuk consists of hunters and shamans who live in snowy mountains and adore the machines. The Oseram are tinkerers known for their metalworking, brewing, and arguing.
Aloy (Ashly Burch) was cast out from the Nora tribe at birth and raised by an outcast named Rost (JB Blanc). As a child (Ava Potter), she obtained a Focus, a small augmented reality device that gives her special perceptive abilities. After coming of age, Aloy enters a competition called the Proving to win the right to become a Nora Brave, and by extension, a member of the Nora tribe. Aloy wins the competition, but the Nora are attacked by cultists. Aloy is almost killed by their leader, Helis (Crispin Freeman), but Rost sacrifices himself to save her. When Aloy awakes, a Matriarch explains that the cultists had gained control of corrupted machines. Aloy learns that as an infant, she was found at the foot of a sealed door. Oseram foreigner Olin (Chook Sibtain) informs Aloy that the cultists are part of a rebel Carja group called the Eclipse, and indicates that Aloy was targeted due to her resemblance to an Old World scientist named Dr. Elisabet Sobeck (also voiced by Burch). Aloy locates the remnants of the company Faro Automated Solutions and discovers that the old world was destroyed nearly 1,000 years ago after Faro lost control of its automated "peacekeeper" military robots. The robots, which could self-replicate and consumed biomass as fuel, overran the planet and consumed the biosphere, stripping Earth of all life. Project Zero Dawn, a top secret project spearheaded by Dr. Sobeck, was a plan to create an automated terraforming system to eventually shut the robots down and restore life to Earth.
Aloy is contacted by Sylens (Lance Reddick), a secretive figure interested in uncovering what happened to the "Old Ones". Aloy eventually learns that Dr. Sobeck was sent to an Orbital Launch Base to complete Zero Dawn and Sylens reveals that the base is located under the Citadel, the centre of Eclipse power. Aloy heads for the base and inside, she finds out that Zero Dawn was a vast underground system of databases, factories, and cloning facilities controlled by a single artificial intelligence, GAIA (Lesley Ewen). Once all life had been extinguished, GAIA developed a countermeasure to deactivate all of the Faro robots and build its own robots to restore the Earth's biosphere. Once the planet was habitable again, GAIA reseeded life on Earth based on stored DNA and taught the first human clones not to repeat their predecessors' past mistakes. However, APOLLO, the system designed to teach the new humans, was sabotaged by Faro's founder and CEO Theodore Faro in a fit of nihilism, and the Cradle-born humans were reduced to a tribal, subsistence society. HADES (John Gonzalez) was one of GAIA's subsystems designed to enact controlled extinction if the outcome of Zero Dawn was not favourable for human existence. Reaching Dr. Sobeck's office, Aloy downloads a registry to give her access to the door from which she was born. She is captured by Helis and sentenced to death at the Citadel, but escapes with the help of Sylens. Aloy helps the Nora tribe fight off the Eclipse and ends up at the door beneath the Nora mountain.
She finds a recording left behind by GAIA, revealing that a signal of unknown origin caused HADES to activate and seize control of her functions. As a last resort, GAIA self-destructed in order to stop HADES. Without GAIA to maintain the terraforming process, the entire system began to break down. As a contingency plan, GAIA created a clone of Dr. Sobeck in the form of Aloy, in the hope that she would find GAIA's message, destroy HADES, and restore GAIA's functions. Aloy learns that Dr. Sobeck sacrificed her life to ensure the Faro robot swarm would not find GAIA. Aloy manages to obtain the master override necessary to destroy HADES. Sylens admits that he was the original founder of the Eclipse, originally tempted by HADES' promises of knowledge. With Sylens's help, Aloy surmises that HADES means to send a signal to reactivate the Faro robots to once again extinguish all life on Earth. Aloy kills Helis and helps fight off waves of corrupted machines, before stabbing HADES with Sylens' lance and activating the master override, ending the war. She journeys to Dr. Sobeck's old home, finding her corpse, and has a moment of mourning for her predecessor. In a post-credits scene, HADES is shown to still be alive, but trapped by Sylens, who intends to interrogate HADES to find out who sent the signal that activated it.
The Frozen Wilds
Aloy travels to The Cut, the home of the Banuk Tribe after hearing word of dangerous machines appearing and a mountain belching smoke. She learns from local chieftain Aratak (Richard Neil) that the Banuk have been attempting to battle a Daemon on the mountain, "Thunder's Drum", which is apparently the cause of the machines in the area attacking the Banuk. However, their first attack had been a failure, and their shaman, Ourea, had disappeared afterwards. Aloy searches for Ourea, coming across strange robotic towers which corrupt any nearby machines. She finds Ourea (Necar Zadegan) in an Old World facility that had been converted into a Banuk shrine, and is housing an artificial intelligence called the Spirit, which she believes is a machine spirit. Aloy is able to establish communications with the Spirit, which warns Ourea that the Daemon is blocking its transmissions before being cut off. Aloy and Ourea agree to work together to save the Spirit. Aloy must first oust Aratak and replace him as chieftain, since he refuses to let Ourea go to Thunder's Drum. It is revealed that Ourea and Aratak are siblings.
Aloy challenges Aratak, but daemonic machines ambush them in the final stretch of the challenge. They team up to fight off the machines, and impressed by Aloy's skills, Aratak concedes leadership to her. Aloy, Ourea, and Aratak head for Thunder's Drum. They infiltrate the Old World facility built inside the mountain where Aloy discovers that the Spirit is actually CYAN (Laurel Lefkow), a highly advanced AI designed to prevent the Yellowstone Caldera from erupting. Traveling further inside, they discover that the Daemon has already overtaken much of the facility, but CYAN suggests using lava from the caldera to destroy the infected areas while preserving the facility. It is also revealed that the Daemon is in fact HEPHAESTUS (Stefan Ashton Frank), another of GAIA's subsystems that manufactures machines. The group fights through HEPHAESTUS' defenses and Ourea sacrifices herself to override CYAN's core, allowing it to transfer to an auxiliary data center and initiate destruction of the facility. Aloy and Aratak narrowly escape. Aloy returns to the Banuk Shrine, where CYAN has transferred herself to, and CYAN provides additional information about the Old World but warns that HEPHAESTUS is still active somewhere, and will continue to build machines designed specifically to kill humans, which is why it tried to seize control of CYAN and its facilities. Aratak thanks Aloy for all of the help she has provided to the Banuk, and Aloy puts him back in charge of his people before parting ways.
Guerrilla Games began developing Horizon Zero Dawn following the release of Killzone 3 in 2011. When conceiving the idea for a new game, about 40 concepts were pitched. Among these was Horizon Zero Dawn, which game director Mathijs de Jonge considered "the most risky" of the concepts and was pitched in 2010 by art director Jan-Bart van Beek. When this concept was chosen, a team of 10–20 began building prototypes of the game. Approximately 20 different stories were written for the game, exploring varying concepts for the game, such as different player characters. John Gonzalez, who previously acted as lead writer for Fallout: New Vegas (2010), was hired to write the game's story as narrative director, with Ben McCaw as lead writer. The main elements of the story and the character of Aloy remained intact since early development. Upon the completion of Killzone: Shadow Fall in late 2013, the remainder of the staff began working on Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla cancelled another game to allow the entire team to focus on the development of Horizon. Sony would later admit to being reluctant about having the main character be female and conducted focus testing to see if such a decision was marketable. The game had an estimated budget of over €45 million.
The game's concept explores the juxtaposition between the danger and beauty of the world, particularly analysing the concept of humanity not being the dominant species. The team aimed to emphasise the game's exploration element by featuring a quest system, as well as including items throughout the world that can be used to craft or replenish health. The team wished for the game to have a simple user interface design, specifically avoiding complicated menus for crafting, and considered the game to be a technical challenge. They felt that the game engine, Decima, which was designed for games such as the Killzone series and was previously used for Killzone: Shadow Fall, was difficult to alter for Horizon, in terms of draw distance and loading. To discover how some game elements work differently in open world games, the team sought help from talent in the design, art and technical fields. In extrapolating the game world, Guerrilla turned to anthropologists and researched the formation of tribal cultures as well as how building materials would decay over a millennium. The game's quest system and narrative design took inspiration from other role-playing video games, ranging from the "Relaxed" quest design of RPG Maker games to the "Strict" quest design of hack and slash games. They defined "Relaxed" quest design as having few centralised systems for managing quest progression, and "Strict" quest design as having a rigid structure and predefined elements, with the team deciding the latter.
Lance Reddick and Ashly Burch's involvement was revealed in January 2017. Burch voiced Aloy, whose likeness was portrayed by Hannah Hoekstra and motion capture was performed by Amanda Piery in London. Following an auditioning process in 2014, Burch was called in to do the E3 2015 trailer and proceeded to work on the game for two years in Los Angeles, providing facial motion capture as well.
The game's soundtrack was composed by Joris de Man, The Flight, Niels van der Leest, and Jonathan Williams, with vocalist Julie Elven serving as the primary performer. Lucas van Tol, music supervisor and senior sound designer, provided the composers with a game design document, insisting on an intimate sound for the score. For the tribal theme, they experimented with bows on piano wire and resonator guitars (with layered tracks of harmonicas on top of the latter) and playing cellos with plectrums or the back of a bow to convey how contemporary instruments would be played by someone to whom the instruments were unknown; de Man also used a contrabass flute and made synth pads from blowing on a Thai bamboo flute, noting "distant pads and ambiences, and wide, spread out chords seemed to work well". Circuit-bent synthesizers and percussive loops, run through impulse responses of metal and iron being beaten, were devoted to making a thematic identifier for the machines based on technology and metal. Van Tol required that the music be supplied in stems so that different pieces could be combined. The positive response to the first E3 trailer's main theme led it to be included in the main menu. The composers also did the motion capture for diegetic music vignettes, portraying in-game tribal musicians. The four-hour soundtrack was released via digital music platforms on 10 March 2017.
The concept art as well as the game's codename, Horizon, were leaked in September 2014.Horizon Zero Dawn was officially announced during Sony's E3 2015 press conference. The game was featured as the cover story in the September 2015 issue of Edge and the October 2016 issue of Game Informer. At E3 2016, Sony had a life-sized cosplay version of one of the machines greet the trade show attendees. Originally set to be released in 2016, the game was delayed to February 2017 to be further polished. It was released to manufacturing in late January 2017, and launched to North American markets on 28 February 2017, in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on 1 March and Asia on 2 March for the PlayStation 4.Horizon Zero Dawn is forward compatible with the PS4 Pro, allowing it to run up to 4K resolution. In April 2017, a making-of documentary was released on Dutch public television. By March 2017, a story expansion had already been set in motion.New Game Plus, an Ultra Hard difficulty mode, additional trophies and aesthetic features were introduced with a patch released in July 2017. The expansion, The Frozen Wilds, was released on 7 November 2017. The Complete Edition, which contains the base game, The Frozen Wilds, and all additional downloadable content (DLC), was released for the PlayStation 4 on 5 December 2017 and Microsoft Windows via Steam on 7 August 2020 and GOG on 24 November 2020. A tabletop game adaptation is being developed by Steamforged Games.
Horizon Zero Dawn received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.Destructoid's Chris Carter commended Ashly Burch and Lance Reddick for their performances, with the character of Aloy receiving credit for maintaining a "captivating" and "interesting" consistency in the narrative and action sequences. Carter also lauded the focus on exploration and discovery, which he said grew more effective as he traversed more of the land. The game world itself was subject to compliment for its "beautiful" day-night cycle and weather system. According to Carter, the challenging nature of the machines and varied methods with which to battle them brought a real sense of fun to the combat. Matt Buchholtz of EGMNow likewise praised Burch as well as the game world, which he found to be mesmerising. Considered the most powerful part of the game, the Focus feature gained approval for complementing the combat in a way that "forces you to become a hunter". Writing for Game Informer, Jeff Marchiafava opined that, unlike with other open world video games, searching for audio logs and emails provided the plot with a "remarkable sense of discovery". He was thankful that story-based missions dominated the overall experience, arguing that they worked to detail the world and inspired gameplay variation.
Peter Brown at GameSpot reflected on Aloy's character development with amazement. One constant thrill to Brown came from combating the machines, which he said took the spotlight and never lost its flair. He appreciated also that the main quests encouraged one to explore the environment. Zoe Delahunty-Light, writing for GamesRadar+, was fascinated with the intricacies of the world and found integral value in the lore scattered among the ruins. She echoed Brown's view that fighting machines maintained excitement throughout.Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann declared Horizon Zero Dawn as "a near-perfect story" with a satisfying conclusion, and emphasised that it contained substantial depth. Lucy O'Brien at IGN admired its weight in meaning, while welcoming the charm of the protagonist's personality. A considerable impression was made with the combat, which was stated as the most compelling accomplishment. Writing for Polygon, Philip Kollar applauded the game as what he dubbed the "refutation" of Guerrilla Games' past work, a change of pace he described as "refreshing". Aloy was observed to be perfectly coupled with the story in that she offered the curiosity to seek out its many mysteries. Kollar perceived the Focus as "key to combat" and the machines as engaging foes in battle. Colm Ahern of VideoGamer.com wrote in his verdict, "Destroying large robot beasts while frantically switching between weapons is intoxicating, but the strength of Horizon Zero Dawn is in Aloy's engaging quest to find out who she really is".
Conversely, Carter saw the characters beyond Aloy and Sylens as uninteresting and bland in their designs. He also disparaged the human artificial intelligence as being worse than that of the machines. To Buchholtz, the weapon system in relation to ammunition appeared convoluted; the ability to only purchase one item at a time "a massive oversight"; and Aloy's ability to only grab marked ledges was confusing for a "parkour master". Marchiafava's only major criticism was that it held too familiar roots with established open world formula. Although Brown drew enjoyment from other aspects of combat, he disparaged the melee for its ineffectiveness and simplicity. Delahunty-Light concurred that the melee fell short of its potential, and also took issue with the jumping mechanic. O'Brien felt the dialogue occasionally contradicted the otherwise intelligent narrative. Kollar bemoaned the character models as its one visual shortcoming.
Game director Yoko Taro listed it as one of his favourite PlayStation 4 games.Entertainment Weekly ranked it as the fourth best game of 2017,GamesRadar+ ranked it second on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, and Eurogamer ranked it 31st on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017".The Verge named Horizon Zero Dawn as one of the 15 Best Games of 2017. In Game Informer's Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, it took the lead for "Best Sony Game", coming up in second place for both "Best Action Game" and "Game of the Year".Game Informer also awarded it "Best Sony Exclusive" in their Best of 2017 Awards, and also gave it the awards for "Best Story" and "Best Character" (Aloy) in their 2017 Action Game of the Year Awards.EGMNow ranked the game third in their list of 25 Best Games of 2017, while Polygon ranked it eighth on their list of the 50 best games of 2017. The game won the Gold Prize and Users Choice Prize at the 2017 PlayStation Awards. It was nominated for "Best PS4 Game" at Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017. It also won the awards for "Best PlayStation 4 Game" and "Best Graphics" at IGN's Best of 2017 Awards, whereas its other nominations were for "Game of the Year", "Best Action-Adventure Game", and "Best Art Direction". It was nominated for "Best Looking Game" at Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards. In 2018, it won the awards for Best PS4 Game, Best Performance for Ashly Burch, Best Art Direction, Best Soundtrack, Best Story, Best Post-Release Content, Best PlayStation Console Exclusive, and Best Use of PS4 Pro at PlayStation Blog's Game of the Year Awards.
Horizon Zero Dawn was the best-selling game during its release week in the UK. It surpassed No Man's Sky as the biggest launch of a new intellectual property on the PlayStation 4 and was the most successful launch of any kind on the platform since Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, as well as Guerrilla Games' biggest debut to date. The game sold close to 117,000 copies in its first week in Japan, becoming the second best-selling game that week.Horizon Zero Dawn was the second most downloaded game on the North American PlayStation Store for February. Because its launch day occurred on the last day of February, only one day of sales was counted.
It was the best-selling game in its week of release in Australia. In March 2017, it was the second best-selling game in the UK and the highest-selling PlayStation 4 game.Horizon Zero Dawn was also the best-selling game on PlayStation Store that month. It was ranked number one in the UK sales chart in April 2017, while hitting eighth place in the Japanese chart. By February 2018, over 7.6 million copies had been sold, increasing to over 10 million a year later, making it one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games.
In an effort to increase profitability, in 2020 Sony decided to begin porting their first-party titles to PC.Horizon Zero Dawn released on PC on August 2020 and had a successful launch, moving over 700,000 digital copies.
In June 2020, Guerrilla announced a sequel titled Horizon Forbidden West. It is scheduled to be released on February 18, 2022.
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Take on the role of skilled hunter Aloy as you explore a lush world inhabited by mysterious mechanized creatures in an exhilarating new Action/RPG exclusively for the PlayStation 4 System.
PC, PlayStation 4
Third-Person, Action, Adventure, Open World, Role-Playing
Sony Interactive Entertainment
February 28, 2017
March 01, 2017
23 Hours Ago
Based on 1.5K User Ratings
Unique: 3 + 2 Omitted Total: 4.6K
After the fall of civilization, giant robot dinosaurs roam the land — all you’ve got is a bow and arrow. Learn how to defend yourself and take down even the toughest bosses with Gameranx’s full Horizon Zero Dawn game guide, covering every aspect of the singleplayer adventure. Whether you’re plowing through missions, murdering minions, or facing off against a premier giant monster, we’ll provide the tips and tricks you need to survive.
In Horizon Zero Dawn, you play as Aloy, a lone human fighting for survival, defending what’s left of civilization on a ruined Earth. Instead of a high-tech armory, the “rebooted” human race fights with primitive weapons — augmented with advanced ancient technology.
This is an open-world adventurer through-and-through, and there are tons of deadly automatons to face off against as you progress through Aloy’s story. Join us as we take a tour through the full campaign, with a special focus on the deadliest encounters and how to come out victorious.
New to Horizon Zero Dawn? Learn 10 tips beginner’s need to know right here, and get help making your decision with Gameranx’s Before You Buy review.
Table of Contents
More Horizon Zero Dawn guides on Gameranx:
Horizon Zero Dawn guide: side quests, best weapons and outfit, collectables and The Frozen Wilds
Horizon Zero Dawn is a big game. Go at it systematically with our guide to quests, side-quests, collectables, the best equipment, The Frozen Wilds expansion and more.
Horizon Zero Dawn is best enjoyed without spoilers, so you won't find any here; this guide hub links out to all the resources you'll need to to track down that 100% completion stat, without revealing the mysteries of the world.
Built by the team behind the Killzone shooters, Horizon Zero Dawn is a single-player adventure set in a "post-post-apocalyptic" word where humanity ekes out a living in the shattered remnants of a long-forgotten technological past. Their only rivals? The terrifying machines that roam the landscape, intent on their own mysterious purposes.
Our hero, Aloy, must use all the skills of a Nora warrior - and many more unique to our red-haired heroine - as she confronts a growing threat. With three kinds of bow, two slings and a host of other weaponry, Horizon Zero Dawn hands players a crowded toolbox with which to dismantle their towering foes. Don't worry, we'll cover all that, too.
Whether you're looking for the best armour, the best weapons, some tricky collectables, or just some advice on what to do when in Horizon Zero Dawn - we have you covered with this guide. Now: get out there and slay some robo-dinos.
Horizon Zero Dawn resources
Looking to tick off 100% of the content in Horizon Zero Dawn? You've come to the right place. Here we list everything you need to do, guide you through some of the trickier sidequests, point you at the best weapons and armour, maps showing where to pick up all the collectables, and more.
This pages pertain to the vanilla Horizon Zero Dawn experience. They're still relevant and useful if you own the Complete Edition or have installed the DLC, but guides on the expansion are found in their own section below.
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
The Frozen Wilds is Horizon Zero Dawn's first and only expansion. It allows Aloy to push north into The Cut, an area along the borders of Banuk lands, and learn more about this most elusive tribe. It also adds three all-new weapons, three upgraded weapons, several new outfits, a stack of collectables, a bunch of quests and more.
In this section of our Horizon Zero Dawn guide we'll compile resources related directly to The Frozen Wilds expansion. Look for updates over the next few days.
How to get Bluegleam in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
Remember those three upgraded weapons we mentioned? Yeah, you'll want them as soon as possible - The Frozen Wilds includes some of the toughest fights in all of Horizon Zero Dawn. You'll need Bluegleam, and lots of it, if you want those glorious new bows - and the good news is we can help you there.
Pigment locations in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
There are nine Pigment deposits to raid in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, and we can help you get them all. Yes, even that one up in the mountains after an impossible incline, and the one with two Scorchers hanging out pretty much right on top of it. We got you.
Need more help with Horizon Zero Dawn or The Frozen Wilds? Let us know what you're after and we'll do our best to provide.
Walkthrough horizon full zero dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough: Guide and tips for completing the post-apocalyptic adventure
PlayStation 4's headline act for the year is upon us, with Horizon Zero Dawn bringing with it a huge open world, lengthy story, and variety of quests and activities to help get you tackling those robo-dinosaurs at every opportunity.
Here, you'll find a full contents for our Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough, which tackles the main questline in its entirety, plus further down on this page is our main Horizon Zero Dawn guide hub, including a variety of general tips from our experience with the game, and more individual guides on specific aspects, too.
Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough
Horizon Zero Dawn, much the same as any other open-world action-adventure-RPG these days, does of course have a main storyline. For those intrigued by the game's unique, past and future-merging setting, you can relax, because the story here delves into two things: the history of the game's awesome protagonist, Aloy, and the history of her world.
The following walkthrough focuses on just the main questline in Horizon Zero Dawn, as it can indeed be played through from start to finish with little deviation for grinding or side quests, much like its open world counterparts. For a little more detail on those alternative activities, scroll down to our Horizon Guide and Tips section below - otherwise, here's the contents for every page in our Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough:
Young Aloy and the Proving
The Final Quests
The Fozen Wilds DLC:
Horizon Zero Dawn: Guide and tips for tackling the open world adventure
You can override any machine in the game, providing you've done the work
Machine overrides are your way of getting those sweet, robo-dinosaur mounts we've all had our eyes on since the early days of Horizon Zero Dawn's announcement.
The ability to start overriding machines will come fairly early on in the main questline in A Seeker at the Gates, however that only grants you the power to do so for some of the smaller machines.
As you register more to your Journal, you'll see that, actually, all machines can be overridden with the right access. That comes in the form of Cauldrons - dungeon-like side quests which you can undertake alongside the main quest. Complete the Cauldrons and you'll be able to override a new tier of machine companion to fight by your side. We've a specific guide on Horizon override Cauldron locations and solutions, if you're looking for more on that.
Most combat is about movement
Combat in Horizon Zero Dawn can be easy at one time, and incredibly difficult at another. The one principle that underlines it all, however, is movement.
Most machines will have a combination of ranged and melee attacks and, importantly, most of those attacks will kill you in about two hits. That means your primary objective in combat, alongside dealing out the damage yourself, is to avoid getting hit at all. Dodging, sprinting, sliding and rolling are how you do it.
So, if we had to offer just one tip for combat in Horizon, it's always be on the move.
It's worth experimenting with different weapons
Fortunately, we don't have just one piece of advice for combat - we have two!
It's easy to ignore the variety of weapons in Horizon and just stick with your trusty core combo: the Lance, and the Bow. After all there's a decent range of elemental and tear damage available with just those two, and they cover you for both melee and ranged engagements.
In fact, a good chunk of our playthrough was done with essentially those two weapons, so it's perfectly possible to just stick to them. However, doing so will shut you off from a range of items that can make your life far easier.
The Slingshot, for example, sounds harmless, but actually lobs high-damage elemental grenades at your enemies for area-of-effect damage, whilst the Rattler is an excellent option for close-range spray-n-pray tactics where you care more about damage to a machine's body, for instance, than a specific part.
Tallnecks are your means of unlocking more of the map
Much the same as the ubiquitous 'Ubisoft towers' found in the likes of Assassin's Creed and many others, Tallnecks act as towers for you to climb and, as you activate them, reveal information on a large portion of the map surrounding it.
After the mission A Seeker at the Gates, a number of them will appear on the map as blue, Tallneck-shaped symbols.
To actually reveal the map, you need to climb the Tallneck - a practice which varies with each one. Some require you to battle or sneak past a series of machines, whilst some are guarded by Cultists and Bandits. Generally, they always require you to first scale some kind of terrain nearby, to get high enough to then jump onto the yellow-gold marked bits of their body which indicate climbable hand holds.
From there, it's a fairly simple case of hopping up from part to part until you can climb onto the Tallneck's head, activate the signal by pressing Triangle at the centre of the disc-shaped platform, and then slow-motion rappelling down from the edge, like the action hero you are.
That's all for our general Horizon tips, but for more handy advice, here's our guide to unlocking unlimited fast travel with the Golden Fast Travel pack, along with our guide to Horizon Zero Dawn's Power Cell location for unlocking the ancient Shield-Weave Armour, and finally locations and details for every Horizon Zero Dawn override Cauldron, too.
Horizon Zero Dawn depicts an Earth ravaged by machines, as humanity struggles to survive in small, primative tribes in the now-desolate landscape. As Aloy, the player will be tasked with uncovering the truth behind the rise of the machines, as well as discovering her own personal history.
Our complete Horizon Zero Dawn guide offers help with collectibles, overriding and mounting robots, choosing which skills to pick first, and much more. You can find all of that below, plus a few helpful hints and tips below to help you on your way.
On this page:
Horizon Zero Dawn Walkthrough
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Skills You Should Focus on First
Aloy can learn many different skills during her journey to aid her in taking down, sneaking around, or just generally surviving the machines roaming the landscape. These are the best ones to learn early.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Take Down Some of the Biggest Machines
The centerpiece of Horizon Zero Dawn is the tantalizing prospect of taking down lumbering, gargantuan machines with just your weapons and your wits. We show you how to handle the biggest, meanest ones.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: The Best Mods to Create the Most Powerful Weapons
Modifying your weapons and equipment is key for bringing mechanical monsters down. We show you how to modify like a pro and create some devastating weaponry.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Override Machines and Ride Mounts
One of the coolest aspects of Horizon Zero Dawn is the ability to essentially tame and ride some of the wild machines, though you won't be able to mount all of them. We teach you how to override machines, and list which ones you can then mount and use to ride on.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Get the Best Weapons in the Game
As you progress through the game, you'll want to start making better and better weapons. Here's the best ones and how to make them.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Get Rare Loot
Over the course of Horizon Zero Dawn, you'll pick up tons of loot. This guide give you strategies for getting the most/best look, as well as a listing of all the rarest loot in the game.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Find All the Cauldrons
If you want the ability to override machines and even turn some of them into rideable mounts, you’re going to have to look for four Cauldrons. Here's how to find and conquer them all.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: How to Find All the Tallnecks
There are five machines called Tallnecks scattered around the map of Horizon Zero Dawn. Climbing and overriding them grants a good amount of XP and uncovers a lot of useful locations on the map. Here's how to find and climb them.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: Where to Find All 30 Metal Flowers
There are 30 Metal Flowers scattered around Horizon: Zero Dawn’s map. The flowers can be traded for valuable mods, and even 1000 shards from a merchant in Meridian. Here's where to find all 30 of them.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: Where to Find All Six Banuk Figures
Finding these cute little figurines can net you some big rewards. Here's how you find all six Banuk figures.
Horizon Zero Dawn Guide: Where to Find the Power Cells to Unlock the Ancient Armor, the Game's Best Outfit
Here's how to unlock the best armor in the game.
Horizon Zero Dawn Tips
Venture into as many Cauldrons as you can
Cauldrons are sorta like the tombs from Tomb Raider. They’re completely optional—but essential if you want a wholler experience. Cauldrons are typically at the foot of a mountain, where sometimes the entry might be hidden, and within them lies a mechanical dungeon. On your world map, they're marked by a small purple mountain-shaped marker. In the depths of a Cauldron is light exploration, some stealthy takedowns of robotic beasts guarding the place, and culminating in a final battle against one of the bigger robots of the world you’ve grown used to. Your reward in the end is the ability to override (or, hack) additional robot beasts, adding more potential friends and steeds to your arsenal with every Cauldron conquered.
Craft your inventory supply to be larger
Horizon Zero Dawn is game that forces the player to rely on crafting: that means ensuring you actually have room for it all. Towards the start of the game, you should savor all your well-crafted supplies you’ve retrieved from plants, human enemies, and the robots you’ve overcome, and invest them where it’s direly needed most: your resources bag and arrow supply. Most of your space upgrades will require animal meat, in addition to the other easier to come by supplies, so be sure to camp out in a field and hunt as many foxes, boars, and raccoons that you see.
Upgrade your weapons and use modifications
Horizon Zero Dawn has three classes of weapons: Nora (green), Carja (blue), and Shadow (purple). Shadow is the strongest weapon class in the game, so building up the supplies and tools to trade with a merchant in a nearby settlement will give you a leg up in the ensuing battles. Also, as you progress, you’ll likely accrue dozens of modifications and outfit weaves. Using the same color guide as above (green is uncommon, blue is rare, and purple is very rare), embed outfit weaves into your armor and modifications into your weapons. Careful though, unless you have the Tinker ability unlocked, there’ll be no way to retrieve it: only replace it and lose the modification that rested in its place.
There's plenty more on Horizon Zero Dawn to be found right here on USG. First up is this article on a possible hint at the game's sequel. Then there's this news piece on how Horizon may in fact end up being a trilogy.
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