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.
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.