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You’ll need a lot more than a bow and some arrows to survive in this world.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is out now for PlayStation 4. The open-world game has you exploring a huge land filled with animal-like robots and tribes of murderous cults and bandits. It’s a dangerous place, but Horizon is an experience worth having. Our review praised the game for its uncharacteristic setting and enemies, making us believe that this could be the beginning of another big franchise for Sony.

Since I already got to spend a lot of time in Horizon, I thought I would share five (and not spoilery) tips to help out anyone planning to pick up the PlayStation 4 exclusive.

It sure is pretty.

Above: It sure is pretty.

Image Credit: Sony

Prepare for big fights

Outside of using straightforward weapons like her bow, Aloy can also set up traps. These include trip wires and bombs. If you’re going to get into a big fight and you have the opportunity to plan ahead, use them.


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The robots you fight are agile, and they can cover a lot of ground when they’re attacking you. Littering the area with traps is a great way to deal a lot of damage to them without having to really do much during the actual fight. Note that you can scan an enemy for their elemental weaknesses (like fire). Use that to your advantage when selecting what traps you use.

You can eventually unlock a skill that lets Aloy pick up traps after she’s placed them. This means you don’t have to worry about wasting any. You just throw everything you’ve got down and pick up the leftovers after a fight. However, this is an expensive ability that’s pretty far down the skill tree, so it’ll take some time to unlock.

I don't like the robots chances.

Above: I don’t like the robots chances.

Image Credit: Guerrilla Games

Upgrade your bags quickly

Aloy crafts just about everything she uses. This includes ammunition, traps, and health potions. You can also craft bigger bags that let you carry more off those items. You can also make bigger bags to help you hold more crafting items, weapons, and cores (which you use to upgrade your weapons and armor).

You usually make these bags out of animal parts. So, if you run across a rabbit or hog, take the extra time to kill it. Getting bigger bags will make your life easier. You won’t run out of inventory space as easily, and you won’t have to stop in the middle of a fight to craft more arrows.

Aloy has guts in Horizon: Zero Dawn

Above: You’ll need all the help you can get against a big one like this.

Image Credit: Sony

Equip those cores

You can buy new weapons and armor from vendors, but you really need to use cores to make yourself stronger. You get cores mostly from looting dead robots. They have attributes like increasing damage, accuracy, or add elemental properties. This is the main way you’ll get stronger.

In fact, more expensive weapons and armor are often better just because they have more slots for cores. They’ll also unlock more types of ammo you can use. So, buy better gear if you can afford it. Just make sure you’re installing better cores when you come across them.

Also, don’t overthink what cores to use. For your main bow, you’ll want to use a lot of the ones that boost damage. For armor, use the ones that increase your defenses.

Note that once you equip a core, you can’t take it out. You can replace it, but you’ll lose the original core … unless you learn a skill that lets you keep the originals. Again, this is an expensive ability that’s pretty far down the skill tree. If you have any super rare cores (they’ll be colored purple), save them until you have a strong weapon or you’ve unlocked that skill.

Some places are more desolate than others.

Above: Some places are more desolate than others.

Image Credit: Sony

Change your outfit

Some outfits will work better for certain situations. You’ll want to use one for stealth, while another will give you better defense. You’ll use your cores to optimize the armor, so it’ll be a big difference in how much damage you’ll take from one to the other. However, stealth is often the best approach, since you can most enemies in one hit if they don’t see you coming.

Luckily, you can change your outfit any time during the game, even in the middle of a fight. So, use that stealth armor when you’re sneaking, and switch over to the beefier outfit if you get caught. It’s a bit unrealistic to suddenly change your clothes like that, but it gives you a big edge.

Take it all in.

Above: Take it all in.

Image Credit: Guerrilla Games

Take your time

Horizon is a big game. Along with the main story, it has a lot of side quests, most of which have their own narratives that are often just as interesting. If you just race through the campaign, you’ll miss out on many of the game’s best moments.

On the flip side, don’t feel pressured to do every single side activity before beating the game. Even after tackling the final mission, the game will let you create a new save file that takes you back to the events before the conclusion. So you can still go back and do any missions you missed.

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