Horizon Zero Dawn - finally getting to play this

I started this last week after beating Cyberpunk 2077. Horizon Zero Dawn was on my playlist for a long time as I have never had a PS4 and they released it for PC last year. I had heard it was a disastrous release, but has been updated multiple times since then.

I’m about 10 hours in and this are my thoughts on the game. Would love to hear any other thoughts on the game from anyone.

  1. PC only – the strangest way to handle graphical issues I have ever seen. It runs a “optimize shader” sequence every time you load up the game. It took 20-25 minutes the first time and only takes about 3 minutes on my PC now. I will say this: The game loads quickly and runs just fine on my PC. I’ll take a 3-5 minute “get to the game” wait time if the game runs smoothly after that.

  2. Neat game, not what I expected. It’s a stealth game, primarily. The game expects you to set traps, tripwires, and sneak past enemies. I was hoping for a combination of that, but also the ability to really attack if I wanted. It strongly discourages full-on attacks. I am constantly overpowered if I do that. I am not sure how big a fan of this I am. It has discouraged my exploration. Each battle with a major machine(well, what I call major at this point) is a laborious sequence.

  3. Game looks beautiful. Yep, expected it and glad to see it. Gorgeous and I am up over 45-55 FPS consistently on medium settings. Very happy about that.

  4. Limited inventory space is tough and while I craft to get more space, it is too slow of an increase and I constantly seem to have to leave behind things due to reaching maxed out inventory. Kind of not fun, to be honest.

I would say that while I am not entirely disappointed, I am somewhat disappointed. This is entirely because of my expectations, though. It is a great game in many ways, but I hoped to be punished less severely for attacking the machines. I’m just not good enough at stealth and trap laying to be successful that way. I wish I could build my character to be more physically aggressive, but the game pushes you towards stealth big time.

I did, however, just realize I can rapid-fire arrows with no punishment to my damage inflicted. I guess that is obvious to everyone else, but was not to me until I just started trying it.

I played it a few months ago on PC, also never having a Playstation. The initial release was unplayable, but they did a okay-ish job patching it up. In regards to Points 1 and 3, the performance of the game is still terrible. It runs at half the frame rate of better looking games.

I’m not really into stealth either, so I just went full-on attack. It worked fine, but I used the sniper bow mostly. By late game, you’ll be so OP you can just do whatever you want.

It’s a pretty good game if you have the hardware to power through the poor port. I wouldn’t play it on Playstation since it wouldn’t be good at 30 fps. I think it is overhyped a bit by Playstation aficionados since it was one of their A-list exclusives.

Zero Dawn isn’t just a stealth game, it’s specifically a hunting game - so, yes, the design is very much against tanking the bad guys. Even when you go head to head, it’s all about dodging, called shots, and switching between ammo types. It takes a bit to get into it, but once it clicks, it’s a very strong combat loop.

But the real strength of Zero Dawn is it’s story, which is legitimately fantastic. It takes a premise as inherently goofy as “hunting robot dinosaurs with a bow and arrow,” and 100% justifies it. Even the word-salad name makes sense at the end. Plus, it’s got the single most hateable villain in video games, bar none. Seriously - Sephiroth is a punk next to Ted Faro.

The story line is impressive, there are moments of genuine emotional reaction. I liked it, but haven’t re-played it because I found some of the battles really freaking difficult. I’m used to barging my way in and opening fire, and that gets you killed in this game. There are battles that require actual strategy, which I’m not real good at. The scenery is wonderful, the map is big. The hero is awesome, and the story is more than I expected from a video game.

I’d be fine with setting up traps and stealthiness against the biggest bosses, like those that are the final creature in a Cauldron(I’ve done two cauldrons). But even there, you always have a bunch of mini-guys walking around. By the time I take them out, the monster/robot in the “bubble” is alerted and it turns into a battle.

I wish the massive monsters were more isolated so I could set up my shock wires, etc.

You have to tailor your attack for each one, focusing on their weaknesses. It can be real frustrating, especially the one that I won’t name because I don’t know if you’ve yet encountered it. Try and stick with it, even only once like I did.
(There is a special outfit your hero can find, like a Skyrim enchanted armor or a Fallout Power Armor that Aloy can equip that is very useful.)

If you haven’t already, get familiar with the use of tear arrows. They rapidly remove armour and other items from machines which weakens them drastically. Also any weapon that a machine uses against you seems to be particularly effective against the machine. My typical tactic against difficult foes is to use a tear arrow to remove its weapon, then pickup and use the weapon against it. This makes short work of many of the stronger machines.

Another tip is pay particular attention to the weaknesses of a machine, using fire against a crocodile thing is very effective.

Finally, turn machines against each other by using overrides and/or corruption arrows. That way you can have the machines thin themselves out before you mop up the rest.

Personally I thought it was an excellent game on PS4, I have no problems with 30 FPS on a big TV.

I sometimes see these machines that have large canisters of the green “blaze” stuff on their back. I thought that I could shoot a fire arrow at the huge canister and it would blow the whole thing up and take a huge chunk of health of him.

Nope, he caught fire(also his weakness, I think). Tank/Canister did not blow up.

Am I missing something in situations like this? It looks like the game is screaming “shoot his gasoline tank!”.

I don’t think the canisters are a one shot item, you need to plug away at them. Also the machines evolve after you’ve killed a few of them and some develop protective armour around the blaze canisters.

I agree that it is very focussed on stealth, but its stealth mechanics aren’t particularly punishing. Mostly if it all turns to custard you can just run away and try again.

I’m a bit further now, just reached the top of a tower/building where I learned that “Zero Dawn” was a plan to save humanity at great cost.

It seems rather obvious that Aloy is a clone of the woman who looks like her. I don’t know if the reveal will be more nuanced than that, but that does seem to be the case. I think she is voiced by the same actress.

I’m enjoying the game and I can kind of survive battle now. I am not a huge fan of the overall action portions of the game, but most of the game is good and it is really beautiful. Up to now, running flawlessly on my gaming-laptop.

Anyway, I’m following the main story and doing sidequests for any main characters. I have defeated two cauldrons, which were…well, adequate. Not too remarkable, to be honest.

I do like climbing the Tallnecks, but hate if I am climbing one and a bird-robot knocks me off. I mean, give me some space!

I just finished this for the first time a month ago, and I don’t really see the this. Maybe because I optimized my build for combat, but by the end I was taking down the big T-Rex robots without any stealth or traps at all - just my trusty bow and spear. You just have to keep moving and shooting.

I am getting better. I can now add triple shot arrows to my bow and getting off an initial shot like that with something they are weak at is really bringing down their HP.

I am playing with Mouse and Keyboard and I think I should have gone the controller route.

I am enjoying the game for the most part, though.

One of my favorite games of all time and I’m thinking of replaying it. I give it high marks for visuals, unique storyline and gameplay. This is exactly the kind of game I look for. One with a complex and unique storyline.

I absolutely love this game (playing on PS4 Pro.) It’s the first stealth game I’ve ever played, and yes, you can go in full throttle but it requires a lot of thinking on your feet which I am not great at.

My favorite part is wandering the ruins picking up the tapes. The way each tape adds together to form a full story of what happened in each facility which in turn adds up to the full story of what happened on the planet is one of the coolest feats of storytelling I’ve ever seen. This is hands down my favorite PS4 game and I can’t wait for the sequel.

And ancient artifacts being coffee mugs? My god it’s perfect.

Just a note that I got this through GOG because it was on a really good sale. I don’t expect to play it for a while (I have my hands full with Cyberpunk and Disco E) but I couldn’t pass it up.

Ae you kidding? I’d hate to try precise aiming and circle-strafing with a controller. M&K is always better.

I know! It’s the rolling/dodging and running around that feels too loose. I agree that M&K is great for aiming.

Yes, it’s mostly stealth but you eventually unlock skills and armor which making going head to head with the machines doable. It’s still very much a dodging sort of fight though.

Also consider maxing out the mount ability. It’s a hoot as you can gallop in like heavy calvary and command your mount to attack. And even when you get knocked off it’s now a 2 vs N fight instead of it just being yourself.

I’m doing better and better, but I rarely sneak up close enough to override any beasts and gain their aid in battle. I can, but rarely find it worth the effort at the point I am at in the game(15 hours in, level 24 I think).