Horizon Zero Dawn: Beginner Tips, Upgrade Guides, And Other Valuable Lessons

Jeff Marchiafava

Like a cavewoman stumbling out of the confines of her tribe for the first time, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by Horizon Zero Dawn's massive world. While the game does a good job of imparting the basics of combat and progression, a lot of questions remain. What are the best skills to go for? What inventory upgrades should I prioritize?

What loot should I hold onto, and what can I sell? Keep reading for the answers to these questions and much, much more. I've played a lot of Horizon Zero Dawn lately, and while I haven't completed everything there is to see and do in the game, I have learned plenty of valuable lessons during my 50+ hour playthrough that I wish I had known sooner. Here's my list of spoiler-free recommendations for beginners.

Skill Upgrades: What To Get And WhenHorizon Zero Dawn features a variety of abilities that you can unlock via skills points earned from leveling up and completing certain missions. These skills fall into three main categories: Prowler (stealth), Brave (combat), and Forager (crafting and enemy overrides). While the abilities are aligned across nine columns, pay special attention to the lines that connect certain skills – some trees end early or fan out into other columns, so make sure you aren't buying up the wrong skills to get to the ability you want. Assuming you do a good chunk of the side content, you should have enough points to buy almost every ability, but some are definitely more helpful than others.

Here are my recommendations on what to focus on, which provide a well-rounded mix of stealth and strength. First Priority Buys: Silent Strike: Without a doubt, this ability should be your first buy. The stealth move lets you instantly and silently kill a nearby enemy when you are hidden, which is of great help for clearing out bandit camps and taking down early, but formidable, machines. Later robots will not be killed by the attack, but it will knock them down for a period of time.

Concentration: Another must-have, activating Concentration temporarily slows down time when aiming one of Aloy's weapons. Like Silent Strike, this ability is vital for a stealthy approach, allowing you ample time to line up headshots, or target specific components on mechanical foes. Lure Call: Aloy can use the rocks she collects to distract patrolling enemies, but the Lure Call is far more…

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