I bought a physical disk of Horizon Zero Dawn when it came out first as a PlayStation exclusive. I loved all the gameplays I watched and wanted to try it out for myself.
However, despite falling in love with the beautiful world of devastating machines of Horizon Zero Dawn, I couldn’t really progress through the game. Turns out, my controller aim is as bad as they come. Even the aim assist couldn’t help me save from the machine monstrosities.
My excitement was short-lived after I got the game. Instead of putting down striders, watchers, and sawbucks, I had to put down the game itself.
Horizon Laptop Dawn
After installing Steam on my recently purchased gaming laptop, I remembered that I had purchased Horizon Zero Dawn on Steam when it came out on PC. I was excited about playing it with a mouse.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no better at aiming with a mouse than your average gamer (in fact, I might be slightly below), but I did want to play Horizon Zero Dawn with a mouse. I started it on the PC, but for some reason, through all the oddities 2020 threw at us, I never had the chance to play for long.
Now, in early 2022, my excitement came back as soon as I saw Horizon Zero Dawn on my Steam library. I rushed to install it as soon as my favorite pastime game, Euro Truck Simulator 2, was finished downloading.
I bought the Logitech G304 mouse to use with the laptop. And boy, am I glad I did! For the first time, I started loving every bit of the Horizon Zero Dawn world.
An easy-to-remember crafting system
My biggest foe with long, RPG games, is that the crafting system confuses me. I either forget how the crafting system works or I never quite understand it. It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t finish The Witcher 3, but loved speeding through Far Cry 3, 4, and 5.
Don’t get me wrong again, those are completely different games. But they all have some sort of crafting systems. I found the one in The Witcher 3 to be quite confusing.
Horizon Zero Dawn, on the other hand, felt pretty straightforward. I’ve been enjoying the game and have finished quite a few main and side quests, and I’m still not even slightly annoyed or frustrated at any part of it.
There is still a lot to learn, though. I’m still not sure how some of the weapons (and attachments) work. I also discovered, after playing for over 15 hours, that I’ve been fighting the machines all wrong (I didn’t know you had to shoot the canisters to get an edge in defeating the machines).
A must-play RPG
It’s fair to say that for the first time in a long time, I’m enjoying a game the way it’s meant to be enjoyed. I’m exploring the vast open wild, constantly checking which main or side quest, errand, or other activities are closest to my location, and I’m choosing them based on my convenience.
I’m also heavily invested in the story. I’m keen to find out what’s going on with the kidnapped sister, or what kind of weapon was tested at the site. I’m looking forward to finding out what the cult is doing raising machines from the dead. I’m eager to explore more of the world and stumble upon even more dangerous and scary machines roaming about.
Most of all, I can’t wait to learn more about who Aloy is and where she came from.
I’m glad this game came to PC. As big of a PlayStation fan I am, I don’t necessarily support platform exclusives. I’m glad PC players got to enjoy Horizon Zero Dawn.
Although I’ve still got a long way to the finish line for Horizon Zero Dawn, I already hope that Forbidden West, the sequel that was just released on PlayStation, makes its way to PC.
Memorable moments on Horizon Zero Dawn
I wanted to write different posts for different areas I was exploring and quests I was doing, but I got so immersed into the game that I didn’t have the time to do it.
But I’ve recorded Instant Replays using GeForce Experience and I wanted to share them with you. Here are some of the memorable moments so far in my 15 hours of playthrough.
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For some reason, the FPS dropped below 30 as soon as I entered the first Cauldron in Horizon Zero Dawn. I found out later that it’s called Cauldron SIGMA.
I had a tough time navigating inside the Cauldron due to severe performance issues. I turned down the graphics settings to as low as I could, but none really helped. I eventually had to disconnect my 4K external monitor and play this section on the laptop’s built-in screen.
With 1440p resolution and a generous 165Hz refresh rate, it wasn’t a bad experience, but its 16” size was a downgrade from my 32” 4K monitor.
In any case, what I encountered at the end of this Cauldron, guarding the core, was a Fire Bellowback. And I absolutely loved, I mean, L-O-V-E-D, the battle against this machine.
Although it took me a couple of tries, I was able to make great use of the tripcaster against this enemy.
The smaller machines that spawned in the surrounding areas were a pain to kill at first. But once they were cleared out, I carefully cornered the Fire Bellowback and kept plotting Tripcasters in its path.
So the Fire Bellowback would trip into one, fall down, allowing me to do a great deal of damages, get back up, and get stunned by another Tripcaster. It felt almost like cheating, but I did enjoy it.
Unfortunately, Instant Replay was turned off on GeForce Experience so I didn’t get to record the fight. (That’s also why I don’t have any recording before this battle.) But I’m looking forward to defeating it again in my next playthrough, whenever that happens.
Climbing the first Tallneck
It’s obvious that Tallnecks are the Giraffes of the machine world. In fact, their development name was Comm giraffes. But when I encountered my first Tallneck at Devil’s Thirst, I felt nothing but awe.
The atmosphere played a role. Under the moonlight, I was hearing heavy thuds as this behemoth of a mechanical creature was walking about.
I didn’t actually know at first that they weren’t hostile to humans, so I tried to approach it with stealth, killing the smaller enemies in the area.
After figuring out it wasn’t going to attack me, I took my time to figure out how to climb it. Even during and after the climb, I had to take multiple pauses to appreciate and take in the beauty of just how tall the Tallnecks are.
I can’t wait to climb other Tallnecks on the map and revisit the experience.
Stealth bandit camp takedowns
This one felt pretty familiar. I’ve done similar camp takedowns in Far Cry. Given that the bandit camps didn’t have any machines, (at least, the ones I’ve cleared so far) I just took a similar approach.
This meant surveying the land from a high perspective, observing the enemies and the paths they were walking, and taking them down one by one to avoid a full-blown firefight as much as possible.
I’ve been able to achieve this so far in quite a few (but not all of them) bandit camps. There’s a special kind of satisfaction when you can take down an entire camp without anyone realizing what was going on.
I shouldn’t boast, though, for I was not able to silently disarm the alarm so far. I’ve taken a different approach and decided to just stealthily kill all of them. Good thing that they don’t sound the alarm as soon as they see fellow bandit’s dead bodies.
I wonder if that changes with the game’s difficulty settings.
Clearing a Corrupted Zone
Just like fighting the Fire Bellowback, I went into the first Corrupted Zone equipped with Tripcasters. I don’t know, I think they’re my best friends. As you can see in the video, I tried to make use of them as best as possible.
I know that the game wants you to try all the weapons. And you gain an advantage by using the correct weapon against the enemies. But I feel like once I get used to a weapon, I just keep using it all the time.
Of course, the Tripcaster here won’t work on enemies who are not vulnerable to stuns, but again, you get my point.
I’m not sure how far I’m into the game (I have the Complete Edition which includes the Frozen Wild DLC), but I guess, I’ll find out how it goes for the rest of the game.
Fighting the Rockbreaker
I honestly didn’t even know there was a machine in the area. Even when Aloy said, “You’re a big one,” I had no idea. As you’ll see in the video, the Rockbreaker took me by surprise.
But it was an interesting fight. Too bad my Tripcasters couldn’t save me this time.
A must pause, for the Ring
Now, after all that praise, you must be thinking, I will not touch anything else until I have finished Horizon Zero Dawn.
Actually, I will. Elden Ring is releasing in two days. And I’ve got to put down HZD once again, at least, for a while.
I’m not what you’d call a souls fan. I never got anywhere close to finishing any of the Souls games. The most I played is Bloodborne.
I accept that I will never be able to finish Bloodborne due to its difficulty, but even then, it remains the best game I’ve ever played with an incredibly deep story, immersive atmosphere, sound, dialogue, and gameplay.
I was looking forward to Elden Ring for a long time. I don’t think I’ll excel at it. But from what I’ve seen so far, it seems far more ‘open worldly’ than Bloodborne. I will die, a lot, and I will be frustrated beyond any measure, but I still want to explore Elden Ring’s world.
The great thing about Horizon Zero Dawn is that it’s so easy to pick up, put down, and pick up after a while and not have to relearn everything.
Elden Ring’s difficulty will frustrate me, that’s a given. When the time comes that I just don’t want to try again, I’ll know where to go to explore some familiar territories and kill some machines.