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No real spoilers, some discussion of mechanics in Horizon Zero Dawn


I got nothing. I wanted to play, but nana showed up, then people wanted food, that sort of thing. I’d rather have played. That and a very nice Irish man came by to tell me that replacing a driveway is expensive. Don’t buy a house.

What you got?


I tried a 24th level quest and it was a giant machine that smashed me repeatedly until I gave up and went away. There may be no load screens in-game, but that 20-second wait after you die starts to seem pretty long.

That was pretty much my evening.

I think I need more weapons. I’m faintly annoyed at having to carry 3 different bows and 2 different slings and all that, so I’ve been pretty much just sticking with my couple of weapons, but I think some of the bigger machines are going to basically require particular approaches like the sharpshooter bow or whatever, so I probably need to stock up.

A thought: I haven’t FOUND any weapons or armor in the world while looting. Usually those are everywhere. Maybe that’s why they let you get so rich in shards so fast (as we noted we both had done): they expect you to actually buy weapons and armor.

What a novel idea! I have to actually purchase gear!


That would slow one down, that would. I just LOVE those kind of evenings.

I made the mistake of getting a new bow cuz it was better, selling the old one (as one does….right?) only to find out my new bow only shot two kinds of arrows! THAT was a surprise! So each bow only fires two kinds? I can’t switch? Why can’t THAT bow fire THOSE arrows? Are they THAT different?

So I got the old bow back, and now I can’t remember which bow shoots which arrows, so it’s trial and error.

A repeated knock on this game in reviews was that the inventory management system was a complete mess. I gotta agree.

And hey, you’re right! We don’t find weapons. Not even ammo! (Maybe the poor ammo gnome perished in the intervening 1000 years. Fallout was only about 300 years hence. Poor guy. He was always so helpful.) We should at least find an arrow or two.

Also, in a game so heavily into crafting, I haven’t been able to craft weapons or modifications. Sure, you can craft arrows, but that seems like more of a “we’ll give you ridge wood instead of letting you loot” mechanic. Geralt could craft runes. Jessica could build small tactical nuclear weapons out of toy cars and lunchboxes. Aloy? Nuttin’.

Purchasing gear…I hardly recognize you anymore.


I’m as confused as you are. Who AM I? Someone who BUYS things from merchants? I need to lie down.

We shall mourn the ammo gnome. I bet machines got him. Probably recycled his ammo into various components. Which we then retrieve and turn back into ammo. Still, it’s not the same.

All right, ROBOT DINOSAURS, now it’s personal!!!!


I’m surprised you even knew what a merchant was. But I forgive you, because those antler thingies on the map do not suggest “merchant.” I’m not sure what they suggest, really. Druid? Avid hunter? Cheesy low-cost steakhouse?

It’s the circle of life with the gnome, man. The circle of life.

Maybe he just hopped a Mass Effect Relay and is just waiting for us out in Andromeda. Hope so. He was so selfless, so generous. An inspiration to us all.

You fuck with the ammo gnome, you fuck with me.



Yeah, that merchant logo is not intuitive. My first thought is STILL “some kind of monster” when I glance at the map. The best I can figure is that they mean it to be a person waving its arms in a “hey, come buy my wares!” fashion, but…nah. Doesn’t really come through.

That T shirt will confound everyone who sees it, but it will be worth it.


It’s antlers I tell you. Maybe, 1000 years from now, all merchants will wear antlers, but it’s not really intuitive today.

Again, besides inventory, the map has a lot to answer for. Ok, village, side quest marker, monster area, check. But merchant? Corrupted zone? Unhelpful. Legend. Maps need legends. And, from yesterday, a clearer definition of the edge.

Also, I can’t figure out why some icons are bluish and others aren’t. I thought, when “bandit camp” was blue that blue meant “nasty.” This is why I charged so hopefully towards what turned out to be the rather nasty corrupted zone. It was not blue. It was white, like welcoming villages and merchants. And yet it was nasty.

Get with it, map.


I don’t know what the blue is about either. The hunting ground icons are also blue, and I don’t know what they have in common with bandit camps. Hunting machines is like hunting bandits? OK, I guess, if we want to endorse psychopath Nil’s approach to crime prevention.

You’re right, the map overall could be clearer. I mean, the topography is very nice. I appreciate the way it shows all the little roads, and the mountains look rocky even on the map in a very nice way. It’s a pretty map. But the iconography does leave some things to be desired in terms of making it clear what the heck anything means.

Although…I have been noticing antlers on the food trucks downtown lately…


The topography is nice. I haven’t had the experience that I had with Skyrim when I look at the map and say “I can get there no problem” when I can’t.


Yeah, it’s generally pretty easy to see “oh, that’s a cliff, I’ll have to walk around it.”

A problem (for me) is that it’s so good about showing all the roads and paths that I always feel I should go down every one of them just to make sure I don’t miss anything, and there are so many!

I kind of like the ‘fast travel as a resource’ mechanic. I’ve accumulated plenty of fast travel packs so it’s not a serious limitation, but knowing that it costs something does make me pause to think about whether I want to just zip off somewhere, or whether it’s better to cover the ground. And get distracted 30 times along the way.


Oh fast travel as a resource is absolutely brilliant. I almost wish I didn’t have 20 or so. But even with that, I’ve used it maybe once because I do know it’s limited. And things are better for it.

Especially because it makes the game harder. We’ve all been there: low on health, low on ammo, so we fast travel past where we know there are bad guys to stock up. Here? You might just have to suck it up and fight or sneak around those baddies. And knowing that makes you think more about not just blowing all your health/ammo on THIS fight cuz you might need it for ANOTHER fight.


Yeah, it’s nice for the way it makes you think about where you are in relation to things, which makes the context of the world more important and more real. As you say, even when you have 20 packs and could really fast travel pretty much anytime, knowing you have to pay something for it makes it something to consider carefully. I’ve only used it about three times, and that was strictly for times when I wanted to check something out way the hell over on the other side of the map and was like “yes, I will pay to get there without having to walk through every machine site along the way.”

But it was a long way…if it had been closer, as you say, it might well not have seemed worth it to spend a pack on the trip.


I only used it to get to where I had to finish a quest cuz I knew Mrs. McP was almost home. Priorities.