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Some tactical discussion for Horizon Zero Dawn


So I didn’t want story cuz tired, so I did “hunting for the lodge” and went out and got trophies and killed shit.

This involved quite a bit of sneaking. And running. And planning. And hiding. And not following the road. And running like hell out of a corrupted zone. All of which I did. And I got my trophies. On hard.

But you know what it didn’t include? Dying. Not once. Yes, I came close. Yes, at the end I was not a full health and was out of healing, but I didn’t die at all. Not once.

We talked on the blog one day about how this is a stealth game. I approached everything all stealthy like (and running like) and cautiously, and safely, and DIDN’T DIE. Came close, but didn’t.

I think there’s a lesson there. This is, for all it’s ROBOT DINOSAURS a stealth game.

And, while we usually harsh on this game for how it approaches difficulty, this they nailed. Remember a ways back when I talked on how it was cool that they make you really think about where to camp? This was that kind of playing session. Tense, hard, always thinking “Do I attack now? Or try to find that campsite? There might be something worse by the campsite…” And the fact that I didn’t die BUT I was damn close was pretty amazing. Made me feel like a hunter. Coming home battle scarred but victorious, and not having a death load screen interrupting all of it brought all that home. Wonderful stuff.

Stealth. Stealth, I say. Oh, and a SHITTON of tearblast arrows. And fire wires.

But……now for the level harshing: This quest was a level 16 quest. Ok, fine. That’s cool. Did it on hard, so ok. But when I completed it, I got….a level 12 quest.

Game, why do you need to do a level 16 quest to unlock a level 12 quest? Might that be, I don’t know, BACKWARDS?

Watch: when they said level 12 they meant level 249871428.


Ah, the trophies. Good times. I agree that you can get a hell of a lot done with stealth. (Stealth and overrides. I love love love to override something and watch the sparks fly, then go pick up the pieces later.)

I also enjoy the sneaking and careful deployment of traps and wires and shooting, then running away. I’ve cleared a couple of corrupted zones that way. Set traps, shoot at something, then run like hell when it comes after you and hide until it gives up…repeat.

But the last corrupted zone I found had a couple of rockbreakers in it. Ugh. I’ll go back later.

As for replacing a level 16 quest with a level 12 quest…point 50 in our collection of evidence that level designations in this game are a mess.

As for the next thing from the Unfinished Swan people, definitely something for the far-future to-do list.


Except, with overrides, I’m too stealthy. WAY too stealthy. I keep doing the hide, lure, override trick only to find that I have lured my new friend so far away that he just sits there. I keep going “Over there! Go get ’em!” and it just sits. I’m all “You a sawtooth! A fucking sawtooth! You’re MADE to fuck shit up! Don’t just stand there!”


Ooo! Nice corruption-clearing! Though I still haven’t mastered the art of NOT running into something worse when I run. I cannot tell you how many times I have followed up “phew” with “what the fuck?” and “shit” in rapid succession. So I don’t know how that would work for me.

Rockbreakers? Oh HELL no. I still haven’t killed the first one.

Though stalkers got a little easier yesterday. Finally scanned one that wasn’t invisible, so I knew where its stealth generator was, and, with double shot, two tearblasts right there and boom. They’re MUCH easier when they can’t do the whole invisible thing.

I couldn’t believe that. 16, then 12. There’s….no words.

But said level 12 quest: Remember the other day when I went to a town that had nothing there? At all? Had no reason for being? Well, guess where I have to go for this quest?

The future to-do list will work out fine. After we do MEA and play a UC game AS CHLOE it should be ready to be free. Perfect.


Ah yes…I have also been too stealthy sometimes. I did that with a stalker the other day: overrode one, and then, even though I KNEW there was another one in the area, the overridden one just strolled around casually without a care in the world, not picking any fights with anyone. I had to go looking for the other one myself and lure it back toward the first one, which was more work than I’d hoped to have to put in on having machines do my fighting for me.

Who would have thought there’d be danger and effort involved in tricking two terrifying killing machines into a battle to the death?

Insert put-upon sigh here.

Running away and running right into something else equally bad is a definite risk. There are a couple of corrupted zones that are near sort of rock outcroppings, and I would just run right around behind those every time, and if you only go so far you don’t alert the non-corrupted machines that are a little way beyond…so basically you have to figure out exactly where to run in advance, and then stick to it. Fortunately the corrupted machines don’t seem to like to go too far from the zone, so they wouldn’t chase me around the rocks much. But I’m on normal difficulty: they’ll probably pursue YOU to the ends of the earth.

In THEORY I know where the stealth generators are on stalkers. I’ve never successfully shot one. I’ve really been into making them kill each other for me lately, though, so it hasn’t been as big a deal.


Interesting how, as you pointed out ages ago, these are COMBAT machines, and now I’m using them, in a sense, for their intended purpose, albeit in a roundabout way.


I know, right? All we want to do is lazily hunt combat machines designed to kill everyone, and it’s just so damn much WORK.

Lord knows that corrupted fire bellowback would follow us to the ends of the earth. Had I quit the game, never booted it up again, bought the sequel in four years, that thing would attack me right away in THAT game. “Remember me?” BOOM!

I think I found that zone last night. Level 20 or so? Near a river and a big rock ridge? I think, in my attempts to avoid roads and glinthawks, I got caught on the wrong side of that outcropping….Yeah.

Shooting off stealth generator: SO HANDY.

Is FIGHT FOR ME your thing now instead of LOOOOOOOOVE MEEEEEE!!!!!

Yeah, intended purpose! We’re just doing what they want us to do.


Ha, yes, since Aloy is so set against romance I had to get a new plaintive cry.

I’ll go back to “LOOOOOOOOOVE MEEEEEEEE!!!!!” in MEA for sure.

And yeah, we’re just helping these machines fulfill their destiny: to relentlessly attack the enemies of whomever is controlling their programming. It was meant to be.

They’d thank us if they had, you know, consciousness and the ability to appreciate purpose or anything.


Ah now…hey now….are we sure they DON’T have consciousness? In some form?


We are not sure, no. They may have dreams and plans of their own that we shall never know.

Or maybe we shall know…we have not yet reached the end of the story.


Or the end of the sequel. Or the sequel to the sequel. Or the next installment. Or the prequel. Or the one where you PLAY AS CHLOE!


I bet it’s that last one. You PLAY AS CHLOE (who was presumably cryogenically frozen for 1,000, hey, we’ve seen it happen in games before), and you end up riding the thunderjaw into the Palace of Answers where you figure out All The Truths.

I will so play that.


I already have it preordered.