Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough: Guide and tips for completing the post-apocalyptic adventure
Complete story walkthrough plus guides, tips, and tricks for Horizon Zero Dawn.
PlayStation 4's headline act for the year is upon us, with Horizon Zero Dawn bringing with it a huge open world, lengthy story, and variety of quests and activities to help get you tackling those robo-dinosaurs at every opportunity.
Here, you'll find a full contents for our Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough, which tackles the main questline in its entirety, plus further down on this page is our main Horizon Zero Dawn guide hub, including a variety of general tips from our experience with the game, and more individual guides on specific aspects, too.
Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough
Horizon Zero Dawn, much the same as any other open-world action-adventure-RPG these days, does of course have a main storyline. For those intrigued by the game's unique, past and future-merging setting, you can relax, because the story here delves into two things: the history of the game's awesome protagonist, Aloy, and the history of her world.
The following walkthrough focuses on just the main questline in Horizon Zero Dawn, as it can indeed be played through from start to finish with little deviation for grinding or side quests, much like its open world counterparts. For a little more detail on those alternative activities, scroll down to our Horizon Guide and Tips section below - otherwise, here's the contents for every page in our Horizon Zero Dawn walkthrough:
Young Aloy and the Proving
- Horizon Zero Dawn: A Gift from the Past - Young Aloy, how to find Rost
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Lessons of the Wild - get the Bow
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Point of the Spear - Get the Tripcaster, beat Sawtooth
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Mother's Heart - Old Friend, Blessing Ceremony
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Proving - Kill a Grazer, Brave Trail
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Womb of the Mountain - Kill the Demon, Corrupted Machines
- Horizon Zero Dawn: A Seeker at the Gates - Override a Strider, Carja Border Fort
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The War-Chief's Trail - Massacre Site, Sona's Last Known Location
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Revenge of the Nora - Red Echoes, Cultist Camps, Metal Ring
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The City of the Sun - Olin's Apartment, Break the Hatch
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Maker's End - How to defeat the Deathbringer
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Grave-Hoard - Ancient Door puzzle, War Room
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Field of the Fallen - Investigate the Battlefield, Ambush Site
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Into the Borderlands - Marad's Operative, Dervahl's Champion
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Sun Shall Fall - Defuse the bomb, defeat Dervahl, Glinthawks
- Horizon Zero Dawn: To Curse the Darkness - Eclipse Base, crash the Focus Network
The Final Quests
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Deep Secrets of the Earth - Facility door puzzle, beat the Behemoth
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Heart of Nora - How to defeat Thunderjaw, facility Control Room
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Mountain that Fell - Ruins of GAIA Prime, Master Override
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Looming Shadow - Defense Sites, preparations
- Horizon Zero Dawn: The Face of Extinction - final boss
The Fozen Wilds DLC:
Horizon Zero Dawn: Guide and tips for tackling the open world adventure
You can override any machine in the game, providing you've done the work
Machine overrides are your way of getting those sweet, robo-dinosaur mounts we've all had our eyes on since the early days of Horizon Zero Dawn's announcement.
The ability to start overriding machines will come fairly early on in the main questline in A Seeker at the Gates, however that only grants you the power to do so for some of the smaller machines.
As you register more to your Journal, you'll see that, actually, all machines can be overridden with the right access. That comes in the form of Cauldrons - dungeon-like side quests which you can undertake alongside the main quest. Complete the Cauldrons and you'll be able to override a new tier of machine companion to fight by your side. We've a specific guide on Horizon override Cauldron locations and solutions, if you're looking for more on that.
Most combat is about movement
Combat in Horizon Zero Dawn can be easy at one time, and incredibly difficult at another. The one principle that underlines it all, however, is movement.
Most machines will have a combination of ranged and melee attacks and, importantly, most of those attacks will kill you in about two hits. That means your primary objective in combat, alongside dealing out the damage yourself, is to avoid getting hit at all. Dodging, sprinting, sliding and rolling are how you do it.
So, if we had to offer just one tip for combat in Horizon, it's always be on the move.
It's worth experimenting with different weapons
Fortunately, we don't have just one piece of advice for combat - we have two!
It's easy to ignore the variety of weapons in Horizon and just stick with your trusty core combo: the Lance, and the Bow. After all there's a decent range of elemental and tear damage available with just those two, and they cover you for both melee and ranged engagements.
In fact, a good chunk of our playthrough was done with essentially those two weapons, so it's perfectly possible to just stick to them. However, doing so will shut you off from a range of items that can make your life far easier.
The Slingshot, for example, sounds harmless, but actually lobs high-damage elemental grenades at your enemies for area-of-effect damage, whilst the Rattler is an excellent option for close-range spray-n-pray tactics where you care more about damage to a machine's body, for instance, than a specific part.
Tallnecks are your means of unlocking more of the map
Much the same as the ubiquitous 'Ubisoft towers' found in the likes of Assassin's Creed and many others, Tallnecks act as towers for you to climb and, as you activate them, reveal information on a large portion of the map surrounding it.
After the mission A Seeker at the Gates, a number of them will appear on the map as blue, Tallneck-shaped symbols.
To actually reveal the map, you need to climb the Tallneck - a practice which varies with each one. Some require you to battle or sneak past a series of machines, whilst some are guarded by Cultists and Bandits. Generally, they always require you to first scale some kind of terrain nearby, to get high enough to then jump onto the yellow-gold marked bits of their body which indicate climbable hand holds.
From there, it's a fairly simple case of hopping up from part to part until you can climb onto the Tallneck's head, activate the signal by pressing Triangle at the centre of the disc-shaped platform, and then slow-motion rappelling down from the edge, like the action hero you are.
That's all for our general Horizon tips, but for more handy advice, here's our guide to unlocking unlimited fast travel with the Golden Fast Travel pack, along with our guide to Horizon Zero Dawn's Power Cell location for unlocking the ancient Shield-Weave Armour, and finally locations and details for every Horizon Zero Dawn override Cauldron, too.