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Five Fun Diversions In Horizon Zero Dawn's Open World

by Kimberley Wallace on Oct 03, 2016 at 10:22 AM

Horizon Zero Dawn takes you to a post-post apocalyptic world that's just as beautiful as it is dangerous. In this unique landscape, humanity has regressed, losing its technological advancements and struggling to survive against mechanical beasts who have replaced them at the top of the food chain. While you explore the main quest to discover why this happened and more about main character Aloy, the world also offers different activities you can do to gain experience and engage with this unique playground.

While we visited Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam, we saw some of the things you can do in the world. Here are five ways you can spend some of your time, and Guerrilla says there's plenty more side events it hasn't revealed yet.

Corruption Zones
Certain areas of the map, called Corruption Zones, are teeming with hostile machines. If you're looking for a challenge, you can clear these out to ease exploration and earn more experience. These house some of the bigger fights in the game, combining a lot of different machine types to keep you on your toes. Think Assassin's Creed and Infamous' area-control side quests.

Hunter Challenges
Hunter trials are a way for you to test your combat skills. In the city of Meridian, you will find a hunter's lodge for elite, big game hunters. However, you can't just walk in them; you have to prove you're worthy, so representatives of the lodge are set up around large herds. If you complete their tasks successfully, you gain experience and receive medals that allow you entry. Once in, you can work up the hierarchy of the lodge. Guerrilla compared it to a "hunter's guild."

Hunter Challenges show players various ways they can interact with the machines using the different weapons at their disposal. For instance, we saw a challenge that required using the ropecaster to kill three Glinthawks (flying hawk-like machines) in three minutes for the highest medal. This is no easy task, as tons of other machines are all over the battlefield, making it difficult to use the ropecaster to pin down a Glinkhawk without having another enemy impede our progress. Hunter Challenges are for those who want to learn the ins and outs of combat and test their skills with specific weapons. It was one of the most chaotic proving grounds that we saw.

Tribe Quests
Humanity has split into several different tribes in Horizon Zero Dawn, and they have all learned to survive differently in a world full of mammoth machines. Tribes are located all over the world, dealing with different climates and terrain. Special quests are available for every tribe, so you can discover more about them, such as their religious beliefs and how they live off the land. Some, such as Aloy's tribe the Nora, are primarily hunters while others are gatherers. They also all have their different views about technology and why the world is in its current state. In addition, Guerrilla worked extensively to make sure the tribes all have their own complex and interesting histories with one another. Just like our own world, not everyone always gets along – and these hostilities affect how Aloy navigates her journey. Lastly, these quests will allow Aloy to meet new people and learn to see life from different points of view, which is important considering she has only ever known the Nora tribe's perspective.

You are free to hunt and craft as you explore the world. During our trip, we saw an abundance of resources to gather and animals to hunt. Doing both is essential; you need to hunt animal wildlife, such as rabbits and boars, for some of the better gear in the game, and you have a limited amount of arrows and healing items you can carry at once. This makes it important to gather materials as you explore to ensure you don't run out in the heat of battle.

You can craft on the fly by merely holding down a button to replenish these items as long as you possess the right materials. Hunting comes in handy for everything from improving your armor to creating a satchel that can hold more items, which is important since Aloy has limited inventory space. Machines are just as important to hunt, as a lot of their parts can be used for weaponry and armor upgrades.

Spontaneous Quests
While you go about on your journey, random events appear in the world and it's up to you if you want to lend a hand. For instance, in our demo, an injured man called out for our help and we went over to see what he needed. This led us on a quest to find a sacred spear for his daughter that was left to her by her late mother. For helping, we came away with a nifty upgrade for our spear that increased its melee damage. These quests just give you more things to pursue, while also making the world feel more alive.

This is only a few of the activities that you can do in the world that Guerrilla was ready to talk about, but we're assured there are plenty more. While we were at the studio, Guerrilla also spoke about more story-oriented side quests alongside ones that were primarily combat-focused, while others are a mix of the two. From what we saw, the world looked vast, giving Guerrilla a lot of opportunity to fill it up with fun diversions.

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