Horizon Zero Dawn features a diverse eco-system of machines and just like the dinosaurs that inspired them, some can get really, really big. While many of the smaller herd machines shouldn’t pose too much of a threat, the biggest of the bio-mechanical behemoths can be particularly bothersome to beat. But they’re worth the effort for those rare loot drops.
First of all, tactics are all well and good but you’ll always benefit from superior firepower. The following enemies are all heavily armored, so you’ll need the right tools to open up those vulnerable targets.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: Combat Tips And Tactics
Every enemy in Horizon Zero Dawn has specific vulnerabilities that you need to learn in order to defeat them, but there are some good tactics that will help you be ready for any situation.
- If you’re struggling with your current weapons, make sure to pick up the Shadow Sharpshot Bow and the Shadow Hunter Bow the former comes equipped with Tearblast arrows, which are essential for exposing these enemies’ weak spots.
- Approach machines stealthily to start the fight on your termsâ€”if they see you coming, they will attack or turn their weak points away from you.
- Take out the mooks first bigger enemies will sometimes be ‘guarded’ by trash like watchers or longlegs. Take them out early to avoid being swarmed.
- Use your ropecaster to limit movement with enough ropes, you can immobilize almost any machine and give yourself either some time to recover or an opportunity for a critical hit.
- Listen carefully all machines make some sort of screech or mechanical powering-up sound in Horizon Zero Dawn before they charge or attack. Keep an ear out so that you know when to dodge.
- Rolling is your best friend Most machines aren’t fast enough to deal with a rolling dodge, you’ll want to make good use of this to keep Aloy alive.
- Craft traps / ammo before you head into battle it’s always better to be prepared than to suddenly realize you have to scavenge for materials to get past a tough enemy.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Defeat The Corruptor
The Corruptor is a large, scorpion-like enemy in Horizon Zero Dawn that takes control of other machines around it.
First thing to do is concentrate on the weaker minions like Watchers or Striders to clear the battlefield. Striders can be one-shotted by targeting the weak spot on their back with the Sharpshot Bow. Once the minions are down, you’re free to focus on the Corruptor.
- The Corruptor’s two main weapons are the grenade launcher and spike launcher. Hit those weapons with tear damage to take them out of commission.
- The Corruptor is vulnerable to Fire Arrows so use them on the Corruptor’s weak points on its upper body. The heatcore right between the eyes is especially vulnerable to all attacks.
- The Corruptor is fast and devastating, so don’t stay in one spot for too long. Take down the grenade launcher on its back as early as you can, then keep moving and maintain your distance, firing arrows into its weak points while on the move.
- The Corruptor has high health and you’ll need to patiently whittle it down, but there’s a trick you can pull to deal massive damage to it. Tempt the machine into charging Aloy, and it’ll leap into the air, giving you enough time to place a trap down where it lands.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Beat The Thunderjaw
Based on the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Thunderjaw is one of the more intimidating machines you can encounter in Horizon Zero Dawn.
- Although it has a variety of projectile attacks, these are strongly telegraphed and easy to dodge. It shoots a laser grid from its head that can be dodged by running or rolling to the side.
- The best weapon against the Thunderjaw is actually one of its own, the disc launchers above it’s legs. Shoot them off with a few Tearblast shots, then pick them up and use the discs against the Thunderjaw, as they do a huge amount of damage to the machine.
- If the machine is still standing after you’ve depleted the disc launcher, hit it with a few more Tearblast shots to its midsection, back, or tail. This will strip away the Thunderjaw’s outer armor and open up its weak points.
- At first, keep your distance and study the Thunderjaw’s attacks, so you can learn to dodge them.
- Almost all of The Thunderjaw’s weak points are vulnerable to tear damage, but target them with Hardpoint Arrows instead of Tearblast Arrows. Tearblast Arrows have a good tear rating, but are best saved for exposing weak points, not attacking them.
- Watch for the tells of the Thunderjaw’s attacks, then dodge and line up your shot at a weak point until you take it down.
- A good trap to use against the Thunderjaw are the Blast Tripwires. Get some distance, place the Blast Tripwires and position yourself on the other side. Lure the Thunderjaw through it for massive damage.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Destroy The Stormbird
The Stormbird is a kind of a boss version of the more common Glinthawks found in Horizon Zero Dawn. Because this machine moves quickly, Concentration is really useful against it. Use Concentration to slow down time and carefully target its weak points.
- Stormbirds have a front-mounted Lightning Gun that can fire a variety of shots and bombs.
- The other main attack is its dive from above, which can spell death from above seemingly out of nowhere.
- Stormbirds have three engines on each wing. It’s tough to target the moving wings accurately, but use Concentration and try to land a Tearblast Arrow or two on these to disable the dive attack and deal significant damage in the process.
- Alternatively, you might find it easier to use Tearbolt or Precision Arrows to disable the Lightning Gun first. This is a much larger target and can easily targeted when Stormbirds are hovering over you, especially if you use Concentration.
- Once its glowing orange parts are exposed, you can hit them with Fire Arrows for effective damage.
- Your Ropecaster can bring Stormbirds down for a little while, allowing you to get a good hit in while it’s vulnerable.
- Resist Shock Potions will limit the damage the Lightning Guns.
- Use your roll ability to dodge when it attacks from their air. This gives you a few frames of invincibility, so donâ€™t be afraid to spam it when youâ€™re in a tough situation.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Battle The Rockbreaker
The Rockbreaker is your classic big, slow, and hard-hitting video game enemy in Horizon Zero Dawn. It can also tunnel through the earth and emerge from the ground as a surprise attack.
- The Rockbreaker has three giant buzzsaws for a mouth that can be deadly if it pops out of the ground to use them at close range.
- Besides this, the Rockbreaker will also occasionally spit out rocks in a wide enough arc that you won’t be able to dodge to the side. Instead, run back out of range from the rock spray.
- Disable its burrow ability by hitting the digging arms with Tearblast Arrows. This will cause massive damage and will blast away some of the armor.
- The other weak points are vulnerable to any type of damage, so hit them with your strongest arrows.
- Aim for the fuel sac on its belly and the exhaust port on the back to cause effective damage. The Rockbreaker exposes its fuel sack when it rises from the ground.
- Frost Arrows can be helpful in the encounter to slow the Rockbreaker down and making it easier to hit its arms and weak points.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Beat The Snapmaw
Snapmaws are amphibious armored robocrocs that attack quickly and are often encountered in small groups throughout the wilds of Horizon Zero Dawn. They are best engaged from a distance in order to soften them up before they swiftly close in on you.
- Snapmaws use their jaws and tail to deadly effect in close combat, and they also have a freeze burst attack with a short range.
- They have two large blaze canisters that stick up on their backs. You”ll need to strip their armor with a couple of Tearblast Arrows first. Then just hit the exposed canisters with Fire Arrows to make them explode for massive damage. Then a few more body hits with Fire Arrows should finish the machine.
- Tearblast Arrows to weaken its defenses, then Fire Arrows to deal damage.
- Once a Snapjaw locks in on you, it’s very difficult to escape, as they are swift and can even pursue you in water. You can keep your distance but don’t stop attacking, as it’ll be a fight to the finish.
‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ Enemy Guide: How To Destroy The Deathbringer
What’s in a name? Horizon Zero Dawn‘s Deathbringer is clearly meant to intimidate you, but don’t be frightened by this big bully. This boss may be huge but it’s not the hardest of the mega machines. You’ll first see the Deathbringer from high up on a balcony. First thing, get down from the balcony and take out the foot soldiers on the ground level. Then you don’t have to worry about them later. If the Deathbringer spots you on the balcony, it’s game over.
- The Deathbringer is packing two side-mounted machine gun turrets which should be the first things you work to disable.
- It’s also got rocket launchers that can be annoying, but are easier to avoid.
- Deathbringers are vulnerable to fire attacks but also extremely weak against shock damage. While normal enemies are usually just stunned by shock attacks, the Deathbringer also takes a decent amount of damage from them.
- For the best offensive against the Deathbringer, alternate between Tearblast, Shock and Fire Arrows. Soon enough you will expose all its orange glowing weak spots which can be targeted for critical damage.
- Once you’re on the ground, hit the two machine gun turrets on the sides of its body with Tearblast arrows to neutralize them.
- Then use Fire Arrows to heat up the Deathbringer and raise its temperature. This will eventually expose its cooling rods, which can be hit with your best ammo to deal effective damage.
- The Deathbringer moves very slowly so you can run circles around it, dodging its attacks.
- When the cooling rods are exposed, use your Concentration to slow down time so that you can line up your shot without getting hit by rockets.
How To Beat The Final Boss HADES
The final battle of Horizon Zero Dawn is an epic rumble that takes place up at the Spire in ‘The Face of Extinction’. You’ve got to contend with not just a Deathbringer but waves of additional enemies like Corruptors that HADES summons to attack you.
Your allies will help with the summons but we still recommend focusing on bringing down as quickly as possible so you don’t get overwhelmed. The same tactics outlined above for the Deathbringer still apply:
- Evade by staying on the move, using the natural cover of the area and roll to safety when it’s blasted.
- Focus on stripping off it’s weaponry first, then the exposed parts when it overheats or staggers, and look for the various medicinal plants if you’re getting low on health.
- There are several areas on the level that give you decent shelter if you need to catch your breath, don’t be afraid to retreat.
- At this point in the game, you can have a massive advantage in combat by scoring the Shield Weaver outfit, if you’ve followed our guide on how to get it.
Destroy HADES with the Master Override – Once the machines are down, it’s time to put an end to the Corruption once and for all. Walk over up to HADES and stab with your Master Override Lance to save the day and complete the story.
Robotic Beasts And How To Kill Them
With these tips you’ll soon reduce the most gargantuan machines in Horizon Zero Dawn to so much scrap metal. We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and if you’ve developed any good techniques of your own, feel free to share them in the comments!
Which of these monstrous machines did you find the hardest to beat?
This article originally appeared on video games magazine site NowLoading.co. The site is no longer online, but I’ve uploaded a few articles from my time as a staff writer there (2016-2017) here as portfolio samples.