Death will arrive in about thirty seconds

I don’t know why I’m surprised, really. They’re huge metal dinosaurs. They’re dangerous. All the same, I wasn’t expecting to die quite this much in Horizon Zero Dawn.

I’m around a dozen hours into Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic dino hunting game and I keep on getting my ass kicked. I had been expecting the initial difficulty to ease as I upgraded my character and unlocked better gear, but nope. These dinosaurs kill me just as dead now as they did the first time I fought one.

Here is a short list of things that have killed me in Horizon Zero Dawn.

These huge flame-spewing bastards.

This thing is officially known as a Bellowback, but I prefer “huge flame-spewing bastard.” You fight a couple in early story missions, and they are very hard to kill. They can take a beating and then some, and the only effective way I’ve found of killing them is to pin them in place and fire arrow after arrow after arrow into their gas tank.

Above: The face of death.

The first “cauldron” you explore was marked at a reasonable level, so I went in at around level 15 thinking it’d be no sweat. Ha. Ha! There sure was some sweat at the end, when I had to fight one of these bad boys in an enclosed space. I must have died eight times before I finally pulled out a win by the skin of my teeth.


These stupid velociraptors.

These guys are called Watchers, and they’re supposed to be the easiest robots to fight. Guess what? They still weigh like a ton and will still wreck you if they plow into you at full speed. Several hours into the game I was feeling pretty good about my ability to stay alive in most of the opening areas, so I let my guard down around these guys. Not a good call. A couple of stray hits later and I straight-up died, run down by a shitty velociraptor before I could heal.


These cute, harmless crab-bots.

Aw, look at the robot crab! See how it trundles around, carrying a big carrying case on its back. What a cute, dumpy robot.

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I need a part from one of these things to trade for some armor, so I guess I better kill it. Let’s just shoot an arrow at it and see what…

OH MY GOD WHAT


These horrible scorpion robots. 

First of all, these things remind me of the Guardians in Zelda. (I suspect I’m not alone in having lots of Zelda sensory bleed from playing both games at the same time.) Second of all, oh man they suck to fight. The first time I fought one of these I had a bunch of friendly NPCs backing me up and it wasn’t too bad. The second time, it was just me, and man it did not go well. Not only can this creature (real name: corruptor) fire rockets at you from range, but it can leap across huge distances, whipping its stinger around so fast you probably will not dodge in time.


A mountain.

Whatever, so I jumped off a mountain and died. It only happened once. I blame Breath of the Wild. I’d gotten too used to having a paraglider! I don’t think I’ll ever let this happen again. Stupid mountain.


This fucking thing, probably.

I haven’t fought one of these fucking things yet, but just look at it. It is seriously one of the biggest free-roaming enemies I’ve ever seen in a video game. At some point I’m going to have to fight one, and I predict it is going to kill me.


You may notice “humans” is conspicuously absent from this list. That’s because I have never once been killed by a human in this game. The human enemies in Horizon Zero Dawn are blessedly dim-witted, happy to wander the same patrol routes over and over again, oblivious to the fact that I’ve killed ten of them while hiding in the same bush. It’s almost like they’re there to help relieve the stress of being constantly pounded into the ground by unstoppable giant robots.

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You know how usually the message with this kind of story is that the giant robot monsters are bad, but the humans are the real threat? So far for me, that has not been the case. It’s the giant robot monsters. The giant robot monsters are the real threat.