Horizon: Zero Dawn's PS4 Pro improvements, crafting, and riding robosaurs - your questions answered

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The next big PS4 exclusive is just weeks away. Excitement for Horizon: Zero Dawn is mounting among fans of Guerilla Games' previous work in the Killzone series as well as anybody who can appreciate a big, post-apocalyptic world full of robot-o-saurs that want to rend your soft, organic flesh. Horizon would be an ambitious game from any studio and it's a particularly big shift for Guerrilla, so you probably have some questions going in. Here are some answers.

What do you do?

In Horizon: Zero Dawn you try to keep all the skin attached to your body as you explore a world inhabited by giant robot dinosaurs with missile launchers. As for your moment-to-moment activities, think somewhere in the neighborhood of The Witcher 3: there are main quests to advance the plot, but there are also tons of side quests to complete for other rewards. Combat is fast and deadly whether you're fighting said rocket-dinos or hostile humans so you'll need to plan ahead to survive. And try to take in the vistas every now and then - this game was made by the same people behind the beautifully grimy Killzone series, after all.

Is it really open world?

Definitely! Horizon doesn't even have any load times when you're traveling between regions. You can meander through the world as long as you like, watching the days fade into nights and rainstorms dissolve into sunshine. The robotic wildlife is meant to create a believable ecosystem even when Aloy isn't involved, with herds of prey looking for food and predators stalking along behind them. Just don't let the beauty distract you from the danger.

Does it look better on PS4 Pro?

Horizon was the biggest posterchild for PS4 Pro's expanded graphical power when Sony first showed off the new console. Pro owners with a 1080p display will be able to enjoy a supersampled image and higher quality shadows and texture details, while the game will output on 2160p with checkerboard rendering on 4K televisions. Improved color and vibrance from HDR will also be available on all PS4 systems, if your TV supports it.

Why are there robot dinosaurs?

No idea. We do know there was an apocalypse about a thousand years ago that wiped an advanced human civilization from existence. Sometime between then and now, robots that resemble creatures of old (really old, in the case of the dinosaur-looking ones) began roaming the overgrown ruins. The fraction of a fraction of humanity that remained is just now settling down and re-establishing society after centuries of desperate survival.

Can you ride them?

Totally. Certain robots can be "tamed" using Aloy's Override Tool, which will let you hop on their backs or otherwise influence their behavior (yes, like hacking into a horse's brain). I'm not sure what the robotic equivalent of a sugar cube would be, though. Maybe offer them an oil change?

Who's the main character?

You play as Aloy, a young woman who lives with her adoptive father as outcasts from a nearby tribe. She's a skilled hunter and - like most RPG protagonists - pathologically helpful, accepting requests for assistance from folks far and wide. You'll discover more about her backstory - including why she and her dad aren't welcome in the nearby tribe - as you play the game. You can set the direction of her conversations by choosing certain dialog options but it doesn't sound like the game's path is meant to branch too much based on how rude you are.

How does Aloy level up or progress?

Aloy will level up and earn points as she progresses throughout the game. By spending these points she can advance down three separate skill trees - one focused on stealth, one on combat, and the last on foraging. Each new node will unlocking bonuses to her traits and abilities as she goes. That probably sounds pretty familiar if you've played any RPG-hybrid games in the last few years, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

Is there crafting?

Oh yes, there is crafting galore. Aloy will find many of the materials she needs to create new tools, weapons, and protective clothing by hunting robot dinosaurs. You don't always have to kill them to get the materials you need, either; shoot the bright green canister off a Grazer's back to claim its fuel for yourself and let it go on its peaceful robo-gazellian way. You can always head back to town and trade with merchants for your necessities as well. The whole "outcast" thing goes away pretty fast if you have valuables on hand.

Are there pre-order bonuses?

Yep. Anyone who pre-orders the game will get the Nora Machine Trapper pack, which includes some mods for your weapons and clothes, and some resources for crafting ammo and traps. A special outfit and bow pre-order bonus is also up for grabs but check with your retailer to make sure they're participating.

Will there be DLC?

So far, the only DLC that Sony and Guerilla have announced for Horizon is extra resource packs for crafting and bonus items like armor and weaponry - all of which are available through pre-orders or buying special editions of the game. If there are any plans for story-expanding content, we don't know about them yet.

Is there multiplayer?

Nope! No multiplayer whatsoever, unless you count some unspecified social features. You definitely won't bump into any other player-controlled dinosaur hunters while you're out exploring.

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