ByMichael Mitchell, writer at
Former Staff Writer for Now Loading. Currently tweeting things here:
Michael Mitchell

Horizon: Zero Dawn is Sony's answer to in more ways than one. Outside of the fact that both are major console-exclusive titles getting very good pre-release reception, they also both feature a protagonist who can shoot bows and fight foes. Also, there are several other weapons for each hero to use in their quests, but they didn't quite fit in that rhyme scheme.

Today, we'll be going over all the different weapon types available to you in Horizon: Zero Dawn and hopefully help you find one that's right for you.

Knowing A Quality Weapon Versus A Not-So-Quality One

Image via GosuNoob
Image via GosuNoob

Let's get the nitty-gritty out of the way. There are three different qualities a particular weapon can have:

  • Common: Good weapons, represented by a green background.
  • Carja: Better weapons, represented by a blue background.
  • Shadow: The best, rarest weapons, represented by a purple background.

Simple enough, right? That's not a trick question, it really is a pretty simple system. You can typically obtain the various versions by progressing far enough through the game and checking merchants' inventories. A few are quest rewards, but mostly, just be sure to always see what your friendly neighborhood merchant is selling.

The Hunting Bow And The Spear

These two are grouped together because you're stuck with them whether you like it or not! Take that!

Okay, but really, these are your two starting weapons and you are technically stuck with them until you encounter your first merchant. But being stuck with them isn't a bad thing, because they're solid, all-around weapons.

The Sharpshot Bow

Via USgamer
Via USgamer
  • Pros: Deal high damage and are able to zoom farther.
  • Cons: Ammo costs a lot to make and the reload time is slow.
  • Most like: A sniper rifle.

If you get a thrill out of sniper-style shooting, this one's for you. In the heat of combat, it may not be the best option, but it'll be a devastating way to take out an enemy who doesn't notice your presence yet.

The War Bow

  • Pros: Different versions will fire different element-based shots and reloading is fast.
  • Cons: Hits weaker than both other types of bows.
  • Most like: The elemental arrows Link gets in Ocarina of Time.

Okay, so that comparison might not be the best, but it's a bit hard to compare it to anything. Essentially, it's a weaker bow that can specialize in firing different elemental-based shots. It's not something you'll want to use if your target doesn't have any specific elemental weaknesses, but can still be handy if you know what you're up against.

The Sling

  • Pros: High, area-of-effect damage of varying types, depending on what type of sling you have.
  • Cons: Can be expensive to buy/make ammo for.
  • Most like: A grenade-firing slingshot (Note: Do. Not. DIY this.)

I like the Sling if for nothing but the fact that it looks like someone decided to see what would happen if you used a slingshot to chuck grenades instead of, say, your hands or an actual grenade launcher. It does deal area damage, so be careful of that, but it can also be customized to fire different types of shots (shrapnel, explosives, etc.).

The Rattler

Yes, I know this is not the Rattler. It still looks cool.
Yes, I know this is not the Rattler. It still looks cool.
  • Pros: Crazy strong when fired up close.
  • Cons: Crazy weak when fired from a range.
  • Most like: A shotgun.

The Rattler, as many have described it, is essentially Horizon's version of a shotgun. It will fire bolts in a large, close-range spread and deal very heavy damage when you're face-to-face with an enemy. Anything farther away, though, and it's not going to do much besides draw attention to the dummy firing a short-range weapon 100 yards away.

The Ropecaster

  • Pros: Helpful in locking enemies down, especially fast ones.
  • Cons: The bigger the enemy, the more ammo you'll have to use.
  • Most like: A bear trap? I guess? Look, it pins enemies down, okay? Just imagine that one tie-down-King-Kong scene in every Kong movie.

If you need some breathing room from a large enemy or just want to have a second to aim the perfect shot at a fast one, this thing's great. Fire one shot at the enemy, and the other shot goes into the ground, pinning the enemy in one spot. Overall, a pretty solid weapon in a wide variety of situations.

The Tripcaster

  • Pros: Good for setting up traps and/or stunning enemies before they get to you.
  • Cons: Explosive version does not come until later in the game, requires the enemy to walk in the trap's specific location to trigger.
  • Most like: Tripwire.

Like I said, the first version of this is exclusively used to stun enemies, while later versions explode and deal damage. If you're the type to charge into combat and brute force your way through enemies, this might not be your go-to weapon. But it's still pretty handy if you're trying to set up a fight before your enemy knows you're there. Just shoot two points that you want the wire to cross, and lie in wait. You definitely will want to use your Focus to see your enemies' paths first.

All in all, Horizon: Zero Dawn has a lot of weapons, and each of them is useful in different situations. There's not exactly one "best" weapon to use, and it will really depend on your preferred playstyle. Thankfully, you have a little bit of time to acclimate before even having the option of choosing! And even if you're unsure by then, you can eventually obtain all weapon types.

Which weapon type is your favorite to use in Horizon: Zero Dawn?


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