15 things I wish I had known before playing Horizon Forbidden West | Beginner’s Guide

Forbidden Horizon West is here. The long-awaited sequel to Zero Dawn that puts us in the shoes of the heroic Aloy as she embarks on a treacherous journey to uncover the truth about another threat poised to destroy her homeland…and the world.

The game enjoyed a largely positive reception; the VG247 review gave the title a 4/5, and the critical consensus seemed to land around the same number once all the different viewpoints were taken into account.

The game, in general, is quite easy. But there are a few key tips and tricks you should know before you rush headfirst into battle with a giant Thunderjaw or something and get your ass kicked right back. As an open-world game, Forbidden West gives you plenty of choice in how you approach various tasks, so you can easily find yourself overpowered and beating machines without a break if you do a few simple things near the start of any game. experience.

With that in mind, please find a list of 15 things I wish I had known about Horizon Forbidden West below – and if there’s anything I’ve missed, or you know of any little tricks to make the game a little easier yourself, be sure to drop your tips in the comments.

  • Don’t automatically sell to vendors: This one is quite simple; when you encounter a merchant in the world, you will have a “Sell All” prompt in a part of your item bag that is supposed to be marked as “safe to sell”. It’s not; items such as processed metal blocks, various machine cores, and animal components all have other uses outside of cash. You are better off selling items manually; anything with the word “Ancient” or “Ingot” in it is fair game, but other items usually have other uses beyond the small amount of money you get for selling them.
  • Always start encounters stealthily: Except in very specific circumstances, you’re going to be able to start most fights from a vantage point, or hidden in those wavy red plants that Guerrilla loves so much. Enjoy it; set up traps, line up powerful (but slow) precision shots with your Sharpshooter bow, and target weak spots in the machine before the fight begins cleanly. You can usually thin the herd and most encounters easier for yourself this way. Don’t charge head first; stealth makes things faster in the long run.
  • Know when to flee a fight: As you progress through the second part of the game, you will start to encounter machines much more powerful than you in the open world. Know when to run and don’t be ashamed to run it from an Apex Shellsnapper when you’re only at level 23, or something like that. No one will judge you, and you’re not going to die a miserable death and lose your progress. Even if you disassemble something much higher than you (which you can check by examining a machine by long-pressing R3), you probably won’t need their parts for a while. Play it safe, come back when you have better gear or are stronger.
  • You don’t have to plan your fights in real time: If you’re tired of trying to digest information in a battle and being hit by projectiles, fear not; When you scan, just press the touchpad, then use the menus to cycle through enemy weak points and see what items you can get to detach certain pieces without destroying them. Use it to take stock, examine which elemental effects will work best per encounter, and research which parts can break if you go too hard. What’s the point of seeking out and killing a Thunderjaw if you kill it without removing its tail first, huh?

  • Don’t overlook the pitfalls: Earlier in the game, you’ll find that some weapons just aren’t up to the task of taking down machines, especially aerial weapons like the Sunwing or Thunderbird. Around this point you will start to have “vertical” traps; planting them and using them to clear airborne enemies from the sky makes those first encounters much easier. Plant traps and run bigger machines through them, and you’ll have a much easier time overall.
  • Never stop tracking and killing animals: In addition to the big machines, Forbidden West also has a lot of real animals in the game. Be sure to hold R3 when entering a new area to scan and look for glowing orange animals – shooting them with a weak arrow will kill them usually, and from there you’ll be able to harvest the coins you’ll need for plenty of pouch upgrades. The more ammo you can carry later in the game, the better a hunter you will be. And you will have to kill a lot of animals for that. Make a habit of scanning/harvesting coins every time you enter a new biome.
  • Don’t be precious for your weapons: Until later in the game, you won’t have a solid set of weapons that will work for every encounter. Instead, you’ll have an array of weapons, each with their own elemental skill. You can swap them in battle, effortlessly. So if a battle with a Widemaw isn’t for you, maybe swap that Fire Blastslinger for a Thunder Warrior Bow, and see if you have a better time.
  • It’s worth going through your reels: Yes, the inventory system in Horizon Forbidden West is a bit messy. But it’s worth running through your coils and armor weaves regularly to see if there’s anything that can help inflict more damage per shot, or absorb some elemental damage if you continue to be covered in acid. . Generally speaking, the best weapon coils are those that increase overall damage, over-damage, fire faster, or do more damage from stealth.

  • Do side missions as they arise: It might seem obvious, but vacuuming up side missions as they come up – especially earlier in the game – is a surefire way to get upgraded and set yourself up with a excess skill points. Missions are generally go-here-do-that type of affairs, quick and easy, and you get more money in the process. It becomes less recommended later on as the world opens up, but in the first two main areas you should definitely do everything you can.
  • Don’t overlook Valor Surges: Valor Surges is a new mechanic in Forbidden West which are basically temporary buffs that can be activated once you have done enough cool shit to power them up (hitting things, killing things, getting hit by things, etc.). Do not neglect them ; being able to land a killer shot, or giving yourself health regen, or knowing that your next shot will take the weapon out of a machine is an essential part of your survival skills. Know your surges and plan accordingly.
  • Specialize early in a skill tree, branch out later: Skill points aren’t exactly at a premium in Forbidden West, but even so, it really helps to double down on a skill tree early and then spread your wings later. I went for melee and ranged specialties in the early game, which gave me the upper hand in most battles from then on – as I started to beef up the stealth elements and survival skills to make my stealth and healing more effective. It will be different for everyone, but later on the Valor Surges skill tree and skills are pretty good, so you’re going to want to get them as soon as possible.
  • Explosive spikes are your best friend: At the start of the game, in Barren Light, you will have the opportunity to help some sisters who want to make an explosive javelin thrower. Do it. Right now. Once you have this weapon, it can blast machine armor, provide plenty of knockdown power, and deal massive damage in one go. Later, you can get an upgraded version of this weapon to complete Hunting Ground missions. It never left my weapon wheel. Not once. Just be aware that using explosives can destroy critical machine parts that you might need for upgrades.

  • Look for melee pits, learn to fight: There are some pretty advanced melee techniques you can pick up in Forbidden West’s leftmost skill tree, but they’re not always the best-explained unlocks. Look for melee pits (there are four in total). Here you will learn how to properly use melee in Forbidden West. You can pretty much finish the game without even using it once, but it’s handy to have the toolset around if things get dicey. Additionally, doing them all and a bonus mission at the end also gives you permanent melee damage.

  • Ignore metal flowers and walls covered in red flowers: Story-related things will happen – quite late! – which give you access to various places locked up with Metal Flowers or Firegleam. The game is happy to crash things very often that stop progression in your path. Don’t worry, you can come back and fix this later. If you see something like this on your way before you’ve discovered most of the map, you probably need to go in another direction.

  • Use potions and food: A rather bulky Monster Hunter-like item menu on the left of the UI will hide a variety of items: use it. Whether it’s food you can get from bosses in settlements, or potions you can craft and pick up pretty much all over the map, these items can either heal you and give you more HP or grant other buffs that make breaking easier. parts or resist elemental burn.

For even more tips on Aloy’s new mission, check out our full Horizon Forbidden West guide.

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