Horizon Forbidden West – Tips To Survive The Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West is upon us, bringing Aloy’s biggest adventure to date for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. This sequel takes place 6 months after the events of the first game, and much has changed, so we’ve got just the guide for you as you start your perilous journey to the Forbidden West.

In this survival guide for Horizon Forbidden West, we share some tips and tricks to make the most out of your adventure, providing advice on what to do so you don’t go running around like a headless Tallneck. What skill should you get first? How do you get more skill points? What’s the secret to Aloy’s fiery red hair? Ok, maybe not that last question, but we’ve got the rest covered!

Spoiler alert!

It goes without saying that if you’re not into Horizon Forbidden West spoilers and want to experience the wonder by yourself, please read no further! If you want a bit of a boost to jumpstart your gameplay though, you’ve come to the right place!

horizon forbidden west screenshot 1

Horizon Forbidden West – Tips To Survive The Forbidden West

Hoard away

The sequel is bigger and better, and so is your carrying capacity. Horizon Forbidden West allows you the freedom to pick up absolutely anything on the map, so don’t sweat the excess items because they’ll immediately go to your stash for safekeeping.

No need to worry about carry limits so don’t be shy and hoard away!

That’s a lot of Skills

Horizon Forbidden West has a LOT of skills for players to upgrade but some are better than the others, and with limited skill points to use in the early game, you’ll need to plan out properly which ones to upgrade first.

In no particular order, you should look to upgrade these first over the others, as they will give you an easier time as you journey through the Forbidden West:

  • Hunter Tree – Concentration, Concentration Regen, Deep Concentration, Valor Surge Master, Ammo Expert
  • Survival Tree – Potent Medicine, Medicine Capacity, Potion Proficiency, Plant Forager
  • Infiltration Tree – Silent Strike, Stealth Tear, Stealth Ranged, Low Profile, Quiet Movement, Quiet Spear
horizon forbidden west best skills - concentration +

Concentration slows down time when aiming down sights, allowing you to aim at the enemy properly. You’ll want to use this as much as you can when fighting machines, so anything that improves this skill should be a priority.

Potent Medicine and Plant Forager are very useful skills that allow you to heal more with fewer resources. You’ll also get more items every time you pick up a plant (2 instead of 1, for example).

Silent Strike is crucial if you want to use stealth, as it deals big damage to a machine or human before they can even retaliate.

The other trees aren’t as important in the early game compared to the skills from these trees, so prioritize these first.

For a guide on the best skills, click HERE.

Your Focus is your best friend

Tapping R3 repeatedly every 50-100 meters may be excessive, but every resource you get while exploring the world will prove useful, especially during the early game where you are still building your stash. Due to the denseness and lushness of the world, you may tend to leave out items while exploring, so make it a habit to press R3 often to keep track of everything around you.

Holding R3 down is another thing you must get accustomed to because…

The wild (animal) hunt

Holding R3 will help you greatly with hunting for wild animals out in the fields while you are exploring. Without it, wild animals will be hard to see while exploring, and some animals will run or fly away before you even get close to them. Holding down R3 will let you highlight these animals from afar, allowing you to get the jump on them for that extra advantage.

horizon forbidden west tag target

Hunting these animals down will prove very useful because…

Pouches for everything

Upgrading pouches in Horizon Forbidden West is not cheap, especially the level 3 upgrades which will require the rare materials from the animals you’ve been hunting if you have been following our tips.

Pouches are important because they’ll allow you to carry more ammo / items / food and other resources before needing to craft more or refill your stocks from your stash. You can upgrade your pouches from the various workbenches located around the world.

horizon forbidden west pouch upgrade

Spend wisely

There’s a real temptation to purchase every new weapon and armor set you see in Horizon Forbidden West when you reach a new settlement. I would suggest that you don’t and that you should just choose wisely, investing in a weapon of choice that you can use for the long haul.

Doing so will save you shards, which is hard to come by in the early game. Sticking to 1 to 2, maybe 3, weapon types will also save you from using up too many resources when crafting all the ammo needed by your weapons.

When choosing which weapon to purchase, choose one with an element that you don’t have yet so you can cover your bases when faced with machines with various elemental weaknesses.

Same with armor – choose an armor set that has stats and bonuses that improve your preferred playstyle (stealth, melee, etc).

Speaking of weapons…

Spike Throwers are LEGIT

The Spike Thrower is a new weapon in Horizon Forbidden West and acts as a javelin of sorts. They are a tad bit harder to use over bows since you’ll need to estimate your throws depending on distance, but connecting on a machine weak spot with this weapon will deal insane amounts of damage.

At some point, you’ll get the chance to use Explosive ammo on your Spike Thrower, which further increases your damage output. Paired with the Powershots Valor Surge and the Propelled Spike skill, these machines won’t know what hit ’em.

Boltblasters vicious damage dealers too, but will render you less mobile compared to the other weapons.

Don’t miss on the techniques

horizon forbidden west braced shot weapon technique

All weapons in Horizon Forbidden West have skills called weapon techniques that can prove useful for certain situations. Some will offer a way to deal massive damage while some can improve the build-up of elemental states.

A weapon technique like ‘Braced Shot’ is specific to the Sharpshot Bow, and each weapon will have their own techniques that require weapon stamina to use. Depending on which weapons you favor using, look for the appropriate techniques across the skill trees in the game.

For a guide on the best weapon techniques, click HERE.

Upgrade wisely

horizon forbidden west armor upgrade

Upgrading common gear doesn’t cost too much in Horizon Forbidden West, and it will serve you well to try and upgrade your green or blue gear to the max if your resources allow for it.

The next tier of gear, purples, will be MUCH more expensive to upgrade in terms of materials needed, often needing a lot of rare items like Greensilver and hard-to-get machine parts. If you can hold out for it, don’t go all out on upgrading your purple gear and just upgrade maybe 1 or 2 levels of it. Your resources are best saved for the legendary weapons and armor.

Break the (Elemental) Limits

Arguably one of the most important things you’ll need to consistently do in Horizon Forbidden West. It’s one thing to know what element a certain machine is weak to, but you’ll always want to trigger the elemental limits, which is achieved by continuously using the same element on the machine until you fill up a gauge.

Triggering elemental limits will bring these machines to certain states (Burning, Corroding, Brittle, etc) and will give you an easier time when fighting some of the tougher machines like the Tiderippers and Slaughterspines.

Looking for elemental parts on machines and shooting them with the same element will also result in various effects, giving you the advantage in battle.

Side-quests are your friend

horizon forbidden west screenshot 4

Not only are the side-quests in Horizon Forbidden West fun to do, they also reward you with valuable resources and skill points to aid you in your journey. There are over 100 skill upgrades to choose from and you can’t just rely on the skill points you get from leveling up, which caps out at 50.

Side quests will sometimes reward you with multiple skill points ranging from around 2-5, and before you know it, you’ll have so much to splurge on for those invaluable upgrades.

You can also get some free armor and weapons from doing these quests, which is very much welcome.

Eat your veggies

In Horizon Forbidden West, Aloy has the ability to consume food, which will give you buffs you can bring to battle. Buffs range from simple HP boosts to damage and skill upgrades, so remembering to take a meal before a critical boss encounter may spell the difference between life and the retry screen.

The most basic food type (HP boost) should be enough for most situations, so don’t forget to eat before encounters! The more expensive meals may cost you some rare resources, so it would be wise to save these for special occasions.

Stealth is wealth

More often than not, you’ll want to approach machines with as much planning as possible in Horizon Forbidden West. The best way to go about it is to find tall grass so you can survey your prey from a distance, letting you plan out the best approach for your next move.

horizon forbidden west stealth

Some skills will also provide bonuses when you are undetected (Stealth Tear and Stealth Ranged), making stealth a valuable aspect of the game. Without any ammo being used, you’ll be able to save up on valuable resources by using stealth.

Silent night

It goes without saying that while on stealth, you’ll gain the ability to smash enemies with a critical hit that will either kill them outright or deal massive damage. This is a great way to get the jump on your foes, giving you an outright advantage when the battle actually starts.

There’s also a skill that replenishes your HP if you hit opponents with a Silent Strike (R1), saving you precious healing items in the long run.

horizon forbidden west silent strike

What is the best Valor Surge and why is it ‘Toughened’?

Valor Surge is a new feature in Horizon Forbidden West and it is basically a “Super” move that Aloy can activate once you fill a special Valor bar. These Valor Surges range from support and healing to offensive moves that can turn the tide of battle in your favor.

One of the best, if not the best, Valor Surge that you MUST upgrade fully right away is called “Toughened” and it basically makes you unkillable during tough encounters. You’ll be getting health regeneration every couple of seconds along with increasing your resistance to various status effects, basically making you a walking rock of death.

For a guide on the best Valor Surges, click HERE.

horizon forbidden west toughened valor surge

You won’t have to worry about healing yourself for the duration of the surge, making this one our personal favorite.

Don’t freak out

Horizon Forbidden West is a HUGE game with a ton of activities scattered around the map. It may feel a bit overwhelming for some, and that’s only natural. We’re here to tell you not to mind it at all and just play at your natural pace and let your intuition and curiosity guide you.

Choosing to just follow the path provided is certainly one way to play, but points of interest in Horizon Forbidden West are close enough to each other that a quick turn here or a detour there will surely lead you to interesting side content that will reward you with useful loot.

Do some research

Hunting machines will take up a lot of your time, and it will probably be the aspect of the game that you’ll be doing even after finishing the main storyline thanks to the fantastic combat system in Horizon Forbidden West.

That said, you’ll need to learn to hunt effectively, as these machines have various parts to them that hold key resource materials that you’ll need to upgrade your equipment. Knowing which part of the monster holds what and knowing if these parts persist or get destroyed when the machine is killed will be an integral skill that players will need to learn in Horizon Forbidden West.

To make life easier for you…

Tag ’em all!

horizon forbidden west tag part

Horizon Forbidden West has a feature that will let you tag a specific part while viewing them with your focus. The ability to view each part shows valuable information such as what parts persist after killing the machine, or even what parts will get destroyed after.

Tagging a part will turn them purple (or pink?), making them easier to see and target during the fight. This way, you can assure yourself that you’re targeting (and hitting) the correct part you would want to tear off, giving you that important resource that you’ve been searching for.

If you can’t be bothered with all of this and just want a relaxing time…

Choose Custom Difficulty

There’s an option in Horizon Forbidden West where you can choose “Custom” Difficulty, which will allow you to tweak certain parts of the game to suit your needs. If you want a relaxing time and just want to play for the story, there’s a “Story” setting you can switch on. You can also choose to have the game guide you on where to find your next quest.

Even better, there’s a setting called “Easy Loot”, which gives you the opportunity to simply kill machines without worrying about tearing off certain parts, always assuring you of the loot you want. Pretty cool!

Horizon Forbidden West is now available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

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