The wait for Horizon Forbidden West is finally over, and people are going to be diving into its excellent post-apocalyptic offerings in droves over the coming days and weeks. Unsurprisingly, this is a big, beefy game, and there’s plenty going on- enough that it might take you a few hours to settle into a rhythm with the game. To help you on your journey as you head into the Forbidden West though, here, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that should prove handy.
Horizon Forbidden West has an impressively large and varied roster of machines that you’ll be crossing paths with throughout the game, and obviously, there’s a unique method to taking them all down. Every time you get into a fight against a particularly fearsome for then, it’s best to scan it with your focus- but rather than analyzing it in real-time, it’s better to press the touchpad and open the menu page that details all of the machines weaknesses, strengths, components, and more. Take your time to look through all details here, and then head back out of the menu with that knowledge under your belt.
Much more so than in Horizon Zero Dawn, elemental weaknesses and status conditions play a huge part in Horizon Forbidden West– so pay attention to that information, and make use of it. If your Focus tells you that hitting a specific component of a machine with an electrical attack will cause a chain reaction, do it. If hitting a sac on the machine will make it explode and cause massive damage, prioritize that. If a machine is weak to a particular damage type, use it. Oh, and later on when you get your hands on adhesive ammo, remember that that really helps out in fights against the particularly quick or large machines.
Removing different components from machines during fights is a core part of Horizon’s combat, and while that’s even more important for crafting and upgrading in Forbidden West than it was in its predecessor, there are other, more immediate benefits to doing that as well. If you’re taking on a Ravager or a Tremortusk, for instance, it’s better to remove their ranged weapons early on in the fight, so that you can then safely keep your distance and try to fight them from afar. If you’re trying to be stealthy with a Thunderjaw around you, try and remove its scanner so that it can’t find you later on. And given how important removing components is, remember to always have a weapon on you that specializes in tear damage.
SPAM YOUR FOCUS
Clicking the right stick sees Aloy’s Focus sending out a Pulse to mark any objects of interest in the vicinity. It’s a tool that’s been implemented in games countless times, and like each of those times, it’s useful for all the obvious purposes. Crucially, there will often be areas you’ll run into that might have plenty of chests with valuable loot that you might miss entirely with plain sight, so make sure you keep using your Focus to find any chests if you enter a new area.
DON’T UPGRADE YOUR STARTING GEAR
Horizon Forbidden West places a much greater emphasis on upgrades for weapons and gears than Zero Dawn did- but don’t give into that urge too early. Upgrading your starting equipment is rarely a good idea in most games, and that’s true for Forbidden West as well. Save your resources, wait till you get better and more powerful weapons and armour, and then focus on upgrading those. The green tier of loot is, as a rule, just not worth upgrading.
JOBS AND RESOURCES
As we’ve mentioned, upgrades are much more important in Forbidden West, which means so, too, is hunting machines for specific parts. Thankfully, the game allows you to create jobs for all the resources you need for specific upgrades, and you can then set them as your active quests, at which point the map is marked with the areas where you’ll find what you need. As you can image, that’s pretty useful, so make use of that often. Additionally, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of ensuring that specific machine components are safely removed before the machine dies (which can often be quite tricky), you can also turn on the Easy Loot option in the game’s accessibility settings, which leaves all components on a machine intact when it’s dead.
This should go without saying for anyone who’s put time into Zero Dawn, but in case you have forgotten or are new to the series, remember to tackle any Cauldron that you can, based on your current level. Finishing Cauldrons is how you learn to override machines, and that can be massively useful in many, many ways, from combat to traversal- so don’t ignore the Cauldrons.
Valor Surges are a new mechanic in Horizon Forbidden West, and one that you should definitely try and work into the way you play the game. Different Valor Surges have different boosts, from rendering you temporarily invisible to powering up your ranged attacks to giving you a health buff and more, so not only should you think about which ones you want to prioritize unlocking, but you should also keep switching between which of them is set as your active ability based on the situation you find yourself in.
It’s not just your Valor Surges that you should keep switching out though- you should keep an eye on your equipped weapons and armour as well. Different situations call for different approaches- a specific machine might be weak to acid damage, another might have components that you need to remove with tear arrows, another still could be weak to fire, while a rebel outpost might demand stealth. Especially if you’re playing on harder difficulties, tailoring your weapons and armour based on what your current situation is is usually a good idea. It’s a little disappointing that the game doesn’t allow you to create custom loadouts and then just swap them in and out as a whole, which means this process can take a little longer than what one might want. Thankfully, you can at least sort your weapons and armour in the menu based on different categories, so that makes it a little easier, at least.
This is a quick and easy one, but one that you should still keep in mind- any time the compass on top of your screen tells you that there’s a campfire nearby, go to it. You can unlock it once you’re within 30 meters of it, so you don’t have to go all the way, and unlocking it means that you unlock another fast travel point on the map, which is always useful.
Given the fact that there are huge mechanical monsters running among in Horizon Forbidden West’s world, you’d be forgiven that there is plenty of actual wildlife out and about as well- and it’s there to fulfil a purpose. Our advice is to just hunt animals any chance you get- the best time to do is is when you’re making a long (or relatively long, at least) trek to a specific location, and can just hunt animals and collect their resources along the way. These resources are often crucial for crafting some important stuff, such as fast travel packs, so it’s best to always have plenty in your stash.
DON’T MAINLINE IT
This one isn’t so much about helping you get to grips with the game’s mechanics as it’s advice about how to maximize your enjoyment with the game. Horizon Forbidden West is a game that wants you to take your time with it, to engage with its optional content, to do the side quests, to explore the world, to upgrade your gear and power up your build. You can, of course, mainline it if you want to, and obviously not everyone has the time to put dozens upon dozens (if not hundreds) of hours into a game. If you can help it though, remember that this is a game that’s best enjoyed at a deliberate pace rather than a blistering one.
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