Sequels tend to assume that at least most people picking up the game have played, if not beaten, the previous entry in the series. With Forbidden Horizon West, it mostly rings true. Sure, the game gives you a good recap of the first game’s important story beats, but some of the more technical parts of the game’s combat in particular are ignored in favor of introducing new and exciting mechanics. Even though you played Horizon Zero Dawnit could easily be years since you last touched it before opening it Forbidden Horizon West.
It’s one of the greatest games ever seen on PS5 – and PS4 for that matter – and getting down to business is the best way to experience this adventure with Aloy. However, unlike Aloy, you may have lost some of your edge surviving in the hostile world filled with robot dinosaurs. Or it might even be your first encounter with this world. The West is a whole new beast for you and Aloy, so having a head start on what you need to know from the start will make your quest even smoother. Here’s our complete beginner’s guide Forbidden Horizon West.
Personalize your experience
Sony’s first-party games have started an amazing trend of offering a ton of accessibility and customization options to allow as many people as possible to enjoy. Forbidden Horizon West is the latest to follow this trend and offers awesome ways to tailor the experience to your liking. The first would obviously be choosing your difficulty, which breaks down into five standard options, plus a custom mode and the choice between explorer and guided modes. You’ll have to choose one from the start, but you can change it at any time in the options menu.
Normal difficulty options are Story, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. The only difference between these is the health of the enemies and the damage they inflict on Aloy. However, if you choose Story or Easy, you can also adjust how long your Focus – the ability to aim in slow motion – lasts by default, triggering Auto Focus when aiming instead of pressing R3., Auto Heal to have Aloy heal herself when her health drops below 50%, and Easy Loot to have enemies drop their components even if you’re not targeting them.
If you choose a custom difficulty, you can set how much damage you’ll take, enemy health, as well as toggle easy loot, focus duration, and auto focus.
Explorer mode makes the game more immersive by removing on-screen indicators leading you to your objectives, while Explorer leaves them on.
In terms of accessibility, one option you should check is the slowdown time when you open your weapon wheel. During the heat of battle, especially after filling your wheel with tons of weapons and ammo types, you might appreciate a longer and less stressful time to grab the right tool.
Aim Assist is exactly what it sounds like. The higher you set it, the more the game will help you achieve your goal.
Auto-sprint is the one you need to activate immediately to avoid having to constantly press the sprint button every time you stop to grab something off the ground (which you will often).
Pick it all up
Loot was an important element in Zero Dawn, but it was sometimes frustrating because of its limitation. Aloy could only hold a limited amount of anything other than currency, but the maximum amount wasn’t that high either. This led to a lot more payback than it was fun. Craftsmanship is probably more important in Forbidden Horizon West, and Aloy still can’t carry much stuff on her, but luckily she now has a magic stash of items that any excess material you pick up can be teleported into. Every Berry, Dye, Rock, Staff, and Machine component that you cannot hold will be waiting for you in your stash.
Once you need to restock, simply visit your stash at any of the various places it spawns, and simply select Restock All Categories to top up whatever you’re using. If you’re diligent about choosing every flower and item you come across, when it comes time to piece together what you need, you can just press a button and carry on carefree.
Learn the damage types
Forbidden Horizon West, much like the first game, is an action RPG at heart, and exploiting enemy weaknesses is key to taking out machines that might run over you without even noticing. There are a total of nine different damage types if you include all of the elemental options. The first three broader categories are Impact, Tear, and Explosive.
Impact is the most common and basic damage type, inflicted using standard ammo types and Aloy’s basic spear attack.
Tear damage is important for removing different parts from machines. You’ll want to carefully aim attacks with this damage type to drop components to cripple what machines can do.
Explosive is pretty self-explanatory. This blows things up, which does a ton of damage, but will also destroy any components caught in that explosion.
As for the elements, you can play with Acid, Fire, Frost, Plasma, Purgewater, and Shock. Acid works as a DOT poison state, similar to burning fire. Frost can deal more damage to enemies once they become Brittle, while Plasma explodes after a short time. Shock, believe it or not, can stun enemies.
Purgewater causes enemies to enter a Tempered state, which does two things: removes all elemental effects from their attacks, and causes all Freeze and Shock attacks to deal more damage to them.
Enable climbing annotations
This is technically another accessibility feature, but deserves its own section. A huge criticism of the first Horizon was, in part, the limited climbing system. Although your freedom of movement has been expanded in Forbidden Horizon West, you still can’t climb all you want. Normally you can scan environments with your Focus to highlight handles Aloy can use to climb set paths, but rather than having to slow down to crawling using your Focus on everything, enabling annotations d climbing will make these climbing surfaces visible at all times. , without using your Focus.
To activate it, open the Settings menu and go to the Visual tab. From there, simply turn on always-on climbing annotations and enjoy knowing exactly where you can climb at a glance.
Don’t spread your skill points too thinly
The skill tree in Horizon Zero Dawn was quite limited, even after the DLC added an extra branch. For the most part, you could get everything you wanted before too long. Forbidden Horizon West, on the other hand, has six full skill trees that all have very different and useful abilities depending on what style of player you are. The different trees are: Warrior, Trapper, Hunter, Survivor, Infiltrator, and Machine Master.
Warrior skills focus on melee combat, trapper on, well, traps, hunter on things like focus and weapon skills, survivor on healing and defense, infiltrator on stealth and machine master on dominant machines.
You earn skill points to invest in these trees by completing different quests, both side and main, or simply earning enough XP to level up. Be sure to consider your options carefully before committing. While it is possible to earn enough skill points to obtain each skill in each tree, you cannot reset or cancel the points you spend. At the start of the game especially, when points are harder to come by, investing in too many areas will slow down how quickly you reach the deeper, more powerful skills in each tree.
Finally, have fun exploring this world. Forbidden Horizon West is a beautiful and almost intimidating world to dive into, but you never know what you’ll encounter. The more fog you clear on the map, the more things you will fill it with to do. Sure, some things you stumble upon may not be completed immediately, but just like in a Metroidvania game, you’ll love that feeling when you get something that unlocks a new area you found but couldn’t. progress.
Secondary activities will also help you stay level enough to never run into obstacles in the main campaign. Plus, the world is so incredibly beautiful that it would be a waste to keep your head down and jump from one story mission to the next. Nothing you do in Forbidden Horizon West is unrewarded of any kind, so take your time and soak it all up.