Horizon Forbidden West Beginner’s Guide: Things to Know Before Playing

Horizon Forbidden West Beginners Guide

Horizon Forbidden West has been out for over a week now on Sony’s old and new generation consoles. Gamers already managed to get acquainted with new lands, nostalgic about the past part when they saw Meridian in the prologue, and someone has already managed to save the world in a far from small game. The project received positive reviews, although despite the innovations and significant improvements compared to the previous part, some rated the creation of Guerrilla Games a little worse than its predecessor.

There is nothing complicated in the Forbidden West in terms of gameplay. This is still the same Zero Dawn, only twisted to the maximum. Of course, there are some new mechanics, but Horizon always guides newcomers through its world carefully and explains what can be done in it. In comparison with the same freshly released Elden Ring, you will have to learn a lot from your own experience, getting bruises and abrasions and constantly seeing the red inscription “You are dead” in front of you. Although at higher difficulty levels, the fights in the Forbidden West can also become not the easiest.

Mountain Rattle From a Birds Eye View
Mountain Rattle From a Bird’s Eye View

You should know a few key tricks and tips before you headlong into battle with iron monsters of all shapes and sizes. Of course, the developers also used old creatures familiar from Zero Dawn and added quite a few new and exciting opponents. Since Forbidden West is an open-world game, it provides a lot of choice regarding how to approach specific tasks, but if you push forward, then the passage may not be very effective. There are often many ways to level up, gain ability points, and upgrade weapons. The developers themselves are pushing the players to go according to the plot. A few other important things will make the game more comfortable.

Don’t Sell Everything

Aloy can find just a bunch of things in the spaces of the open world. Sometimes the inventory is cluttered so that everything wants to be drained to the first merchant who comes across, without hesitation marking for sale everything that seems to be garbage. So inadvertently, you can give away essential equipment, such as elements of crafting machines. It was not a disaster, but farming the needed components again is not very pleasant.

It would help if you also were careful with items such as crafted metal blocks, various machine hearts, and animal parts, which have other uses besides being sold for shards. Therefore, it is better to use the manual sale and easily get rid of items with the words “ancient” and “ingot”. As for the rest, you should leave a few copies in your inventory just in case.

Always start fights with stealth

When the melee starts, it is more desirable to sneak up on the monster and destroy it with one critical hit, which allows you to reduce the number of vehicles and quickly facilitate most skirmishes.

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Hide and seek in the grass will not save you from car scanners
Hide and seek in the grass will not save you from car scanners

Not an escape, but a tactical retreat

As you progress, players will sooner or later encounter machines in the open world that are much more powerful than them. Therefore, it is important to monitor your level and how it changes with opponents when Aloy travels between locations. Of course, if the player himself is not looking for a complex encounter in the style of Dark Souls. Otherwise, there is no shame in retreating, realizing that the heroine needs more experience and better equipment. There is not much point in stupid death and loss of progress in this game. The game is balanced so that parts from high-level monsters will be needed when Aloy is already able to fight such creatures.

Open combat can be very dangerous

Strategy, Not Tactics

It is only natural that you need to think about the battle in advance in a stealth-oriented game. Of course, it will not always be possible to clear the monsters “beautifully”; nevertheless, this will help to make the battle more compelling and exciting than simply calling with spear attacks and constantly getting projectiles in the face. Visors in the Forbidden West began to give players more useful information in terms of surroundings and highlight enemy weaknesses. Also, the device will show what vulnerabilities the enemies have and which weapons are better not to use against them. It is essential to study the parts of the machines since some can be damaged if they are not shot off before the monster is destroyed.

First you should examine the car with a visor
First you should examine the car with a visor

Traps Can Be Useful

Many people are quite lenient about creating traps, considering them to be an optional element of the game. Most often, it is on this branch of pumping that they save money, giving preference to combat skills such as melee and ranged combat. But even at the beginning of the game, it becomes clear that some weapons are not suitable for destroying cars – especially flying ones. No, they can be killed from afar with ordinary hunting bow arrows, but it will take a long time to beat, and mechanical birds will not sit and endure such impudence. And their attacks are fast and furious. Different types of traps will help to diversify the fight. They are much more useful than many people think.

Traps look impressive at night
Traps look impressive at night

Hunting Isn’t Just for Mechanical Animals

This time, the living flora and fauna has become much more diverse than 3-4 animal species and a few plants in Zero Dawn. Hunting wild animals is also important in the Forbidden West, as meat helps craft fast travel kits. Various parts like bones and skins allow you to upgrade a wide variety of pouches for medicine, arrows, bombs, and traps. Therefore, do not ignore real animals, no matter how sorry they are—all for pumping. Finding them is easy enough, as the visor illuminates them in bright orange color, and a single weak arrow is often sufficient to kill them.

Animals are clearly distinguished with the help of a visor
Animals are clearly distinguished with the help of a visor

It’s Worth Trying Different Weapons

Of course, the weapons available from the very beginning of the game can be improved and, as a result, go with it to the very end. But at the same time, in different settlements, you can buy different types of bows, thread throwers, slings, the shells of which will have various elemental effects. Aloy has a reasonably large wheel of active weapons, although it is still tiny for all types of bows available in the game. However, absolutely everything is not necessary for a successful passage, although the developers are pushing you to try different equipment to find what is suitable for a particular combat situation or a specific type of vehicle.

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weapon wheel
weapon wheel

Don’t Forget Spirals

Also, familiar mechanics from the previous part. To get cells for spirals, you need to upgrade armour and weapons to a certain level. This is a useful item that allows you to increase damage, add elemental effects, or protect yourself from being hit by another type of projectile. Improve stealth and other features. They drop quite a lot from various monsters or chests, and they are also distributed by rarity. But these things are easy enough to forget. Therefore, it is always worth shaking up the stocks in the inventory and checking if a better spiral has been found during the adventure.

Complete Side Missions as They Appear

Doing side missions – especially early in the game – is a surefire way to level up and get enough skill points. Assignments vary from hunting and quick and easy “come here and fetch it” cases to serious story adventures where you can uncover a whole conspiracy. In any case, in the process, players get more money to buy the necessary equipment and improve it, as well as skill points so that Aloy can more effectively repel machine attacks thanks to the levelling of abilities. Plus, such missions help get to know the world and the tribes living in it a little better. 

Events can develop quite dramatically
Events can develop quite dramatically

Surge of Courage

Courage Surge is a new mechanic in the Forbidden West that temporary buffs can be activated once you do enough cool stuff (strike streaks, kills, etc.). This shouldn’t be overlooked, as being able to land one kill shot, regenerate your health, or know that the next hit will destroy the machine’s weapons, is an essential part of Aloy’s survival skill set. 

Emphasis on One Skill Tree at the Start of the Game

While the skill trees in the Forbidden West are pretty extensive, the game provides many ways to earn points to level them up. They help to develop exceptionally well at the very beginning of their adventure. But still, it would be worthwhile to focus on a specific tree for a start to make Aloy an expert, at least in a particular area and then gradually scatter points over other skills. For example, it is not necessary to start pumping gathering at the very beginning. Indeed, it comes in handy a little later when Aloy goes directly into the lands of the Forbidden West. Initially, it is worth giving preference to melee and ranged combat, which will give an advantage in most battles.

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The Stud Shooter Is a Car Hunter’s Best Friend

At the beginning of the game, in the Mountain Grinder, there will be an opportunity to help two sisters who want to make an explosive javelin. There is no need to ignore this quest, as the reward will be handy for Aloy. This weapon can blast the vehicle’s armor, provide great knockdown power, and deal massive damage in one go. Later, you can get an improved version of this weapon to complete missions in the hunting grounds. He is unlikely to leave the weapons wheel. But it should be borne in mind that the use of explosives can destroy key parts of the machine that may be useful for pumping.

The stud shooter is a very useful weapon.

Look for Melee Arenas, Learn How to Fight

There are some pretty advanced melee moves that can be learned from one of the skill trees in the Forbidden West, but they’re not always clear on how to use them. Melee arenas (there are four in the world) will help you practice and understand how to use melee combat correctly. Of course, the game can be completed without this knowledge, but it’s always nice to have a few combos in your pocket when the battle gets especially hot. In addition, completing all of them and one bonus mission gives excellent melee bonuses.

The arena for training is marked on the map with the icon of crossed spears
The arena for training is marked on the map with the icon of crossed spears

At First, You Do Not Need to Pay Attention to Metal Flowers and Walls With Red Fungus

Of course, these are essential elements of the game, and it’s probably worth remembering where they are until you have the right tools to interact with them. And they meet at the starting location. The events associated with these elements are closely intertwined with the plot and will happen a little later. You can’t miss them (unless you score entirely on the story), so the player will immediately understand when it comes to dealing with them. The game is happy to stop the progression very often, preventing some puzzles from being solved due to the lack of the necessary devices. It’s a little annoying, but it keeps the story going. In the end, you can always return to unfinished business later.

It Is Worth Remembering About Potions and Food

The Forbidden West provides several things that allow Aloy to gain various buffs. Again, this is not mandatory, but still a pretty useful thing.

The food that can be obtained from the chefs in the settlements, or the potions that Aloy can create and collect from almost the entire map, can either quickly heal the heroine and give either more HP, or other buffs that make it easier to fight or resist one or another element.