10 Horizon Forbidden West tips for toppling technological titans

Some good Horizon Forbidden West tips will help you get to grips with survival in these hostile new lands, teaching you how to hunt machines, explore for special gear, and craft deadly weapons to take on the new threats of Western America. With so much of the Horizon Forbidden West emphasis on fighting smart, using the best weapons and exploiting enemy weaknesses, it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into and how you can set up Aloy for as many victories as possible.

1. Scan enemies and plan attacks before starting a fight

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Because no human being is as tough as six tons of factory machinery in the rough shape of an alligator, Aloy needs to understand what she’s fighting before going in for the kill. The best thing you can do is find some grass to hide in a little way off, then use your Focus to scan all your enemies, tag them, and flick through their components and weaknesses to see what you can make use of. Maybe they have a dangerous turret you want to destroy as soon as possible, a battery that’ll explode when hit by the right kind of arrow, or a valuable crafting component that needs to be broken off before you kill it. 

Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can more effectively plan the attack, choosing the right elemental attacks and tagging weak spots in an opponent’s armour. Make sure you have a complete understanding of the enemy before you confront them, or things could be a lot more tricky.

2. Keep a wide range of elemental options on you

Shooting a plasma bow in Horizon Forbidden West against a giant turtle robot

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

You always want to have a wide selection of elemental resources stored, not just for building new weapons but for crafting ammo on the fly. As you progress through the game, exploiting the elemental weaknesses of various enemies becomes more important, so having what you need to make Acid or Plasma projectiles could save your life – enemies that one kind of damage without filching might only take a couple of shots from the right effect to kill. You can easily swap out your loadout at anytime as well so don’t be tempted to sell weapons too fast, in case accidently end up without something you need. 

3. Play stealthily and ranged for as long as possible

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Aloy’s spear isn’t a great weapon, and even a lot of upgrades, skills and spec choices towards melee combat aren’t ever going to make it more than a solid back-up option. That’s the point though – Aloy’s melee combat game is fairly mediocre, but that’s to encourage you to use all the traps, ranged gear, special abilities and sneaking skills you’ve been keeping in your boarskin backpack. 

Once you pick a target, your aim should be to do as much damage as possible before revealing yourself, laying traps and going in for sneak attacks. Then even once that happens, you want to keep a healthy distance, allowing you to use your bows, shredders and blastslings safely. Enemies will usually try to close the gap, and you want to do everything possible to prevent that – pin them in place with ropes, knock them down with heavy attacks, or just use your grapple hook to get out of there fast. 

4. Headshots aren’t a guaranteed kill, even on basic enemies

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

We’re all used to thinking that an arrow to the head should be a stealthy instant kill on most foes, but that’s not the case here, at least not always. Damage done to a human head or robot eyepiece is definitely a lot higher than normal, but you’ll need a powerful bow to make the most out of the shot. 

There’s also the issue of armour. If a human enemy is wearing a helmet or mask and you go for headshot, hitting the helmet will do very little damage, though it might break the helmet off if your weapon has a good tear effect, leaving them vulnerable for a follow-up. Still, some helmets only cover the front of the head, so you can always try and line up a shot to the back of the skull for that quick, silent kill.

5. You won’t be able to reach everywhere without certain gear or items

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

The whole map is available to Aloy from a very early point, but that doesn’t mean you can explore absolutely anywhere. Players will quickly discover certain unbreachable obstacles like red crystals, Metal Flowers, or just points of interest too far beneath the water or high up to safely reach. 

You’re not failing some puzzle to crack these things – all these and more are specifically gated off until certain points in the story, where Aloy will get special, unique items that allow her to handle these issues. Exploring is always good to do at any point, but if you’re starting to get annoyed by the amount of barriers in your way, try following the main quest for a while and you’ll get more options opened up for you.

6. Grab all the loot you can, all the time, even if your pack is full

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Aloy is a hunter-gatherer by trade, and gathering is equally as important as putting arrows in artificial archaeopteryx. Make sure you tap every available resource for components for crafting, as eventually you will need them. The most obvious of these is medicinal plants, which are scattered all over the game world but nonetheless are always vital – making a habit of scooping these up along the way will give you a large buffer to work with in the next boss fight, bandit camp, or big encounter. Anything you can’t carry on you automatically goes to a magical stash that keeps everything, and can be used up at bases and camps if you need anything later.

7. Use Tallnecks and your own explorative powers to find opportunities for upgrades

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

The Brachiosaurus-like Tallnecks are back; gigantic machines with flat heads that are marked on the map from the beginning. They’re passive creatures that’ll only hurt you accidentally, stepping on you if you get underfoot. When you’re entering an area for the first time, finding and accessing a Tallneck should be your first priority – if you can reach the top of its head, you can override it and gain information on that area of the map. 

Otherwise, make sure to explore and study new things as you travel. There’s a lot to find in Horizon Forbidden West and a lot of it is very helpful, unlocking optional new abilities. For example, the Cauldrons spread across the map will each allow you to control new machines, as well as offering a healthy dose of experience for completing them. Or just knowing where to find certain enemies can be very helpful if you’re looking for specific pieces to buy better weapons.

8. Try to always have a hunter bow with standard arrows

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

This is a mistake many players make – once you have some shards to spend, you go to a local merchant and buy some complicated killing device with five flavours of elemental damage to switch between, pawning or storing your starting bow to make room.

Bad idea. Standard arrows, on their own terms, tend to do more damage than any elemental arrows, and they’re also incredibly easy and cheap to craft. Despite their advantages in specific situations, depend purely on elemental ammo and it won’t be long before you start running out of resources, with no Blaze or Chillwater to help you survive the next big fight. Regular arrows might not be sexy, but they are very dependable and accessible. You absolutely should replace your hunter bow for better versions, but look for ones that also have a standard arrow option alongside all the other cool features.

9. Turrets are lethal game-changers in any fight

Horizon Forbidden West tips

(Image credit: Sony)

Every now and then you’ll come across turrets, either mounted in bandit camps, dropped in wreckage, resting on weapon racks or even attached to angry machines. They’re always worth getting, because turrets are ridiculously powerful, no matter which version you take – in exchange for sacrificing speed and mobility, Aloy can mow down whole hordes of enemies or do huge damage to big bosses, punching holes in their armour and shredding their health bar. 

However, this works both ways. An enemy with a turret is a real threat, one capable of killing Aloy incredibly quickly. Try to separate them from it quickly, either shooting whatever human’s operating the mounted turret or by breaking them off the machine that’s wearing them. That way not only can they not shoot you with it, but it’s yours to grab and use on whoever’s left. Win-win! Except for those who get shot with a turret.

10. Always grab Greenshine when you see it 

horizon Forbidden West Greenshine

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Greenshine is a mysterious crystal you’ll find all through out the Forbidden West. A far amount can be found out in the open during your travels but a lot is also behind rocks you can pry open, behind Metal Flowers and Firegleam when you have the right upgrade, and in deep Sunkern Caverns you’ll need the Diving Mask for. It’s always worth getting for two reasons. Firstly it’s an important upgrade resource, usually gatekeeping the high end levels of you weapons and gear. It can also be used to buy rare machine parts from merchants that are also needed for upgrades, saying you the trouble of hunting down dangerous machines yourself. 

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