Horizon Forbidden West takes place almost immediately following the end of Guerrilla Games’ original title. Aloy is looking for Gaia, an AI, to reboot Earth as it were. Unfortunately, she soon finds out that getting this AI will be trickier than she thought possible.


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Also, Sylens has turned his back on her in favor of his own scheme. Wise players probably saw this turn coming from the ending of the original. Can Aloy and her allies unite the world to save it in time? That is the basic premise of Horizon Forbidden West’s story, and here are some tips to make the journey easier and more engaging. This is a huge game and players will need all the help they can get.

Updated September 9, 2022, by Tom Bowen: Releasing around the same time as Elden Ring didn’t do Horizon Forbidden West too many favors, just as its predecessor suffered as a result of its release date’s close proximity to Breath of the Wild’s. Despite its shaky start though, the highly-anticipated sequel has gone on to perform well from a sales perspective, with many players opting to circle back to it after concluding their time in the Lands Between. This has led to a near-constant stream of new players, many of whom may find themselves in need of a few pointers on where and how to get started. These beginner tips for Horizon Forbidden West should prove useful to those players, particularly the ones who haven’t yet had a chance to play the first Horizon game.

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10 Check Trophy Requirements

Much like its predecessor, Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West is actually very lenient when it comes to unlocking the platinum trophy. This is because players won’t actually need to complete every last side quest and collectible set in order to do so, with the game instead taking a much more hands-off approach to completion than many of its big-budget peers.

Although there are around 50 side quests and errands in the game, only a handful of them have trophies associated with them. Likewise, players can skip out on a good chunk of the game’s collectibles and still get the platinum trophy, as they’ll only actually need one or two from each set when all’s said and done. With this in mind, those hunting down the platinum trophy should plan ahead to avoid spending time on non-trophy-related tasks.

9 Use Climbing Annotations

Horizon Forbidden West gets a lot of things right, including the way that it handles climbing and general accessibility. Unlike in the previous game, players are able to use Aloy’s focus to highlight areas in which the young heroine is able to climb, making it much easier for them to chart a course when scaling a rock or vertical cliff edge. However, what a lot of players might not realize is that it’s possible to make life even easier with just a few extra button clicks.

One of the biggest issues with climbing this way is the need to constantly reactivate the Focus so that hand holes and climbable crevices remain highlighted. Thankfully, players can get around this limitation fairly easily by enabling the “Climbing Annotations Always On” option under the “Visual” tab of the game’s settings menu. This eliminates the need for Focus spam and makes climbing in Horizon Forbidden West even easier than it already is.

8 Mainline The Game Into The Forbidden West

The Forbidden West is a region in the game and not just some nonsensical sequel subtitle. If players mainline the campaign, they can make it to the Forbidden West in about two to three hours, though those who enjoy exploring every nook and cranny may take a little longer.

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Once players reach this region of the map, they will unlock their hang glider called the Shieldwing. This should make exploring much easier, be it for free-roaming or to complete side quests. There are secondary quests that can be completed prior to reaching the Forbidden West, but it might be worth leaving most of them for after the hang glider is unlocked.

7 Play On Performance Mode

There are a few options players should tweak in the menu before starting Horizon Forbidden West. First, remove subtitles and anything in the HUD that is not necessary. The less that appears on-screen, the more immersive the experience will become. This is a beautiful game on both the PS5 and PS4, and players may want to get the most out of the graphics.

However, PS5 owners should consider playing Horizon Forbidden Westin Performance Mode, because otherwise, the frame rate can take a noticeable dip. This would then ruin the magic of the imagery anyway, so it’s better to sacrifice a little bit of visual fidelity for a more stable framerate.

6 Get A Mount ASAP

It should come as no surprise that Horizon Forbidden West is an absolutely huge open-world game. Running on foot has its advantages, like being able to jump off the beaten path to climb. However, a robotic mount should be procured as soon as possible.

This should make the journey between villages and campsites more efficient. It might be a good idea to ride ahead and ignore side activities until a campfire or village is found. This will help fill out the map more, so players can know what is around them.

5 Look Out For Animals

A majority of the loot gathered in Horizon Forbidden West will come from the robotic beasts. However, Aloy will also have to arm herself with various pouches to carry ammo. She needs to slay animals to do this and there is a lot in the game from furry rabbits to majesty flying pelicans.

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Some of the animals in Horizon Forbidden West are very easy to see even without the Focus turned on, but others can be a lot trickier to spot. An early animal to look out for in the starting area is raccoons which can upgrade the arrow pouch for the standard bow.

4 Mainline The Hunter Skill Path

One of the biggest improvements in Horizon Forbidden West over its predecessor is the skill tree. It’s vaster, offering players unique play styles to suit personal needs. However, to get the most out of the game’s early hours, the Hunter path should be mainlined down to the bottom.

Along the way, players will learn to effectively slow down time for longer, gain more stamina for specials, and learn how to craft more while using fewer materials. Crafting boosts are especially useful when it comes to lessening the grind of collecting materials.

3 Diversify Your Weapons ASAP

The best way to take down machines in Horizon Forbidden West is to pay close attention to not only their highlighted weak points, but their elemental drawbacks too. It’s also a good idea to arm Aloy with as many types of elemental weapons as possible.

For example, if there is a stronger bow that uses plain arrows next to a weaker one with fire arrows, get the fire bow. Collecting one of every element will turn Aloy into the ultimate warrior. Getting good armor with slots is also a must, but prioritize weapons first. Just don’t go breaking the bank on the Shard currency.

2 Take Manual Notes

Horizon Forbidden West has the essence of a Metroidvania. Players will find new tools that can help Aloy reach places she never could before. Sometimes these devices are hours upon hours away depending on side quest activity. That’s why it is important to take manual notes if there is something that cannot be accessed yet.

Usually, Aloy will remark to herself that the way is impassable as a hint. As this is a giant open-world game, it can be easy to forget where these locked areas are. That is why taking notes is always a good idea, particularly when it comes to things like door codes.

1 Use Headphones

Headphones will go a long way in Horizon Forbidden West, and their use combines with many previous tips. Aloy talks to herself a lot, be it on side quests or main ones. Her hints can save time in the long run, and sometimes it can be hard to hear her without headphones.

Focusing sound on the ears should also help players to find the aforementioned smaller animals. It can also be used for detecting robotic beasts sneaking up from behind, thus decreasing the likelihood of players taking any unnecessary damage by being caught offguard.

Horizon Forbidden Westwas released on February 18, 2022 and is available on PS4 and PS5.

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