Horizon Forbidden West: 10 Tips and Tricks to Get You Started

PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4

PlayStation Studio

Guerrilla Games

February 18, 2022


Fans have been eagerly anticipating the launch of Horizon Forbidden City for years, and now it’s finally here. The sequel has tons of new features, exciting scenarios, and a sprawling story, some of which are detailed in everything we know about the game. While those are great things, it leaves a lot to be desired for new players and even old fans, especially in the first few hours. But you don’t have to travel to the Forbidden West unprepared. Here are ten important tips and tricks for players to keep in mind as they embark on a new journey with Aloy.


Don’t stress the story of Zero Dawn

Horizon games are story-heavy, and while we recommend playing the first game to fully appreciate the narrative impact, you don’t need to play Zero Dawn to understand the Forbidden City. Before you embark on your adventure, Guerrilla gives players an extensive review of key information from the first game. It definitely contains spoilers for Aloy’s first journey, though, so don’t start with the sequel if you want to enjoy the game without spoilers. Forbidden West is also very good at using dialogue to remind players of their returning characters and their relationship with Aloy.


use your attention, a lot

Thankfully, Guerrilla has tweaked the once-screeching sound of your Focus, a device that lets you examine the world around you, as there are even more reasons to use it in the Forbidden City. You can send a pulse to scan the environment for a quick layout, but your futuristic second glance will really come in handy to highlight areas associated with new features. It can be difficult to distinguish when and where a new tool is available at first, so if you get stuck, ask Focus for help. You may also notice that the scanner has highlighted some rocky surfaces in yellow, indicating that you can climb them with the new free climbing mechanism. Focus also comes in handy when battling machines. While the high-tech details of finding mechanized enemies aren’t unique to Forbidden West, the system has been reworked for the game to make it easier to find machine weaknesses in combat.


You can find tutorial notes later

Since Forbidden West tries to give you a sense of the backstory while giving you a sense of the game mechanics, there’s a lot of information to absorb during the opening hours. While helpful cues can sometimes disappear quickly, or new data may push out recently learned information, don’t worry about trying to keep everything in your brain from memory alone. Everything in the tutorial, from how to perform basic moves to how to upgrade your armor, is stored in your notebook menu tab. It might be a good idea to skim once in a while, just in case it helps you recall a small but useful detail.


Be stingy with supplies at your own risk

Gathering resources in the environment is critical, and with the new auto-storage feature, you can get more supplies than you can carry now. Additional resources are sent to storage chests that you can find in main settlements or shelters. So, grab everything you can. Just like in the first game, almost everything, from healing to upgrades, relies on finding certain ingredients or machine parts. It’s really hard to get through if you’re stuck in combat without weapon crafting materials. In addition to everything from the first game, Forbidden City introduces more resources and ways to use them. Gathering the highest quality ingredients and bringing them to the best chefs in the world will give you a hearty meal and valuable stat boosts. Deliver dye components to special merchants that allow you to customize your look.


become talkative

Guerrilla is trying to make the sideline more meaningful and rich this time, so take your time before walking past that NPC that greets you at the market. Sometimes unexpected and easily overlooked characters can hold the key to important things. For example, there’s a powerful new weapon that you can pick up early in the game if you stop to chat with the right tinker, but the game doesn’t call it directly. You’ll also find people all over the world to provide you with information on locations to explore, new activities, and narrative-focused side quests. Don’t miss the challenges of Machine Strike or Battle Pit, Forbidden West’s new cosmic strategy game, because you’re not chatting with the game’s inhabitants.


Choose wisely in the improved skill tree

Now divided into six different categories, the skill tree is designed to suit different play styles. If you want to sneak in and kill from cover, work on it in the “Infiltrator” section. Melee-focused players, on the other hand, should inject points into their fighter skills. However, with the introduction of Valor Surges, there are more strategies to spend your hard-earned experience than just leveling up your favorite skills. You’ll get these powerful moves automatically, but only after unlocking three abilities to touch it. So, before planning your way forward, you’ll want to take a close look at the six categories, noting the role of the Valor Surges in each section. Also, certain skills are related to activities in the world. For example, you need to unlock the first two combos in the warrior skill tree to advance in the battle pit.


buyer beware

So, you finally have time to haggle with the merchant, those metal shards are burning a hole in your pocket. But don’t snag all those tempting items at once! Metal Shards are both a form of currency for purchasing items and a resource to upgrade equipment. Early in the game, it can be difficult to collect enough shards and other necessary machine parts to buy and upgrade everything, so be selective. When you can’t afford a wider variety of weapons or traps later, a shiny new bow with similar characteristics to your starting weapon might not seem like a good deal. Remember, in most cases, each merchant you meet will have a different item than the last. So be sure to check your inventory and prioritize early access to the widest range of weapon types and various damage options.


Don’t be afraid to travel fast

Once the world opens up and you can start traveling the map yourself, Forbidden West lets you fast travel for free in any campfire. All you need to do is visit a site or campfire and you can travel there in the future. So if you see a campfire on your trip, it’s worth heading in that direction. You don’t need to light it to make the fire part of your traversal of the web; just get close to it to alert you to the message that you found it. However, a fast travel bag is still useful. You can use these consumables wherever you’re heading to a fire or settlement, which can come in handy if you haven’t seen a fire in a while. Carry some of these bags with you; you won’t regret it. However, we can’t blame you if you just want to spend your time strolling through the beautiful scenery.


Tame the mount early

No matter how convenient fast travel is in the sequel, you still need to find a place before you can teleport there. To make the process a little faster, be sure to jump on the mount as soon as possible. Fortunately, the game guides you past machines you already know how to cover early on, allowing you to use your own robotic steed. Once you’ve tamed your mount, you can also summon your mount, so it’s safe to walk around and summon mechanized creatures when you need it. But you probably won’t stick with the same horse for long, as the game has more mount options than ever. Head over to the machine catalog in the menu and you’ll find a hoof print next to each rideable machine, making it easy to see which robots to look for in the future.


Take Side Content Seriously

The first game was about the golden road, but the sequel encourages you to go out of the yellow brick road often. There’s a lot to do, and many activities offer boosts or fun ways to break out of the main gameplay. These include goals to flesh out the world, such as a side event that lets Aloy superimpose an ancient image on top of his currently destroyed ruins. It’s not a necessary part of the narrative, but Watching Destruction highlights the risks of Aloy’s adventure. If you’re looking for a puzzle to solve, digging through relics in old ruins will scratch your itch, picking up a machine hunting contract will let you find useful parts. Leveraging the relationships established in Zero Dawn, Forbidden City has also constructed narrative-rich side quests centered on friends from the past.

Are you excited to get started with Horizon Forbidden West? Let us know in the comments below!