Like its predecessor, Horizon Forbidden West features some incredibly fun hunting gameplay, and on harder difficulties it’s quite deep and challenging. The game and the enemies themselves will be your best teachers, but I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help you survive the wild West.
Side missions are a great source of loot
One of the things I love about Forbidden West is how generous it is with its rewards. Side quests will always give you XP towards your level and a couple of skill points, but they also often give you new weapons and armour. This is especially useful at the outset where you don’t really have much and are trying to build up a bank of varied weapons with different types of damage. The barrage of icons and side missions you’re presented with at the start of the game can be overwhelming, but taking time to help out the locals is always mutually beneficial
Side missions don’t just provide lovely views like this, they often net you tasty loot
Weapon and armour upgrades are more important than overall level. You can create quests to target upgrades and tag important materials on enemies
Story and side missions have a suggested level requirement attached to them, but aside from increasing your base HP by 10 and giving you some skill points, your level doesn’t mean a whole lot. What’s more important is that your weapons and armour are upgraded at a Workbench. This dramatically increases your damage output and defence, and is essential for surviving the wilds. A cool mechanic in Forbidden West is that you can create a quest for a given upgrade by pressing triangle when you’re inspecting it at a Workbench, and you’ll get a waypoint that will show you where you can find the materials that you need. This is made even cooler by the fact that you can scan a machine, cycle through its components with the D-pad and the HUD will tell you if any of the parts are an upgrade quest item. Hit triangle and you’ll highlight that component so you’ve got an easy visual reference.
Further to this, upgraded armour will give you access to certain perks from the skill tree (like increased Concentration or Silent Strike damage) before you’ve unlocked them with skill points, but keep in mind that armour effects do not stack with a skill tree boon past a certain level.
An upgraded Sharpshot Bow is a beautiful thing
A good array of weapons with elemental weapons is essential
All enemies have elemental weaknesses and strengths, and the challenge early on is developing an arsenal that allows you to wield all of the elemental effects. Corrosion and shock are generally the most useful, but they all have their charms and uses. Purgewater is a new elemental effect that gives the drenched state, which makes a machine far more susceptible to shock and ice arrows. This can be very useful for enemies who are resistant to shock build-up like Tremortusks. Shock is one of the most useful status afflictions as it completely incapacitates an enemy for an extended period. You’ll be able to get multiple critical strikes in while they’re deactivated, and build up your melee Resonator Blast in the process.
The Shredder Gauntlet is awesome
The Shredder Gauntlet is a new weapon in Forbidden West, and is essentially a glove that can both launch spinning disks, and catch them on their return flight. This can take some practice as they won’t just come straight back, and will sometimes require to well timed dodge roll and catch them. The best way to create a reliable trajectory and make them easier to catch is to position yourself at a distance to your enemy, hold the right trigger until the reticule changes, and then for a couple of seconds after that before releasing. It’s worth getting this down, as each time you catch a disc it’ll do more damage on a subsequent throw (you can see how many times you’ve caught it in a row on the reticule). Successfully catch a disc three times and its next flight will cause an explosion. Magic.
Position yourself away from the enemy and get a solid windup with the Shredder Gauntlet
Triple and double nock are your best friends
Weapon abilities are unlocked via the skill trees, and triple nock (for the Hunter bows) and double nock (for the Sharpshooter bows) are in my opinion the most useful. With the bow drawn, press R1 and you’ll see Aloy nock an extra arrow (press it again to nock the third one if you’re using a Hunter bow). Fire as normal to unleash a deadly payload. This is extremely useful for building up status afflictions, and if you’ve got the Cleaving Sharpshot bow then a double-nocked Precision Tear arrow assault will absolutely rip off any component you want on a machine.
Launch yourself with the Pullcaster from grapple points
I can’t say I’m in love with the Pullcaster, and the default grapple is clunky at best and not helpful in a fight. You can however press circle after initiating a grapple and this will launch you into the air. This is useful if you’re playing The Floor is Lava with a Tremortusk and its AOE shock attacks, and some weapons actually do greater damage from the air.
Hunting Ground and Melee Pit challenges will teach you new techniques and strategies
Take some time to complete Melee Pit challenges, as they’ll generally involve using specific tactics against human enemies that you might not be aware of, and will come in handy when you’re facing off against that type of enemy. Hunting Ground challenges are much the same, and the tricks you learn while completing the challenges can give you the edge in the wild. Completing Hunting Ground challenges also awards you medals that can be used to purchase the most powerful weapons and armour in the game.
Good luck and happy hunting.