Horizon Forbidden West is finally out in the wild for players to enjoy with thousands of players continuing Aloy’s journey. This massive open world adventure shares plenty of similarities with the last game, Zero Dawn, but it does plenty to bring new ideas to the table too.
As such, even experienced players might need a few helpful tips to get them started while playing Horizon Forbidden West. While the game does a great job of teaching you its systems, doing a few things in the early game will seriously help you later on.
Here are six things I wish I’d known before starting Horizon Forbidden West.
Pick Up Everything!
Forbidden West has a healthy skill tree at the heart of its progression system. However, alongside that is crafting – this can be used to create new armour, weapons, and even coils to augment your equipment. This can be done at workbenches found out in the world, but you can also craft small items on the fly. Things like traps, health potions, ammunition, and fast travel kits can all be whipped up on the road.
You’ll find yourself needing to craft new items regularly in Forbidden West. That’s why it’s imperative that you pick up absolutely everything you can while playing. Ensuring that you keep your inventory well stocked will hopefully mean you never find yourself in a pinch. There’s nothing worse than being totally out of ammo in a crucial boss fight.
You don’t have to worry about carrying weight, either. Aloy has an item cap that prevents her from carrying too much of one item. The cap can be increased by crafting loot bag upgrades, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up everything. Once you reach an item cap, any additional pickups are sent directly to Aloy’s stash. This can be accessed from different settlements around the world. There really is no disadvantage to picking up everything you can while playing Forbidden West, and it will make crafting late game items much easier.
Turn On Easy Loot
To help with the looting process, I recommend going into the difficulty settings and enabling ‘easy-loot’. Forbidden West has some excellent difficulty options, but it allows you to get more granular than just “easy” or “hard”. Changing the setting to “custom” lets you customise how much damage Aloy deals and how much she takes. Set these according to your preference, but I recommend turning on ‘easy loot’.
When you defeat a robot enemy in Forbidden West, it’s possible to shoot off bits of its weapons and armour. This can become frustrating when you’re trying to loot a specific robotic part, only to find it abandoned far away from where the enemy actually died. The ‘easy loot’ option pools all of an enemy’s lootable items together when you pillage its body. It drastically speeds up the looting process and reduces the frustration while scavenging.
Turn Climbing Annotations Always On
While you’re in the options menu, I recommend making sure that the climbing annotations are always on. One of the big criticisms of Zero Dawn was that Aloy couldn’t traverse the world all that fluidly. Forbidden West fixes that by letting Aloy climb most surfaces, Assassin’s Creed style. However, not all surfaces are climbable, and it’s not all that clear which ones are off limits.
To see which cliff faces are scalable, you can scan with a pulse of your Focus. Accessible walls will appear with a subtle yellow border. However, pressing the right stick in to constantly see where you can climb quickly becomes frustrating. If you head into the options menu and enable the “Climbing Annotations Always On” feature, these markers will remain visible permanently. It doesn’t look as natural while traversing the gorgeous Forbidden West, but it makes climbing far less frustrating.
Always Listen To Rumours
The Forbidden West is, quite frankly, huge. This beautiful open world is stacked full of things to do and hidden areas to explore. Any completionist is surely going to have a job finishing up everything that this game has to offer. Half of the job with the open world side activities is finding them in the first place. Thankfully, Horizon has a handy way of pointing you in the right direction.
When wandering into camps around the Forbidden West, keep an eye out for NPCs around a campfire with a green exclamation mark icon above their head. These knowledgeable folk possess rumours that will give you information tidbits about side objectives nearby. Speaking to them and hearing what they have to say will mark a new location on your map, ready for you to explore.
It usually takes less than half a minute to complete the interaction, and the same NPCs can give you more rumours upon return visits. It’s certainly worth stopping by each time if you’re planning on ticking off everything to do in Forbidden West.
Play In Performance Mode
When starting Forbidden West, you’ll be given a dilemma. The choice has nothing to do with the game’s story, but it will impact how you experience it. On the PS5, there are two rendering modes to choose from – resolution and performance. Resolution renders the game at a native 4K with a target frame rate of 30fps. Meanwhile, performance mode opts for a 1440p upscaled resolution and a frame rate of 60fps. We’ve got a full comparison of the differences here on FragHero, if you’re interested.
This choice is obviously down to personal preference, but I’d recommend playing in performance mode. While there are minor differences in graphical fidelity, they’re not noticeable enough in motion to warrant the drop in frame rate. The upscaled 1440p image still looks sharp as ever, especially when sat at a distance from the screen.
Playing at 60fps will be night and day for a lot of players. Forbidden West involves a lot of aiming at specific, small, fast moving targets. These are hard enough to hit with a controller at the best of times. However, playing at 60fps makes hitting targets that little bit easier.
Use Photo Mode Frequently
Forbidden West is a stunning game to look at, no matter which rendering mode you decide to go for. There are several moments throughout the story when you’ll find yourself stopping to take in the scenery. It’s at these times when I recommend stopping to take a quick photo.
Forbidden West includes one of the best photo modes I’ve seen in games recently, and it’s super quick and easy to use. There are preset lenses to choose from if you can’t be bothered messing around with the settings. Instagram-like filters make colour correction a breeze, too. Take a quick screenshot using the PS5’s built in sharing capabilities and whack it straight on Twitter. The world of Horizon Forbidden West is too gorgeous to leave unshared.
Did these six tips help you out in Horizon Forbidden West? Let us know across our social channels.
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[Featured Image Credit: Guerrilla Games/Sony]