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10 Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West


10 Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

Guerrilla Games‘ latest PlayStation exclusive has arrived, continuing on the epic adventure of red-headed heroine Aloy as she enters the Tenakth tribe’s territory known as the Forbidden West. It’s considerably bigger (and better) than its predecessor, to the point it can almost feel overwhelming when you first reach the open-world. Fortunately, we’re here to help guide you through with 10 things to do first in Horizon Forbidden West.

Pick Your Graphics Mode

This is a relatively easy place to get started. If you’re playing on PS5 especially, you’ll need to choose between an incredibly smooth framerate in the Performance graphics mode or a super crisp picture in Resolution mode.

If you favor framerate, go for Performance. There’s a slight hit to the picture quality, but the game still looks incredibly good. If you’d rather experience Forbidden West in its absolute best visual fidelity, then you’ll want to opt for Resolution mode. This does see the framerate take a hit, but 

Choose Difficulty & Pathfinding Modes

Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

things to do first in horizon forbidden west

Before you start your adventure, pick your difficulty and ‘Pathfinding’ modes.

While the former is relatively straightforward — although there is a ‘Custom’ difficulty option that allows you to finetune a variety of settings to tailor the challenge to your skill level, the latter is a little less clear what it does.

The ‘Explorer’ option will force you to rely more on simply exploring your surroundings in order to figure out where you’re supposed to be going within the world to reach your objective. You can carve your own path through the Forbidden West without any hand-holding from the AI, perfect for players’ experience in open-world games.

The ‘Guided’ option will cause objective markers to frequently pop up on your HUD, almost giving you a breadcrumb-like trail to follow to your next objective. Which one is right for you comes entirely down to personal preference.

The good news is you can change both difficulty and exploration mode at any time, so if your first option’s not quite right for you, don’t panic. You won’t need to start over again and lose all that progress.

Get Through the Opening Missions

The opening hour of Horizon Forbidden West is very much focused on connecting the events of Horizon Zero Dawn to the adventure you’re about to embark on in Forbidden West. It’s a lot more linear than the rest of the game, but they do an excellent job of getting you reacquainted with the world.

That being said, the real heart of the experience comes after the scene has been set, and so we wouldn’t worry too much about trying to explore every nook and cranny until Aloy’s made her way to Chainscrape. Even then, this opening area you find yourself in can easily suck up 10+ hours of your time… and that’s just the beginning of the map.

Soak Up Your Surroundings in Photo Mode

Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

things to do first in horizon forbidden west

Horizon Forbidden West is absolutely gorgeous. In other very obvious news, water is wet.

While you almost definitely won’t need any persuading to snap some stunning shots on your adventure across the Tenakth tribe’s territory, it’s worth spending some time in your early hours getting to grips with the various settings at your disposal.

That way, when a view really does take your breath away, you can get tweaking the image in photo mode to make for a perfect memento of your time with Aloy in the Forbidden West.

Check Out the Skill Trees and Plan Out Your Purchases

Forbidden West doesn’t just go bigger and better on the machine, map, and questing front. It also goes bigger on the suite of skills available to unlock for Aloy as you level her up and complete quests.

There are six different skill trees — Warrior, Trapper, Hunter, Survivor, Infiltrator, and Machine Master — that allow you to really tailor Aloy’s strengths to your playstyle. If you’re a big fan of using machines to your advantage, then the Machine Master skill tree is the one for you. Prefer to take your enemies out from afar? Then the Hunter skill tree, with its ranged weapon techniques, Valor Surges and passive abilities, are where you’ll want to pour your points into.

While skill points will come at you thick and fast, you’ll want to plan out the skills you want to get first to give you the upper hand in the early hours.

Experiment with Weapons to Figure Out What Works Best for You

Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

things to do first in horizon forbidden west

As great as Aloy’s bow is, it’s not the only thing at her disposal to take down the various machines and human enemies that may get in her way.

If you like to get up close and personal, you’ve got the spear, which can be used for quick and heavy melee attacks, as well as a new discharge option that can be combined with your ranged weapons to land a devastating blow to your target.

Then there are options like the Tripcaster and Sling, which you’ll be able to get fairly early on in your adventure. These are great for dealing hefty amounts of elemental damage, something you’ll want to make use of as it can help make light work of machines, especially when combined with using your Focus to pinpoint weaknesses.

There are a ton of other weapons you’ll have the chance to add to Aloy’s arsenal as you progress through the game, some of which lend themselves better to certain playstyles. Experiment with them as you get them to find your perfect picks to equip to your weapon wheel.

Get Used to Your Pullcaster & Focus

things to do first horizon forbidden west

Your Pullcaster is going to become an incredibly important part of Aloy’s arsenal in Horizon Forbidden West. It allows her to grapple to special, yellow points on walls and in the environment, as well as attaching to, and pulling objects that have a blue X girder on them. 

This can be used for clearing out rubble or pulling a beam into a new position so you can climb onto it. 

Your Focus, on the other hand, is something you’ll be familiar with from Horizon Zero Dawn, but it’s still incredibly useful for finding Datapoints, identifying the weaknesses of the various machines you come across, tagging enemies, or parts of enemies, and spotting resource caches and more. By pressing and holding down R3, you’ll be able to freely look around your surroundings with the Focus, perfect for reading up on those datapoints or scanning Machines. 

However, if you just press R3, your Focus will quickly pulse your surroundings, revealing resources that can be picked up, as well as areas you can free climb, on cliffs or buildings, with yellow x’s and lines.

Visit Campfires to Save & Unlock Fast Travel Points

Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

things to do first in horizon forbidden west

You can only manually save your game in Horizon Forbidden West at a campfire, so make sure you’re visiting these whenever they pop-up on your compass at the top of the screen and on your map. 

Campfires also allow you to fast travel between two discovered campfires free of charge, rather than having to use a Fast Travel Pack consumable that you otherwise would. While the world is an absolute joy to explore, sometimes it’s just handy to be able to get somewhere quickly, especially with how large the map is.

Get Reading Through That Lore

Horizon Forbidden West’s world is oozing with lore. Guerrilla Games has crafted an absolutely fantastic world and the more you dig into the various Datapoints and fully explore conversational options with NPCs, the more fascinating it gets. 

It’s an incredibly detailed and believable world, and if you’ve found yourself enamored with the world, this is your way to immerse yourself in it even further.

Take on the Hunting Grounds’ Challenges, or Learn More Techniques in the Melee Pit

Things to Do First in Horizon Forbidden West

things to do first in horizon forbidden west

When you reach Chainscrape in the canyon after the opening section of Horizon Forbidden West, you’ll be able to head over to the local Melee Pit.

These allow you to learn new melee techniques and also improve your skills in close-quarters combat, should you be struggling to get to grips with Aloy’s spear. 

Push on a little further through the canyon and you’ll eventually bump into a Hunting Ground. Take on the challenges here to earn medals which can then be exchanged for some of the best weapons in the game further down the line. 

They’re also just a fun little test of your combat skills, so go on, take some time out of the incredibly important quest Aloy’s undertaken and kill some machines for your own enjoyment instead. All work and no play makes Aloy a sad Saviour of Sundom.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks, you can head over to our wiki or see more of our coverage on the game below.

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