Horizon Forbidden West – 5 things to know before playing on PS5

How to make Aloy the best huntress in the land

Aloy takes on a Tremortusk in Horizon Forbidden West
(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

Thinking of jumping into Horizon Forbidden West? The latest blockbuster from Sony sees the return of PlayStation mascot Aloy, as the huntress deals with a mysterious plague that's set to destroy all life it touches. This consequently sees Aloy venture to the new Forbidden West territory.

As outlined in T3's official Horizon Forbidden West review, the new action RPG features a massive sprawling open world filled with mechanical machines to either take on or take over. It's easily one of the most ambitious games this generation, packed with so much content that it can be hard to know exactly where to begin. This is where this handy guide comes in.

While it's very tempting to throw yourself into the world of Horizon without looking back, it's still worth being aware of a few useful tips and tricks that I learned during my playthrough. This is the advice I wish I knew ahead of time and will hopefully make your experience that much better. 

Master the machines 

Regalla and a machine in Horizon Forbidden West

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla)

Sounds easy, right. All machines have specific elemental weaknesses, so those that use fire are bad against water-type weapons, and so on. This goes a long way to earning victory in battle, yet a better solution is to analyse the mechanical beasts and figure out their weak spots.

By using Aloy's focus, the device will highlight the machine's weakness in bright yellow, setting it up for an attack. Concentrate your efforts on these core components and not only will the fight be over much quicker, but Aloy will be able to pick up more vital machine parts to trade for goods. Win-win. 

Invest in side-missions 

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy, Petra

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

Look, I get it. Time is a massive factor with video games meaning sometimes you just want to see the story and that's it. You can definitely do that in Horizon, however, it's much better to invest in side-missions whenever you get a chance – and not just because of the narrative bonuses it brings. 

By taking on side activities, you not only get to experience the multitude of different things to do in the world, but it also helps level up Aloy at a much faster rate. This in turn makes bosses in the main campaign much easier to defeat. Specifically, the final boss in Horizon Forbidden West can be quite the challenge if the character hasn't been levelled up properly. So by doing the odd side-mission here and there, it will actually save you time in the long run. 

Skill tree success 

Horizon Forbidden West's skill tree

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

The skill tree in Horizon Forbidden West is much more comprehensive than the one in Horizon Zero Dawn. Players can tailor Aloy's upgrade to their playstyle, be that Warrior, Trapper, Hunter, Survivor, Infiltrator or Machine Master. It's probably best to focus on two skills trees out of the six at maximum to reap the most benefits. 

I'd recommend Hunter, if you like getting in on the action nice and close. It unlocks a variety of different combos, making it easier to take down enemies. Survivor is another great one as the Toughened Valor Surge (special movie) see Aloys consume a special potion that regenerates health and gives resistance to status effects. 

Hunt like a Huntress 

Aloy hunts a Sawtooth machine in Horizon Forbidden West

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

One component of Horizon Zero Dawn is the need to hunt animal hides and bones, from the likes of foxes, peccary, racoons, owls and more. These are required to upgrade Aloy's satchels and pouches for carrying more weapon ammo. It's essential that you carve out a little bit of time to hunt down these animals as the earlier you do, the easier the rest of the game will be. It doesn't even take that long either if you follow the next step.  

To the Tallnecks  

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy stares at a Tallneck

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

One thing that will help you find animals, side-missions, machines and pretty much everything under the Horizon sun is by discovering and taking control of all the Tallnecks. These are the giraffe-like machines that wander the land – think of the towers in Breath of the Wild, as a comparison. 

Each is a puzzle in its own way but the end goal remains the same. You simply need to climb to the top of the Tallneck and as a result, you will be gifted that portion of the map including everything that dwells within. Doing this as soon as you get the chance makes the whole journey a lot less painless – especially for any Platinum hunters out there.

Horizon Forbidden West officially launches across PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on February 18th, 2022. Make sure to read T3's Horizon Forbidden West review for our thoughts on the game – spoilers! We liked it.

Matt Poskitt
Freelance Writer

Matt is a freelance writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, GamesRadar, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matt is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattPoskitt64