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Horizon Forbidden West Guide: Best Skills & How To Get Easy Loot

Horizon Forbidden West is finally here and it’s a massive game. There’s so much to do in the game’s open world and we’re here to help you any way we can.

If you’re looking to read our spoiler-free review of the game, head on over here.

Here are some tips on how to survive the Forbidden West in the latest game from Guerrilla Games:

Check And Tweak The Settings Before You Even Start The Game

Guerrilla Games has put a lot of effort into making sure the game has a wealth of settings and accessibility options. I was confused at first due to the sheer amount of settings, but here’s what you can do for a start.

First, turn off Motion Blur. I don’t understand why any modern game, let alone a game like Horizon Forbidden West, needs Motion Blur, so it’s best to turn this setting all the way down. You don’t want to be getting a headache after a gaming session.

Secondly, turn on both Auto Heal and Auto Shieldwing. Auto Heal allows Aloy to automatically consume Medicinal Berries when her health goes too low, while Auto Shieldwing will allow Aloy to automatically deploy the Shieldwing glider if she falls from a great height.

Auto Heal has saved me many times during intense battles, while Auto Shieldwing helps you avoid falling to your death (once you get access to the Shieldwing, which is at least a few hours into the game). If you find both of these cheating, sure, you can leave them off, but they can save Aloy’s butt from unnecessary and annoying deaths.

There are actually a bunch of other settings that can make the game a lot easier if you want. You can change how long Concentration Mode (the slow-mo effect when aiming your weapon) lasts via the settings. Sure, you can still increase the duration of your Concentration Mode via skill tree upgrades and equipment in the game. It’s up to you.

There’s one setting though that I didn’t really notice until later during my playthrough…

A Cheat In The Settings: Easy Loot

This setting is sort of like a cheat. Why? Because it makes grinding for resources in the game significantly easier. If you don’t want to waste time hunting machines or if you find it repetitive to do too many times, here’s what you can do.

If you tweak the difficulty to Custom, you can change a bunch of different settings to your liking. One setting you should look out for is Easy Loot. The whole schtick in both Horizon games is that players need to use specific weapons and ammo with “Tear” to remove specific components and body parts from machines to get certain specific resources.

What the Horizon Forbidden West Easy Loot setting does is that it makes all components you normally have to tear/remove from the machine’s body to still be part of the loot, EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T MANUALLY TEAR OR REMOVE THEM. To put it simply, this setting removes a lot of the grind and work that you normally have to do to get specific resources.

If you consider this cheating and would prefer not to use it, that’s up to you. Just know that the option is there at any time. There are no difficulty-locked trophies in Horizon Forbidden West anyways.

Speaking of loot…

Always Open Every Chest You Come Across

Yes, every single chest.

Why? Well, why not?

Resources are precious in Horizon Forbidden West. You need them to craft ammo. You need them to buy weapons, outfits and equipment. It’s always good to have extra.

Plus, this game now features an improved inventory system from the previous game. All additional resources will automatically and directly go into your stash, which you can access anytime. You no longer have to worry about having overloading your inventory and being forced to throw stuff away to make room for more stuff.

For that reason, and to make sure you always have enough resources, loot every chest. Every single one. Sure, Horizon Forbidden West doesn’t feature any missable weapons or outfits from chests (they’re all acquired by purchasing at vendors or via quests), but all those extra resources will come in handy.

You won’t have to worry about not having enough resources. Just loot every chest. Trust me.

You Can Use The Pullcaster To Pull Chests Towards You

The Pullcaster in action.

After more than 60 hours in the game, I don’t remember exactly if the game ever tells you this, but Aloy can use the Pullcasterto do more than just as a grappling hook, to pull rubble away and to move steel beams. You can actually use it to pull chests towards you if they’re out of reach.

I realised this in the early game when a chest was on a ledge that was too high to reach. I somehow had the idea to use the Pullcaster and voila; I could open the chest that was seemingly unreachable. Take this into account whenever you find a chest that looks like it’s impossible to get to. It might just be a Pullcaster away.

Greenshine Resources Are Extremely Rare & Possibly Finite, Find Them In Sunken Caverns

Greenshine resources and crystals are the rarest resources in the game. You’ll encounter them from time to time in the wilds but they’re mostly concentrated in Sunken Caverns, where you’ll have to dive underwater (so you’ll need to get the Diving Mask by playing through the story first).

However, after playing the game for 60 hours, we haven’t accumulated a lot of these Greenshine resources, due to how rare they are. They might possibly be FINITE, so don’t waste them. Save them and only use them to upgrade weapons and equipment you really want to keep using.

Some Of The Best Weapons And Outfits In The Game Will Be Available At The Arena

The best weapons and outfits you can get in Horizon Forbidden West are ranked at the Legendary rarity level. As far as I know, after 60 hours of playing the game, most of this Legendary equipment are available at The Arena. You will unlock this area naturally via the main story, so don’t worry about having to find it. However, you will need to complete one quest to unlock the Arena, since the Arena won’t re-open until you finish that quest (due to story reasons which I can’t spoil).

Arena Challenges will grant you Arena Medals while Hunting Grounds will grant you Hunting Medals. All the Legendary equipment can only be purchased with Arena Medals, but completing the Hunting Grounds first and buying the Very Rare weapons with your Hunting Medals first will go a long way in helping you in the Arena.

Create Jobs To Make Grinding Easier

Jobs help create side quests and objectives for resources you need to get for certain weapons, equipment or even overrides (as seen in the picture above). It’s easy to forget about the ability to create Jobs but it’s easy to do so. At merchants and workbenches, there’s almost always an option to “Create A Job” simply by pressing and holding the triangle button. Then, you can just activate the Job as your Active Quest in the pause menu.

Don’t Forget To Sell Your Valuables

It’s easy to overlook this, but make sure to visit a merchant from time to time in order to sell valuables. Don’t worry about hoarding these items, because they’re the ones under the Valuables To Sell.

However, DON’T sell the Processed Metal Blocks and certain items. Read the “Used For” tab. If it just states “Selling For Metal Shards”, sell them. If it states anything else like to upgrade equipment, keep those and don’t sell them. For instance, Processed Metal Blocks can be used to buy rare resources and machine parts at certain merchants and Salvage vendors in the game.

Best Skills In The Skill Tree

The skill trees in Horizon Forbidden West are really well done in that they’re separated by categories that cater to your playstyles. You can choose to ignore any of the skill trees, and choose whichever you want to focus on depending on your own preferred playstyle.

However, there are certain skills in each skill tree that are worth getting regardless of your playstyle. Here are some of them:

Hunter Skill Tree: Concentration+ And Concentration Regen

It doesn’t matter what your playstyle is or weapon of choice is. You’ll still be using the slow-mo concentration mode to hit specific body parts and components of enemies; it’s arguably the most important combat mechanic in the game.

Therefore, these two skills should be your priority first. Concentration+ increases your Concentration limit while Concentration Regen increases its speed of recovery.

Hunter Skill Tree: Ammo Expert

You need resources to make ammunition to actually engage in combat, so of course, this is important. This skill allows you to craft more ammo from the same amount of resources, which lessens the need to grind or search for more resources.

Hunter Skill Tree: Workbench Expert

If you want to save even more resources, this will help by allowing you to craft ammunition using fewer resources. However, this only works at workbenches so bear that in mind. You should make it a habit to always visit workbenches before and after big battles to make the most of this skill and your resources.

Survivor Skill Tree: Plant Forager

I know how much of a chore it is to keep picking plants to get the resources you need, like Medicinal Berries and others. This skill will make it less of a chore, as you get more resources with every picking.

Survivor Skill Tree: Potent Medicine

Potions are expensive and require a lot of resources in Horizon Forbidden West, so your main method of healing is using Medicinal Berries. This skill will mean a lot when it comes to later in the game, as you encounter more powerful enemies. Being able to heal faster and more efficiently will ensure you die less than you have to.

Infiltrator Skill Tree: Silent Strike+

Stealth is completely optional, and even if you prefer to always hit enemies with a frontal assault, sometimes you’ll still find yourself going stealth at times. This skill ensures that your Silent Strikes (stealth takedowns) will deal more damage, and be a more significant way of dealing with enemies.

Infiltrator Skill Tree: Radial Blast Valor Surge

There are two Valor Surge options for each skill tree, but there are two that are arguably the most useful. The first is the Radial Blast Valor Surge. This is the only AoE (area of effect) super ultimate attack in the entire game. It unleashes a massive explosion of electrical energy that deals damage to enemies in a certain radius.

This is a great Valor Surge to immediately kill all smaller and weaker enemies who will die in one hit. Larger enemies will likely receive damage and may even be knocked down, with the exception of the strongest machines in the game. It’s a life-saver, especially when you’re getting overwhelmed by a bunch of enemies at once and want to thin the herd.

Machine Master Skill Tree: Part Breaker

This is the second most useful Valor Surge, in my opinion. Unless you have the Easy Loot setting turned on, this will be a huge help if you want to tear or remove specific body parts and components from stronger and more powerful enemies like the Tremortusk, Thunderjaw, and more. This Valor Surge is for those who prefer to play tactically and surgically by targeting specific body parts and components.


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