Horizon Forbidden West: Controls Guide for PS4 & PS5 and gameplay tips

Here's your complete control guide and tips for the highly anticipated Horizon Forbidden West.

The highly anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is now available in Horizon Forbidden West. In Aloy's second adventure, she tries to end the plague, restore GAIA, and find out what happened to HADES – and Sylens – after the events of Zero Dawn. You will go to the Forbidden West, which is located in the former southwest of the United States.

After a somewhat lengthy prologue that serves as a reminder and tutorial for the gameplay and mechanics, you can finally begin your journey in earnest, exploring to your heart's content or zooming through the main story missions.

Read below for your control guide for Horizon Forbidden West. Gameplay tips to follow.

Horizon Forbidden West PS4 and PS5 Control List

  • Move: L
  • Align camera and bow: R
  • Sprint: L3
  • Focus: R3 (hold or toggle)
  • Shield: R2 (after scanning the enemy with Focus)
  • Track path: R1 (after scanning the enemy with Focus)
  • Jump and grab: X, X in the air (near a grab point)
  • Duck and activate shield wings (once unlocked): Square
  • Dodge: Circle
  • Interact or use (when prompted): Triangle
  • Heal: Control pad up
  • Select tool or weapon technique (once unlocked): D-pad right and D-pad left
  • Use selected tool: D-pad down
  • Aim: L2 (hold)
  • Concentration: R3 (when aiming)
  • Pullcaster team: triangle (when aiming), R2 (hold)
  • Shoot and heavy attack: R2 (when aiming), R2 (hold for charged attack)
  • Light Attack and Valor Boost (unlocked once):
  • Weapon wheel: L1 (hold or toggle)
  • Show HUD: Swipe up on the touchpad
  • Open menu: Touchpad
  • Pause game: Options

  • Light melee attack: R1
  • Mount heavy melee attack: R2
  • Mount acceleration: x
  • Mount Duck Rider: Square
  • Mount brake: Circle

Before you begin to fully explore the Forbidden West, read below for some tips to help ensure a successful gameplay experience.

In Horizon Forbidden West, choose the difficulty level that suits you best

An early reunion with Varl.

Similar to Zero Dawn, you can start Horizon Forbidden West in one of five difficulty levels (from easiest to hardest): Story, Easy, Normal, Hard and Very Hard. Once you have finished the game and unlocked New Game+, you can do it playing on Ultra Hard. Note that in New Game+ you can't change the difficulty level once it's set unlike in a new game.

Difficulty has no effect on story or trophies. If you prefer more story and less combat, select Story. If you like a challenge, Ultra Hard will do just that. Normal difficulty is a good challenge for most players.

Use focus whenever you enter a new area and to mark and track enemies in Horizon Forbidden West

Focus on revealing details on the Burrower.

Whenever you enter a new area, activate Focus by pressing or holding R3 (depending on setting). Look around and scan anything purple or diamond shaped. You can see enemies, supply depots, loot boxes, people, animals, targets, and in the case of diamonds, grapple points.

This will help you plan your attack plan for both enemies and the area. For enemies you can do this after scanning mark them (R2) and follow their path (R1). If you mark them, you can see their location even if they are off-screen or you are not using Focus. If you follow their path, you can see their patrol route, making it easier to decide when to move.

Go for stealth kills as often as possible in Horizon Forbidden West

Kill one and use it to lure another to slaughter you.

Veterans of Zero Dawn understand that hiding in the tall grass is perhaps the best tactic. These usually reddish to pink bushes will hide you if you crouch in them, as long as you haven't been fully spotted by a machine yet. Sometimes, the path of a machine leads directly into these bushes. This makes it much easier to get those silent kills.

Stealth kills – or silent strikes – are performed crouching positions, either hiding in tall grass or sneaking up behind an enemy. When a machine is close enough to you to trigger a Silent Strike, press R1 when prompted to do so. Not only is this quieter and will only attract the attention of other machines when they see you doing the deed, but you Gain more experience for silent and stealth kills.

Even better, if you are able to kill a machine right next to or in some bushes, it is very likely that the corpse will attract the attention of other machines in the area. This is a great way to kite enemies to you. Just pick them off one by one with stealth kills as they approach. If several come to inspect the body, silently kill the last of the group after the others have turned around to minimize your chances of getting caught.

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You can get stealth kills with the bow, but using the spear and R1 is much easier at the beginning of the game until you are able to upgrade your bow and increase the types of arrows you use. It's also easier to be spotted drawing and shooting after you've already hit a machine, even in bushes, so it's recommended to be patient, sneak up on enemies and finish them off with your spear.

Hey, it saves you arrows too!

Loot and pillage liberally in Horizon Forbidden West

Don't forget to look for loot underwater as well!

Loot, loot and loot some more! Machines give you a wide variety of loot. Wild animals will provide a few. An abundance of plants you can also capture. Along the way you will also find loot caches and crates.

Specifically, make sure you always do this overflowing with medicinal herbs and ridge wood. Healing works the same as in Zero Dawn, although it looks a little different in the inventory (press D-Pad Up for a heal-over-time effect). You can, however, keep healing berries and herbs in your bag as extra inventory.

Ridge woods are important for a reason: they are essential for making arrows!. Especially if you want to specialize in ranged combat, being able to craft your arrows quickly in the middle of combat can be the deciding factor. Luckily, ridge forest is plentiful in the Forbidden West. There should be no excuse for not being able to make arrows in the wild.

Last, scan for loot and treasure caches. There are incredibly many in the early stages of the game – the more reserved part of the game, so loot! Most are easily accessible, while some require a little work and tricky maneuvering to gain access. Still, it's free stuff you can only benefit from.

An added benefit is that the Inventory tab in the main menu is divided into many sections, but perhaps none is more welcome than the sections on Valuables for Sale and Major Upgrade Resources. Whereas in Zero Dawn you had to scroll through each item to determine if its value was just in resale, the "Valuables to Sell" tab makes it much easier to quickly sell your items to merchants.

How to travel fast in Horizon Forbidden West

The first bonfire of the game that offers a free fast travel … with nowhere to go.

To travel fast, you need two of three things: a discovered settlement, a discovered campfire, and a fast travel package. You can then access the map from the main menu by pressing the touchpad) and move to any discovered settlement or campfire. From there, strike R2 to consume a Fast Travel Pack and move around. You will know that you have not discovered a place if it is one is grayed out on the map; discovered places appear white.

Campfires and settlements are marked on your map. Simply enter the borders of a settlement to discover it, and interact with Campfire (with triangle or square) to discover it.

To make a Fast Travel Pack, you need to find a workbench. Unlike in Zero Dawn, you can't just tinker on the go here. Then you have to craft Ridge-Wood and Wild Meat. Ridge-Wood is abundant, while Wild Meat must come from the wild animals in the game and not from the machines.

Since a Fast Travel Pack is used each time and you can only travel fast with one, it is recommended to avoid Fast Travel in the early stages of the game to build up a stock of supplies and resources like the Fast Travel Pack.

Aloy thought her mission to save the world was over, but now her journey takes her to a new area in search of Sylens – and answers. Use these tips to help you on your way through the Forbidden West!

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