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Horizon Forbidden West guide and everything you need to know

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This Horizon Forbidden West guide will help you with a huge game that's got a lot going on. There are monster machines to meet and kill, people to find, gear to locate and a massive new world to explore and conquer. From combat tips to what armor you need, collectibles, maps and guides to some of the decisions and missions you'll encounter, we've got it all covered. We've left all the spoilery stuff out so you can browse ahead without fear of ruining everything but, chances are, if you are looking for something specific we don't talk about here, we'll probably have it covered as well.

Tips

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These Horizon Forbidden West tips are the best way to get up to speed fast on the game overall. This breaks down some broad and easy to grasp pointers on combat, machines, resources and plenty of other things. If you need a quick explainer to get up to speed on everything the game throws at you in the opening hours, this is the place to start. 

Map

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The Horizon Forbidden West map is a large area to explore. While Tallnecks help uncover all the things you can discover, there's still a lot to find, question marks to investigate, and secrets to locate. This map guide will show you the whole thing upfront, broken down broadly into its four key areas. 

Explorer or guided mode

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The Horizon Forbidden West Explorer or guided mode choice right at the start of the game might confuse you at first. It's presented with little context: a brief explanation and no indication of how permanent your decision might be. Fortunately it's a simple HUD decision that can be changed at any time, so read this guide to find out exactly what's going on. 

Greenshine

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Once you realise what Horizon Forbidden West Greenshine is and what it can buy, you'll want to find as much as you can. This green crystal is the only way to upgrade certain weapon and armor levels. Plus, it can be used to buy machine parts from merchants, saving you from hunting dangerous machines yourself for other upgrade resources. 

Red Crystal

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There are Horizon Forbidden West red crystal growths scattered all over the world. You'll eventually find out it's something called Red Gleam and there is a way to get rid of it so you can find out what's behind. This guide will explain everything you need to know about it, plus how and when you can finally deal with it. 

How to breathe underwater

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The Horizon Forbidden West Diving mask is a vital piece of gear that will let you breathe underwater and open up a lot of new areas to explore. However, you won't know how to get it upfront, as it's unlocked as part of a mission that doesn't advertise the fact. This guide will explain what it is, where to get it and what you have to do to add it to your arsenal. 

Best Armor

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

There's a Horizon Forbidden West best armor option that's an incredibly useful thing to get, if you know where you can track it down. While some of the missions involved will creep up the levels, you can get this armor a lot sooner than you think if you know what to target. It's a powerful and protective set that will really set you up well for mid to late stage game, and beyond. 

Power armor

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While the Horizon Forbidden West power armor isn't quite the same as the original game's shielded armor, it's still a useful thing to know about. Replacing the physical armor you had to track down before, it's now a skill that can be unlocked and levelled up. Here's how to do that and how the new power armor system works in Forbidden West. 

Best weapons 

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

There are plenty of Horizon Forbidden West best weapons to choose from but this guide covers the top tier level of every class. From attacking at range, getting in close, laying traps, or pilling on elemental effects to boost damage - we run through all the weapons you need to find and why they're good. 

Metal Flowers

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You'll encounter Horizon Forbidden West Metal Flowers for a long time before you know how to clear them. These metal plants and the vines they create block the way in a lot places, locking off loot and rewards. You will be able to clear them eventually but only when you undertake a particular mission that unlocks a specific piece of gear. Here's where we explain all that.  

The lens collectibles

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The Horizon Forbidden West lenses are an early collectible you can stumble on once you reach the first main area of the game. There are six in all, but where are they and is it actually worth finding them all? Especially as they're all on top of high towers you need to find and climb. This guide covers all that - showing you where to go, how to get past a couple of obstacles, and what it'll all be worth when you're done. 

Tallnecks

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Horizon Forbidden West Tallnecks are just as important as they were in the last game for helping you uncover the map. Climb one and hack its dish plate head and you'll uncover all of the map. However, how to do that can be less than obvious. One Tallneck requires a gear upgrade, a couple have tricky puzzles, and one is even completely hidden until you know where to look.   

Vistas

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

There are Horizon Forbidden West Vistas to find and solve throughout the game. These image based puzzles have to be found first, which then unlocks an image you have to line up with the real world. The first few are easy enough but later there's some lengthy exploring needed to find just the right point to recreates the angles. Luckily this guide will show you how to find, and how to solve, all of them. 

Drones

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There are plenty of Horizon Forbidden West drones to find and try to reach. Once you locate one, you'll have to climb up to a vantage point where you can jump onto it so you can bring it down to the ground. Once you've got it on the floor you'll be able to extract it's data for a cosmetic reward we won't spoil here. Read the full guide for more. 

Wait or go to the embassy? 

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The option to wait or go now in the Horizon Forbidden West embassy choice feels like it's a big call to make. However, it's not. This guides will explain this deceptively simple option and what the two choices will get you (spoiler: not a huge amount).

Aether, Poseidon, or Demeter? 

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Without spoiling too much there's a Horizon Forbidden West Aether, Poseidon, or Demeter mission branch you'll have to decide on once the game is underway that you might want help with. You don't really get too much information on what the quests involve, or what the rewards are. But there is a definite advantage to doing certain ones first, so this guide explains what you can expect to help you choose. 

How to find Poseidon

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At one point in the game you'll probably be wondering how to find Poseidon in Horizon Forbidden West. It's not a hard mission, but when you're exploring the desert and you're not entirely sure what you're looking for, it's easy to miss your objective. Add in one of the frequent sandstorms that reduce visibility to nothing and you could walk past what you need more than a few times. This guide will point you in the right direction and make sure you find Poseidon quick. 

How to follow the orb and find HADES

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Knowing how to follow the orb and find HADES in Horizon Forbidden West is easy when you know how, but don't be surprised if a few people get confused. After the game spends a while making sure you understand you need your Focus to follow a trail. this mission doesn't use your Focus to follow a trail. So if you're not prepared for the switch it's easy to miss the clues you should be following, or chase down the wrongs one's entirely. So read this guide if you're having problems and get on track, literally. 

Where to investigate the battlefield in Cradle of Echoes 

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The option to investigate the battlefield in Horizon Forbidden West Cradle of Echoes seems obvious, especially with your Focus to highlight things. But this short objective can be tricky, with at least one target way out further than you expect to be looking. So if you can't tick this all off, our guide will help show where you're going wrong. 

Where to find the source of the signal?

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This is another mission where the game spends a while establishing a pattern it then changes without warning. Because of that, knowing where to find the source of the signal in Horizon Forbidden West can be a bit frustrating. We'll explain why, and how to finish this quest in that guide. 

Yarra or Drakka? 

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The Horizon Forbidden West Yarra or Drakka choice is part of a side quest thread you'll encounter when you've been hanging out with the Tenakth for a while. It's one of those choices that feels like it could go on to have a big impact but in reality, it's a bit of an illusion. This guide will explain the ramifications of this leadership contest and what happens according to who you pick.

Leon Hurley

I'm currently GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures.