Having honed your skills in Horizon: Zero Dawn, you may be expecting to jump right back in Aloys boots and start taking down Thunderjaws left and right. It won’t take long to realize that the level of proficiency you once took for granted is now out of reach. Armed with a spear and a hunters bow, the average machine is going to be more than a match for you. Horizon: Forbidden West feels a hell of a lot harder than the previous game.
Even after you have learned the ropes and obtained some new elemental weapons, the game can be rather challenging at times. It does get easier over time, however. I decided to put this guide together in the hope that it would help others who are finding the game a little difficult and are too stubborn to lower the game difficulty. If I could answer this question with one word, I would say persistence. As you gain levels and unlock new attacks and weapons, the game will get easier. Chances are, you are just in an area too high for your current level. It’s easy to drive ahead too fast, the story is too awesome to be dealing with petty tribe matters.
Spend Time Around Chainscrape
Chainscrape is the first town you will come across in Forbidden West. It is a mining village and there are quite a few side quests and activities to complete here. Many of which have been tailored to act as a tutorial as well as an entertaining side quest.
The critical factor here is that all of these quests will have you killing lots of machines, earning XP and finding lots of useful salvage and scrap. All of these things work toward levelling up your skill, your character and giving you the means to purchase useful upgrades.
I totally get that this is not the pace you want to be working at when you know there is an epic adventure ahead of you but spending a little time here pays for itself in the long run, trust me. I was too impatient and wanted to get right into the tropical beaches and giant cobra machines. I ended up fast travelling back to Chainscrape when I was getting my ass handed to me. Spend the time here and build yourself up for the adventure ahead, it’s long and gets tough at times. Don’t rush!
Grind enemies that are easier to kill
Enemies tend to award XP per kill based on their level rather than your own. This means killing a level 20 will give the same amount of XP no matter what level you are. The value of that XP diminishes when you start needing larger amounts of XP to level up. That doesn’t mean you can’t take the Warcraft road and start killing boars in the woods for weeks on end until you are strong enough.
Every now and then you will come across a particular enemy that you find quite easy to kill. Humans in the bandit camps in particular can often die with a single shot of a sharpshooter bow to the head. Humans can give a lot of XP too. Clearing bandit camps is a bit boring but if the grind makes you stronger, it is worth taking time out to grind some easy kills.
Quest level estimates are not a good measure
That quest to kill the war elephant is level 17. I attempted it at this level and there wasn’t a hope I was going to win the battle. I had to over level myself considerably before I was able to take on this battle. Don’t be fooled by those estimates, they are estimates.
Always aim for quests a little lower than your current level so you have some level of assurance that you are capable to take on the challenge ahead. You will still come across the odd quest that still kicks your ass when you are over-levelled, but hey, the game can be tough at times, that’s why you are here right!
Buy Pouch Upgrades ASAP
Having a larger pouch for traps and arrows will save you a lot of resources in the long run and can save you during the battle but this is not the main reason you want to upgrade your pouches.
Medicinal Berries are the key to success. The more you can carry, the longer you can survive in combat. Don’t forget that when the 10 healing slots are used up, hold the up button to refill the healing from your pouch! I spent quite a while wondering why the pouch upgrade only left me with 10 healing units. You have to manually replenish it. I have put a very detailed guide together that will explain how to get all of the items you need to upgrade pouches in Horizon: Forbidden West.
Buy talent tree upgrades for berries
As with the pouch upgrades, there should be an overall urgency to increase the number of medicinal Berries you can get your hands on. There are some skills in the skill tree that will increase the amount you harvest and give some general efficiency improvements so you can make the berries you have, stretch that little bit further when it comes to healing.