Horizon Forbidden West: Controls Guide for PS4 & PS5 and Gameplay Tips

Here's your complete controls guide and tips for highly-anticipated Horizon Forbidden West.


The highly-anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is now available in Horizon Forbidden West. The sophomore adventure of Aloy sees her looking to end the blight, restore GAIA, and figure out just what happened to HADES – and Sylens – after the events of Zero Dawn. You head to the Forbidden West, located in what was the Southwest United States.

After a bit of a long prologue that serves as a reminder and tutorial of gameplay and mechanics, you will finally be able to begin your journey in earnest, exploring to your heart’s content or zooming through the main story missions.


Read below for your controls guide for Horizon Forbidden West. Gameplay tips will follow.

Horizon Forbidden West PS4 & PS5 controls list

  • Move: L
  • Aim Camera and Bow: R
  • Sprint: L3
  • Focus: R3 (hold or toggle)
  • Tag: R2 (after scanning enemy with Focus)
  • Track Path: R1 (after scanning enemy with Focus)
  • Jump and Grapple: X, X in mid-air (near a grappling point)
  • Crouch and Activate Shieldwing (once unlocked): Square
  • Dodge: Circle
  • Interact or Use (when prompted): Triangle
  • Heal: D-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)
  • Equip Pullcaster: Triangle (when aiming), R2 (hold)
  • Shoot and Heavy Attack: R2 (when aiming), R2 (hold for charged attack)
  • Light Attack and Valor Surge (once unlocked):
  • Weapon Wheel: L1 (hold or toggle)
  • Show HUD: Swipe up on Touchpad
  • Open Menu: Touchpad
  • Pause Game: Options
  • Mount Light Melee Attack: R1
  • Mount Heavy Melee Attack: R2
  • Mount Speed Up: X
  • Mount Duck Rider: Square
  • Mount Brake: Circle

Before you start fully exploring the Forbidden West, read below for some tips that should help foster a successful gameplay experience.

Choose the difficulty that best suits you

An early reunion with Varl.

Much like Zero Dawn, you can begin Horizon Forbidden West at one of five difficulty levels (from easiest to most difficult): Story, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. Once you complete the game and unlock New Game+, you can then play on Ultra Hard. Note that in New Game+, you cannot change the difficulty once it’s set unlike with a New Game.

The difficulty has no bearing on the story nor on any trophies. If you would prefer for more story and less combat, pick Story. If you like a challenge, Ultra Hard will do just that. Normal difficulty will provide a good challenge for most gamers.


Use Focus always when entering a new area and to tag and track enemies

Focus revealing details on the Burrower.

Whenever you enter a new area, activate Focus by pressing or holding R3 (depending on your setting). Look around and scan anything that is purple or a diamond shape. You will be able to see enemies, supply caches, loot boxes, humans, animals, objectives, and in the case of the diamonds, grappling points.

This will help you strategize your plan of attack for both enemies and the area. Further, with enemies, after scanning them you can tag them (R2) and track their path (R1). Tagging them will allow you to know their location even if they’re off-screen or you’re not using Focus. Tracking their path allows you to see their patrol route, helping you to decide when to make a move.

Go for stealth kills as much as possible

Killing one and using it to draw another to slaughter.

Veterans of Zero Dawn understand that hiding in the tall grass might be you best tactic. These bushes, usually reddish to pinkish, will hide you if you’re crouched in them as long as you haven’t been fully spotted by a machine yet. Sometimes, a machine’s path will go directly into these bushes. This makes getting these silent kills much easier.


Stealth kills – or Silent Strikes – are done from crouched positions, either hiding in tall grass or sneaking behind an enemy. When a machine is close enough to you to trigger a Silent Strike, hit R1 when prompted. Not only is this quieter and will only capture the attention of other machines if they see you do the deed, but you gain more experience for silent and stealth kills.

Even better, if you’re able to kill a machine right next to or in some bushes, it’s highly likely the corpse will draw the attention of other machines in the area. This is a great way to kite enemies to you. Simply pick them off one-by-one with stealth kills as they draw near. Should more than one come to inspect the corpse, silent kill the last of the group after the others have turned to minimize your chances of being caught.

You can gain stealth kills with the bow, but it’s much simpler with the spear and R1 early in the game until you’re able to upgrade your bow and increase the types of arrows you use. It’s also easier to be spotted while drawing and shooting after you’ve already hit a machine, even while in bushes, which is why it’s recommended to be patient, sneak up on enemies, and take them down with the spear.

Hey, it saves you arrows, too!

Scavenge and loot liberally

Don’t forget to check underwater for loot, too!

Scavenge, scavenge, and scavenge some more! Machines will give you a wide array of loot. Wild animals will provide a few. A plethora of plant life is yours to be scavenged as well. You will also find loot caches and boxes along the way.

In particular, make sure to always be overstocked with medicinal herbs and Ridge-Wood. Healing works the same as it did in Zero Dawn even if it looks a little different in the inventory (hit D-Pad Up for a heal-over-time effect). However, you can store healing berries and herbs in your pouch as extra inventory.

Ridge-Wood is important for one reason: they’re essential to crafting arrows!. Particularly if you’re going to specialize in ranged combat, being able to quickly craft your arrows in the midst of a battle can be the the deciding factor. Luckily, Ridge-Wood is plentiful in Forbidden West. There should be no excuse for being unable to craft arrows in the wild.

Lastly, scan for any loot and treasure caches. There are an incredible amount in the early stages of the game – the more contained part of the game, so loot up! Most are accessible easily, while some will need a bit of work and tricky maneuvering to access. Still, it’s free stuff that can only benefit you.

An added benefit is that the Inventory tab in the Main Menu is divided into many sections, but maybe none more welcome than the sections on Valuables to Sell and Key Upgrade Resources. Whereas Zero Dawn had you scroll through each item to determine if it’s only value is in resale, having a Valuables to Sell Tab makes it that much easier to quickly sell your items to merchants.

How to fast travel in Horizon Forbidden West

The first Campfire of the game offering a free Fast Travel…with nowhere to go.

To fast travel you need two of three things: a discovered Settlement, a discovered Campfire, and a Fast Travel Pack. You then can access the map from the Main Menu press Touchpad) and move to any discovered Settlement or Campfire. From there, hit R2 to consume a Fast Travel Pack and move. You’ll know you haven’t discovered a place if it’s greyed out on the map; discovered locations show up white.

Campfires and Settlements are marked on your map. Simply enter the boundaries of a Settlement to discover it, and interact with Campfire (using Triangle or Square) to discover that one.

To craft a Fast Travel Pack, you’ll need to find a workbench. Unlike in Zero Dawn, crafting can’t just be done on the go. Then, you need to have Ridge-Wood and Wild Meat to craft. Ridge-Wood are abundant while Wild Meat will have to come from the wild animals in the game and not the machines.

Since a Fast Travel Pack is used each time and you can only fast travel with one, It’s recommended to avoid fast traveling in the early stages of the game so as 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 as you make your way across the Forbidden West!


Bruce Lee

Bruce "Lee" is the Lead Editor for OutsiderGaming. He's a passionate writer, great editor who works tirelessly to develop young writers, and of course a great gamer. Bruce is interested in many games--from MLB the Show to the newest Pokemon releases.
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