Horizon Forbidden West Difficulty Levels Explained

In this guide, we’ve explained the difficulty settings of Horizon Forbidden West so that you know what setting you should play on.

The combat of Horizon Forbidden West is engagingly challenging but becomes frustrating if you’re at a difficulty setting that’s not suited to you. So, in this guide, we’ve explained the difficulty settings of Horizon Forbidden West so that you know what setting you should play on.

Horizon Forbidden West Difficulty Levels And Differences

Horizon Forbidden West has 5 pre-defined difficulty settings and one Custom difficulty setting. We’ve outlined each of those difficulty settings below and how they change the gameplay in HFW.

Story Setting

Players can focus on narrative and exploration as fighting becomes a bit easier. Is playing for the story your focus of the game? Then this mode is definitely for you as the all the combat is easy enough so that you can focus on the story.

Easy Setting

Combat is toned down as compared to normal and the main focus here is on exploration and story. You can call this mode story mode but with a bit of added challenge during combat so you can enjoy not only the story but also the mechanics of the game.

Normal Setting

The difficulty level is medium, allowing you to enjoy exploration, story, and combat equally. If you want to relax after a long day of work while enjoying the scenic layout of the game, then this mode is for you.

Hard Setting

Combat difficulty is bumped up a notch, meaning you can expect challenging combat. Aloy’s attack will deal slightly less damage but will take slightly more damage from all the enemies.

Very Hard Setting

Combat difficulty is on a whole other level, you’ll need to be skillful to make any progress. To make things challenging, Aloy will now take significantly more damage from all the enemies and the damage dealt will be greatly reduced drop.

Ultra Hard

If you think you can take on anything that the game will throw at you and you want to test your years of gaming capabilities, then this mode is for you. This setting will offer you the highest level of difficulty that is possible.

Custom Setting

This difficulty setting allows you to tweak your experience in a variety of ways and provides accessibility options like Easy Loot.

Can you Change Difficulty At Any Point?

Yes, you can change the difficulty level of Horizon Forbidden West at any point even if you are halfway through the story. To change the difficulty level of HFW, all you have to do is to press the Options button to pause the game you will need to go to General Settings within the Settings tab and inside General Settings you will find the Difficulty option.

Which Difficulty Level To Select In HFW?

The go-to difficulty option for most players in HFW is normal as it provides a good balance between combat and story. However, if you feel like combat isn’t your thing and simply want to experience the Story of Horizon Forbidden West, then select Easy mode.

If you have good combat skills and are coming from Horizon Zero Dawn, you can go for Hard and Very Hard difficulty. You can showcase all your skills and will get a decent challenge.

The Custom difficulty is best picked if you have an idea about what you’d like to tweak. It’s suited to players who want a specific accessibility option or players who’re already familiar with the game.

Some of the things the Custom Difficulty allows you to tweak are:

  • Enemy health
  • Amount of damage Aloy takes
  • Duration of slow-motion Concentration aiming

Also, keep in mind that you can also change the difficulty level anytime while playing HFW. You’re not stuck with the difficulty level you pick at the start of Forbidden West.

For the trophy hunters out there, you’ll be glad to know that there isn’t a trophy tied to difficulty. This means you can earn all the trophies and get platinum on any option.

Avatar photo

Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at SegmentNext.com but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...