Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 1

What are all the Skills in Horizon Forbidden West? Which are the best Skills to get? In Horizon Forbidden West, there are lots of Skills to unlock for Aloy, spread across several skill trees. As part of our Horizon Forbidden West guide, we'll be taking a look at each Skill and telling you which to prioritise.

Horizon Forbidden West: All You Need to Know about Skills

In this part of our guide, we're going to break down what skills do and the differences between the various types of skill.

What Are Skills?

Skills are techniques and upgrades for Aloy that make her stronger across various categories. Through unlocking skills across the six skill trees, Aloy will become a more adept fighter, more resilient in battle, and better at handling machines in general.

Skills are linked together, meaning that if you want to unlock later or more powerful Skills, you will need to invest in earlier ones first.

To unlock Skills, you need Skill Points. Skill Points are earned by completing Quests, doing side activities, and finding collectables. For more information about Skill Points rewards, see our guide: Horizon Forbidden West: All Quests.

What Are All the Skill Trees?

In Horizon Forbidden West, there are six skill trees, each one focusing on a different area of Aloy's capabilities. This allows you to pick and choose how to improve Aloy according to your own playstyle.

  • Warrior: This skill tree focuses on close-quarters combat and melee attacks. You should invest in this skill tree if you like getting up close and personal with foes, using Aloy's spear and Warrior Bow to dole out damage. You can unlock Weapon Techniques for these weapons here.
  • Trapper: This skill tree is all about traps. Skills found here allow Aloy to make and lay traps more efficiently and improve their power. There are also Weapon Techniques that improve the capabilities of the Ropecaster and Tripcaster.
  • Hunter: This skill tree emphasises ranged combat, improving Concentration (slow-motion) and weapon stamina. You'll also find Weapon Techniques for Hunter Bows and Boltblasters.
  • Survivor: This skill tree is about Aloy's ability to heal, gather materials, and craft useful items. It also offers new Weapon Techniques for the Blastsling and Shredder Gauntlet weapons for a more tactical approach.
  • Infiltrator: This skill tree focuses on stealth and silent strikes. If you like to sneak about and backstab your enemies, this is the skill tree for you. Sharpshot Bows also get some new Weapon Techniques here.
  • Machine Master: This skill tree is about overriding machines and their effectiveness when overridden. Use the machines in your favour to get a helping hand in combat. Spike Thrower weapons can be upgraded with Weapon Techniques in this tree.

What Are the Different Types of Skill?

There are four types of skill in Horizon Forbidden West to be found in the skill trees:

  • Passive Boosts: These skills upgrade Aloy's basic attributes and skills, improving her core abilities. For example, passive boosts can increase how quickly she can craft gear, how much health she regains from healing items, or how much damage she deals. Passive Boosts are represented by small circular symbols in each skill tree.
  • Active Skills: These skills give Aloy new abilities, giving you more options while playing. Some examples include new melee combos and attacks, or enhancing Aloy's override capabilities. Active Skills are represented by rhombus symbols in each skill tree.
  • Weapon Techniques: These skills pertain to certain categories of weapons, making them more versatile and more powerful with new moves. For instance, a Hunter Bow Weapon Technique can be unlocked to allow for firing high volleys of arrows, while the Warrior Bow gets a Weapon Technique to fire a five-arrow horizontal spread. You perform these Weapon Techniques by holding L2 to aim and then pressing R1 to fire instead of R2. Weapon Techniques use Weapon Stamina, which is presented in the bottom right corner of the screen with an orange bar. Weapon Techniques are represented by upside-down diamond symbols in each skill tree.
  • Valor Surges: These skills are powerful new abilities that can only be unlocked by first unlocking other skills surrounding them. Valor Surges are represented by diamond symbols in each skill tree. For more information on Valor Surges, visit our separate guide: Horizon Forbidden West: All Valor Surges and Best Valor Surges to Use.

Can You Get All the Skills in One Playthrough?

Yes, you can unlock all Skills in all skill trees in Horizon Forbidden West. However, to do so, you will need to earn enough Skill Points. These are earned by playing through Main Quests, Side Quests, Errands, and other side activities and objectives. By playing most of the game's Quests and other missions, you will gain enough Skill Points to unlock every Skill in Horizon Forbidden West, but it will take some time. For more information about Skill Points rewards, see our guide: Horizon Forbidden West: All Quests.

Can You Respec Skills or Reset Skill Points?

No, you cannot reset your Skills and redistribute your Skill Points. Once you spend Skill Points to unlock a Skill, that Skill is locked in, and there's no way to reallocate Skill Points.

However, this isn't really a problem — as stated above, you can unlock every Skill by playing through enough Quests and earning enough Skill Points.

Horizon Forbidden West: All Skills and Best Skills to Learn

Below, we'll be running through all the skills in Horizon Forbidden West, categorised by skill tree. Note: The Passive Boost Skills repeat further down each skill tree; these are simply new levels of those Skills, increasing their effects, so we won't be including the repeats.

We've highlighted the ones we think are most worthwhile picking up, rating them each out of a possible 5 stars.

— Lowest priority. These skills can be left until later.

— Low priority. These skills are okay but will only really help you in specific scenarios.

— Mid priority. These skills are decent ones to have, although not totally necessary.

— High priority. These skills are useful for most occasions.

— Highest priority. Get these as quick as you can, as they're the best in the game.

Warrior Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Warrior

These skills can all be found in the Warrior skill tree. There are 31 Warrior skills in total, including upgrades.

Resonator Blast

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 1 Skill Point

After building up energy with melee attacks, press R2 to energise the enemy. Then, pull out your bow and shoot the target to deal a huge blast of damage.

— The Resonator Blast is a move you must learn as part of a main mission, so you'll be getting this one regardless. Fortunately, it's also really good, and will become a staple of your melee combat encounters.

Nora Warrior

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 1 Skill Point

A powerful melee combo common among Nora warriors, useful in knocking down small machines and staggering larger ones.

— Pretty much all of the Active Skills in the Warrior skill tree are great, and Nora Warrior is no exception. This will become your most commonly used combo when fighting with your spear.

Block Breaker

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Immediately break an enemy's weapon guard and leave them vulnerable to a follow-up attack.

— This is a useful melee manoeuvre against stronger human enemies, but is probably the least necessary of the first few Active Skills in the Warrior tree.

Resonator Blast+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more damage with Resonator Blasts.

— Resonator Blasts are already pretty strong, especially against humans, so this isn't absolutely necessary. However, it's always nice for your attacks to be stronger.

Melee Damage

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more damage with Light and Heavy Attacks.

— Making sure your basic melee attacks are as strong as can be is a good move, especially early on in proceedings.

Critical Strike+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

— Again, boosting all your attack power is fine and dandy, but Critical Strikes aren't your best offensive tools, really. Other things should come first.

Energized Duration

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Targets remain energized longer.

— This passive ability means that the target you shoot to perform a Resonator Blast will stay on an enemy for longer, giving you more opportunity to get the shot off. A decent investment.

Resonator Damage

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more damage when energizing a target.

— Preparing a Resonator Blast, you'll "energise" an enemy with a final hit of R2 when your spear is glowing blue. This boost makes it so you deal more damage when you do so. It's not nearly as important as some other Skills.

Aerial Slash/Jump Off

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Aerial Slash: Quickly damage an enemy and leap into the air (R1, R2).

Jump Off: Jump off an enemy to quickly reposition yourself and create distance (R1, hold R2).

Shooting your target with an arrow after either of the above moves deals extra damage.

— A great addition to your melee arsenal, this is a two-for-one offer you should definitely grab.

Power Attack+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Power Attacks deal more damage.

— Power Attacks are, well, powerful, but they're slow to pull off — a long build up and then a long animation. It's worth grabbing this at some point, but Power Attacks can be tricky to get right.

Spread Shot

Type: Weapon Technique (Warrior Bow)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire 5 arrows in a horizontal spread. Hold longer before firing for a tighter spread.

— This Weapon Technique effectively turns your Warrior Bow into a shotgun, which can be very useful in the right situations.

Resonator Buildup

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Energize your spear faster.

— Want to do more Resonator Blasts? This Skill decreases the amount of buildup required before you can pull one off. Sounds good to us.

Melee Detonator

Type: Weapon Technique (Warrior Bow)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire a special arrow that attaches to an enemy for a limited time. Detonate it with a melee attack to deal extra damage. Attach multiple arrows to trigger a stronger explosion.

— This Weapon Technique sounds great on paper, but in practice it's harder to use than you think. Machines are actually very agile, so it can be a little tricky getting the timing right on this.

Burst Fire

Type: Weapon Technique (Warrior Bow)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire 3 arrows of your currently selected type in a quick burst.

— This Weapon Technique is similar to Spread Shot, but is a little more focused. Of the two, we'd say this one is probably a little better in most scenarios.

Halfmoon Slash

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Close in on an enemy with a quick strike. Can also be used to connect or break out of combos. Hold then release R1.

— This can be a useful move in some situations, such as fighting multiple human baddies at once, but realistically it doesn't come into play all that often.

The Destroyer

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 3 Skill Points

A risky flurry of melee attacks that deal a massive amount of damage.

— This melee combo is excellent against single targets, and a good way to build up energy for a Resonator Blast.

Spinning Scythe

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Build up to a powerful spin that strikes all surrounding enemies and clears the area around you.

— This melee attack can come in handy if you're fighting large human enemy groups, but it's less useful if you're up against machines.

Energy Surge

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Energize your spear quickly with a powerful final strike.

— This easy to pull off combo results in an immediately charged spear, ready to dole out a Resonator Blast. It's right at the bottom of the skill tree, but it's well worth getting.

Trapper Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Trapper

These Skills can be found under the Trapper skill tree. There are 20 Trapper Skills in total, including upgrades.

Quick Trapper

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Place traps faster on the field.

— Traps are easily forgotten, but they can be incredibly potent weapons against enemy machines. The default speed at which Aloy deploys traps is rather slow, so this boost is well worth it if you want to surprise foes.

Skilled Salvager

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Recover more and higher quality resources when deconstructing traps and tripwires.

— While this can come in handy once fully upgraded, it's one of the least valuable skills in the game. If you're careful, you won't ever need to take down any traps you set, but the returning resources are better than nothing.

Nimble Crafter

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Craft tools, traps, and potions faster.

— It's not incredibly important to craft more traps and potions out in the field, but this skill simply makes the act faster, which is always nice.

Trap Limit

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Place more traps and tripwires on the field at the same time.

— Sometimes you'll want to lay down a few traps at once, but you're pretty restricted at first. This skill lets you put more down simultaneously, which can be incredibly handy in certain scenarios.

Resilient Trapper

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Take less damage when triggering your own trap or tripwire.

— Frankly, the traps you lay down are easy to avoid. The extra resistance to your own traps here is nice, but you should rarely, if ever, trigger them yourself. Aloy ain't no klutz.

Food Duration

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Skill boosts and other effects from food last longer.

— You can purchase food from Cooks in settlements, and these meals give Aloy a variety of temporary buffs in all kinds of ways. We didn't utilise them very often, but they can definitely come in handy if you're fighting a tough machine, and this skill just makes the effects stick around longer.

Quick Wire

Type: Weapon Technique (Tripcaster)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Quickly launch a Tripwire of your currently selected type with a preset length. Wire explodes or deactivates after a limited time.

— Tripwires can often pack a serious elemental punch, but they're not so handy once a machine is aware of you. This Weapon Technique sends out an instant tripwire, which can actually turn the Tripcaster into an effective mid-combat weapon if a machine is chasing after you.

Penetrating Rope

Type: Weapon Technique (Ropecaster)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire a rope that can attach to any part of an enemy, including armor, without needing to fully draw the weapon.

— Like the above Weapon Technique, this one makes the Ropecaster a faster option in the heat of a fight. Tethering down machines with ropes is an effective way to slow them down, especially larger ones, so this is a good skill to get if you like to wield a Ropecaster.

Hunter Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Hunter

These Skills can be found under the Hunter skill tree. There are 29 Hunter Skills in total, including upgrades.

Concentration+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Increase your Concentration limit, prolonging use.

— Concentration is essentially slow-motion that kicks in when you click R3 while aiming a shot. This is incredibly useful, especially if you're aiming for a specific machine part. Having Concentration last longer is definitely worth it.

Deep Concentration

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Concentration depletes more slowly, prolonging use.

— To be honest, the end result of this skill is about the same as the one above, so this is just as useful. More Concentration is always good.

Concentration Regen

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Recover Concentration faster.

— This shortens the amount of time between bursts of Concentration, so it gets a thumbs up from us.

High Volley

Type: Weapon Technique (Hunter Bow)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire a high-arcing volley of arrows to rain down on your enemies.

— While this Weapon Technique sounds cool, we struggled to find a great use for it. Against the game's larger machines, this might come in useful, but other than that there are better options.

Spread Blast

Type: Weapon Technique (Boltblaster)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire 8 bolts of your currently selected type in a wide, short-range spread.

— This effectively turns your Boltblaster into a shotgun, which can be great against certain machines. Normally, the weapon is slow to wind up, so this quick-fire Weapon Technique is pretty nice.

Valor Surge Master

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Build up valor faster.

— You build up valor pretty quickly by default anyway, so this isn't really high priority at all.

Weapon Stamina+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Increase your Weapon Stamina limit.

— Weapon Stamina is important, because it's what allows you to use Weapon Techniques. These can be some of your best offensive options, so it's good to have a larger stamina pool for those moves.

Stamina Regen

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Recover Weapon Stamina faster.

— Again, Weapon Stamina is great to have access to, so skills like this are definitely useful.

Ammo Expert

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Craft more ammunition from the same amount of resources.

— A super-useful skill, especially once fully upgraded. More ammo from the same materials? In other words, free stuff? How can you turn that offer down?

Heavy Weapon+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more damage while using a heavy weapon.

— Heavy weapons are the special weapons you can detach from machines, and then use them against your foes. They're super powerful, and this just makes them pack even more of a punch.

Triple Notch

Type: Weapon Technique (Hunter Bow)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Load up to 3 arrows of your currently selected type. Fire normally to release all arrows simultaneously.

— This is one of the better Weapon Techniques for Hunter Bows. It basically lets you deal triple the damage at once, which is useful when you want to kill something quickly.

Sustained Burst

Type: Weapon Technique (Boltblaster)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Unleash an entire clip of bolts while immobile.

— The Boltblaster is a slow weapon anyway, so this skill's restriction of anchoring Aloy to the spot while it fires isn't too big a deal. Unloading a whole clip at a rapid pace can be really powerful, and a decent way to build up an elemental effect.

Workbench Expert

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 3 Skill Points

— Being able to craft ammo on the fly is obviously very handy, but with this skill, you can craft using even fewer materials if you do so at a Workbench. There are loads of Workbenches dotted around the map, so when you're nearby one, pop over and craft all the ammo you need, as it'll cost you less.

Knockdown Shot

Type: Weapon Technique (Hunter Bow)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Fire a special arrow that does no damage but can stagger or knock down machines, leaving them vulnerable to follow-up strikes.

— This is an incredibly handy Weapon Technique if your priority is knocking a machine down rather than dealing damage. Knocked down machines are open to overriding and Critical Strikes, plus it's easier to knock specific parts off when in this state.

Ultra Shot

Type: Weapon Technique (Boltblaster)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Fire a burst of special explosive bolts that can hit targets at long range.

— A powerful Weapon Technique that deals explosive damage, but ignores any elemental effects your bolts might have otherwise.

Survivor Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Survivor

These Skills can be found under the Survivor skill tree. There are 29 Survivor Skills in total, including upgrades.

Potent Medicine

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Medicinal Berries provide more healing and heal you faster.

— This should be one of the first Skills you get. You'll be using Medicinal Berries to heal countless times through the game, so it pays to have them upgraded.

Low Health Regen

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Automatically recover health sooner when in the critical health state (below 25% Health).

— This is one of those Skills that is good to have but you'll barely notice it working. May as well pick it up to get to other things, but it's not the greatest.

Low Health Defense

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Resist more damage when in the critical health state (below 25% Health).

— Similar to the previous Skill, this is one you might as well pick up, but doesn't have a hugely noticeable effect.

Bouncing Bomb

Type: Weapon Technique (Blastsling)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Fire an explosive bomb that becomes more powerful with each bounce, up to a maximum of 3 bounces.

— This can come in handy, but most of the time we found the elemental build-up of regular bombs to be more useful.

Triple Shredder

Type: Weapon Technique (Shredder Gauntlet)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Launch 3 shredders of your currently selected type. Only 1 shredder can be caught and reused.

— If you're using a Shredder Gauntlet, this can be a great Weapon Technique to maximise damage against a larger machine.

Potion Proficiency

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Health Potions provide more healing and all potions are faster to consume.

— Similar to Potent Medicine, this Skill enhances Aloy's ability to heal, so it's a win in our book. Drinking potions can take a couple of seconds by default, so reducing that time is also a good perk.

Medicine Capacity

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Carry more Medicinal Berries in your Medicine Pouch.

— This pairs nicely with Potent Medicine, granting you access to more quick heals, which will be invaluable during combat.

Valor on Impact

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Gain valor when hit by enemies.

— Valor is required if you want to use Valor Surges, and this Skill makes it so you get some when you receive damage. Might as well get something back when you take a hit, right?

Burst Dodge

Type: Weapon Technique (Blastsling)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Lob a burst of bombs in front of you while automatically dodging backwards.

— This is a great defensive Weapon Technique for the Blastsling. If an enemy is getting too close, this gives you a little bit of breathing room while dealing a bit of damage at the same time.

Shredder Mine

Type: Weapon Technique (Shredder Gauntlet)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Launch a shredder that richochets off its point of contact before hovering in place, dealing Shock damage to targets within range for a limited time.

— This can be a really good Weapon Technique for crowd control, especially against machines that are weak to Shock damage.

Low Health Ranged

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Ranged attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.

— Staying in low health just to get a slight uptick in ranged damage is a risky move.

Low Health Melee

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Melee attacks deal more damage when you are dangerously wounded.

— Same as Low Health Ranged, this Skill is fine but ideally you don't want to be in a low health state anyway.

Sticky Bomb

Type: Weapon Technique (Blastsling)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Fire a bomb of your currently selected type that sticks to its target and explodes after a delay. Attach multiple bombs to simultaneously detonate them and deal extra damage.

— Bombs from your Blastsling detonate on impact anyway, so there's little need for this Weapon Technique. However, if you need to deal a lot of damage in a specific area on a machine, this is ideal.

Plant Forager

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Gather more resources from plants.

— This essentially means you will receive more materials with each plant pick-up, meaning you can craft more items and heal with more Medicinal Berries.

Power Shredder

Type: Weapon Technique (Shredder Gauntlet)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Launch a special shredder that deals extra damage to a target. Shredder does not return after impact.

— This Weapon Technique is fine, but sort of defeats the unique, boomerang quality of the Shredder Gauntlet.

Infiltrator Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Infiltrator

These Skills can be found under the Infiltrator skill tree. There are 27 Infiltrator Skills in total, including upgrades.

Silent Strike+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Silent Strike deals more damage.

— Silent Strike is a very good ally in Horizon Forbidden West, so making this stealthy attack stronger is a no-brainer.

Stealth Ranged+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more ranged Impact damage while in stealth.

— Nice to have the damage boost, but once you start firing arrows, it isn't long before stealth is broken.

Stealth Tear+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Deal more Tear damage while in stealth, increasing the ability to remove an enemy's armor and parts from machines.

— Often, you will want to remove a particular component from a machine, and a boost to Tear damage will make this that little bit easier.

Silent Strike Heal

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Recover health when using Silent Strike.

— Any opportunity to heal is worth taking, and you'll use Silent Strikes quite often, so why not make them even better?

Smoke Bomb Capacity

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Carry more Smoke Bombs.

— The default number of Smoke Bombs you can carry is very low, so this is worth getting if you prefer to stick to stealth.

Quiet Movement

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Move more quietly, reducing the chance of detection by enemies.

— Essential for those looking to play stealthily.

Low Profile

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Reduce your visibility to enemies.

— Another essential pickup for sneaky playstyles.

Quiet Spear

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Melee attacks are quieter, reducing the chance of being detected by nearby enemies.

— This is good to get at some point, but odds are if you're engaging in melee combat, you're probably breaking stealth anyway.

Silent Strike Gain

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Recover Weapon Stamina and earn additional valor when using Silent Strike.

— A useful Skill to have ticking along in the background, this one helps you pull off more Weapon Techniques and Valor Surges.

Braced Shot

Type: Weapon Technique (Sharpshot Bow)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Fire a powerful shot from a kneeling position that explodes on impact.

— This takes a few seconds to wind up, but it's a powerful Weapon Technique to open a fight with.

Double Notch

Type: Weapon Technique (Sharpshot Bow)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Load a second arrow of your currently selected type. Fire normally to release both arrows simultaneously.

— The Sharpshot Bow is slow to charge up anyway, so you might as well fire two arrows in one go. Useful for building up elemental effects.

Focused Shot

Type: Weapon Technique (Sharpshot Bow)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Increase your weapon's zoom while aiming and fire a powerful shot that deals extra damage.

— A satisfying and powerful Weapon Technique for the sniper in you.

Machine Master Skills

Horizon Forbidden West All Skills Best Skills Guide PS5 PS4 Machine Master

These Skills can be found under the Machine Master skill tree. There are 26 Machine Master Skills in total, including upgrades.

Mounted Defense

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Take less damage while mounted.

— This starts off the tree so you need it to get to better things anyway, but it is a useful Skill to have if you're spending some time riding around.

Lasting Override

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Increase the amount of time a machine remains overridden.

— Aside from the ones you can mount, machines won't stay overridden for very long, and this boost can definitely make a difference if you're relying on overrides to have machines do your bidding.

Machine Damage

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 1 Skill Point

Overridden machines deal more damage.

— While riding a machine, you can have it perform a light or heavy attack. With this Skill, those attacks can be pretty powerful against enemies, but more often than not you're better off dismounting for combat.

Spike Trap

Type: Weapon Technique (Spike Thrower)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Launch a spike that becomes a trap on impact with the environment. Arms after a short delay.

— This makes spikes more versatile, allowing them to become traps as well as powerful, direct offence.

Propelled Spike

Type: Weapon Technique (Spike Thrower)

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Launch a powerful long-range spike that explodes on impact or proximity to a target.

— A decent Weapon Technique, although not vastly different to what regular shots can offer.

Machine Health

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Overriden machines have more health.

— Frankly, there is an infinite supply of machines you can override in the game, so this feels like a low priority Skill.

Heavy Lifter

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Move faster while using a heavy weapon.

— Even fully upgraded, this Skill won't speed you up that much while holding a heavy weapon, but it's better than nothing.

Efficient Repair

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Repair damaged overridden machines for less Metal Shards.

— As with Machine Health, this is low priority. Repairing machines is kind of a waste of Metal Shards, because you can always override another one.

Machine Elemental+

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Overridden machines deal more damage with elemental attacks.

— It's a Skill that's nice to have, but realistically, you won't be spending too much time astride a machine.

Splitting Spike

Type: Weapon Technique (Spike Thrower)

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Launch a spike that splits into multiple projectiles to impact a large area.

— A decent Weapon Technique when fighting something big, or fighting a group.

Override Subroutines

Type: Active Skill

Cost: 3 Skill Points

Set a machine to either aggressive or defensive behavior while overriding.

— This can be pretty handy, giving you a bit more control over what an overridden machine does, either defending you or attacking other machines on your behalf.

Mounted Archer

Type: Passive Boost

Cost: 2 Skill Points

Deal more damage while on a mount.

— Handy to have a little damage boost while astride a machine, but most of the time, you're better off flinging arrows on-foot.


And that's all the Skills you'll find in Horizon Forbidden West. Which skill tree will you invest in first? Tell us in the comments section below. If you're looking for help with Valor Surges, click the link for our page dedicated to them. Elsewhere, read our Horizon Forbidden West guide for loads more.