Horizon Forbidden West Explorer vs Guided Mode: What’s the difference?

Daniel Megarry
A screenshot of Horizon Forbidden West
Guerilla Games

At the start of Horizon Forbidden West, players can switch between Explorer Mode and Guided Mode – but what’s the difference, and which one should you choose? Let’s find out.

One of the first decisions you’ll make in Horizon Forbidden West (alongside your difficulty setting) is whether to play in Explorer or Guided Mode, but the game doesn’t really offer much explanation about the difference.

There’s also no recommendation of which option to choose, leaving it totally up to the player to make the decision. If you’re unsure which one to go for, we’ve explained the differences between Explorer and Guided below.


Explorer vs Guided differences in Horizon Forbidden West

The difference between Explorer and Guided Mode is very small, and your choice won’t affect the difficulty of the game or the experience you have. Having said that, there are a few differences to be aware of.

Explorer Mode explained

A screenshot of Explorer Mode in Horizon Forbidden West

In Explorer Mode, you’ll have minimal invasion from the HUD (heads-up display) and less direction on where to go or what to do next. You’ll have to rely on cues from the environment or dialogue to guide you.

Another benefit of Explorer Mode is that you’ll get to see more of the game’s stunning visuals without the HUD getting in the way. This is arguably the most immersive or ‘authentic’ way of playing.

Guided Mode explained

A screenshot of Guided Mode in Horizon Forbidden West

In Guided Mode, you’ll see directions on the screen to help you reach your destination or waypoint marker. This is great for beginners or players who just need a little help figuring out where to go next.

Another benefit of Guided Mode is that you’re far less likely to miss anything, so if you’re a player who likes to find everything the game has to offer, this mode can certainly help with that.

As we said before, the difference is minimal (you can see that from the screenshots above), but it can swing the difficulty of the game slightly in either direction.

Can you change between Explorer and Guided Mode in  Horizon Forbidden West?

The menu to change between Explorer and Guided in Horizon Forbidden West

The good news is that you can switch between Explorer and Guided Mode at any time in your Horizon Forbidden West playthrough. Simply head to the Settings Menu and make the change.

Here’s how to switch between Explorer Mode and Guided Mode:

  1. Open the Settings Menu at any point while playing Horizon Forbidden West.
  2. Scroll to either the ‘General’ or ‘Accessibility’ tab – the options are in both.
  3. Change both Quest Pathfinding and Waypoint Pathfinding to your preferred mode.
  4. Exit the menu and your changes will automatically save.

Having this option means you shouldn’t worry too much about which choice you make at the start of the game, but our recommendation is to begin in Explorer Mode and see how you get on with it.

If you find that you’re missing things or you get stuck with directions at any point, you can always switch to Guided Mode for as long as you need it.

Visit our Horizon Forbidden West page for more guides and the latest news.