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Horizon Forbidden West Valor Surge Guide: Ultimate Abilities Explained

In Horizon Forbidden West, new Valor Surge abilities give Aloy the equivalent of ultimates to unleash on enemies. You can activate them on demand once you’ve built up Aloy’s “valor meter” and, depending on the Valor Surge, can then watch her become sturdier, stronger, deadlier, or even invisible. Here’s an explainer on Valor Surges including a tour of each of them. They’ll cost you a lot of skill points each, so it’s vital to unlock the ones that are right for you.

Horizon Forbidden West Valor Surge

There are 12 Valor Surges and each can be upgraded up to three times to further enhance its usefulness. Across the game’s six-pronged skill tree, each category features two Valor Surges. Here’s how they all break down:

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Warrior Valor Surges

  • Critical Boost: Gain a greater chance to land critical hits and increase critical damage
  • Melee Might: Deal more damage with melee attacks

Trapper Valor Surges

  • Elemental Fury: Increase the buildup of elemental attacks while gaining a greater resistance to elemental damage
  • Trap Specialist: Increase the effects of traps and tripwires

Hunter Valor Surges

  • Ranged Master: Deal more damage with ranged weapons
  • Power Shots: Deal more damage for a certain number of shots with Bows, Boltcasters, Ropecasters, and Spike Throwers

Survivor Valor Surges

  • Toughened: Restore health and gain resistance to status effects
  • Overshield: Gain a rechargeable, damage-absorbing energy shield

Infiltrator Valor Surges

  • Stealth Stalker: Activate a cloaking device (temporarily disabled when aiming or using melee attacks)
  • Radial Blast: Trigger a powerful shockwave, damaging all enemies in the vicinity

Machine Master Valor Surges

  • Part Breaker: Deal more damage to machine components and weak spots
  • Chain Burst: Damage chains from one enemy to another within 15 meters, and boosts knockdown power

Which Valor Surge is the best?

Deciding what the best ability is in a game can be quite subjective, but it’s important to know where some skills may be better or worse than expected, so you can plan accordingly. In our opinion, one of the game’s very best Valor Surges is Radial Blast. This area-of-effect attack acts like a “get off me!” button, instantly shedding close attackers and giving yourself some breathing room. This sort of ability is very helpful in some of the game’s tough late-game battles, and it can even help out a bit during some open-world activities such as hunting grounds and rebel camps.

Another one to consider is Part Breaker. Tearing enemy components off and hitting weak spots is the key ingredient to Horizon’s combat, so enhancing that even further makes Aloy that much stronger–and swifter–when dealing with herds of machines.

We also really like Stealth Stalker because it applies bonus damage to unaware enemies. Using this before a battle, then targeting the biggest machine in the bunch first can sometimes one-hit-kill a would-be difficult enemy and turn the tide before the battle has truly even begun. If you’d rather opt for a loud approach, Chain Burst is super effective as a crowd-controlling ultimate ability that can clear a busy battlefield in just a few seconds when used right.

If there’s one Valor Surge to avoid, it’s arguably Trap Specialist. As we said in our Horizon Forbidden West tips for beginners, traps are already quite powerful. You’ll want to get in the habit of using them frequently, but making them even more powerful, though it can be helpful at times, sort of feels like putting a hat on a hat. In our opinion, it’s better to improve another area of Aloy’s arsenal where you may need to catch up to the machines’ dominating presence.

Whichever you choose, just remember that each Valor Surge can be enhanced further with more skill points. They all contain three levels, so just unlocking a Valor Surge isn’t meant to be the end of Aloy’s experience with her newfound powers.

For more on Horizon Forbidden West, don’t miss the solution to a few of the game’s trickier moments: the Cradle of Echoes code and the Shining Wastes tallneck.

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