Early in Horizon Forbidden West, you’ll find yourself closed off from reaching certain places by tangles of strange green vines. The vines always flow from a nearby machine–a boxy piece of metal that your Focus refers to as a “metal flower.” You’ll find yourself running into these metal flowers in a few places in the open world without the ability to deal with them, or to get the loot and secrets they consistently hide.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to clearing the vines of Horizon Forbidden West and claiming the stuff they wall off from you. To access the metal flowers and clear the vines, you’ll need a special hacking protocol for your spear, similar to what Aloy uses to Override machines. You’ll get that ability from a specific place in the world, but only once you’ve advanced to a particular point in the game.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to deal with metal flowers and their vines, and when you can expect to get your spear upgrade. Note that this post contains some extremely light spoilers for when things will happen in the game’s main story, so if you want to uncover everything yourself, stop reading now.
How To Cut Vines In Horizon Forbidden West
Like the ability to explode walls covered in Firegleam, you’ll eventually unlock the upgrade for interacting with metal flowers by working through the main quest of Horizon Forbidden West. The upgrade comes at a specific point, however, and you can prioritize unlocking it if you’re willing to brave some tougher areas earlier in the game.
You’ll get the metal flower upgrade from the Greenhouse, the location where Aloy finds the Demeter subordinate function for Gaia. The Demeter mission is one of three you can complete once you’ve completed the main quest mission “The Eye of the Earth” and established the Base. Once you’ve done that, you’ll unlock three missions you can complete, which send you to find the Aether, Poseidon, and Demeter subordinate functions. The Demeter mission, “Seeds of the Past,” is the one you want.
The Greenhouse is way to the west of the base, past The Bulwark, one of the Tenakth settlements you’ll find in the mountains. You can get there whenever you want, provided you’re willing to make the hike, but note that you’ll be at a disadvantage if you go too early–the mission has a suggested level of 24, and you might have a hard time if you’re not quite that high when you set out.
Complete “Seeds of the Past” and you’ll come away with the ability to cut the vines created by metal flowers. To do that, you’ll need to whack the flowers a few times with your spear to open them. Once the flower is open, use R1 to implant the hacking protocol to disable the flower. When you do, the vines connected to it will recede, opening a new path. Metal flowers you run into in the world will be marked on your map so you can return to them and clear them once you have the vine-cutting ability.
For more on Sony’s huge sequel, don’t miss our tips for beginners, as well as a look at the best skills to get early, a complete guide to the mounts you can unlock in the game, a list of all Cauldron locations, and a rundown of legendary weapons and what seems like the game’s best armor. You can also read our Horizon Forbidden West review.
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