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Horizon Forbidden West

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Jarrod Garripoli

Throughout your journey in Forbidden West, you will come across a variety of Machines, most of which will be out to attack you. This page will concentrate on the Recon Machine, the Skydrifter.

(1 of 2) Skydrifter in the game

Skydrifter in the game (left), Skydrifter in the notebook (right)

General Information

A gliding machine that easily spots and tracks potential threats. Whether in the air or on the ground, it is fast and agile, and can lash out with its razor-sharp tail and wingtips.

Level Type Cauldron Weak Strong
16 Recon IOTA Cauldron Frost frost.png Fire fire.png

Tips for Defeating the Skydrifter

The Skydrifter is a fast and nimble Machine, which makes it an annoying fight. It is able to boost itself up into the air, thanks to the parts on its legs, then fly around a little bit before landing (most likely, due to the Boosters overheating). While up in the air, they can divebomb you, so be wary of that, especially if you are fighting more than just the lone Skydrifter. Also, it can be a little challenging keeping track of the machine while it’s up in the air, so you will need to have an even sharper eye. You will want to be careful in getting too close upon it taking off, as the Skydrifter produces some fire upon doing so.

If you see the machine charging up, then it’s about to unleash its eye attack that, should it hit you, will inflict you with the Tracked effect. This means that enemies can track your location, no matter if you try to hide behind something or re-enter stealth; a Cleanse Potion can get rid of this, but it’s not a a huge status effect. Shooting the Tracking Container on its chest area will get rid of this attack. Another thing to watch out for if you’re keeping a distance is the tail feathers attack, where the Skydrifter will shoot a spread of feathers at you. Your best option here is to roll towards the machine to try and dodge them, as the spread is wide enough to make dodging to the side a little more dangerous.

You might also see a lunging attack or two, with one leaving a trail of fire behind it. The one lunging attack will have the Skydrifter spin around and try to hit you. As already mentioned, while in the sky, it can divebomb you, with one variation leaving behind a fire trail. There is also another attack here where it looks like it’ll divebomb, but stop near the ground and produce a gust of wind from its wings. Despite just being wind, this attack does deal damage and can be difficult to avoid, due to its quickness.

When fighting Skydrifters, you will probably want to try and aim for the Razor Tail and Tracking Container, if you can help it, as both of those disable the range attacks. The Scanning Unit doesn’t really do anything, so you can leave it alone, unless you want some extra resources to loot. You will always want to be wary of your surroundings, too, since the Skydrifters move very quickly and it’s easy to lose their position when they’re in the air. Depending on the Variant being fought, you can also utilize the respective elemental damage on their canisters, as this can cause some major damage to them when they explode. Don’t forget that this Machine is weak to Frost, so build that up and it can slow it down some.

Loot (Body)

All of the loot in the table below can drop upon killing the Machine and looting its body.

Loot Chance to Drop
Echo Shell 100% (Normal only)
Metalbite 100% (Apex only)
Metal Shards 100%
Skydrifter Circulator 66-67%
Apex Skydrifter Heart 60% (Apex only)
Skydrifter Primary Nerve 54% (Apex only)
Volatile Sludge 51% (Apex only)
Piercing Spike 50%
Skydrifter Primary Nerve 33% (Normal only)
Machine Muscle 31%
Braided Wire 20-21%
Small Machine Core 16-17%
Metal Bone 10-11%
Sturdy Hardplate 10-11%

Loot (Scanning Unit)

The Scanning Unit is essentially the eyeball on the Skydrifter, so you will know where to aim to try and remove it. This is what it uses to try and detect enemies while flying around, and it is a resource container, as it can contain a few items. This part is destroyed upon killing the Machine.

Loot Chance to Drop
Braided Wire 67%
Sturdy Hardplate 34%
Skydrifter Circulator 10-11%

Loot (Tracking Container)

The Tracking Container can be found on the chest area of the Skydrifter. As per the in-game description, the one projectile it uses will make it so you cannot re-enter stealth while the status is active. Destroying this part will stop that move from happening. This part is destroyed upon killing the Machine.

Loot Chance to Drop
Braided Wire 66-67%
Sturdy Hardplate 34-35%
Skydrifter Primary Nerve 10-11%

Loot (Booster)

These are the thrusters that the Skydrifter uses to launch itself into the air, with them being located just above the legs. Note that when the Skydrifter lands on the ground, it is overheated. These parts are indestructible, but you can use them as a weak point to deal more damage than usual.

Loot (Antenna)

The Antenna is located on the back of the Skydrifter and is used to call in reinforcements. Destroying it will disable that function, so you won’t have to worry about more enemies appearing and become overwhelmed. This part is destroyed upon killing the machine.

Loot Chance to Drop
Braided Wire 66-67%
Sturdy Hardplate 34-35%
Skydrifter Primary Nerve 10-11%

Loot (Sparker/Acid Canister)

The Sparker is on the normal Sydrifter, while the Acid Canister will be on the Apex variant. It is located by the tail and like any elemental parts, using the same elemental Arrow will cause the part to explode after a few seconds, dealing major damage to the Skydrifter, as well as potentially harming other enemies in the vicinity. This part is destroyed upon killing the Machine.

Loot Chance to Drop
Sparker 100% (Normal only)
Metalbite 100% (Apex only)

Loot (Razor Tail)

As the name suggests, the Razor Tail is located on the end of the tail. Destroying/detaching this will remove the projectile attack the tail can do from its arsenal. If you can manage to detach it, then you will be able to loot the Razor Tail, which is the only way to get one. This part is destroyed upon killing the Machine.

Loot Chance to Drop
Skydrifter Razor Tail 100%


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Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms,
    PS4, PS5
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    16 February 2022
  • Last Updated
    31 March 2022
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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This guide for Horizon Forbidden West includes the following:

  • A Walkthrough for Main Quest
  • A Guide for all Errands, Side Quests and Cauldrons
  • An in depth analysis for Weapons and Armor.
  • Information on all new and returning Machines
  • How to find and complete all four Melee Pits
  • How to unlock and complete all stages of the Arena
  • How to find and override all five Tallnecks
  • Locations on all Collectibles
    • Ornaments
    • War Totems
    • Vista Points
    • Survey Drones
    • Signal Towers
    • Black Boxe

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