Review: Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition (PC) – Robots, Dinosaurs and Bugs

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80%
80
Exhilarating

Stunningly beautiful and immensely satisfying, some bugs and crashes let down an otherwise fantastic port.

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In seemingly very un-Sony behaviour, Horizon Zero Dawn, a 2017 PS4 exclusive, has been remastered and re-released for PC, boasting stunning new graphical enhancements, unlocked frame rates, benchmarking tools, a hefty price tag and a plethora of day-one bugs and issues.

It should be said immediately that Horizon Zero Dawn was a fantastic game upon its initial release, and the content of the game itself holds up in the re-release without question. Set in a post-apocalyptic world resembling the age of the cave people (with a lot more robot dinosaurs), there’s hours of exploration and discovery to be had in the sprawling open-world. The main story is gripping, and Aloy is an exciting and well-written main character. Her plight to learn more about her strange upbringing; her exile from her tribe as a baby; the mystery of her mother; and many other tantalising plot points raised within the first few hours act as a wonderful dressing to the impeccable gameplay. Players climb mountains, explore ancient cave systems, liberate territories from bandits, climb enormous robot dinosaurs’ necks, and of course, track, study and hunt down the metal creatures that the game is most known for. 

Though the PS4 version of the game can be picked up from second-hand shops and game key sites for sub £5, the PC port hit Steam with a hefty pre-order price of £40, which likely might not seem appetising to those who have already played the original. What that PC price tag gets you, however, is a multitude of exciting new features. Though it will require your gaming rig to be pretty beefy, Horizon Zero Dawn on PC boasts stunning new graphical improvements, new features like dynamic foliage and improved reflections and, most importantly, unlocked frame rates. There is a significantly noticeable improvement to playing the game at a smooth 60fps over the 30 it was hankered down with on PS4, and the stunningly realistic animations are all the more lifelike in 60 frames. 

The game ran consistently at 60 on high settings on my fairly mid range PC, only really dropping occasionally in areas like the big city or standing directly under the tallnecks in the sunlit ruins.  It even performed well on the highest graphical settings, though I did need to cap it at 30 frames to combat stuttering. Keyboard and mouse controls make the game infinitely better to play, especially for hitting those precise, long-range arrow shots at the weak points of the enemies, and the game’s benchmarking tool is a handy feature if you want to be made to feel like the investment in your gaming PC was worth it. 

The transition to PC wasn’t without its kinks, however. Many players reported game-breaking glitches, immense graphical issues and most importantly, crashes that prevented them from even opening the game to begin with. While I personally didn’t run into any of these issues at all over the first week of release, the Steam reviews tell a tale of hundreds of disappointed fans who are not even able to play the game they had paid a hefty fee for.

Though tarred with teething issues upon its release, Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition remains a fantastic game. A PS4 must-play making its way to the PC is grand, retaining all of the original game’s fantastic content, with the Frozen Wilds DLC bundled in. PC lets you experience the game in GPU-melting quality, and it must be said that Horizon Zero Dawn is definitely worth the pick up for those who have yet to experience it. Though there are still reports of the crashes being somewhat prevalent, Guerrilla are still releasing patches and updates to rectify them, and it seems that more and more are finally able to experience the game in all its mechadinosaur-slaying glory.

Horizon Zero Dawn‘s PC port is out now. You can watch Callum’s recent stream HERE, or the launch trailer below.

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