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Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Review

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition

Developer: Guerilla Games, Nixxes Software
Publisher: Playstation PC
Platforms: PlayStation 5PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: 21 Mar 2024
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here


What makes the game stand out? Is it the gameplay, the graphics, or a bit of both? One of my factors is immersion; the feeling of getting lost in the game, playing it every single moment, and getting lost in the world-building, the lore, and the engaging gameplay. Games with such a level of engagement are sporadic and they’re based on your subjective tastes. My picks when it comes to these criteria would be Deus Ex: Human Revolution, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – just to name a few.

And I wrote before about Sony’s expansion to the PC market in the last few years and that was something that was nothing but beneficial for PC players. Previously console-locked exclusives are now free for all to enjoy with added benefit of PC engine tweaking and modding. Now, looking at Sony’s extensive catalog of former console exclusives, there were a few hits and misses once they arrived on PC but for the most part, they were good. Some were great and a few were incredibly engaging. One of those games was Horizon Zero Dawn. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has regressed technologically to post cavemen era and I a constant clash with animalistic robots. I liked the story there, the worldbuilding, the lore and it is one of the few games where I made an extra effort to complete and discover almost everything that the game had to offer. So it goes without saying that I’m extremely excited about its sequel Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition and about more of everything that comes with every sequel.


The story of Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition continues basically where the story of Horizon Zero Dawn ended. In case you haven’t played the previous game, there is a convenient recap in the Extras menu of the sequel but the gist of it is that the vicious storms and the floral blight are ravaging the landscape, and life on Earth is pretty much heading to another extinction. It is up to Aloy to uncover the secrets behind these threats and restore order and balance to the world. Along the way, she must reunite with old friends, forge alliances with warring new factions, and unravel the legacy of the ancient past. The area of the Forbidden West was merely hinted at in one of the last side quests in Horizon Zero Dawn but we’re here to finally make the trip to the dreaded West. New enemies, new weapons, some new and old characters and to wrap it all up, this PC release comes with a strong expansion called Burning Shores that expands upon the ending of the base game. All in all, if you dedicate yourself and go for almost everything available in the game, you’ll likely extract more than 50-60 hours of the game (expansion included) which is not bad by any count.


To be fair, not much has changed regarding the gameplay in this sequel. On the one hand, I can understand that. Why change something that works flawlessly for the most part? This is a careful sequel, where there are no revolutionary changes, but there are quality improvements to the gameplay. Perhaps the most significant improvement – side quests became more interesting story-wise and more diverse in terms of gameplay. Also, we get some new gimmicks such as new types of bow ammo, a glider, grapple, flying mounts, new skills, and so on. The combat mechanics are pretty much the same and that’s one part of the game that I feel is the missed opportunity for some fine tuning. Aloy is still agile and responsive but still easily stun-locked and can be rag-dolled from one place to the next by overly aggressive enemies, especially on higher difficulties. Now each selection of armor has its stats. No more are they just aesthetic, but now they provide protection and add their extra skill (each outfit has different stats) which can be improved by upgrading at a workbench and you can now change the color of your outfit at a dye merchant which is a great bonus. And to be completely honest, upgrading armor and weapons isn’t mandatory but it is essential, especially if you want to tackle some more serious side quests and apex machines (stronger versions of the regular ones) in the world of Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition.

A lot of the combat mechanics revolves around patiently evading and rolling out of the way of machines before waiting for an opening and placing a well-aimed bow shot to some critical part of the machine. While the side content isn’t mandatory, it is recommended to get through some of the optional quests because a good number of them will reward you with a legendary weapon or armor. There is certainly a lot to do and even more to discover but the game does a marvelous job of drip-feeding you all the available content so you never feel overburdened with too many things to do.


First off, the game comes with a plethora of customization options in the settings, for graphics, HUD, controls, quality of life settings like an auto-loot option, difficulty tweaking, etc. I am seriously amazed by the degree of customization available for the HUD. If there is ever an award for the most beautiful and most optimized game for PC at the same time, it should go to Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. Once again, Nixxes guys showed us why are they the masters of their craft. The sequel is visually breathtaking and far better than the first game in terms of visual details. The characters feel lifelike and without the syndrome of “dead behind the eyes” which was somewhat noticeable in the first game.

From my experience, both CPU and GPU did not exceed 63 °C even on maxed-out settings in an air-cooled PC. There were some strange frame dips every once in a while, but they all happened during engine cutscenes while the open-world exploration managed to be as smooth as butter in terms of framerate. In any case, the visuals in Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition are so refined and polished that shipping this game without a photo mode (which is more expansive this time) but be seen as nothing but a crime against humanity.


The visual and motion capturing in this game shrewdly evaded the syndrome of uncanny valley and the voice action and audio in general are nothing short of superb. I’m sad that this game turned out to be one of the last performances for the late Lance Reddick because he did a stellar job as Sylens. The soundtrack is not so much thrown in the spotlight as in the previous game but you are never alone while fighting the open-world machines with the dynamic soundtrack that significantly amps up as you’re going against harder enemies. Sometimes the soundtrack will cunningly kick in with some serene notes as you’re admiring the gorgeous vistas all over the game. Another time you will be constantly on the edge while hunting dangerous machines for crafting parts because the biomes feel so alive with random critter sounds, wind strongly blowing, and muffled growling of the machines as you observe them while hidden in that red grass.


So in conclusion, let’s not beat around the bush. What I have in front of me right now is one of the most optimized and best-looking games of 2024. Aside from the occasional frame dips mentioned above, I haven’t encountered a single bug or a crash in my almost 50 hours of playtime which is pretty impressive for such a complex and expansive sequel. I’ll go even far to say that if you’re thinking of getting even one AAA game for this year it should be Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. At least until Nixxes blows us out of the water with (what I assume it will be) another impressive port of Ghost of Tsushima sometime in May.

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A stellar sequel to an already amazing game that expands on the story and the gameplay, with one of the most finely-tuned PC ports in the last decade. A genuine treat when it comes to replay value and visuals.
Admir Brkic
Admir Brkic
I play video games from time to time and sometimes they manage to elicit a reaction from me that I can't help but to write about them.
A stellar sequel to an already amazing game that expands on the story and the gameplay, with one of the most finely-tuned PC ports in the last decade. A genuine treat when it comes to replay value and visuals.Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Review