Review: Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for PC

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When it comes to Guerrilla Games’ PlayStation 4 hit Horizon: Zero Dawn, there is widespread community consensus that the Amsterdam developer presented a masterpiece in 2017. Aloys adventure practically became a benchmark for future first party open-world adventure games and basically almost everyone agreed that only the fixed frame rate of 30fps was “unfortunate”. This absolute jewel of a game was the reason to get a PlayStation 4, because one masterpiece like this… you will not find it on the Xbox or the PC, according to the proud Sony supporters.

But times change. Sony seems to let the reins celebrate and also gives owners of other platforms some of their nectar and ambrosia. The arrival of Horizon: Zero Dawn to PC is the most recent example of this and to make the party fun ‘complete’, the self-proclaimed Master Race is presented with the Complete Edition of the game. Now I hardly dare to say it, but with the arrival of this port it is a wonderful time to live as a PC gamer.

Horizon Zero Limits

Because yes, it may be a very clear case of ‘kicking in open doors’, but Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PC is by far the superior version. This is not to say that the PlayStation 4 version pales with this port – because it is and remains a port – but the technical improvements that Guerrilla Games has made for this version are undeniable. The most important of these is without a doubt the unlocked frame rate. The biggest flaw with the PlayStation community – which even had to do on the PlayStation 4 Pro at 30fps – has been addressed for the owners of a decent gaming PC.

Of course it is true that the graphics performance is ultimately held back by the gentleness of that unit under or on your desk and the settings that match it, but there too Guerrilla Games tries to do the dirty work for you by the first startup your hardware to scan and optimize the game for you, something real terrible takes a long time if you ask me. I’m not talking about a minute here, but a multiple of that, something I even had to go through twice because I still had to install the latest version of GeForce Game-Ready driver.

Horizon: Zero Erectile Disfunctions

Anyway, when you have gone through this painful process, you will get something in return. Now Horizon: Zero Dawn on PlayStation 4 was no ugly, but oh dear… what is Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC boner material, even on my ‘modest’ cupboard of almost 5 years old, where honestly or an RTX 2060 Super is. With my current hardware, Guerrilla advises me not to play on Ultra and to keep High in order to maintain the favorable frame rate, but even on High Horizon: Zero Dawn is fine to peek at.

Fortunately, almost every setting can benefit from quite a few visual treats such as improved reflections in water and dynamic flora, plenty of which can be found in the epic hour-long epic. For the PC purist who would like to know how the existing hardware behaves under the stressload that Horizon: Zero Dawn can provide, the game also contains the necessary resources to benchmark. This is especially useful for anyone who still wants to tweak the recommended settings, without entering an unnecessarily unstable game.

Horizon: Almost Zero Problems

Speaking of stability, Horizon: Zero Dawn generally runs tight on the PC, although I do have to admit that from time to time the game struggles to get a higher uncapped keep frame rate stable, even if you play on the recommended settings. Now that can of course have several factors on the PC and that does not necessarily have to be due to the game itself, but knowing that the game on the PlayStation 4 also had to do with a dip, it is not something I carpet slide. Unfortunately, I have also experienced a hard crash more than once, although I must also make the comment that I rushed through Horizon Zero Dawn – a game that after all has an average of 35 hours of story time – over a weekend. Chances are my PC just didn’t like it so much anymore.

But besides this slightly critical note, I have to say that Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC is another pleasure to play. As a controller barbarian, playing with an Xbox controller was almost blasphemy, but if you didn’t know any better, you’d say you’re not even dealing with a former PlayStation Exclusive. All it gave away was a mention to the touchpad in the hints – which has likely been overlooked when porting – but otherwise this Sony game plays like a charm on a Microsoft machine. And yes, I know that the whole ‘PlayStation Exclusive on PC’ is a hot topic for the hardcore PS4 fans who simply don’t give their cuties to owners of another platform, but Horizon: Zero Dawn is just too good to not to be shared with another.

Horizon Zero Background knowledge

If you now only ask the question “What the flying copulation is that Horizon: Zero Dawn you are talking about?” I would like to welcome you in the present world that you have apparently not been in for a while. And that is possible, I don’t judge. Perhaps you have been asleep for a very long time and you have recently restarted, like a Machine on a wild earth globe where society has had a hard reset. In that case I would like to refer you to the original review of Horizon: Zero Dawn and that of Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, which cumulatively form the discussed Complete Edition.

Both reviews may not have been handled by the undersigned – because I sometimes do something other than pump out reviews – but I can guarantee by hand on the beating heart that the opinion of our own Daniel is quite in line with mine. Long story short: dyke of a game with perhaps a bit too much dialogue here and there. Anyway, please read it yourself. You make us as hardworking GN’ers as happy as Guerrilla Games your PC gamers.

Conclusion

The hardcore PlayStation Guard may not thank me for saying it, but Horizon: Zero Dawn: Complete Edition on PC is a nice step forward if you ask me. The slightly criticized 30fps frame cap is out the window, and the graphic tweaks applied lift this already majestic game to a height that even a Tallneck can’t reach. Unfortunately, this PC port is not completely flawless and a frame drop here and there also appears in the PC version, but that does not detract from the fact that the PC whisk with the addition of Horizon Zero Dawn to the range by the All-Mother may feel blessed.

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