Back in February 2017, Sony released one of its most popular titles for the PlayStation 4 console, Horizon Zero Dawn.
The game was praised for its all-round performance, from its rich story and lore, the open-world environment, graphic visuals and more, winning several awards (over 15 and nominated for more than 50).
Horizon Zero Dawn is featured in the top 10 list of best-selling titles on the platform, remaining in 7th position for over two years and having surpassed the 10 million copies sold in early 2019.
The game was developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PS4. For the PC version, however, the developers teamed up with Singaporean developers Virtuos to create the best experience for the platform.
For a detailed review on the game and its story, you can read the full Horizon Zero Dawn review here.
Beyond the Boundaries of Console
If you’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn previously on PS4, it’s worth pointing out that the team has added quite a number of enhancements to the game to enrich your previous experience.
While the PS4 version was tweaked to provide the best performance capable on the console at the time, the PC version has updated quite a number of graphical elements, from the lighting systems, the water reflections, right down to the grass and how it reacts to interaction by the characters across the environment. It’s quite breath-taking to observe, yet feels so effortless to immerse oneself in the environment.
In addition to this, PC gamers can fine-tune their settings based on the graphics card capabilities, as well as adjust for ultra-widescreen monitors and 4K gameplay.
When you first load up Horizon Zero Dawn, that’s after you’ve gone through the near-80GB download, the game requires you to run a benchmarking exercise, which, depending on your setup, can take anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes.
Having tested this out on two different setups, with only the GPU differing, the first took just under 20 minutes to complete, while the second a much more comfortable sub-10-minute benchmark.
Once completed, Horizon Zero Dawn provides the recommended resolution, graphics quality, field of view and the likes. This allows you to jump straight into the action without too much of a care. For those who prefer a little bit of tinkering, you can adjust all these settings to your PC’s full potential.
Running on the default settings for both setups, I was able to reach a steady 60fps for the most part during the gameplay. Switching things up a bit in the graphics department reduced the frame rates a tad (still averaging just under 60fps), but with the added visual satisfaction of an even better landscape to play through.
Pushing the graphics settings to the max really dropped the frame rate, which was no averaging just over 30fps on my setup. As long as you’re above the industry standard of 30fps, it will be more than ideal, unless you’re running a higher frequency monitor above the 100Hz mark. I can imagine that more powerful systems will be able to manage the fps quite a lot better overall, given the optimisation of the game.
The Keyboard and Mouse Effect
One of the main reasons I stick to PC gaming is the ease of using my keyboard and mouse configuration, especially when it comes to the more advanced games in the FPS genre. That said, I still keep a few Xbox One controllers and a steering wheel handy when switching between the various genres.
One of the key aspects of releasing Horizon Zero Dawn on PC was being able to customise your experience even further when it came to the controls. I started off playing using the keyboard and mouse configuration, learning how to creep, run, aim and fire your bow and arrow, as well as managing to traverse the vast terrains.
After a few hours of gameplay, I decided to switch things up, back to the console controller. From the first minute of switching, it was clear to me that the game, originally created for the console, was far more enjoyable and easier to manage using the controller. While the mouse allowed for more accurate and quicker aiming, it isn’t necessarily a huge advantage in Horizon Zero Dawn, especially since the game has no multiplayer offering.
Having a lot more of the controls and interactions available at your fingertips on the controller, it feels a lot clumsier to manage it all using the keyboard. For those with a gaming mouse, you could customise some shortcuts on the mouse itself to assist with this, but still doesn’t feel as elegant using the controller.
Horizon Zero Dawn is available as the Complete Edition, which also includes a number of in-game feature packs, but most importantly, The Frozen Wilds expansion.
The inclusion of the expansion also means that new players will have access to the Traveller skill tree right from the start, which wasn’t available without the expansion before.
Wrapping It Up
At the end of the day, whether you’re a returning fan having played the PS4 version, or whether you’re a complete newbie, there’s a lot to love about Horizon Zero Dawn.
New players will find the rich story, game dynamics and high-intensity action extremely captivating. Returning players will have quite a bit more to explore with a significant bump in the visual department.
Although only released three years ago, Horizon Zero Dawn on PC is basically a remastered version of the popular game.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Whether you're new to Horizon Zero Dawn or returning for a new experience from the PS4 game, there's a lot to love about the PC version.
- Breathtaking visuals
- Complete Edition copy
- Great story
- Excellent gameplay mechanics
- Keyboard and mouse feels clumsy
Sound and Music