Review: Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition For PC


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is the PC port of the PlayStation sequel to the famous Horizon Zero Dawn. Is it as good as the first game? Let’s find out.


In around September 2023, Sony announced that Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition was finally coming to PCs in 2024. Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel to the famous Horizon Zero Dawn, which was originally released on PS4 in 2017 and came to PC three years later. The Horizon series is an Action-RPG with Adventure and Puzzle elements.

As soon as the sequel was announced, we decided to review the first game on PC. Those who want to read it can do so here: Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition PC Review. To be honest, we were massively impressed by the story of the first game, HZD.

Horizon Forbidden West was originally developed by Dutch developers Guerrilla Games, who also made the first game Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s produced by Sony. It was originally released on both the PS4 and PS5. But the DLC is only available for PS5. The PC port is done by Nixxes Software, who are considered to be among the best around when it comes to PC ports.

Some disclaimers, though. We have done our best to avoid spoilers in the story section, but expect some early-game spoilers in the story and some massive spoilers in the gameplay section. Another important thing to mention is that if one hasn’t played the first game, Horizon Zero Dawn, then we suggest one do so. It’s extremely important to play the first game first to understand the story and gameplay mechanics involved.

Those who want to watch its PC release trailer can do so here (same link as embed video above).

Does its sequel, HFW, stand up to the standards of HZD? Let’s find out.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Base Game Story
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The story of Horizon Forbidden West is set six months after Aloy, our female protagonist, saved the earth from another destruction – a permanent one this time. In the early part of the game, she is set out to find three different things:

  • Where did Sylens capture and take the main antagonist of the first game and what did he do to it.
  • Why are all the animal lives being destroyed by the red-colored grass blight.
  • Where is GAIA, the originally intended all-powerful artificial intelligence that was made to save the earth.

To find the answer to these questions, Aloy sets out to the Forbidden West. A wild area full of powerful human and machine enemies, both new and unknown.

Not only does she manage to find all these things and the solution for them, but in Horizon Forbidden West, she also manages to prevent the earth from being destroyed again. This time, by new enemies, who were the original ones responsible for trying to destroy it the first time.

The story of the Horizon Forbidden West can be divided into three different parts. The early game part, the middle part and the later part. This divide is done across 17 different main quests.

The DLC happens after the base game and it takes the story further by adding more details to it with new machines and enemies.

With regard to humans and NPCs, you mainly deal with different clans of the same tribe in the game. But there’s another tribe you deal with in the latter and DLC parts of the game.

Just like in HZD, a lot of the story is unlocked by reading texts or hearing audio messages scanned with your Focus, which contain important background information related to the quests.

The Good

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Good Story
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The story of the Horizon Forbidden West has many happy moments and many sad ones too. It has many twists and turns and many surprises too. Both the initial parts and middle parts of the story are excellent. They are marvelously written and worth praise.

The game really peaks in the middle, when it asks players to choose between three different main quests and locations. All these three quests are worth enjoying and add a lot to the game.

Ultimately, the game concludes on a cliffhanger – just like the first game. But this time, it shows that the third game, Horizon 3, is going to be even more interesting. However, despite a cliffhanger, the game does reach a conclusion.

This makes us believe that the Guerrilla Games intended to make the Horizon series a trilogy from the start. This game is a middle one, from the looks of it. The one that completes the first one further but opens up to the third game in a way that feels very mysterious about the possibilities.

The Evil

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Bad Story
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

However, it’s the later parts of the game that does disappoint a little story-wise.

For example, there’s one main quest in the later part of the game whose whole gameplay is to just sit on a table with one of the main NPCs and hear that person reveal a lot of things. While the revelations are important, they could have easily merged that quest with another main quest rather than having an entire main individual quest dedicated to it.

Another thing that the game does is that it’s very preachy. The basic trope of the game is that all rich men and women are evil. This is unless your surname is Chen, then you have only good intentions despite being part of the same rich and evil group.

The problem with this trope isn’t the subject itself. We all know how evil rich people are. The problem is that there’s hardly any effort put into it. They are rich, hence they are evil. The first game had a perfect villain – Ted Faro. He was rich, evil and selfish, with some explanations. This sequel game just doubles down that many times without enough substance.

But the even bigger issue is that this trope is rather repetitive, we wanted something different. Something fresh. Like the first game. We wanted a better story.

DLC & Side Quests

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition DLC Rocket
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

As far as the story for DLC and the side quests are concerned, it makes one feel that it has some outside consultants written it. The DLC and side quests feel like they’re written by some people outside the studios who had a huge say, rather than actual game writers.

Whether it’s justified or not, we will let others decide. But we feel games should be written best by people who are experts in them.

The story in the DLC isn’t bad per se. In fact, in some parts, it’s quite good. Some of its main quests have a lot of depth. But here too, we felt that it could have been better.

Aloy’s Character

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Aloy's Character
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Aloy’s character in Horizon Zero Dawn was slightly confused and lacked enough confidence and true belief. Which is what made the character humane. Yet she was a fighter unparalleled. In fact, we had said in our Horizon Zero Dawn review that Aloy might well become one of the greatest female protagonists of all time.

In Horizon Forbidden West, Aloy’s characteristics are slightly different from the first game, though. While she remains an undefeatable fighter, after saving the world in the first game, Aloy in HFW is all confident, assertive, wise and full of optimism.

But the first game had put significant effort into the development of Aloy’s character. Here, a lot of those efforts have been moved to the development of other important side characters. Which is understood but not fully justified.

Another issue is that those who have not played Horizon Zero Dawn will not understand Aloy’s character in Horizon Forbidden West. There’s hardly any character introduction, her inner conflicts and assumes that the player cares or knows everything about her.

Side Characters

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition All Main Side Characters
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West has a huge amount of side characters. Some of them form a group of main characters that join Aloy in her journey. With new and returning ones being added to the story virtually every other main quest.

While these side characters are indeed interesting. After their main quests are done, they are mostly confined to an important location where they act as school kids, with our protagonist being the only teacher checking out whether they have done their homework. This might feel interesting at first, but it feels boring later.

Still, their introduction is much appreciated and important for the third game. Not to forget, each one of them fulfills their important roles in the main quests of the story.

High Expectations

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition High Expectations
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Despite its issues, the story of Horizon Forbidden West is very good. Just that it doesn’t stand up to the standards that Horizon Zero Dawn has set.

We had stated in our review for the first game that Horizon Zero Dawn had a story so great that if that game was a movie, it could have gotten all the top awards in the world. Its sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, doesn’t stand up to the extremely high standards set by the first game. The DLC only extends that further.

Another thing is that Horizon Zero Dawn has a very emotional story. While Horizon Forbidden West does have its emotional moments, those don’t reach the groundbreaking levels of the first game.

While sometimes the story in the main quests is so great that it’s unbelievable. But sometimes they just aren’t good enough.

The story in the side quests wasn’t that great, to be honest. They were all set in different locations, but repetitive in nature when we think of them story-wise. But we don’t expect great stories in the side quests either way.

Overall, we enjoyed the story of the base game and the DLC. Just that it could have been even better. We had high expectations and it doesn’t deliver on those expectations – far from it and that’s why it doesn’t get full marks.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Gameplay
Credit: Guerrilla, Nixxes & Sony PlayStation.

The primary gameplay of the Horizon series is the same across both games. You see a machine that looks like a medium-sized or big sized animal, you shoot it to complete quests or obtain parts from it. This is the main selling point of the series and it shines in it.

The first game does it excellently and the second game continues that.

But beware, lots of gameplay spoilers ahead.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Combact
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The combat in HFW is, in some ways, better than the first game and in some ways, worse.

The machines in the game are faster, meaner, more aggressive and harder. Making the HFW slightly tougher than the HZD. Even human enemies are tougher to deal with this time around.

The main intention of the combat is the same, hit weak parts of machines or humans with different types of bow and arrows. These weak parts can also be hit with special elemental arrows, which weaken individual machines weak to them.

Just like in the first game, if one is near the machines, they can use Aloy’s spear, which sees some upgrades in skill and use. The combat in the game is fun and enjoyable.

But it also has its own issues. Hitting enemies is very much hit-and-miss. It seems that the developers have purposely made it harder to hit machines perfectly. It is almost as if they are relying on some sort of random generator to decide whether to hit that spot on the machine precisely or not.

Compared to HZD, in which the arrows used to hit at their precise location. In HFW, arrows don’t go that straight to hit the targeted spot on the machines. This is very frustrating and feels as if the game has been made artificially harder.

Weapons & Ammo
Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Weapons & Ammo
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West adds a huge amount of weapons and variety. While the base weapons remain the same, it also adds more powerful advanced arrows of the same type, which do even more damage.

However, they are unlocked in the middle or later parts of the game and require significantly more resources to craft and use.

The main weapons are Hunter Bows, which are medium-range bows and arrows and Sharpshooter Bows with different arrow types. Some arrows work against specific machines and some work against others. Some long-range arrows also work excellently against humans, especially the ones that go through their armors.

The other weapons are elemental weapons of a similar type. These elemental weapons allow shooting arrows with either acid, fire, freeze, shock, purge water, adhesive and many different types. These weapons and arrows are used as and when required, depending on the weaknesses of individual machines.

Other Weapon Types
Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Weapon Wheel
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

However, the Horizon Forbidden West is not just about bow and arrow alone now. There are shredders, which are flying disks that, when shot, do damage to the machines and come back to the players (which requires some effort to catch them). When successfully caught and thrown again, they consecutively do more damage than before. Allowing them to be really powerful.

Then there are also spike throwers, which allow one to throw spikes at enemies and depending on the elemental nature of the weapon, even explode after hitting them. However, playing with both spike throwers and shredders isn’t easy and is not always recommended as a play style.

There’s one more secret unlockable weapon included in the DLC, which is very fun to use. It’s like shooting bullets. But it gets unlocked in the later part of the DLC and sets the course for the third game.

Returning Weapon Types

There are more weapons that make a return from the first game, like blasting, which allows throwing bombs of different element types. Then there’s also the bolt blaster, which is similar to the rattlers found in the first game.

Then there’s also rope casters to tie down enemies with the ability to attach elemental arrows. But the base rope casters seem to have been specifically been made less powerful in the game.

Short Range & Close Combat
Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Warrior Bow
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

One of our biggest complaints with the Horizon Zero Dawn was that the short and near-range close combat of the game was really bad. The developers seemed to have listened it in the Horizon Forbidden West and tried to improve it a bit.

The game introduces Warrior Bows, which are nothing but miniaturized versions of the mid-range Hunter Bows. These warrior bows are quick-shooting bows that shoot arrows at a very quick rate and are meant for shorter distances. However, they do significantly less damage than the mid-range Hunter Bows.

Another thing the game introduces is an improvement in the melee fights. Aloy can be made to learn different techniques from her skill tree (more on that later), which allows her to use her spear more efficiently. This includes the ability to do chain hits, among many other things. 

However, despite the ability to upgrade it, the spear still lacks sufficient power and lacks any proper aiming or enough direction and both humans and machines seem to do very well at avoiding it if it is repeated too much. Overall, melee still isn’t as fun to play.

Another problem with close combat is the wait time after getting hit. If Aloy gets hit hard by machine and she falls on the ground, she takes a huge amount of time to get back up on her feet. By that time machine hits her again. This is a major annoyance in the game

Outfits & Armor

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Outfits & Armor
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden Wests continues the outfit types from the first game. All outfits have their own benefits. Some are useful against short combat, some against long ones, some against acid types, some against purge water types and so on.

However, unlike the first game, outfits in the HFW game also come with minus traits. Some outfits now have weaknesses and need to be changed on the fly if required, depending on the machine or humans they are fighting against.

The great thing about Horizon Forbidden West is the ability to use any outfit but change the appearance to look as if Aloy is wearing a different outfit. For example, Aloy is wearing outfit 1 with all the benefits of it, however, if the player wants, her appearance can be changed to make her look as if she’s wearing outfit number 2, with all the benefits of the outfit number 1.

This move alone makes it different and more attractive than not only Horizon Zero Dawn but also many other games. The only problem is that we didn’t notice this feature untill like 1/4 part of the game.

Weapon & Outfit Purchases

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Weapons & Outfit Purchases
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Most weapons and outfits in the game can only be purchased from sellers selling them in settlements, or by unlocking some of them via quests.

Just like in the first game, weapons and outfits differ in quality and improve as the player progresses in the game. The best weapons in the game are of legendary types and are harder to get than others.

However, buying weapons and outfits requires a lot of resources, so grinding by hunting lots of machines is required.

Another problem is that, unlike in the first game, finding one perfect weapon with all the elemental arrows is almost impossible in HFW. So picking and choosing is required. So is purchasing multiple numbers of similar quality bows with different elemental arrow types. This is very frustrating.

Another interesting things that is added to HFW is that you can find cooks and painters in the various major settlements. While cooks allow one to buy meals, which, when bought, help in gameplay. The painters of two different types allow buying face paint or coloring the outfits, respectively.

Then there are also herbalists, which contain lots of animal parts if one wants them for upgrading, reducing the requirement to hunt them in specific areas of the map. This is especially good if one doesn’t want to hunt innocent animals themselves in the game.

All these are nice additions to the game and worth praising from us.

Crafting, Scavenging & Upgrading

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Scavenging
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The crafting of the ammo requires in-game currency called shards and other machine parts, all of which can be obtained by hunting machines. Crafting of ammo happens on the fly during gameplay or at workbenches found in the game.

The problem, however, is upgrading. Both weapons and carrying capacity can be upgraded in the game, leading to better stats for them. However, there are two problems with upgrading weapons and outfits.

First, they can only be upgraded on workbenches found in various settlements.

Second, upgrading weapons in the base game requires lots and lots of grinding. It requires hunting specific machines for parts, which is not only hard but also frustrating in the base game.

The weapon ammo carrying is even harder to upgrade as it requires hunting many small-sized (non-machine) animals, birds and fish found in only specific parts of the map.

The DLC makes it way better, as the grind in the DLC is quite less than in the base game, which requires hunting mostly large machines in the hope of finding the part you want.

Also, just like in the first game, coils can be attached to weapons and outfits to individual weapons. The less powerful weapons and outfits have fewer coils and the more powerful ones have more. They need to be unlocked by upgrading these weapons and outfits with parts and resources, though.

These attachments form a very important part of the upgrading and gameplay experience and don’t require any workbench or settlement to add, remove, or change. Another great thing is that, unlike the first game, you can add or remove coils whenever you want, as long as their slot is unlocked through upgrades or available. The coils are full of varieties too.

Inventory, Resources & Capacity

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Resources
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

One of our biggest complaints about Horizon Zero Dawn was that it allowed players to carry a very limited amount of resources. If one wanted to carry more, they had to either throw other things away or sell them at settlements.

Horizon Forbidden West massively resolves that problem. If you carry more resources than you are allowed, all those resources go to your stash that you can find in any settlement you can find anywhere on the map. All your resources can be found there, easily stored or equipped as required. This alone sets Horizon Forbidden West apart from most RPGs out there, which punish players for carrying too much.

These resources are required to upgrade weapons and outfits at the workbench and hence, prove very useful.

There is no need to worry. Search and carry everything you want. Everything you need will go to stash to be used later.

The only problem we faced was Volatile Sludge. It’s an important item required for crafting advanced arrows in the later part of the game. But you can carry a very limited amount of them with you. Which is a dealbreaker and prevents one from using those advanced weapons often. It looks like someone even created a mod to fix it (not tested ourselves).

Not to forget, the Aloy can somehow carry hundreds of rocks without slowing down. Which is unique and humorous when one thinks about it.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Machines
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

As mentioned before, hunting machines makes up the main gameplay of the Horizon series.

Many machines which were part of the first game make a return in Horizon Forbidden West. However, it introduces many new machines too. These new machines are larger, more powerful, and some even quicker. Hunting them is quite fun.

The Focus makes a return in the game, which allows one to scan machines and their abilities and weaknesses easily.

There are also different variants of same machines. These variants make these machines harder to fight with more armor or abilities and different elemental weaknesses. Some small machines have up to 11 different variants.

The problem, however, is that hitting these machines with arrows takes some effort, especially on their weak parts. Even if one presses the concentration button, which slows down time, these machines are still very fast. Making it almost impossible to hit them where you want. This is especially the case when it comes to hitting the tail of some large machines, which move around really fast.

Also, it seems that the developers have made the projectile drop effect more prominent in HFW when compared to the first game. Arrows shot from bows don’t go that straight at all and drop more prominently as they go ahead due to gravity. So more aiming is required. More realistic, yes. More fun, no.

It seems the developers made hitting specific machine areas intentionally harder. Increasing the grind even further. What’s worse is that some machine parts are required for upgrades and it’s really hard to tear these parts apart before destroying the machine itself. This is especially annoying because some parts (unless playing in easy mode) can only be obtained by shooting them before destroying the machines.

Boss Fight

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition DLC Boss Fight
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

We are dedicating a special section for a boss fight because it’s required. The boss fight in the climax of the HZD was rather mid. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

The boss fight in the base game of HFW is also rather mid. We would say it was, in fact, slightly disappointing. We aren’t giving any spoilers here, but it was not worth it after spending so much time in the game. It was hardly challenging. It was adventurous for sure, but nothing great.

But the boss fight in the DLC was next level. It was so great that the developers should be massively praised for it. It wasn’t just challenging, it was of epic proportions. The boss fight of the DLC could be considered to be one of the greatest boss fights there have been in PC gaming.

There are some suggestions that the main reason the DLC wasn’t released for the PS4 and is available only for the PS5 was the boss fight in the DLC alone, which requires a significant amount of CPU & GPU horsepower. Something not found in the previous-gen consoles. Thankfully, it did release on PC, though.

We would say the boss fight alone makes the DLC well worth it.

Cauldrons & Overriding Machines

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Cauldrons
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Speaking of overriding, machines can be overridden in HFW the same way that they were unlocked and overridden in the first game, HZD. By completing Cauldrons, which are huge underground machine manufacturing facilities, one can unlock overrides for various machines found in the game.

Cauldrons in HFW seem slightly smaller in their overall size, but they are rich and more detailed and contain more puzzle elements than the ones found in HZD. They are harder to solve and require some effort. This makes Cauldrons in the game more fun to play.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Overriding Machines
Click on the image to zoom – to laugh a bit. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Unlocking machine overrides allows one to override machines by sneaking near them. A new addition to the overrides is that while overriding, you can either choose to make them aggressive or defensive against other machines. Though most machines have a limited amount of time that they can be overridden.

However, there are some machine types that one can mount and they can be overridden for an indefinite period. In HZD, one could mainly mount only two machines. In HFW, one can mount about half a dozen machines. All of them have their own characteristics and are found in different, specific parts of the map.

The only problem with overriding is that the game technically allows one to override really large machines too. But good luck trying to sneak near them undetected.

New Side Gameplay

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Meele Pit
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West isn’t about just main quests and side quests. The hunting grounds return from the first game, as do enemy Outposts and Camps, Ancient Ruins & Vista Points. There are also new additions like Gauntlet Runs, Survey Drones, Melee pits and others. The most important addition is the Arena.

The hunting grounds aren’t as fun as the first game, they require even more specific aims to complete. Vista Points, too, feels less fun and specific, though some may like it and their rewards are good. But clearing enemy outposts and camps is as fun as before.

Ancient Ruins are collectable quests where one is required to solve a series of puzzles to unlock special collectable items that are relatively essential to completing a side-quest. Ancient Ruins puzzles are long, very detailed & fun to solve. However, some of them have very annoying puzzles and have been made in such a way that they can only be solved one way. The way that developers intended in their dreams.

A new addition like Gauntlet Runs allows Aloy to race against NPC while sitting on machine mounts. These races are not easy, are filled with environmental obstacles, require players to shoot arrows while riding machines and are full of fun.

Survey Drones are drones that are found in various parts of the map and requires the player to find ways to jump on them and collect them. They are hard to get and exist only for minor aesthetic reasons when the player completes them individually.

Melee pits are found in major settlements and are made to fight with spear against humans in small areas. They are useful for learning various melee fighting techniques, including newly introduced ones.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Arena
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Our favorite addition however is the Arena. It’s an area which can be only unlocked after completing a main quest in the middle part of the game.

It sets in a Roman-built stadium-like area, and in it, one has to fight against various machines thrown in the arena. Furthermore, it also allows one to practice hunting some machines – some yet to be seen and also allows one to use some non-purchased weapons.

Completing it awards players medals, which in turn allows the player to purchase Legendary (the best) weapons and outfits in the game. Playing the Arena is highly recommended.

A lot of players have found Arena frustrating. Because one, it puts the players against all the extremely powerful machines in the game and two, they feel it’s too hard. That’s why many people online suggested others decrease the gameplay difficulty to the easiest mode available, which we did and had a lot of fun.

Skill Tree

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Skill Tree
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The Skill Tree in Horizon Forbidden West sees a massive change. It has 6 different sections serving six different play styles.

One play style promotes melee combat, another supports mid-range combat and a different one supports stealth gameplay with long-range shots. Then one section supports the upgrading of trap skills, where one can put traps before machines come. One section supports faster healing, while another supports machine riding and hunting while riding them more efficiently.

Overall, it’s more complex and full of variety. Though most suggest sticking to one skill section at the start of the game (which is something we did), anyone can upgrade skills in different sections as required. But easier skills need to be unlocked first and harder skills require more skill points.

There are many good skills one can unlock in the skill tree. Like the ability to use two-three arrows at once or the community favorite Braced Shot – which allows one to shoot a really powerful shot, taking down machines in a single hit. But this consumes a lot of weapon stamina, and one needs to wait before using it again.

Then there are also valor surge upgrades, which take skills even further because of their tremendous power. But they are consumables and take time to recharge, which happens while hunting.

But there are lots and lots of different techniques one can unlock – while one might require only half of them. Overall, the skill tree is very thoughtful but very complex too.

Getting skill points isn’t harder in the game, either. They can be earned easily by completing all quests, side quests and even hunting machines earns skill points.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Map
Map of the base game (top) and DLC (bottom). Credit: FANDOM.

The map of Horizon Forbidden West is far bigger and more detailed than Horizon Zero Dawn. The game is basically set up in three main areas. Green forests, dry or rocky desert and seashores. With the dessert taking up the most part of the gameplay and the map.

However, the biggest difference is that there are no unlockable maps that one can purchase from the traders this time around. In HFW, the map is filled with smog, which can only be cleared by going through that area or unlocking Tallnecks.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Tallneck
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Speaking of Tallnecks, they are more fun in HFW. Unlike the first game, where one needed only to find ways to jump on them, jumping on Tallnecks isn’t easy. One needs to complete a series of environmental challenges and fight some machines to be able to override a single Tallneck. These challenges and fights are more fun than just jumping on them.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Map Hidden Areas
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

However, even after overriding individual Tallnecks, the smog only becomes half-transparent. It still requires one to go through that area to clear that, which we found annoying.

Another problem is that the map is huge. Far bigger than the first game. Though there are more machine sites, more variety of large machines in limited numbers, it adds little to story or substance other than to increase the game and map size and to add more grind for weapon upgrades.

Saving & Fast Travel

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Manual Saving
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Saving the game in HFW of two types. Auto-save and manual save.

While auto-save seems to happen at every checkpoint, in a quest or after completion of the quest. Manual saving happens the same way as HZD. You go near a campfire, which is spread across the map and save your game there. There are about 100 manual save slots (yes, we checked) and they can be overwritten as required.

The problem is the fast travel. You can only travel to campfires. But in HZD, one could purchase an unlimited fast travel pack just once from the merchants and be done with it. In HFW, it works slightly differently.

Firstly, one can only buy limited quantities of fast travel packs through merchants. At one moment, one can have only 50 fast travel packs. While cheap, not unlimited. Secondly, these packs are only used when one travels from a normal location to campfires.

If one travels from one campfire to another campfire, the fast travel pack doesn’t get used and that way it’s basically unlimited. Problem? This way, the game virtually forces you to go to the nearest campfire every time you want to fast-travel, which becomes an important need as you unlock more parts of the vast map.

Fall Damage

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Gliding
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

One of the other many big complaints we had with Horizon Zero Dawn was that the fall damage was too high.

Horizon Forbidden West completely fixes that issue uniquely. It introduces a new tool called Shieldwing. The Shieldwing, which is unlocked after an early main quest, is a type of glider / parachute that allows one to jump from heights and land very safely – without any fall damage whatsoever.

Apart from being essential in completing some main quests, the Shieldwing can be used any time in the game during jumping and adds massively to the gameplay experience.

We want to personally thank the person who came up with the idea of the Shieldwing. We cannot be grateful enough for this tool, which makes the game so fun to play with.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Pullcaster
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Another important tool that the game introduces in the initial period is the Pullcaster. It’s a tool that can grab very specific marked areas on the wall and other things and is used to pull and open walls that otherwise aren’t assessable.

Another useful thing about the pullcaster is that it’s very important to climb certain areas. If walls have certain marked spots, the pullcaster allows Aloy to jump right on them when near them.

Pullcaster can also be used to pull down certain objects, including loot boxes, which contain important machine parts or other resources are found in hundreds if not thousands of numbers in the map.

However, using a pullcaster for pulling things is annoying on the keyboard and mouse, as it requires very specific button combinations to be pressed to open up the pullcaster. The combinations aren’t that hard, but it’s annoying when you repeat them again and again.

Still we really enjoyed the introduction of the pullcaster in the game.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Climbing
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

In our review of the Horizon Zero Dawn, we mentioned how climbing markers on walls and mountains were hardly visible, making climbing one of the most annoying and troublesome problems of the game.

Here, too, the developers heard the complaints and added an option in the Horizon Forbidden West to enable climbing annotations. Enabling this setting marks all the climbable spots in bright yellow colors in the whole game.

Honestly, climbing is one of the most recurring parts of the gameplay of the Horizon series and developers have fixed it massively in HFW by adding a yellow highlight to the climbable areas of the walls and mountains.

There are still some issues in the newly added jumping while climbing mechanism, but those issues are minor they can be fixed in Horizon 3.

Underwater Swimming

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Swimming Underwater
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

While one could swim in the first game, HZD, it was mostly on top of the waters. Horizon Forbidden West not only allows underwater swimming but also makes underwater swimming an important part of main quests and some side quests.

There are also some locations in the map that act like underwater caves and one needs to swim deep into them to be able to get all the loot in them. Problem? Just like many other mechanisms in the game, underwater swimming is mainly unlocked only after one completes a main quest which comes during the mid-game period.

While one can go deep into the waters early in the game, the amount of time one can spend inside is limited until one completes the abovementioned main quest. After that, it’s all unlimited underwater swimming. Which is fun.

But the problem we faced is that in both the base game and DLC, machines too can swim underwater and are found there. The big problem here is that Aloy can neither shoot at them underwater nor fight them in melee, which is a massive issue. While more realistic, it’s no fun trying to hide against machines and get away without hunting them underwater.

It’s not easy to avoid them, either. One has to hide under tall grass, avoid their tracks and if spotted, use smoke bombs that confuse them for a while, allowing you to run away. But smoke bombs are expensive to make and one can carry them in limited capacity. Thankfully, the machines underwater cannot see you from far.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Flying
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Coming to one of the biggest selling points of Horizon Forbidden West. The ability to override a specific machine and fly. We are including this spoiler because it’s well revealed in the trailers. It’s really fun and very enjoyable.

The problem however is that this feature in locked behind the main quest and gets unlocked only after completing the penultimate main quest of the base game. Meaning, while one could unlock the whole game quickly by flying, it has been specifically kept away from the players till the very later parts of the game.

While this is annoying, it does make sense. If flying had been introduced earlier, people would have never walked on mounted machines to reach places. It would have taken the whole immersive experience away. The only problem is that it was introduced way too later in the game. It could have been slightly earlier.

While the base game has just one mountable machine for flying, the DLC adds one more with its own features and is part of the main story quests of the DLC, just like the base game. Not to forget, flying is almost unlocked in the whole of the DLC (except the first quest), so there’s hardly any restriction there.

Overall, we really loved the flying mechanism. Only that, we wanted it a little earlier. After the game’s introduction, we preferred flying to fast travel in the game. It’s a different kind of fun altogether.

Metal Flowers & Firegleams

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Metal Flowers
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Both Metal Flowers & Firegleams are found in front of the locked areas, often near a wall. Until the early halfway stage, one cannot destroy firegleams as it requires one to complete a main quest. A lot of loot is hidden behind them and one can find them easily on the map after going near them once.

Metal Flowers form a slightly more important part of the game. While HZD allowed collecting Metal Flowers as trophies, in HFW, Metal Flowers act as a completely different thing of their own.

They prevent players from moving ahead in the area by putting vines between the ways and can be only unlocked after completing a main quest in the later parts of the game.

But they come with an important backstory and waiting for their unlock by completing its main quest is well worth it. Metal Flowers, too, are marked on the map once the players find them individually.

Variable Difficulty & Settings

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Difficulty Settings
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

By and large, Horizon Forbidden West allows for all kinds of difficulty in gameplay. This is thanks to the vast variety of difficulty settings in the game, which is a specialty of Sony games. One can play from extremely easy to extremely hard mode:

  • Story mode
  • Easy mode
  • Normal, Hard
  • Very Hard
  • Ultra Hard

These settings affect not just damage taken or given, but also the ability to easily loot machines for parts and allows longer concentration (zoom and slowing down time), which is helpful for hunting. Easier modes also allow auto-healing after fights.

There’s one more setting, called Custom difficulty. It allows players to set the difficulty of all the above things in a custom manner. Want harder machines but easy loot? You can customize it here. This is very thoughtful of the developers.

Talking about the difficulty in the game itself, we found only two areas really difficult. Some spoilers ahead.

One was in an early main quest when one is fighting an undefeatable enemy (at that moment), then one is swimming away, running from that area – at that time, unlimited swimming isn’t unlocked and one needs to come outside often. At that time, machines are constantly shooting at you when you come outside. We found that quest really difficult and wondered how casual players would feel about playing it. We had to dial down the difficulty of that quest to complete it.

The second is the Arena, which we discussed earlier. Most recommend turning the difficulty settings to the story mode to quickly defeat machines and earn medals from it.

Graphics & Art Style

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Graphics
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

When we reviewed Horizon Zero Dawn, we mentioned how it was one of the most beautiful looking games we have played.

Horizon Forbidden West takes those beautiful graphics a notch ahead. Horizon Forbidden West is undoubtedly one of the most graphically beautiful games ever created.

The trees, the sunlight, the night, the mornings, the forests, the mountains and hills, the rivers, the sandy desserts, the seashores – all have been made very beautifully.

When we first dove underwater at a seashore in the later part of the game, we couldn’t believe the beauty we saw. It was unbelievable and out of this world. The fishes, the underwater rocks, the water and stone colors, it was excellent.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Graphics Style
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

All these great graphics, without the game having any sort of Ray Tracing whatsoever. This shows that a game doesn’t necessarily need Ray Tracing to look good.

While there’s not much to say about the designs of machines, they too seemed to be designed well.

Even the human settlements are well-designed, with good attention given to the details. Though some settlements looked better than others. This is due to the fact that some of them take place in green areas and some take place in desserts.

The only thing we didn’t like were the rocky desserts. A huge amount of gameplay happens in these rocky desserts and we somehow felt they looked better in the first game.

Graphics In The DLC

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Graphics DLC
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The graphics in the DLC are even better than the base game. The DLC takes part in a different map full of seashores and small islands.

The graphical fidelity in the DLC is extremely high and quite noticeable. This leads to issues in performance, but more on that later.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Dinos
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

There’s one main quest that is set during nighttime. That main quest is so beautiful that it’s really unbelievable. Makes one appreciate that it’s made by some great artists.

Anyway, the DLC is so beautiful that, just like its boss fight, it’s worth playing for its graphics alone.

Nighttime Graphics

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Nighttime Graphics
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

One of the biggest complaints we had with Horizon Zero Dawn was that the gameplay at night was really bad. There was hardly any graphical visibility during the night in the game.

In Horizon Forbidden West, here too, the developers have heard the criticism and massively improved the nighttime graphics. The visibility is great, the machines are completely visible and overall, it’s a joy to play the game even at night.

Though not as fun as hunting during the day, which still has more visibility.

Also, some variants of machines (no spoilers) spawn only at night. Hunting them for parts is required to upgrade some legendary weapons.

Face Emotions

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Face Emotions
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Another problem we had with Horizon Zero Dawn was the facial emotions. Aloy, the protagonist, hardly showed any emotions in the base game of the first game. Though they fixed it in the DLC part of it.

Horizon Forbidden West, however, has no problems whatsoever with facial emotions. In fact, we would say that the facial expressions of Aloy during the cutscenes are extraordinary.

Just to give an example of the amount of effort the developers have put into the expressions. They have been made specially to match Aloy’s personality. During the cutscenes, you can see her happy, sad, emotional, avoiding eye contact and also rolling her eyes in frustration sometimes.

This shows that the developers have given a good amount of importance to the protagonist’s expression and have fixed the mistake they made in the base part of the first game.

Face Art Style

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Aloy Face Art Graphics
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

When the Horizon Forbidden West was released, there was a backlash against the developers for making the face of the main character, Aloy, too fat. This commentary returned when the game was released on PC. While we are not interested in any mudslinging, we thought it’s something worth looking into.

By and large, we faced no issues looking at Aloy’s face in the game. She’s designed beautifully. Not only her face, but also her walking style in cutscenes, are beautifully crafted. Aloy is easily among the most beautiful characters in the gaming industry.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition NPC Face Game
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Not only Aloy, even faces of many NPCs are beautifully crafted. A lot of them are covered in face paints and even then, their faces look beautiful, showing how much effort developers have put into them.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Aloy's Face
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

However, when we are actually looking into cutscenes, that’s the only time we closely see Aloy’s face. By and large, her actual facial proportions were hidden by the headgear she wore and enabled in settings (yes, there are settings to enable / disable headgear).

Then we had a closer look without the headgear. Here, we would like to mention something that is different from the majority of opinions on both sides.

Facial Design Controversy
Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Aloy Controversial Facial Design
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

As visible from the above image. Look at Aloy’s face and then look at her overall body proportions. They just don’t match.

Here we have a lady in her early 20s with slim hands and body. Then there’s her face (without headgear), which somehow looks like she’s in the 40s. This doesn’t make sense. Why the developers even took this route is above our understanding. Why intentionally make her face fat but her body slim.

It’s not as if she was like that from Horizon Zero Dawn, either. It was specially changed in Horizon Forbidden West. There’s only a six-month gap between the stories of both games. Her face alone couldn’t change so much and that too without any justifications.

We wouldn’t have mind if she had been well proportioned or fat as a whole. Just that her face looks so different from the rest of the body.

But we would still like to go on record to say that we are mentioning all this only because it has become a public issue. We have heard many doing bad publicity against the game specifically for this reason. We feel this bad publicity about Aloy’s face structure has affected its sales in a bad way. Something that’s not justified, either.

The reason we say that is that overall, we didn’t have any issue whatsoever until we disabled the headgear and felt that something was wrong. We don’t mind the design ourselves, but looking at the whole picture, we think Guerrilla should have certainly been wiser here.

Audio & Sound

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Audio Sound Settings
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The audio of a game differentiates a good game from a great one. Some of the greatest games of all time have paid great attention to the audio of the game.

Though, just like many other Sony games, the game volume in Horizon Forbidden West is too less. We had to turn the volume way up to play the game. Something that had a problem in Horizon Zero Dawn too and had complained in its review.

As far as the Audio settings are concerned, there are a lot of options. Subtitles, subtitle size, subtitle background, master, music, speech and sound effects volume. It also supports different types of sound systems and speakers.

The audio in Horizon Forbidden West can be divided into three different aspects. The voice acting, the machine and animal noise and the music.

Voice Acting

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Voice Acting
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The voice acting in Horizon Forbidden West is of high quality. Both Aloy’s dialogs and NPC’s dialogs have been of good quality.

Just like the HZD, Aloy is voiced by Ashly Burch in HFW and she has done a great job. Though in the DLC her voice sounds slightly different, but that’s probably because while the DLC takes place six months after in-game, in real there’s probably about a two-year difference between the base game and the DLC’s voice recording.

The only problem we had were the dialogs. Whoever wrote the dialogs for the side quests needs to have a relook at them. They are boring, needlessly long and as disappointing as the gameplay or the story of the side quests themselves. Not to mention, the volume of the dialogs is very less too.

Another thing is that sometimes the player or the NPC will speak over each other. This is especially a problem during the DLC.

Many also complain that Aloy is needlessly annoying with her repetitive words during gameplay. So much so that someone made a mod to stop her constant annoying sounds.

Machine & Animal Sounds

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Machine Sounds
One of the most beautiful scenes in the whole game. Don’t go by it’s looks. Play it to experience it yourself. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The machine sounds in Horizon Forbidden West are sometimes annoying. They sounded great in the first game, but there’s room for improvement in this one.

The biggest problem we have is the sounds that overridden machines make. When standstill and not mounted, they will purposely make loud noises which are not only annoying but also worrying as we thought they would alert the nearby non-overridden machines (they don’t).

But the biggest annoying sounds come from wildlife animals. Especially the boars, which are found in the early part of the game. They spawn out of nowhere near the players and make such a loud sound near the player that we get rattled in a worry that it might be a machine around. This also happens when we are sneaking around. Just when we are trying to shoot machines, these wildlife animals come from nowhere and make huge sounds.

Also, while the game allows a lot of options to adjust the volume of different sounds, the volume of both machines and animals seems to be combined. We are up for any feedback here if anyone has any idea how to fix this.

Another major problem we faced with the machine’s sounds is that in HZD, whenever you were near a machine, the game’s music would change to alert you. In HFW, this happens only when you are near large animals. It’s hardly heard or is very subtle when near small or mid-sized animals. We didn’t like this.

What we liked, however, were the walking sounds the overridden mounted and non-overridden animals made. It seemed very robotic and perfect.


The music is what sets HFW apart from other games. We have no doubts in saying that the music of Horizon Forbidden West is probably among the best we have heard. The music of Horizon Forbidden West not only rivals the great music of Horizon Zero Dawn but also overtakes it with great attention paid to it.

It sets high standards from the menu itself, where Aloy’s theme is heard (YouTube). Just like the first game, it’s sung by the singer Julie Elven and it’s just as beautiful as Aloy’s theme in the first game, while being more deeper.

If Aloy’s theme is excellent, then the opening credit scene song (which happens one hour into the gameplay), named (Raindrops) In The Flood by Ariana Gillis, is even better. These two songs can easily go into any playlist.

But the music isn’t just about these two songs alone. The different music that plays during the main quests is emotional, well-placed and excellent.

There’s no doubt that because of these things, Horizon Forbidden West won Best Sound Design and Best Original Composition in Gaming at the Music+Sound Awards.

PC Port & Performance

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition PC Port
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

While Horizon Forbidden West is made by Guerrilla Games, its PC port is done by Nixxes Software, who in recent times have developed a reputation as among the best developers of PC ports, if not the very best.

We have no hesitation to say that the performance of the PC port of Horizon Forbidden West base game is very good. Sometimes we even wonder if it’s possible to have such a good PC port and Nixxes never disappoints.

We played this game on these budget PC specs, playing at 1080p. In fact, it wouldn’t be a lie to say that we upgraded our graphics card, especially because this game was going to release on PC.

We played the whole game on high settings (with reduced hair quality and shadows) with DLSS 2 Quality mode enabled. All pictures taken by us in this review have been taken with these settings.

We were very satisfied with the performance of the base game. Though the FPS does drop a little in settlements, it isn’t that big an issue.

It would have been great had we been able to play the game without DLSS 2, but we don’t expect that from such a graphically intensive game.

DLC Performance

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition DLC Performance
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The big problem is the DLC. Because it was designed with mostly PS5 in mind and didn’t release on PS4, its performance is quite bad. It’s even more graphically intensive than the base game so it’s understood. But the FPS dips are massive, especially in settlements.

Also, the amount of stutters we faced was tremendous, especially during shader compilation, which happened far more often in the DLC than during the base game.

The DLC is the only place we had to enable DLSS3 frame generation and even then, it would stutter a lot when in settlements. The performance of the DLC is a lot to be desired and we would have liked it if more attention was paid to it. This will be visible in the benchmarks below.


Horizon Forbidden West comes with DLSS 3, FSR 2.2, and Intel XeSS. While we didn’t test Intel XeSS, we were disappointed with the overall looks of FSR 2.2. There’s just not enough detail to make us happy with it.

Update: During the writing of this article, Nixxes released an update to Horizon Forbidden West with FSR 3.1 included in it.

While the game looks great with DLSS, it isn’t without its own issues. With DLSS enabled, there’s a lot of shimmering and blurring happening on Aloy when she’s running. This issue is not seen when DLSS is disabled. Disabling motion blur does help a lot, though.

Unfortunately, because it happens only during motion and with DLSS enabled, it’s not possible to take its pictures (we tried).

Coming back to the comparison between both DLSS and FSR 3.1 upscalers (only), we can say three things.

First, the native upscaling looks bad without any antialiasing. We enabled TAA and it looked way better. Yes, there’s Nvidia’s DLAA too, but that technically can come at an FPS hit.

Second, FSR 3.1 seems to look sharp in images, but it isn’t that good-looking when actually moving and suffers from blurring.

Third, DLSS looks softer in images but doesn’t suffer from blurring when moving. Making it more ideal than FSR when it comes to quality.

Also, it seems Nixxes has still not provided the latest DLSS 3 version and still keeps using DLSS 3.5.10. We suggest people to download NVIDIA DLSS DLL file of the latest version from TechPowerUP and extract it into their game installation folder. The newer DLSS versions are said to improve the quality a lot.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Benchmarks
Benchmark of the base game of Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West unfortunately doesn’t come with a built-in benchmark. This is unlike Horizon Zero Dawn, which did come with one. This is why we had to rely on our custom fighting scenes.

All benchmarks for the base game and DLC, respectively, are taken from the same location and repeated with different settings when re-loading the save.

We used CapFrameX to capture these performance benchmark scores. Interestingly, the game doesn’t mention the DLSS version, but it comes with DLSS 3.5.10.

As one can see from the above benchmarks, native performs the slowest. DLSS and FSR 3.1 upscaling improve the performance. Just enabling frame generation without any upscaling improves performance further. Then enabling both upscaling and frame generation.

Those who notice that FSR 3.1 is somehow faster than DLSS, that’s true. It’s indeed faster. We checked twice. But that comes at a cost of the quality. As we mentioned in the upscaling part above.

DLC Benchmark
Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition DLC Benchmarks
Benchmark of the DLC of Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The DLC performs worse than the base game. There is no doubt about it. The idea in DLC is the same as the base game. Native slowest, upscaling faster, frame generation even faster and upscaling combined with frame generation the fastest.

Here’s what we can say. First, we are surprised how did we even play this game without frame generation – it’s quite smooth.

Second, upscaling doesn’t give as big a performance boost as it should and the frame generation gives the biggest boost.

Third, we suggest people to try what suits them the best. Frame generation can be enabled independently, without any upscaling. There’s hardly any difference in performance. Try TAA with frame-gen or DLAA with frame-gen. See what works best for you.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition CPU, RAM & VRAM Usage
Check the CPU, GPU & VRAM Usage On Top Left. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West is a graphics card heavy game. Which is a good thing. It made efficient usage of our graphics card. All the time, our graphics card usage was in the high 90s percentage-wise, yet it didn’t overheat.

The VRAM usage, too, was acceptable. Our graphics card has 8GB of VRAM and the game uses less than 7.5GB most of the time. So it was well within range and didn’t cross or go near the limit.

Interestingly, the game doesn’t overload the CPU. It doesn’t even reach near 80% of usage during the gameplay and the only time it goes near 100% is during loading screens and during shader compilation.

Shader Compilation

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Shader Compilation
An image you might often see on loading screens. High CPU usage while compiling shaders on the lower right part of the screen. Image credit: OurDigiTech.

The shaders were compiled during loading screens when starting the game and during loading screens during fast travel and they happened very quickly. On our PC, the game takes only 35 seconds to load and all the shader compilation is done in that time.

We would have been happier if all the shader compilation had happened at the first load and wouldn’t require re-compilation every time loading the game. But that’s too much to expect from modern games.

Another thing to mention is the graphics card driver updates. If one updates their graphics card drivers, all shaders need to be compiled again. This causes some stuttering during the gameplay after updating them.

The big problem, however, is during the DLC, as mentioned above. The DLC has a lot of stuttering around and it lags massively during the shader compilation, something that happens a lot during the gameplay. So much so that the game would in fact freeze for a few seconds while doing that – as visible from the 100% CPU usage.

Some Bugs, But Very Few

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Inside Arena Fighting
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Though very few, we did face some bugs in the game. Some are PC-related and some were part of the original PlayStation port and part of the gameplay.

For example, there’s one ancient ruin where we had to jump at an open door and it wouldn’t work. Apparently it only worked when one did a running jump, a simple jump didn’t work. It turns out this gameplay bug is part of the original Sony PlayStation game and has carried forward to the PC port too.

The other bug we faced was in the skill tree. Whenever we clicked a skill to check it out, it would auto-enable that skill. We had to make some changes in the menu to stop that.

Thankfully, Nixxes released many updates for the Horizon Forbidden West. This has fixed many issues that we faced. Including the skill tree issue we mentioned above.

So if anyone wants to play the game, we recommend everyone to make sure they have updated the game to the latest version possible. Not to forget, even the latest graphics card drivers are recommended as they add more performance.

Settings Menu

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Graphics Settings
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

If a great performance wasn’t enough, then Nixxes went a step ahead and made one of the most detailed game settings menus in Horizon Forbidden West that we have used.

Unlike the first game, where the settings menu used to cover the whole screen. The settings menu in Horizon Forbidden West covers only half the screen (when pausing the game) and gives an absolutely huge amount of options. From gameplay options like hugely customized difficulty settings to HUD size to auto-shieldwing to accessibility options that are useful for everyone, not just who are lacking in abilities.

The graphics settings, too, are extremely detailed, you can virtually enable, disable, or change almost every graphical setting in the game. The list of graphical options is so long that it would require another dedicated article to describe them.

The settings menu alone speaks volumes about the abilities and greatness of Nixxes.

Menu Bug – Fullscreen Mode

The only problem we faced in the game settings menu however is a bug.

The game’s mode resets to Fullscreen mode every time we start the game. The problem with this is that somehow we aren’t able to get back to desktop while running the game with the fullscreen mode. It worked only in Exclusive Fullscreen mode.

The problem with the Exclusive Fullscreen mode is that whenever we switched to it, it changed the in-game refresh rate to just 24 Hz (yes, there’s an option for that too). Requiring us to change that again.

If that isn’t enough, going back to desktop (while the game on running) too many times (to read map guides online) resets the game to Fullscreen mode again.

Keyboard & Mouse

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Keyboard & Mouse Settings
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

We played the game with a keyboard and mouse and we came across very few problems associated with them. The support for both was great. This is worth mentioning because we are speaking of a PC port of a console game.

However, some issues did remain. Like, enabling the pull-caster requires a combination of multiple keys and mouse clicks. Nixxes should have done better there.

There are some other issues, like weapon wheel buttons, but those seemed to have largely been fixed by Nixxes in recent game updates.

Input Lag

Another issue we faced was that there is some input lag in the game. This issue affects the time we press a button on the keyboard and the player acts on the screen. It doesn’t happen always, but it happens sometimes.

For example, a scene in the main quest required us to time a jump very specifically, however, every time we jumped, we failed many times because of the input lag from pressing the jump button. While we eventually did manage to make the jump properly, it was very annoying. We checked the FPS too, it was in the high 70s, so that wasn’t an issue either.

We searched a little and found out we aren’t alone. Someone on the Steam forums is complaining about the same.

While Nvidia Reflex is available in the game and we have used it, it’s supposed to fix such issues, but it hasn’t done it properly. What’s interesting is that we didn’t feel the input lag when we enabled frame generation specifically. We felt it even without frame generation enabled.


Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Conclusion Credits
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is a great game. It has outstanding graphics & music and fixes a lot of annoying gameplay-related issues from the first game. However, the story of the game disappoints and doesn’t stand up to the level of greatness of the first game. The performance of the base game is good, but it’s completely opposite in the DLC part of the game, which lags massively.

When reading some user reviews online, some called it a masterpiece, some called it a mid game (series). We feel it’s a mix of both. Sometimes Horizon Forbidden West does feel like a complete masterpiece, sometimes it feels like a mid game.

But there’s one thing for sure, Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is a game made on a grand scale from the likes of Sony, Guerrilla & Nixxes. Everything about this game is big and huge. The story, world building, graphics, music. It feels almost perfect. But it’s not.

It would have been completely perfect had they made a better story and improved the combat. The story feels massively unsatisfactory and feels as if someone else other than the writers had a huge say in it.

The combat during the gameplay, too, seems very hit-and-miss (literally). The arrows just don’t hit the machines properly.

But the graphics and music do make up for some of it.


  • Extraordinary graphics.
  • Graphics in the DLC is even better.
  • Great music and soundtrack.
  • Game made on a grand scale.
  • Great PC port & performance in the base game.
  • Comes with all three upscalers, DLSS 3, FSR 3.1 and XeSS.
  • Adds frame-gen from both Nvidia and AMD.
  • Playing on the keyboard and mouse is almost a non-issue.
  • Fixes a huge amount of non-combat gameplay issues from the first game.
  • A story that progresses enormously from the first game.
  • Massively improved facial expressions from the first game.
  • Improved RPG elements. Including leveling up and skill trees.
  • Lots and lots and lots of side quests and gameplay.
  • Improved nighttime gameplay.
  • Introduces flying & underwater swimming.
  • Virtually unlimited resources while scavenging.
  • Photo mode from Sony games is excellent.
  • Game updates by Nixxes fixes a lot of bugs.
  • Good voice acting.
  • Very few bugs.


  • A slightly lackluster story. Great at the start and middle, dives in later parts. Doesn’t reach the greatness of HZD.
  • Extreme grinding is required to upgrade weapons and ammo capacity in the base game.
  • Side quests are boring and repetitive gameplay-wise.
  • Combat is very hit-and-miss (literally). Random deviation of arrows is common.
  • It takes a huge amount of time to recover after getting hit by large machines.
  • Underwater combat (or lack of) is frustrating as it requires constant stealth.
  • Flying comes way later in the base game. It should have been earlier.
  • The performance in the DLC is very bad. Including high stuttering.
  • Has no built-in benchmark.

Verdict – Great Game

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition Hollywood Conclusion Verdict
Image credit: OurDigiTech.

Overall we will rate this game around 8.4 out of 10. 0.1 points less than Horizon Zero Dawn, which was a masterpiece due to its story.

While Horizon Zero Dawn excelled in story and newly unique gameplay, Horizon Forbidden West improves graphics, music and improves non-combat gameplay. But HFW is held back by the story and combat.

Horizon Forbidden West is no The Empire Strikes Back. Though we very much wish it was one. It’s the middle game of a trilogy, which is very revealing storywise, but overall the writing doesn’t reach to that level. Even the side quests needed better writing by the developers.

We spent about 88 hours on Horizon Zero Dawn. In Horizon Forbidden West, the world is larger and has far more side gameplay options, so we had to spend about 103 hours on it.

We would also like to praise Sony for making such a great photo mode. Which is now found on all Sony’s ported games on PC. It’s due to this photo mode that we are able to take such great photos at the correct time in the story and gameplay.

While we didn’t get to cover everything, we tried to cover almost all of it. Hopefully we did good.

So, that’s it. One of the most detailed game reviews one can ever find for any game on the internet. It required huge and tremendous amounts of effort to review this game. If you liked it then do share it on other sites like Reddit, Twitter and other social sites out there.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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