'Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition' PC Version Impression

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Guerrilla Games’ acclaimed title Horizon Zero Dawn launched on PCs earlier this year in its Complete Edition version, and last week, it released on yet another PC storefront: GOG; meaning that it’s now completely DRM-free. I didn’t get the chance to play it on PC (nor PS4) and given the opportunity to test it with the GOG launch, I was looking forward to seeing what this once-PS4 exclusive had to offer.

If you are not familiar with the title, Horizon Zero Dawn follows the story of Aloy, an outcast from her tribe and orphaned since birth, who seeks to know more about her origin. As she sets out on this quest, she will unravel the cryptic nature of the world she inhabits where humans adopt a pre-modern, tribal lifestyle while high-tech, deadly machines roam the wilderness.

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You’ll guide Aloy in an open world that’s crafted with incredible detail while she continues forth in her adventure; along which she’ll have to use a combination of stealth and deadly attacks against machines and rival tribes. For this purpose, she’ll have a range of weapons at her disposal from spears to bows that allow her to reach enemies up close or from afar. Aloy is also able to “hack” those hostile machines and use them to her advantage like using the horse-types Strider as a ride for long distances. A key item that helps Aloy on her journey is the Focus; a triangular device she found in some ruins as a child that attaches to the temple and through holographic projections reveals enemy weaknesses, trails and also scans objects. More than a handy gameplay tool, the Focus is also an integral part of the storyline.

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Horizon Zero Dawn for PC is essentially the same game we reviewed back when it first launched on the PS4. I would recommend reading our full review to know what to expect of the base game. The PC version, being the ‘Complete Edition’, comes with The Frozen Wilds expansion but also additional and very welcome PC-only features such as ultra-wide monitor support, unlocked framerates and improved visuals.

If our PS4 review found the graphics to be “incredible”, then the PC version is even more impressive. The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is beautifully rendered in Guerrilla Game’s Decima engine, breathing life to the open world with crisp detail. Given that it’s a PC game, you can further fine-tune display and graphical aspects to your liking from FPS limit through model quality to resolution. The inclusion of a Photo Mode allows players to capture those wallpaper-worthy shots that abound in almost every scene.

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What our review also noted in the PS4 version is the presence of glitches, and the PC version somehow came with additional performance issues. Even after getting patched which addressed some issues, many noticeable ones do persist for many players, including me. Even if my rig is above the recommended specs, I came across frequent stutters which break the continuity of my playthrough. I should still feel lucky as this is the major performance issue I came across, while others are complaining about crashes and audio issues. This poor PC optimization came as a surprise to me as previously PS4-exclusive titles that have been ported to PC such as Detroit: Become Human and Death Stranding (which uses the same Decima engine as HZD) played without a hitch.

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Nevertheless, I’m grateful that PC gamers have the opportunity to play Horizon Zero Dawn and with the GOG release, it opens up to an even wider audience who can experience one of the PS4’s iconic games. As a fan of narrative-driven games, HZD’s plot and gameplay felt satisfying enough to keep me going (even if some bits of the narrative feel rushed or even predictable and several side quests being mundane, without much impact on the plot) and bear with the performance issues. But the poor optimisation is understandably off-putting to those who experience it but hopefully these will be patched in upcoming updates. But while these persist, I’ll tread alongside Aloy at a slower pace than I wish I would.

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition | Trailer


:arrow: Horizon Zero Dawn GOG Store Page
:arrow: Horizon Zero Dawn Official GBAtemp Review
 

Unleanone999

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And most of those have been fixed, the game is far from unplayable. Did you even read the 1.0.8 notes? I don't think anyone did.
Well not going to argue with you on that but it did take a while though. And yeah I didn't read it because I uninstalled the game a while back because of how badly optimized it was.
 

the_randomizer

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Well not going to argue with you on that but it did take a while though. And yeah I didn't read it because I uninstalled the game a while back because of how badly optimized it was.

I must have gotten it after the first performance patch, so I never had the issue. Damn. I'd best shut up about it -_-
 
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gameboy

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im glad people got the chance to pirate HZD and realize that it was always a super overrated game to begin with and that the pc version ran much worse somehow.
 
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