As a long-time fan of the Horizon series, there’s simply no doubting that the most exciting PlayStation VR 2 launch title for me was Horizon Call of the Mountain. Experiencing the wonders and thrills of the world with the added immersion of virtual reality? Yeah, count me in. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint either, with the game’s action-packed gameplay and intuitive mechanics making an impressive transition to the world of VR.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Horizon Call of the Mountain takes place between Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, with players not taking on the role of Aloy, but instead a new character named Ryas. You’re actually a Shadow Carja rebel, which doesn’t sit well with your two captors who are transporting you downriver to the Carja chief, but when your journey takes a deadly turn, you’re given the opportunity to redeem yourself of your past misgivings – and maybe even protect the people of the Carja Sundom from a new threat.
If you’re a fan of Horizon, you’ll enjoy the storytelling here. Whilst it doesn’t feel all that significant to Aloy’s story, it does flesh out the world and give players a fresh perspective of its people and the events that take place within it. You’ll even meet some familiar faces on your journey, with plenty of cool nods to be found to the mainline titles. It’s good stuff, whilst the added immersion offered by PlayStation VR 2 really complements the storytelling.
When it comes to gameplay, Horizon Call of the Mountain maintains a lot of the core staples of the series, but changes them up by being played from a first-person perspective with motion controls. Yep, you’ll still be doing a heck of a lot of climbing, and yep, you’ll still be blasting away at a lot of enemies with your bow, but you have to perform these actions manually in-game using the Sense controllers.
“The colours pop, the sights of the world are wondrous, whilst the scale of the machines that traverse it never stopped feeling impressive – especially when the headset’s haptic feedback kicks in to emphasise their presence.”
It’s a good job that these actions feel fun to perform in-game then, whether that’s when reaching for every climbing point around you to pull yourself up the face off a cliffside, crafting the items required to progress on your journey, or when loading your bow with an arrow, pulling back the drawstring, and aiming your shots with finesse. You’ll find other tools to use during your adventure that require similar motions, with each managing to balance a sense of realism and accessibility in their use. A lot of games that require a mixture of motion controls can leave players in a bit of a spin as they try to coordinate their actions in quick succession, but everything felt convenient and fun here. Just maybe do a bit of a warm-up before playing – Horizon Call of the Mountain expects players to do a LOT of climbing, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a few little aches after playing (though maybe that’s what you get after a non-stop three hour session).
The game also throws in a few unique ideas that utilise the PlayStation VR 2’s capabilities to make the action flow a lot smoother. For one, the eye tracking can make it easier for players to line up targets, with it only being necessary to catch an object you want to hit with your gaze and line up the shot to hit it. This is especially convenient when you want to target a fast-moving enemy with a quick shot to hit a weak spot, so players don’t have to worry too much about getting a perfect aim each time. Combat also limits your movement, but not to your detriment; instead, it has players strafing across the battle area with the left stick, with the right stick used to dodge incoming attacks. It took a little bit of getting used to at first, but it results in combat that maintains the action of the series but without overwhelming players. It will definitely make life easier for newbies to VR, with Horizon Call of the Mountain standing out as one of the more accessible launch titles.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Combat is very exciting throughout, with plenty of epic encounters with a variety of the series’ most iconic machines, whilst the pace changes up in-between battles with a range of set pieces and stealth sections. Horizon Call of the Mountain certainly isn’t lacking in variety, whilst there are even opportunities for players to choose which approach they want to take at certain points of the game. It’ll only take players around seven hours to beat so it’s far from being the longest entry in the series, but these moments give players an incentive to re-visit the adventure after beating it.
Whilst Horizon Call of the Mountain is a lot of fun to play, it is the game’s presentation that blew me away the most. From the moment you first have the bag taken off your head in the opening boat ride, everything in the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The series has always had a beautiful world to explore anyway, but seeing it all in VR makes it even more impressive. The colours pop, the sights of the world are wondrous, whilst the scale of the machines that traverse it never stopped feeling impressive – especially when the headset’s haptic feedback kicks in to emphasise their presence. It’s the most visually impressive title that I’ve ever played in VR and truly demonstrates just how much better PlayStation VR 2 is when compared to its predecessor.
Horizon Call of the Mountain Review
Horizon Call of the Mountain is an epic VR adventure that demonstrates just how impressive the PlayStation VR 2 headset is. It looks stunning to play, the combat is intuitive and fun, the set pieces are incredibly cool, whilst additional features like the eye tracking and haptic feedback are used in meaningful and immersive ways that benefit the overall experience.
It’s just a REALLY impressive game that shows that Sony mean business with the PlayStation VR 2. Whether you’re familiar with the series or not, PlayStation VR 2 owners really need to play Horizon Call of the Mountain.
Publisher: PlayStation Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation VR 2 (Reviewed)