Horizon Zero Dawn on PC Is the Best Way to Play

Horizon Zero Dawn is officially coming to PC this week. The first-party PlayStation title from Guerrilla Games is all set to launch tomorrow, August 7th, and while I haven’t actually completed the whole thing just yet, I feel confident that this is absolutely the definitive way to experience it, even if there were a couple of hiccups along the way.

First and foremost, Horizon Zero Dawn on PC is the complete edition of the video game, bringing both it and the game’s much-lauded The Frozen Wilds expansion to the platform. While the content might be the same as its PlayStation 4 kin, the technical bits are where the PC version truly shines. The PC version includes ultra-widescreen support, unlocked framerates, and field-of-view controls among other improvements. As usual for the jump to PC, this includes major rendering upgrades like lighting system improvements and dynamic foliage. To be blunt, the game looks and plays better than it did on PlayStation 4, even on my years-old computer.

For what it is worth, I’m running an off-the-shelf Alienware Aurora R6. It’s certainly not top of the line by any means, but once I actually updated my graphics driver (which, honestly, was a rookie mistake on my part to not do immediately) things ran fairly smoothly for me. I immediately spent close to 30 minutes tinkering with just how sensitive I wanted the DualShock 4 controller plugged into my rig to be, individual graphics settings, and more. And then I was off killing dinosaur machines and saving people.

If there is one suggestion I have for anyone looking to give Horizon Zero Dawn a shot on PC, it’s to actually spend the time from the start making sure everything is how you want it in terms of settings. The game will try to automatically set things up when you boot it for the first time, but I found the look a little too jarring with the framerate that set me at, and my machine chugged somewhat without toning down the quality of some of its graphics.

My personal sweet spot was to set all of the graphics to high or medium, max the field-of-view setting, and cap framerates at just above 60 FPS while seriously lowering the controller sensitivity. The game looks and controls perfectly fine at higher settings, but the turning on a dime and general speed of movement was making me a little anxious to play. Broadly speaking, I prefer my shooters to be a little twitchy, but something like Horizon Zero Dawn where I want to be able to look around at leisure just feels better when it isn’t zooming about.

If you are not totally new to the game, there’s not much here that you haven’t already seen, but it’s still the most impressive the video game has ever looked. While it might not appeal to the person that has already spent dozens of hours combing through the ruins of the Metal World, outfitting Aloy, and generally running all over the place, it certainly justifies its own existence.

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You could do far worse than playing Horizon Zero Dawn on PC. It should easily draw in anyone that hasn’t had a go at it already, and should even tempt those folks that have played it all the way through. After all, Horizon Zero Dawn already looked pretty dang good on PlayStation 4, and the PC version is a total update in every sense of the word.

Horizon Zero Dawn is set to release for PC tomorrow, August 7th. A PC review copy was provided by the publisher. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the video game right here.