TEST Horizon Forbidden West PC: the ultimate version of Aloy

In the current video game landscape, the porting of PlayStation exclusives to PC should have marked a revolution. However, this transition has proven to be a journey strewn with pitfalls for many titles, between insufficient performance and multiple bugs from their launch. This phenomenon is not isolated and is part of a broader trend affecting new PC products. Obviously with the release of Horizon Forbidden West we could have certain fears. Our test is therefore an opportunity to check all this in depth. How good is this new release? Answer !

Horizon Forbidden West was expected at the turn on PC, because we all remember The Last of Us Part 1, which despite its critical success on PlayStation, required several months of corrections to mainly resolve shader and optimization problems on PC . And that’s without counting the first Horizon game which, when it was launched on computer in 2020, was not fun for many users before the deployment of a few patches. The ambient concern is therefore not unfounded, considering the technical challenges encountered by its predecessor during its transition to PC, despite Nixxes’ subsequent interventions to correct these problems.

When worry quickly gives way to tranquility

However, Horizon Forbidden West seems to be taking a different turn and this time everything seems to be working like clockwork. The PC adaptation even raises interesting questions about current graphics technologies in games. For example, the Nixxes studio, responsible for this port, deliberately chose not to integrate ray-tracing effects, a decision justified by the already impressive quality of the rendering without this technology. So there are still plenty of methods to manage light and shadow and bluff yourself. This approach underlines a desire to preserve fluidity and visual quality without imposing excessively heavy hardware requirements, in particular the need for an RTX 4080 to enjoy smooth gaming in 4K. And the good news doesn’t stop there.

PC users often complain about the need for technical manipulations as soon as games are launched. Horizon Forbidden West is a pleasant exception to this rule by allowing a simplified user experience from the start, sparing the usual tedious steps. The title launches quickly, without problems or prolonged loading. Especially since it is automatically adjusted to your configuration to offer you optimal fluidity.

You are then free to take a quick look at the graphic options (numerous) so that everything corresponds to your desires. What is certain is that Nixxes has not skimped on the possibilities and has not cut anything to offer a completely complete graphic experience worthy of what is currently being done on PC. From the details of the rendering of the water to the quality of the clouds and even that of the hair. Because yes, Aloy’s beautiful red hair benefits from a very beautiful animation that is even more stunning than on PS5 in terms of realism.

Technologies galore for meticulous optimization

The game’s graphic settings interface is more intuitive, allowing precise and visible adjustments in real time, without requiring a restart. We note that Nixxes has not yet introduced Ultra settings, leaving the door open for future improvements. Why not ? However, current options already offer remarkable quality and performance, with features like DLAA, DLSS, XeSS, and FSR 2.2 enabling a rich and smooth visual experience, suitable for a wide range of hardware configurations.

As a reminder, DLAA (Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing) improves image quality without compromising performance. Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), Intel’s XeSS (Xe Super Sampling), and AMD’s FSR 2.2 (FidelityFX Super Resolution) are all AI-assisted upscaling technologies that increase the resolution of game images for improve sharpness and performance while reducing the load on the GPU. In short, that’s good. And it immediately feels in play.

Horizon Forbidden West PC

A beautiful AND fluid game

In fact, performance analysis under different configurations reveals remarkable optimization of Horizon Forbidden West. Upscaling technologies such as DLSS and FSR 2.2 make it possible to achieve high image quality while maintaining very high quality frame rates, even at higher resolutions. This is particularly the case with FSR 2.2, which, despite its usual limitations, here offers performance comparable to other methods, proving the attention paid by Nixxes to optimization.

Furthermore, the game is compatible with the Steam Deck, promising good times everywhere in your home or while traveling. In terms of display, Horizon Forbidden West embraces Ultrawide and Super Ultrawide formats, up to support for triple monitor setups, allowing for unprecedented immersion. You still need to have the equipment available, unfortunately this was not necessarily the case for the sake of our test. Finally, we note the support for the DualSense controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, although requiring a wired connection, this enriches the immersion in the already dense and captivating universe of the game. Nixxes has thought of everything and especially of everyone . Hat.

We tested the game on two configurations. One that could be considered high-end and the other more mid-range with:

Setup 1 :

  • Processor : Intel i9-10900K
  • Graphic card : RTX 3080 Ti
  • RAM : 32 GB

Configuration 2:

  • Processor :Intel i7 8700k
  • Graphic card : RTX 2060
  • RAM : 16 GB

Our first test PC easily handled the game at maximum settings, displaying stable frame rates between 60 and 70 fps, even during the most intense action scenes. The fine detail in the character models and the responsiveness of the environment to the lighting highlight the studio’s stunning work. On our second PC, same observation with 60 FPS on average and settings in medium. We were even able to add a few additional graphic options such as the quality of the textures and the quality of the terrain. A joy and further proof that the game is admirably optimized.

Horizon Forbidden West PC

One of the most beautiful games on PC

Horizon Forbidden West on PC stands out as a success both technically and artistically. By choosing to prioritize performance and visual quality without being constrained by the latest graphics technologies, Nixxes offers a fluid and immersive experience. Easy-to-use configuration options and a wide choice of upscaling techniques ensure that all players can achieve the perfect balance between visual quality and performance, establishing this game as a model for porting to PC.

If we add to this the loading times reduced to a minimum, we are really facing the ultimate version of the game. In high and very high graphics settings, the PS5 version takes a big beating. It’s sumptuous from start to finish. Lighting effects, volumetric effects, texture details… Aloy is not laughing at all. If we add to this the simply dantic viewing distance, we are treated to an even more immersive experience.

Finally, for PC players who have not particularly followed the game, but who are hesitant to fall for this episode, know that it takes place six months after the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, but it was designed to accommodate new players without needing to know the background of the previous story. An introductory cutscene also offers a sufficient summary to understand the main issue: Aloy’s fight against the mysterious Red Blight epidemic which threatens the world. This approach allows for rapid immersion in a rich and, above all, particularly beautiful universe. You have to admit it. A successful port at all levels.

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