Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition review

by on April 1, 2024
Reviewed On
Also Tested On
Release Date

March 21, 2024


Let’s be honest, when Horizon Zero Dawn was first announced, Guerilla Games had us all at “robot dinosaurs”. From that first shot of what appeared to be a tribesperson fighting a giant mechanical T-Rex with a bow and arrow, most of us were onboard immediately. So when the game actually launched and it turned out that the robot dinosaurs weren’t just a gimmick, but part of a fully fleshed-out, masterfully crafted post-post-apocalyptic world, well, let’s just say it silenced the few sceptics that remained. And then the sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, built upon that strong foundation, introducing new mechanics, new characters, new threats, and, of course, a whole new sandbox to play in. And now Horizon Forbidden West has followed the original by coming to PC via Steam, and it’s somehow even prettier than it was.

Look, graphics aren’t everything. Sometimes the only thing that matters is gameplay, but when you’ve got a game like Horizon Forbidden West that has a compelling story, almost perfect mechanics, and it also looks this good? That’s a hell of a recipe. I’m going to preface this review by saying I didn’t play the PC version on a monster rig. My PC is a few years old now and was only just about able to run Forbidden West on high settings and maintain its framerate. Eventually, I conceded and lowered the resolution a few notches – but it still looked unbelievably good. Somehow it also runs exceptionally well on Steam Deck with the right settings, although it will decimate your battery pretty fast.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition

The story rejoins protagonist Aloy in her quest to prevent yet another extinction-level event from annihilating the burgeoning human civilisation now doing their best to coexist with the machines, the sentient, animal-like robots that became the de facto custodians of Earth after humans kept wiping themselves out. She’s searching for Gaia, an AI programme that holds the secrets to saving humanity, but always seems to be a few steps behind antagonist Silens, played by the late, great Lance Reddick. Forbidden West’s story is well-told, acted with genuine passion by the voice cast and presented clearly, without bogging itself down in jargon.

It is, however, still a game, and so you’ll need to ignore the fact that Aloy is somehow able to store more than half a dozen weapons in her leather trousers, or that she lost most of what she accrued in the last game at some point between adventures. A brief montage shows her dangling off several cliffs, so it’s fair to say she probably dropped them at some point. It doesn’t matter either way, as you’ll be unlocking new gear and upgrades at a rate of knots in Forbidden West.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition

Aloy is a resourceful sort, and what she can’t kitbash together herself she can bring to vendors and craftspeople all around the game world to knock up for her. You can upgrade various armour sets, and customise them with dyes, or add special augments to your gear to boost specific stats and abilities. These abilities work in synergy with Aloy’s many weapon types such as her Hunter Bow, Spike Thrower, and Boltblaster. The former is Aloy’s standard go-to weapon, which also comes in “Sharpshot” flavour for precision kills or “Warrior” style which is essentially a bow shotgun, while the rest of her weapons are more situational.

The Tripcaster, for example, can create elemental tripwires that hamper or harm rampaging machines, and the Spike Thrower hurls huge motherfussing stakes right through her targets. You can’t equip one of each weapon type at a time, as there are so many, so you’ll need to think about which weapons you need at a given time. Elemental effects are the same, as different machines are strong or weak against particular damage types.

A sprawling skill system comprised of six comprehensive skill trees allows you to customise Aloy’s abilities, focusing on specific skillsets such as Hunter, Trapper, or Machine Master, or generalise across the six. It’s possible to max out all the trees anyway, but for the bulk of the game you’ll be making choices over where to allocate skill points.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition

Perhaps the strongest element of Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is the world itself, though. After a few hours of following the dangling story carrot, you’ll be let loose, able to hack certain animals to act as mounts, and gifted with a glider taken from the corpse of some idiot who tried to fuck with Aloy’s shit. This allows Aloy to leap from high ledges and cliffs and glide safely to her destination, which opens up the world considerably. There are points of interest everywhere, and Guerilla Games make it worth exploring every nook of the map.

Clusters of machines are highlighted on the map so you know where to hunt them for specific upgrade materials, while there are settlements all over the place full of people who need help, new vendors, side quests and mini-games. It’s a world teeming with life, both organic and mechanical, with dense forests, snow-dusted mountains, arid, unforgiving desert, and thundering waterfalls. You can fast travel if you want to, but the world Guerilla has created begs to be explored and tamed.

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition

Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is a fantastic game in its own right that rarely puts a foot wrong. The world is stunning, the combat mesmerisingly good. There are simply so many tools at Aloy’s disposal that before long you’ll be seeking out Thunderjaws just to show those big ol’ robo-rexes who’s boss. The story moves at a satisfying pace, too, rocketing through story missions but allowing you to ease off to go explore and complete side quests whenever you feel like it. Often, those sidequests tie into the main story as Aloy helps the various tribes overcome territorial disputes and religious quandaries.

The PC version also ships with the Burning Shores DLC that expands on Aloy’s story and adds new weapons and enemies into the mix. It’s hard to say whether it’s the “better version” given that it looks better on more powerful rigs but lacks the next-gen haptics of the PS5’s DualSense controller, which arguably elevate any game that makes full use of them, as Forbidden West does on Sony’s machine. But if you don’t own a PS5 but do have a PC, then this version comes absolutely recommended. There’s simply no question that Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is a must-play game, and on PC it’s somehow even more beautiful than it was before.


Looks phenomenal
Engrossing story
Excellent combat
Deep, sprawling skill system


No DualSense haptic feedback

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

There’s simply no question that Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition is a must-play game.