Horizon: Forbidden West is Still a PS5 Showpiece

It remains a true benchmark nearly two years later

Alex Rowe

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Horizon’s protagonist Aloy stands near a beautiful stream.
PS5 screenshot taken by the author.

I’ve seen a lot of talk over the last few weeks about how Alan Wake 2 is the “greatest looking game ever made.” I don’t doubt that it’s very good looking — but it only really shines if you run it on a PC with one of the more expensive current top tier Nvidia GPU’s.

I have an AMD-based system that’s a couple years old now. I’m using a 6800XT, which is certainly no slouch, but doesn’t offer near the RT performance of Nvidia’s new stuff. While I can turn on some of the ray tracing in AW2, I have to lower the effects quality and turn up FSR2 scaling so much that I get a gently muddy, slightly soupy looking version of the game’s otherwise well-rendered tiny environments.

Console players have it even worse, with no ray tracing to speak of and pixel counts that are much lower than what any modern PC can muster. It’s still a good-looking game that performs okay, but “best ever?” No. Not at all.

I’ve accidentally turned this Horizon article into a rant about Alan Wake — even though I wrote one of those already right here. I’m several hours further into the game than I was when I wrote that piece, but my feelings haven’t really changed. For me, it’s not right to call something the “best” looking video game unless it has a balance of performance, effects, and image quality. Alan Wake 2 nails maybe one of those categories, unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on a PC.

If you’ve got a PS5 and you want to see what it can actually do when pushed to the brink by a talented team, look no further than Horizon: Forbidden West. The game looks and plays remarkably, regardless of which of the three performance modes you select. Even its lowest resolution 60FPS mode is so much cleaner, more vibrant, and more expressive than anything Alan Wake 2 has to offer — all while presenting swathes of detail across a huge variety of vast and diverse environments.

A close up of some ground cover and leaves in Horizon: Forbidden West.
PS5 screenshot taken by the author.

These environmental details separate the PS5 version of Forbidden West from its cut-down PS4 release. Every outdoor area is…

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