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Horizon Call of the Mountain VR Review


Horizon Call of the Mountain VR Review

When Nature Calls... 

Well this is unequivocally one of the most exciting reviews I’ve done this year. Horizon Call of the Mountain separates Aloy’s tale from our virtually realised protagonist in this incredible adventure, brimmed with the amazement that is usually adorned in a mainline Horizon campaign, but given the virtual reality treatment. For a launch title on the PlayStation VR2, it’s a very impressive feat for both Firesprite – the Liverpool based subsidiary to PlayStation Studios, responsible for The Playroom VR and The Persistence – and Horizon’s home at Guerrilla Games. PlayStation VR’s first attempt was met with a mixed reception due to its pre-existing competition having already established the market with emphatic success surrounding hardware utilised and capable beyond the console based VR’s offerings.

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However, PlayStation have re-entered the fray with an outstanding appeal in reinvigorating a first party market within its own fanbase, with unique offerings exclusive to the Sony platform. 4K resolution, AAA gaming experience and haptics that can only be found in its headset and controllers? It’s a massive accomplishment on their part, and the generation for PSVR2 has only just begun. Horizon Call of the Mountain demonstrates the PSVR2’s mightiest facets and features in full force, encompassing the power of the PS5 through the virtual kit that enabling players to grasp what could quite possibly be the best premium experience, without hitting your wallet to its limit. That withstanding, Horizon’s VR sidequest entails its own original campaign, having players step into the shoes of a brand new character, and letting your take literal control of their quest.

Carja in-charge-ah...

Horizon Call of the Mountain tells the story of Ryas, a former member of the Shadow Carja who has been arrested and sentenced based on crimes that were not of his doing. Overthrown during the opening moments of the story, Ryas and the guards that hold him captive are threatened by massive mechs that take out their raft and kill one of the soldiers. Attempting to re-connect with the other surviving guard, he’s confronted by a Watcher, to which he ultimately terminates but is then recaptured and taken before council. The campaign follows a similar narrative structure to Aloy’s initial story of being outcasted, then put to the test in favour of their trust by deploying him to investigate Sundom, in hopes of detailing a rumoured threat that poses Aloy and her companions.

While Horizon titles follow a lofty story structure towards its respective campaigns, Call of the Mountain’s primary focus relays a distinct gameplay loop delivery due to its virtual nature. There are interactive cinematics that plant you on the spot with returning characters which give you certain instructions to follow, but the path taken in Call of the Mountain is quite linear by comparison given constraints the title entails. However, the amount of actual gameplay given within the campaign is quite hefty considering the title is designed for virtual reality. The thirteen hour campaign experience delivers some of the best I’ve ever come by in VR, and this is by ways of the first PSVR and Meta Quest 2 by first hand comparisons. I’ve never seen such an adventure title that delivers so much potential, unique content and feels like an interactive virtual AAA game.

The haptic technology that was first introduced within the revolutionary PlayStation Dualsense has been redesigned for PSVR2’s respective hardware and controls, with incredible sound and vibration delivery to match the action experienced. From the very opening moments of being unmasked, I felt the brush of a cloth come off my forehead, as the light of sun blinded me for only a few seconds while acclimating myself with my surroundings. Dipping my hands in river, feeling a sense of nature around me as we slowly sailed through the lush environments, avoiding Watchers and other mechs deemed threats, it was so enamouring, I was taken back by how gorgeous this looked for virtual reality. Then deep into the action, having equipped my bow and endless supply of arrows, the sense of adventure heightened and a rush of adrenaline gave me an ultimate thrill of being out in the wild and surviving this post-apocalyptic world first-hand.

Unequivocally designed to masterfully contend with other escapades of its ilk, and AAA successes, and it goes without saying, lays trademark influence of base PS5 titles toward PSVR2's ingenuity and bold integrity out of the box.

The ergonomics of the PSVR2 controllers are comfortably designed for those familiar with other virtual reality controllers, but are easily adaptive for newcomers that are jumping into their first VR experience. The bulk of your time in Call of the Mountain will consist of Ryas, climbing tall peaks, interacting with objects, investigating abandoned areas once inhabited by tribes to find useful equipment of keys, food for health, or any easter eggs that you may find fun like a huge mallet to smash a gong. But utilising your main weapon by reaching behind you, using your dominate hand to hold, then again reaching back to grab a bow and mimicking the act of recoiling on apparatus to shoot, its sensationally satisfying to say the least. Traversing the territory is made simple, with the player given the option to use the analogue sticks or performing a walking action by swinging your arms while aiming your camera toward the direction you seek to take.

It's the climb...


✔️ One the best, most visually gorgeous VR titles I’ve ever played.

✔️ Fun tidbits and interactivity give some depth to a lofty 13 hour campaign.

✔️ While the bulk of the adventure is climbing, crafting is essential for altercations with boss fights, and is a great example in expanding features of this title.

❌ Climbing can be cumbersome after a while.

Other actions such as grabbing apples to eat, smashing plates like frisbees or searching through baskets scattered across the region are just simple things to do. But then it’s all about climbing toward Sundom, to which you will do a lot of. Mountainsides are marked with white chalk to indicate where you’re safe to grab and climb, to which you use your VR controls and grab onto the rocky cliffsides by pressing down on L2 and R2. Other actions like running will demand you to hold down Square and Cross, while also performing a hazardous leap across a pitfall to which you will need to hold down on L1 and R1, then let go at the appropriate time to successfully make it toward your goal, whether that be another platform or rope to swing across.

There are some fun puzzles to complete along your way, but nothing mandated toward your progress. The goal here is to reach Sundom, but you may explore your surroundings further to satiate that inquisitive lust. Zip lines are fun to ride across deep caverns, while looking down across a tightrope will turn that stomach upside-down, but it’s all part of the journey that makes this experience excellently executed. Upon collecting extensions, you can use a grappling hook to swing your way to far along areas that are out of reach, or use the sharp edges of a make shift pick axe to climb walls that are inaccessible without it.

Altercations will take place in areas that can only be described as open-ended arenas. It will become apparent that you’ll be stumbling into an encounter when you see the rounded off terrace unmistakably designed for combat. Other enhancements like flaming arrows and an assortment of ranged weapons can be switched out by pressing down on one analogue stick and using the other to pick your weapon of choice. It’s an easy and fun way to quickly swap out any weapons in your inventory while a busy fight occurs without distracting the player for long periods. Evading attacks from opponents require gesture movements that again have the player hold down Square and Cross and move their controls left or right to quickly dodge an enemy’s ranged sequence. Other movements like wiping away frost that’s disposed across your face or tactically avoiding laser beams shot your way are genuinely rousing.

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In aspect of detailing the environment, its astounding how intricacies are so refined within this universe. But its not just visuals, audio is phenomenally injected to heighten that sense of captivity, such as the reveal of the opening moments of the campaign delivering a swelling symphony orchestrated to heighten the suspense and action you will encounter on your journey. 3D audio within the game is marvellous, with crunches of each footstep, and creaks of creatures that lurk in the surroundings, while all major boss fights demonstrate a worldly echo for the player to decipher their direction through audible cues given. It’s insanely designed, and an obvious aim for deep immersion during smaller scaled gameplay to largely cinematic combat, a feat to which both Firesprite and Guerrilla will no doubt be heralded for.

Horizon Call of the Mountain is unquestionably one of the best VR experiences I’ve ever had the privilege and pleasure of playing. Unequivocally designed to masterfully contend with other escapades of its ilk, and AAA successes, and it goes without saying, lays trademark influence of base PS5 titles toward PSVR2’s ingenuity and bold integrity out of the box. It’s set the bar for what’s expected out of PlayStation VR from this point forward, and if this is the foundation laid by PlayStation, it’s most definitely an exciting and promising outlook ahead for its years to come. Horizon Call of the Mountain is essential for your PSVR2 library, and for fans of the Horizon franchise itself, it’s a must play.

Horizon Call of the Mountain VR Review



Horizon Call of the Mountain is an action-adventure video game developed by Guerrilla Games and Firesprite. Part of the Horizon series, the game was released by publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment in February 2023 as a launch title for the PSVR2.




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