Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition review for PC

Platform: PC
Also on: PS5, PS4
Publisher: PlayStation PC
Developer: Guerrilla/Nixxes Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

My only real question about Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition was a simple one: would it run on the Steam Deck?

I know, it’s currently listed as not compatible. And, obviously, in order for the game to run well, you need stronger hardware than what the Deck offers. But as someone who’s proudly been a handheld-first gamer for well over a decade, the thought of being able to play the game on the go (or, at least, sitting on a couch without a TV) was too much to resist.

After all, we already knew Horizon Forbidden West was good going into the game. That wasn’t ever in question. At times, it might just feel like a bigger, better version of Horizon Zero Dawn, but seeing as Zero Dawn was also great, why wouldn’t you want more of that but better? The world is bigger, there’s more to do, the enemies are more varied and more challenging – this is pretty much everything you’d want in a sequel.

Of course, the question – as I said up top, which I fully admit may only be of interest to me – is how well all of that would transfer to a handheld. And the answer is: a lot better than you’d expect.

In fact, what’s surprising is that the game probably runs better on the Steam Deck than it does on the ROG Ally or the Legion Go. I couldn’t even get the game to advance beyond the opening cutscene on the Ally, and while I was able to get it running on the Legion Go, the performance left quite a bit to be desired. The game allowed for higher graphics settings on the Legion Go than on the Steam Deck, but this didn’t show up in the performance – it just meant that things got blurry any time Aloy was moving across the screen (which, seeing as there’s a lot of movement in this game, was pretty often).

And yet, somehow, the game runs shockingly well on the Steam Deck. To be sure, I had to turn the graphics settings all the way down, which means I wasn’t able to see Forbidden West in all its dazzling glory, but apart from a few hiccups here and there – which, given the demanding nature of the game, are likely to happen unless you have a pretty solid PC – the game worked. I was able to take on hordes of machines, scale mountains, and traverse the open plains, all on the comfort of a small-ish screen, and I didn’t ever feel like I was missing out on anything.

And thank goodness for that, because, as we noted in our original review of the game on PS5, Horizon Forbidden West is a remarkable game. Not only does its story have enough legs to carry you through dozens of hours of playtime – and even more when you factor in that this includes the Burning Shores expansion – everything you do between the story beats is fun, too. Not many games in recent years have come up with something as thrilling as taking on massive robot monsters like you find here, and it’s a mark of how well it’s done in Forbidden West that every time you see one of those familiar flashes, you’ll feel your adrenaline start pumping as you draw your bow and arrow and take aim.

Obviously, it’ll be even more fun if you have a PC that runs the game without any compromises. But even if you just want something for your Steam Deck, Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition delivers.

PlayStation PC provided us with a Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition PC code for review purposes.

Score: 9