Let’s be honest: the Horizon series is one of PlayStation’s hottest IPs. The first two games are fantastic, with interesting characters and a much more interesting world. So when it comes to an IP that is a perfect fit for PSVR2, Horizon Call of the Mountain had me eager from the outset. This game doesn’t disappoint… unless you want heaps of Aloy.
The mountain is calling
You take on the role of a Shadow Carja called Ryas, who has been a naughty boy. He was caught by the Carja and brought to the settlement, Dawns Grasp. Here he is given the opportunity for a pardon by investigating the cause of increased machine attacks. His brother went off to find out what was up, but it’s up to Ryas to go see what happened.
The story itself is fine. It’s definitely interesting enough, but it doesn’t add much to the main game story. In some ways, that isn’t a bad thing; people without a PSVR2 won’t feel left behind in the series. Also, because it’s an isolated story, it doesn’t have to match what the main games have achieved. It is a nice, contained story where the only interaction with Aloy is a few minutes at the start, and then it is its own story with a slice of family drama, redemption, and chasing a baddie that is using lures to make machines go mental.
Climb the mountain yourself
What makes this game a must-play is the gameplay. You will spend a lot of time walking around and climbing massive structures. Whether you are ice-picking your way up mountains, climbing over old ruins, shuffling your way along a ledge in some greenery, or climbing a Tall Neck, the game gives you a lot to look at and climb. It is all very linear, with heaps of nooks and crannies to find collectables, but you won’t get lost.
Each mission tends to have about 1 battle with machines. Early on, the Watchers are enough of a pain, but you really get to fight all the big dogs of the Horizon world. The bigger battles involve much more frantic movement and the use of arrows and sling bombs to carefully rip them apart and take them down. I absolutely loved these massive battles. Plenty of times I got my ass handed to me, but the frantic movement trying to avoid their ranged attacks while trying to cut them down is just consistently fun.
Pulling the bow from over your shoulder and having to pull arrows from the other shoulder to fire feels so damn natural, and the climbing itself is so cleverly designed to be fluid and easy to get your head around. Multiple climbs have you having to find the right nook to grab next as you hang from a ledge or having to use one of the many climbing tools to get across to the next section. Again, it just feels so good to play. Some of the set pieces will have you sliding down a rope as machines go around you, which just feels so damn cool. It’s exactly what I wanted a VR game based in the world of Horizon to bring me.
The mountains story
The story itself is nice and meaty, taking around 12+ hours to finish. That is a lot of time in a VR world when you have the real world to deal with too. If you are chomping at the bit for more after that, you can enjoy a nice safari ride, which lets you watch heaps of machines doing their thing around you. That was fun once, but if you want more gameplay, aside from going and getting the collectable in each mission, there is a timed climbing and arrow challenge. My shoulder is killing me after multiple attempts at the arrow one, so warm up first.
The game had some minor bugs, like when it wouldn’t trigger grabbing a ledge as I was jumping for no apparent reason, and things like that, but they were very rare.
You should answer the call
On the whole, Horizon Call of the Mountain is a must play for PSVR2 owners. If you haven’t played the main games, that’s fine; it’s a great climbing and arrow VR game in a strange world. If you have played the other games, the moments in the game are absolutely everything I needed from a PSVR Horizon game.
Well, it could have done with more Aloy.