Horizon Forbidden West PC Graphics Analysis – How Does it Stack Up Against the PS5 Version?

Zachary Kandell / 26 Mar 2024

Horizon Forbidden West PC Graphics Analysis – How Does it Stack Up Against the PS5 Version? image

Horizon Forbidden West, the eagerly awaited sequel from Guerilla Games, has expanded its horizons beyond the PlayStation 5, finding a new home on PC platforms. This transition, facilitated by Sony-owned Nixxes Software, has been met with anticipation and curiosity. The core of our exploration today delves into the graphical prowess and performance metrics of Horizon Forbidden West on PC, juxtaposing it with its PS5 counterpart to discern the extent of enhancements or discrepancies between the two versions.

System Requirements for PC Gamers

To embark on Aloy’s latest adventure on PC, even at the lowest settings, requires a modest but specific hardware setup. An Intel Core i3 8th generation paired with a GTX 1650 4 GB and 16 GB of RAM forms the baseline. However, to fully appreciate the game's graphical fidelity on medium to high settings, an upgrade to an Intel Core i5 8th generation with an RTX 3060 and 16 GB of RAM is advisable. A significant 150 GB of storage space is necessary, with a PCI e 4.0 SSD recommended for optimal performance, leveraging Windows’ DirectStorage API for swift loading times.

Graphical Settings and Customization

Horizon Forbidden West monster in game

The PC version of Horizon Forbidden West offers a plethora of graphical settings, allowing for extensive customization. From texture quality to anti-aliasing, players can fine-tune their visual experience. Although helpful labels provide insight into each setting’s impact, the absence of visual aids for direct comparison feels like a missed opportunity for a more intuitive setup process. Nevertheless, for those less inclined to micromanage, preset configurations of high, medium, and low settings are available, catering to various hardware capabilities.

Performance Benchmarks and Visual Fidelity

Our testing setup, boasting an AMD Ryzen 5950X and an Nvidia RTX 3080Ti, had no trouble handling Horizon Forbidden West at its highest graphical settings. The game ran smoothly at 4K resolution with settings like V-Sync and Nvidia Low Latency Mode enabled, alongside DLSS upsampling for dynamic resolution scaling. The seamless startup and minimal shader compilation times mark a significant improvement over its predecessor and other Sony titles ported to PC. In terms of gameplay, the richly detailed world of Horizon Forbidden West, from its lush jungles to intricate character models, is rendered with stunning clarity and vibrance, maintaining fluidity even in the most action-packed sequences.

How Does The PC Version Build Upon The PS5 Release?

Horizon Forbidden West woman

The transition to PC brings with it several notable improvements over the PS5 version. Support for ultrawide screens and multiple displays enhances the immersive experience, allowing for a broader view of the game’s expansive environments. The PC version also introduces an uncapped frame rate, superior texture filtering options, and the choice between PS5’s advanced sky systems or the PS4’s simpler implementation. Despite these enhancements, it’s noteworthy that the PC version does not incorporate hardware-accelerated ray tracing, relying instead on screen space reflections. This choice seems like a missed opportunity to elevate the graphical splendor to new heights.

Utilization of Windows DirectStorage API

One of the key technical advancements Horizon Forbidden West benefits from on PC is its use of the Windows DirectStorage API. This feature significantly reduces loading times, with save files loading in roughly 15 seconds from the main menu, and fast travel instances being equally swift. This improvement in loading times not only elevates the entire gameplay experience but also ensures that players remain captivated by Aloy's adventure with few interruptions.

Comparative Analysis with the PS5 Version

Horizon Forbidden West sun and woman in the game

When comparing the PC version of Horizon Forbidden West at maximum settings to the PS5’s Favor Resolution mode, the differences, while subtle, are present. The PC version edges out with marginally better texture quality and fidelity in distant objects, thanks to 16x anisotropic filtering. The internal rendering resolution also appears to be higher on PC. These refinements contribute to a slightly more polished visual experience on PC, though the PS5 version remains a technical marvel in its own right.


Nixxes Software’s efforts in porting Horizon Forbidden West to PC have certainly paid off, offering PC gamers the chance to dive into Aloy’s post-apocalyptic world with enhanced graphical fidelity and performance. This port rectifies past shortcomings seen in the PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn, presenting a smoother, more consistent experience. For those who missed out on the PS5 release, the PC version of Horizon Forbidden West is a compelling alternative, assuming your hardware meets the requirements. Ultimately, whether on PC or PS5, Horizon Forbidden West stands as a testament to the artistry and technical prowess of Guerilla Games, delivering an unforgettable adventure across both platforms.

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