Cast your mind back to October 2016 when everyone was trying to show off a Shark Tank encounter at PlayStation VR Worlds and justify why they suddenly started strapping a piece of plastic to their face. is While there wasn’t really much to it, the demo did an excellent job of showcasing the kind of experience you can have in virtual reality.
Mountain’s Horizon Call occupies a similar position, but this time it’s a fully fleshed-out game. After 10 minutes of turning it off and saying “that was neat!” Rather than an afterthought, there’s an entire campaign to work with with the story’s connections to Zero Dawn and Forbidden West. This shows Sony’s commitment to the VR space PSVR2: That’s all for the second attempt.
A recent hands on session at PlayStation’s London headquarters reveals that Horizon Call of the Mountain is a proper showpiece title. With complete freedom to explore the environment and the opportunity to follow a finely crafted story, this is something you’ll want to show your friends when they see that weird headset sitting next to your PS5.
Our roughly 30-minute demo began at what appeared to be the beginning of the game; It opens with the boat ride revealed in the announcement trailer as the Sony and Firesprite Games logos disappear. It may be an on-rails section, but it offers a chance to take in the enhanced visuals allowed by PSVR2. As the machines fly and move alongside you, you can dip your hand in the water or sidestep the vines hanging overhead. A prisoner rescue story is set here after you get bailed out of jail, but the demo wasn’t long enough for us to see the next beat.
Once you’ve gained control, you’re able to move by holding the X and Square buttons on the Sense controllers and then moving your arms in a marching motion. To go backwards, you hold the same two inputs but move your arms forward instead. In exchange for adjusting the camera with the right analog stick, you can gain walking speed.
It feels natural enough, but what seals the deal is the hill climb. Like Aloy, this new hero spends as much time on the ground as he does clinging to rocks and crevices. With the L2 and R2 buttons confirming your actions, you can reach ledges and pull yourself up and over rocks. Stairs work similarly and so does opening doors.
Once we got the hang of those actions, the demo featured an endless amount of reliable bows and arrows. To equip it and put it away, you’ll reach behind your left shoulder, hold the L2 button, and then bring your hand back to a natural position to find the bow in your palm. You do the same over your right shoulder to get the arrow. Some simple target practice helps you get familiar, but you’ll soon be shooting locks to gain access to optional content, highlighted by a kind of area scan that you normally get from Focus. do
With no load screens or fades to black, the demo led us past rocky cliffs and vine-covered tree branches across drops into the wilderness below. Feeling a little tarzan, these sections are easy to navigate thanks to the accurate tracking in the PSVR2 Sense controllers. Not once did we have to recalibrate ourselves; Nor did we need to think about inputs beyond the tutorial. It feels smooth and natural.
Combat plays out quite differently. Instead of having free movement, you’re locked onto a set path that circles around the enemy. Your view is locked to the machine, but from here you can dodge to either side. This is done by holding the X button on the right-hand Sense controller and then bringing it to your chest to move left. Then you start at your chest and move the pad outwards to dodge right. When you’re in the right position, you can start shooting arrows and targeting the same weak points from the main PS4 and PS5 titles. Beholders take extra damage from a hit to the Eye and Thunderjaws dislike breaking their weapons and turrets. This is all according to Zero Dawn and Forbidden West.
It will be interesting to see how the game handles encounters with multiple machines. We only ever fought an enemy on our own in the demo, so it was easy to manage the circular track placed in the middle along our fighter. If you must face more than one machine at once, we imagine that they are all placed in the center and you move around and dodge them all. It can get a bit overwhelming if you’re having to switch between two or three paths at once, compensating for attacks from multiple angles.
In between climbing and combat sequences, Mountain’s Horizon Call keeps you busy with cute little activities to take part in. The target practice tutorial basically turns into a collection, with spots to shoot down small baskets dotted along the main path. To the side, you can find a small cave with a paintbrush, with which you can create your own hieroglyphics. Nothing of significant consequence, but fun discoveries off the beaten path.
All of this makes for an opening sequence full of fun, exploration, and battle space. Of course, Horizon Call of the Mountain isn’t open world, but the gameplay loop from Aloy’s Tales is nicely adapted for a more linear adventure. You’ll still be fighting Horizon World’s impressive machines — the Talnex are especially amazing as they stomp right over your head — and climbing about the beautiful post-apocalyptic universe is as important as ever. Only a few short sequences are allowed to interact with other characters, but there was a level of quality to them that suggests they are on par with Forbidden Westerns.
As a result, it’s easy to see why Sony positioned Horizon Call of the Mountain as the premiere PSVR2 title, outside of the obvious fact that it’s developed in-house. With Horizon IP backing it, the new headset releases around the same time as Zero Dawn and Forbidden West with an immersive experience. After those two titles sold so well, Horizon Call of the Mountain is an exciting reason to continue the story on a new platform. The opening half hour suggests that it will deliver everything we know and love about the Horizon series, with even more interactivity and immersion. Now, it is of Reason to grab a PSVR2 pre-order.
PSVR2 releases on February 22, 2023, and you can sample All PSVR2 launch games Apart from the mountain’s horizon call via link. Will you buy the game? Let us know in the comments below.
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