Horizon Call of the Mountain Review: Reaching New Heights

For a long time I’ve found VR gaming to be a sum of compromises. They’re usually good looking but not great, and they control well enough and have a flimsy storyline that’s at least an excuse to experience the scenario you’re playing. But horizon call of the mountain is different. It manages to succeed on so many levels and feels like a polished title that new VR hardware likes PSVR2 needs.

The post-post-apocalyptic world of horizon is a fascinating mix. Society has collapsed and nature has taken back control. The remaining humans battle each other, as does a seemingly endless supply of Tyrannosaurus-style machines, massive crocodiles, pteranodons, and more.

The world is beautifully realized. A bright green canvas of trees gives way to craggy, rigid peaks. Distant views are shown in detail. PSVR 2’s HDR OLED headset renders everything in stunning detail. Picking up objects to examine up close is a great example of the device’s excellent motion tracking, and I enjoyed throwing plates like Frisbees or trying to get a wicker basket on my head, even if the Novelty quickly wears off.

Character models also look really good and the art style isn’t strictly photorealistic, which was the right choice for Guerrilla Games and Firesprite. Conversations with NPCs are lifelike as everyone turns to face the speaker and the characters look just lively enough to avoid the eerie valley.

The fact that you don’t see the protagonist Rhys as you play helps avoid some of the cultural backlash horizon draws, although it would be nice if he had either full gloves or customizable skin tones to really put you in the character.

Screenshot from Gameskiny

Fighting and hunting are the focus of the mainline horizon series, but call of the mountain takes a different approach. As Rhys, a Shadow Carja and skilled mountaineer captured by the Sun Realm, you scale peaks to complete objectives and free yourself from your captors.

Free climbing mountains and other structures is the main focus of the gameplay. The PSVR 2 Sense controllers act as your hands as you reach for various holds such as ropes, cracks, and ridges. There’s some movement on flat surfaces, with a few different options and settings to avoid motion sickness, but most of the time you’ll spend your feet dangling and your life at your fingertips.

It’s very intuitive. The ability to see your hands grabbing, dangling, and climbing combined with excellent motion tracking make it a reliable experience. Grab handles are clearly marked with white paint or chalk. Bending around corners and finding holds feels authentic, and as someone with longer-than-average arms, it was fun to see how far I could stretch and reach – or even jump when time called for it.

The way call of the mountain uses haptic feedback is also extremely impressive. Small vibrations in the controllers give a sense of texture. Grabbing and sliding on a rope feels significantly different than digging your pickaxes into a rock surface. I was surprised when I put my hand in water at the beginning of the game and felt it Flow of the water and I was blown away as I instinctively reached up to sweep away a vine and it felt like I was making contact.

Screenshot from Gameskiny

Other aids are also available to you during the climbing, such as: B. a pair of climbing axes or zip lines. Some of the lookouts offer stunning views as you climb around, and the sound of the wind as you fall is heartbreaking. It can be tiring over long distances, which is a bit of an accessibility issue, but as a typical 30-year-old, I found the burn to be part of the immersion, so results can vary.

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There are some fights call of the mountain, mainly with bow and arrow. This relies on you being ready and aiming with one controller while notching and drawing an arrow with the other. It feels natural and precise like rock climbing. Every time I missed a shot, it felt like the mistake was on my part.

Switching between the bow and other devices is done through a menu available on either hand. It makes conceptual sense, but looking at your hands while dodging a charging robot or hanging from a cliff or mountain seems like a terrible idea in real life. Solid eye-tracking means it’s easy to make choices, although motion-based actions like jumping are a bit back-and-forth at times.

A few quick dodges will keep you out of the way, though combat is generally pretty easy – maybe a little too easy. However, the sheer spectacle of combat, like that against a Thunderjaw, makes them exciting.

Screenshot from Gameskiny

Some crafting sections break up the action and are mostly well handled. It took me longer to assemble my climbing axes than I would have liked. The pieces snap together nicely, but wrapping a string around a non-physical object was surprisingly difficult to pantomime. It’s a decent implementation of a decent idea, but feels more gimmicky than immersive.

The total running time for horizon call of the mountain is not exceptionally long and I finished somewhere around the 5 hour mark. It’s hard to say whether that’s a good thing. VR fatigue is something to consider, and while I was hoping to spend more time playing Sony’s flagship VR title, the length seems reasonable. There’s some replayability to finding and shooting each target or snagging each collectible, but it was hard to feel motivated without a compelling reward for finding things.

There are a few additional modes if you want to see more too. A safari option takes you on a canoe ride through the jungle, with multiple encounters with mechanical beasts. A challenge mode lets you put your climbing and archery skills to the test. Neither are particularly deep, but both are worth experiencing at least once.

Horizon Call of the Mountain Review – The Verdict

Image via Sony


  • Beautiful VR rendition of the Horizon world.
  • Solid and intuitive climbing controls.
  • Great use of haptic feedback.
  • Huge robotic dinosaurs up close!


  • Combat is limited and underdeveloped.
  • Climbing motion fatigue might be difficult for some users.
  • Crafting system can be a little frustrating.

horizon call of the mountain is a really good VR experience. It looks great, is easy to control and the free climbing concept is well implemented. It’s a nice adaptation of horizon world in VR. It’s a shame the experience isn’t a tad meatier; it would have done particularly well with a more polished combat system.

Still, the fact that I didn’t want to stop playing, even when my arms started to hurt, is a sure sign that this is a fun experience. It might not be a must-have system seller, but anyone investing in a PSVR 2 should have it horizon call of the mountain a playthrough.

[Note: The reviewer purchased the copy of Horizon Call of the Mountain used for this review. Featured image via GameSkinny.]

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