PlayStation VR 2 and Horizon Call of the Mountain are inseparably linked. Thanks to the technology found in the PSVR 2, the Guerrilla and Firesprite title is a virtual reality success, and the game best exhibits the PSVR 2‘s capabilities.
There is indeed a very high entry barrier to experiencing it all: you’ll need to have a PS5, buy the $550 headset, and then add the $60 game on top. But those who do will be rewarded with a game that is both a fun Horizon game on its own merits and an impressive technical showpiece.
The action of Call of the Mountain takes place in the same dynamic environment that Aloy frequently explores. However, the game’s protagonist is Ryas, a Shadow Carja member jailed for dubious behavior. To discover why the machine animals of Horizon’s worlds misbehave, Ryas is released from prison and embarks on a dangerous journey.
Horizon Call Of The Mountain Review
Ryas, a common narrative beat for a Horizon game, largely carry the story. Ryas’ brother vanished while working to solve this particular mystery, so he is interested in going above and beyond to assist those around him in understanding what’s happening, even if they treat him strangely.
We were surprised when we became attached to Ryas as a character since our primary interest in Call of the Mountain was how it used the new hardware. The game does a fantastic job of gradually delving into his backstory and demonstrating that there might have been more to his past than what is initially apparent.
He makes a competent tour guide as well. He will occasionally provide context and history to enliven the environment further as you scramble around towering structures, whether abandoned buildings or rusting metallic behemoths of old and travel to various locations around the globe. He isn’t the academic type, so much of what he says is from someone who has heard tales of battles or is familiar with elements of other cultures.
It strikes a nice balance between telling you things all the time and letting Ryas stand in for you. He also challenges some assumptions about things he has always been told or believed. As a member of the denigrated Shadow Carja, it’s interesting to see his incremental growth, even if it isn’t particularly profound.
Ryas may not be a well-educated man, but you can tell he’s capable when you have to climb walls and fight monsters. Ryas is a climber; as his occupation suggests, he is completely devoted to the sport.
This is done using the Sense controllers, which, as we mentioned in our review of the PSVR 2, are very capable input devices that include finger-tracking and all the buttons, triggers, and analog sticks you might need to interact with a game properly. Holding down the triggers and also physically trying to move your real arms to move your virtual character around in Call of the Mountain allows you to grip onto climbable edges. The game maps your real hands to the virtual ones.
There are many virtual reality climbing games; the gameplay mechanic is very well-known, and nothing in this game significantly advances it. Having said that, it’s done very well.
The PlayStation 5 as well as the PSVR 2 headset render the world around you with a fidelity compelling enough to instill a sense of tension and also quite peril as you move around. Also, the Sense controllers make the act of clambering feel tactile and satisfying.
The PSVR 2 headset and Sense controller generally maintained the same sense of being plugged into the outside world during other interactions. In Call of the Mountain, we chose to move the character by moving my arms up and down to simulate walking, which sounds and looks ridiculous but felt like a good compromise between directly controlling the character and teleporting instantly. The latter is an option, but we found it to be nauseating.
You may find the sweet spot by experimenting with the other options that let you change how your character moves and turns.
With the ability to move along a predetermined path on the battlefield, combat modifies the setup to be more linear. Usually, it’s just a massice circle around the arena. You’re either frantically trying to avoid a charging Thunderjaw or dodging the attacks of agile Watchers while trying to fire arrows into their eyes. Call of the Mountain is a perfect example of how well Horizon’s encounter design works, based on attacking weak points to strip metallic beasts of their armor as well as the mechanisms which allow them to make lethal attacks.
Most encounters involve a dance of dodging fireballs, gunfire, tail swipes, and claw strikes, identifying weak spots with your senses, and then unleashing a barrage of arrows to take them out. Even though using bow and arrow mechanics in a VR game is neither novel nor inventive, it is very well done. The ability to choose the best kind of arrow for the enemy you’re facing and then have the quickness to reach over your shoulder and pull it out while attempting to avoid damage requires some strategy.
The visuals, and consequently the immersive nature of playing Horizon Call of the Mountain, steal the show. Once more, the PS5 and PSVR 2 that the game is running on are working together to make this possible.
Being in the world of Call of the Mountain is an authentic thrill, whether we were up close inspecting the finer points of the tools we were making to help us on our journey or gazing in awe at a distant vista of lush trees, gushing waterfalls, and crumbled architecture reclaimed by nature. Call of the Mountain is no doubt one of the best VR games ever seen.
There is something impressive to see around every bend and ascent, whether it be the environment or the inhabitants of it. It’s simple to become engrossed in taking in the sights because it becomes even more impressive when the larger set pieces are involved.
As a result, Call of the Mountain checks off one of the many other VR game categories: the virtual travel experience. Call of the Mountain transports players to a world they are familiar with while allowing them to experience it with an unheard-of level of intimacy, which is nothing new.
The distinguishing feature of Call of the Mountain is its constant refrain of “familiar done well.” The game isn’t particularly ground-breaking or unexpected, so it is exactly what it appears to be: a well-made VR version of the Horizon series with attractive environments and good climbing and shooting mechanics. It more than accomplishes its goal of demonstrating what the PSVR 2 is capable of.
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