Water is something that has always been difficult to get right in video games. Often found as one of the most complicated things to develop because of how many moving parts are needed, it's only really in the last few years that the look, feel and motion of water have started to come together in a realistic way.
Horizon Forbidden West does just that, and I'm completely obsessed with it. I don't know what kind of wizardry Guerrilla Games is pulling off but I've spent more time than anyone should staring at the waves coming in and out of the sandy beaches of Horizon. The level of detail is extraordinary! Why take on mechanical dinosaurs when you can sit back, relax and watch the calming motion of the water. I might have a problem.
No, seriously though. It's pretty stunning. As I wrote about in T3's Horizon Forbidden West review on PS5, the water gameplay didn't quite live up to the expectations I was hoping for. The graphical usage of the water on the other hand though takes full advantage of the next-gen console's capabilities. Just check out some of the screenshots I took during my playthrough:
Whether underwater or gazing upon it from a clifftop, the deep blues never failed to amaze me. It's also the little things, like the rhythmic nature of the waves rippling against the seashore, or how a lake would respond to Aloy stepping across it that takes this from pretty cool to a technical showpiece for the PS5.
While I often opt for performance over graphical graphic fidelity, I've been more inclined to stick to the latter going forward. The world of Horizon is gorgeous and should be appreciated all of its graphical glory – and did I mention the water? To make it look as pretty as possible, head to the settings menu where you can select between either 60fps in Performance Mode or 4K resolution in Quality Mode. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is also available for those TVs that support it.
I'm clearly not the only person that has been mesmerised by the water in Horizon Forbidden West. Already, several people across social media have been sharing their newfound admiration for the liquid.
SWEET JESUS!Look at that water! 😍#HorizonForbiddenWest pic.twitter.com/PZW9n4lU9qFebruary 15, 2022
Honestly mesmerised by the water in this game. How it continues to ripple when you exit. It's crazy.#HorizonForbiddenWest #PS5Share pic.twitter.com/Qwi4jdTRgMFebruary 17, 2022
Watching PlayStation Access's #HorizonForbiddenWest video and @rob_pearson86 is basically my spirit animal 😂Full video: https://t.co/MJzG5lYw08 pic.twitter.com/llY3jH1AhyFebruary 16, 2022
The leap from Demon's Souls on the PS3 to the PS5 marked how far the industry has come in over a decade. Ratchet & Clank then showed off the power of the console via its rift mechanics, instantly transporting the character to a new setting in the blink of an eye. But it's Horizon's incredibly detailed water that has impressed me the most.
Horizon Forbidden West is now available across PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. If you are curious whether the game is worth picking up, or if my obsession with the water has caught your interest, then make sure to read T3's Horizon Forbidden West review to find out what else is worth knowing.
We also have a beginners guide live as well on the 5 things to know before playing on PS5 to help get started on the right foot.