Horizon Call of the Mountain
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Horizon Call of the Mountain
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Horizon Call of the Mountain is a virtual reality (VR) action game for PlayStation 5 that requires the PlayStation VR2 headset and controllers. It's set in a far-future world in which tribal humans coexist with giant predatory machines. Players take on the role of Ryas, a criminal offered a full pardon if he agrees to investigate a new and unknown threat to the Sundom located on a nearby mountain. He appears legitimately interested in atoning for his past and providing specialized assistance via his excellent climbing and archery skills. Armed with weapons including a bow and arrows, a slingshot, and razor-edged discs, he fights machines ranging in size from kangaroos to towering dinosaurs. There's no blood or gore, but players do see humans grabbed and dragged away by machines, screaming as they go. Plus, viewed from a first-person perspective in virtual reality, the machines appear giant and can be quite frightening, especially when attacking. Ryas encounters a broad range of humans during his adventure, including men and women with varying skin tones, from light to dark brown. Players will encounter a small amount of mild profanity within spoken dialogue, with nothing stronger than the word "ass."
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What’s It About?
HORIZON CALL OF THE MOUNTAIN brings players back to the far future world of Horizon, where tribal humans live alongside terrifying animal-like machines while exploiting all the bells and whistles of Sony's PlayStation VR2 virtual reality platform. Players view the world through the eyes of Ryas, a member of the Shadow Carja who is under arrest for helping the group in its quest to overthrow the Sundom kingdom. He's given an opportunity to redeem himself by using his skills in climbing and archery to investigate a new menace upon a nearby mountain that could threaten the kingdom. Aided by a handful of side characters -- such as Aloy, the protagonist of the first two games in the the Horizon series -- Ryas makes his way up, around, and into the mountain, fighting snapjaws, watchers, thunderjaws, and other machines using weapons and tools that he acquires along the way. Players also spend a good deal of time exploring and investigating the world around them, climbing cliffs by using their hands to grab holds and picking up and examining objects to see if they're of any use or significance.
Is It Any Good?
If you play just one game using Sony's PlayStation VR2 technology, this should probably be it. Horizon Call of the Mountain isn't necessarily the most entertaining virtual reality game you'll encounter, but it does a fantastic job of allowing players to experience the full potential of the platform. It takes advantage of eye-tracking tech that assists players in aiming at what they're looking at, and uses advanced haptics in the controllers and headset to allow players to feel the weight of giant machines as they stomp the ground near them. Plus, virtually anything players encounter that isn't bolted down within the game can be touched and toyed with, from dolls and plates to boxes and plants. At one point, players can actually pick up a brush, dip it in dye, and then paint pictures freehand on a rock wall. Plus, the world looks fantastic, filled with detailed jungles that seem to breathe with life and detailed buildings and surfaces that you can touch with your hands. The sense of immersion here is deep.
As for the fun factor, it's definitely lower than the two traditional Horizon games, but it's still pretty enjoyable. Climbing is extremely intuitive -- players use their hands to reach out and grab holds in a manner akin to how they would in the real world -- but it can also grow a bit repetitive in situations where it goes on too long. Combat is often extremely intense, thanks in no small part to the scale of the machines viewed in VR, but also a little frustrating, since you can't move as quickly or freely in virtual reality as in a traditional game. It's also a little disappointing not to play as Aloy, the series' beloved protagonist, whose story tackles the fate of humanity rather than just an isolated threat to a community, but at least she pops up for a while. Horizon Call of the Mountain isn't a must-play for fans of the franchise, but it's still one of the best experiences available for Sony's second-generation virtual reality headset.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Horizon Call of the Mountain affected by the nature of the gameplay? Do virtual reality games like Horizon Call of the Mountain, with its immersive sense of presence, make violent scenes much more intense than in traditional games? Do you find that you flinch or react in physical ways while playing?
Is it possible to redeem oneself after committing a terrible crime? What is the meaning and nature of redemption?
- Platform: PlayStation 5
- Pricing structure: Paid ($59.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release date: February 22, 2023
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Robots
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
- Last updated: February 24, 2023
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