Horizon Forbidden West tech breakdown reveals a big PS5 upgrade on Zero Dawn but a scaled back PS4 version

Screenshots from Horizon Forbidden West running on PS5
(Image credit: Sony)

Horizon Forbidden West's performance on PS4 has been put under the microscope, and there are some drawbacks.

Tech connoisseurs Digital Foundry have analyzed how Horizon Forbidden West runs on PS5 compared to the PS4 version of the game. The outlet reports that virtually every aspect of the sequel is pared back on PS4 compared to PS5, and perhaps that's no surprise, considering the vast nature of Guerrilla's sequel.

Digital Foundry finds that "virtually every system" is toned down to alloy Horizon Forbidden West to run relatively smoothly on PS4. Geometric density, foliage rendering, draw distances, textures, and light density are all vastly reduced on the PS4 version of Forbidden West, the outlet reports.

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a great surprise considering a cross-gen game like Horizon Forbidden West actually runs well on the last-gen machine. Digital Foundry notes that while comparing the PS4 and PS5 versions of the sequel show the former's shortcomings, the PS4 version of Forbidden West is actually quite the improvement compared to 2017's Zero Dawn.

In all, Horizon Forbidden West sounds like a big step up from Guerrilla Games, both on the PS4 and PS5 side of things. While Digital Foundry warns that we should expect some foliage pop-in when quickly traversing around the vast open world, and a reduced frame rate of 30FPS on the PS4, in all this is an enjoyable open-world sequel no matter which platform you're playing on. Horizon Forbidden West launches later this week on Friday, February 18 for PS4 and PS5.

Check out our full Horizon Forbidden West review to see what we made of Aloy's sequel.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.