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Horizon Forbidden West patch makes the game less shiny and less broken

Horizon Forbidden West patch makes the game less shiny and less broken

Aloy stands in front of a tree in Horizon Forbidden West.

Screenshot: Sony/Kotaku

Developer Guerrilla Games has rolled out a massive patch for Forbidden Horizon West, claiming to solve over a dozen quests, plus a litany of minor hiccups. It also aims to make the game less shimmery. Those who have gone through the era of puddle unscathed should rejoice.

Forbidden Horizon Westreleased last month on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, is the sequel to the best open world game of 2017. Like its predecessor, you, as a young woman named Aloy, explore a 31st century post-apocalyptic America in search of an artificial intelligence program. Along the way, you use futuristic bows and arrows to hunt robots inspired by prehistoric beasts. He reigns.

Since launch, players have taken umbrage with the game’s flicker – essentially, that certain objects, wildlife in particular, feel like you’re looking at them through the glass wall of an aquarium. Players say it’s more noticeable in HorizonPerformance mode, which runs the game at a constant 60fps frame rate at the expense of visual fidelity. To the untrained eye, it can be hard to spot this sort of thing, especially when running for your life from a fire-breathing mech. But it is there, as evidenced by this exceptionally comprehensive overview from the folks at HDTV Test, which uses tech like waveform analysis to highlight some of gaming’s more esoteric visual issues. The entire video is well worth a watch, but the segment on the shimmer starts to around 1:45 a.m.:

Today’s patch isn’t the only time Guerrilla has addressed Horizon‘s noticeable shimmering issues. Just hours after the game launched, the developer pushed a fix to remedy. Apparently the improvements were not enough, as stated in fan videos over the past month. It’s unclear if the studio considers the shimmer issue to be fixed for good with this latest patch, and that will certainly depend on fan feedback. Sony representatives, Forbidden Horizon West‘s editor, did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Beyond the flicker, today’s update fixes issues with over a dozen buggy quests. I spent most of my time with west forbidden pre-release, before the day one patch was rolled out – and a ton of registered bugs fixed – so it’s not entirely fair for me to complain about all bugs, even game-breaking ones But here Kotaku‘s John Walker on “Kappa Cauldron”, one of the missions covered in today’s update, which he played just two days before the patch, would have saved him a lot of heartache and frustration:

While fighting the final boss of the Kappa Cauldron, a particularly huge and tricky battle, I confess that I slipped up and was killed. He should have charged me at the door to the final chamber. Instead, it charged me just outside the fabric of reality. And then I did the same on all previous cauldron autosaves. It was fun enough to swim through the underworld before plummeting to my death, but there was no way to go back and an hour of progress was lost.

Aloy is stuck in the underworld between fidelity and pixels in Horizon Forbidden West's Kappa Cauldron mission.

Screenshot: Sony/Kotaku

But perhaps the funniest line item is that Guerrilla has seemingly reduced the amount of time spent on loading screens. In a game that already has an option to slow down those screens because they go by so fast (at least on PS5). Priorities!