Horizon Zero Dawn’s release on PC is welcome, and it’s still a really good game, but as far as PC experiences go, for a lot of people right now it’s not exactly ideal.
I installed and fired the game up on the weekend, excited to see what the game looked like on my brand new PC (i7-9700, RTX 2070 Super, which was waaaaaaaay above the recommended specs). After a lengthy automatic configuration process it looked gorgeous, but it also ran like complete shit! I’m talking 20-30fps, with moments where the whole screen would just hang and stutter.
I’m always fairly forgiving of brand new games when this kind of thing happens, but this is a three-year-old PS4 game that had no kind of pressing release timeframe (like it having to come out on other systems at the same time) to adhere to. It was both a surprise and a disappointment to see it release in this state, especially since the other big PS4 port of the year, Death Stranding, had looked so good and ran so smoothly.
But that’s just me, and you can never say a PC game unequivocally “runs like shit” unless the same is true for lots of people. Which…it is. Digital Foundry’s review is critical, calling it a “disappointing port”, and you don’t have to travel far on reddits or forums to find people complaining about the game’s bugs and poor performance.
What’s odd about it though is that things aren’t bad across the board. Certain hardware configurations are running beautifully, while other, more powerful systems could be struggling.
I’ve seen mention of a memory leak being present during the initial automatic configuration process, and that rebooting the game once this is done can help fix some of the issues. I have noticed on subsequent sessions that performance was slightly improved, especially in cutscenes, but it’s still nowhere near what I’d be expecting.
Hopefully things won’t stay like this for long. An update on the game’s Steam page says the team “are aware that some players have been experiencing crashes and other technical issues”, and that investigating the cause of all these hiccups is their “highest priority.”