Call of the Mountain is meant to be the PlayStation VR2’s showcase piece, and in a few key ways, it serves exactly as well. Shooting an arrow with a bow feels great in VR, and getting the chance to see the world of Horizon from a novel perspective can be exhilarating. Call of the Mountain’s primary gameplay, however, struggles to find fun on a basic level that ultimately sours the larger experience.
Call of the Mountain has a perfect cameo from Aloy to remind you that you’re in her world, but the game follows Rias, a former Shadow Karja who needs to receive forgiveness for her crimes. is provided with a rare opportunity, while he tackles what could be a suicide mission. Call of the Mountain’s story focuses on a small cast of characters with family and political histories, and watching those relationships pit against each other is the most interesting part of the story. There’s a big bad, but they reveal themselves surprisingly late – too late to inspire any passion in the face of them.
To succeed in his mission, Rias relies on two vital skills: he’s great with a bow and arrow, and he’s one hell of a climber. That latter skill makes up the majority of the game and, unfortunately, is an element I didn’t enjoy. Getting Rias’ arms to move her up a cliff face or climbing a rope rarely ended in failure, but it meant that the majority of my time consisted of the motions of a cat scratching a wall while my face Was inches away from a cliff. It’s not fun to perform, even if it works.
Equipment unlocked during the game, such as the ability to zipline under specific conditions or to toss a rope above your head, add some variety, but it never quite manages to overcome how uncomfortable basic climbing is.
On the other hand, combat can be thrilling, and it doesn’t take long to feel like an expert marksman. Robot battles take place in specific areas and vary your abilities. Rias circles her opponents in a circle and can do a quick dodge to avoid attacks, and it all feels fast and fluid. As in the core Horizon games, knocking out specific armor elements deals higher damage, though it functions more like a bonus here than a core mechanic. I particularly enjoyed the one-on-one battles against the large robots, which required a bit more strategy than just aiming for the right squares, such as setting off large explosives at the right time.
I doubt that Call of the Mountain does much to aid your aim, but I fully welcome it. It’s always rewarding to blast Stormbirds out of the sky with a well-placed shot or hit an alternate target that feels like a mile away.
Ryas is also a bit of a tinkerer and has to put together his own different types of ammo as well as new tools that are unlocked over the course of the game. Attaching arrowheads and explosive canisters to arrows or wrapping a piece of rope around a new device is a short but enjoyable action to perform in VR.
The other great success of Call of the Mountain comes from the simple act of looking around. The world of Horizon, with its abandoned technology that transcends nature aesthetics, is wonderful to behold. There are plenty of opportunities to see something cool in the distance, and I often take the chance to do so – unless I was climbing. Then I couldn’t get through the section fast enough and would speed towards my destination.
Horizon Call of the Mountain is a nice showcase piece for the PlayStation VR2. This is the game to use if you want to show off your new technology to friends and family. There’s also an unlockable mode true to this, which is an idle trip on a canoe through a robot-infested jungle. What holds the game back tremendously, however, is Call of the Mountain’s over-reliance on climbing. Smaller parts of the game, fighting robots, creating items, and looking around, are the highlights. There’s no pulling yourself up a mountain, and this is where you spend most of the roughly six-hour experience.