Best Horizon games ranked — from Zero Dawn to the Forbidden West DLC

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Starting with Horizon Zero Dawn on the PS4 and now at Horizon Forbidden West's DLC Burning Shores on PS5 — let's rank the Horizon games from worst to best.

The Horizon series has rapidly developed into Sony's latest gangbuster series, with Guerrilla Games of PlayStation Studios having made five entries already having only begun on PS4. Now, in the PS5 era, we have plenty to choose from in the open-world RPG — so let's rank the Horizon games from worst to best including all the expansions.

Best Horizon games ranked to the worstEvery Horizon game and expansion ranked from worst to best.


Kes' guide to the Horizon ranking

This list is made up of five entries, from the first wonderings of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn of the PS4 generation, to PSVR2's Horizon Call of the Mountain by Firesprite, to PS5's showstopping Horizon Forbidden West, as well as the two major expansions Frozen Wilds and Burning Shores. The games and expansions (which we deemed significant enough to warrant inclusion here) have been ranked from worst to best based on the strength of the stories, gameplay, and what they offered the series thus far as a whole.

The world of Horizon is about to expand significantly with Horizon 3, a multiplayer Horizon game, and a rumored MMO title — so be prepared for this ranking to expand and grow in the future. This is only my opinion, so do feel free to get in the comments and let us know how you'd rank the series.

Horizon Burning Shores introduces SekyaHorizon Burning Shores introduces Sekya

5. Horizon Burning Shores

We most certainly loved our time playing Horizon Forbidden West's expansion during our Horizon Burning Shores review, eventually giving it a 7/10. Though while it retains the core gameplay loop of shooting a variety of bows and tripwires in amazing combat encounters with massive metal creatures, we can't help but feel a sense that this expansion was just too shallow.

The writing is often too poor to elicit an emotional resonance and there just isn't enough to do. That is odd, considering it acts as a Horizon 2.5 of sorts by setting up personal stakes for the next game with the wonderful new Quen warrior Sekya and a few important details. We just can't place this anywhere other than last, however — even if it is one of the most graphically impressive games we have ever seen running on PS5.

PS VR2 games have struggled to gain traction in the most played chartsPS VR2's Horizon Call of the Mountain is a great PSVR2 showcase, but it might not be the best game

4. Horizon Call of the Mountain

As a showcase for what PSVR2 can do, there is no doubt that as soon as you stick on the wonderful piece of hardware you'll love earning those Horizon Call of the Mountain trophies straight away. While this is a game that absolutely showcases the best assets of the kit with full in-world immersion, it suffers in the same way most showcase games do — a lack of precision.

The graphics pop and the colors burst directly into your eyes, making this a brighter and more enticing time than Horizon Burning Shores. However, the in-between bits stringing all the good bits together — narrative, character development, longevity, and addictive gameplay loops — just don't really jive. Climbing starts off as terrifying then eventually becomes filler, and while the story does pick up towards the end, developer Firesprite seems to know that you're just there to play in the first few hours and so they gently place the story to the side. However, this is a PSVR2 game that gets you excited to pick up and play it — a special attribute for a video game that you shouldn't sleep on. It just can't quite surpass the tightness of the games that follow on this list.

3. Horizon Frozen Wilds

Horizon Frozen Wilds is Horizon Zero Dawn's major expansion. Set in the snowy mountains while the Banuk tribes are coming to a religious apex of sorts thanks to some unsettling old-world AI activity, this DLC is totally segmented from the main game. That means it doesn't really feed Aloy's narrative arc at all and remains an insular 15-hour experience. However, what a 15-hour experience it is! It takes the best of the combat and platforming from the main game and gives you the finest scenarios Guerrilla Games have yet come up with. It is simply gorgeous too, with snow crunching underfoot with a glorious, satisfying crispness.

The story, though insular, is tight-knit and has some of the best-written scenes of the series thus far, making the side arc have genuine narrative weight despite being so separated from the main experience. It's also much harder than the main game and many of the side stories are really good fun. The story is let down a little bit in the latter stages as the reveal turns out to be the same one as every other reveal in the base game. However, overall, it's arguably the most underrated of the Horizon games on here. In third it goes as a prime bit of Horizon content!

Aloy oversees development on a new Horizon Zero Dawn for PS5Aloy oversees Horizon Zero Dawn's world for PS4

2. Horizon Zero Dawn

Our Horizon Zero Dawn review was glowing at the time as we gave the game a 10/10. What a splendid job the open-world active adventure with RPG leanings did at introducing us to the post-post apocalypse with Aloy, Rost, and company. It nailed the combat, selling us on fighting magnificently creative enemy robots with a bow and arrow the first time around, and the game treated us to a uniquely identifiable world to build a new IP. From that concept, the lore bulks out a world devastated by capitalist greed and unsafe technological advancement that has only just recovered in tribal form. Heroine Aloy in this first game is not exactly charming, but she takes no backchat and utterly destroys her opponents with reason and practicality — a lovely and refreshing way to write a protagonist.

It helps that actress Ashley Birch really gives Aloy life with a fantastic performance, especially when played against the late Lance Reddick as the mysterious Sylens. Collecting Horizon Zero Dawn trophies while powering through the main story compels you forward despite occasionally mediocre platforming and some heinous HUD, but this truly is the best version of the traditional style of open-world gaming the PS4 could offer (and still one of the prettiest). Horizon Zero Dawn is an unbelievable game from Guerrilla Games — the makers of FPS series Killzone — and this first effort builds an IP that has and will continue to define PlayStation.

1. Horizon Forbidden West

Has there ever been a prettier adventure to voyage through than collecting those Horizon Forbidden West trophies? Guerrilla Games' sequel to 2017's Zero Dawn somehow upped the ante big time on PS5 and PS4, but especially on the newer hardware. In our Horizon Forbidden West review we lavished the game with praise, especially the more detailed world and the longer and more complete story. Some of the side arcs here are better than ever, with plenty of variety over the course of 60 hours. Aloy herself is perhaps not as endearing as she feels by the end of Zero Dawn by the start of this game, but she gradually grows into a leader by the end and is all the better for it. On top of that, Guerrilla goes full sci-fi here. It doesn't always pay off compared to the more enticing arc about the terraforming on Earth malfunctioning, but the Far Zenith make for compelling and unique villains.

Then you have the world and the combat. These are where Horizon as a series shines brightest and, as its place at the top of our ranking will tell you, Horizon Forbidden West does both of these things best. The world is one of the prettiest ever gifted to videogamedom, bringing stellar art direction and wonderfully diverse locations to life. From snow to deserts, to underwater sections and estuaries on the sea — it's just extraordinary. On top of that, combat packs in more variety of enemy machines and more technical moves for Aloy. Metal robots look and sound scary as all Oseram-delving hell, and that creates ergonomic combat scenarios where all you want to do is survive the encounter, delivering tremendous tension and satisfaction.

horizon forbidden westHorizon Forbidden West

As ever on TrueTrophies, we try to be fair about even the best games. Horizon Forbidden West really is the best Ubisoft-style checkmark collectathon there is, but when PS5 and PS4 have both seen Red Dead Redemption 2 and Elden Ring tear apart notions of what an open-world needs to do to be appealing to players, Forbidden West feels old hat at times. Then you have smaller problems like the messy HUD and half the lore of this fascinating world being hidden in menus, along with some quite mundane climbing. But I feel the need to repeat this: those are just nitpicks for what is one of the best PS5 games.

If you want a fantastic story with an unreasonably gorgeous open world, you are sorted. If you want deep lore and a weird sci-fi story full of twists and turns, you are sorted. If you want combat against giant terraforming machines that will blow you away, then you are sorted. What more could you ask for from Horizon Forbidden West? It is the definitive Horizon experience right now!

What do you think of our ranking? This is just our opinion, so make sure you get in the comments to let us know what you think of the series and what your personal ranking is! We will see you there!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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