Horizon Zero Dawn Looks Unnaturally Good Because Of 'Hyper-Realism'

Horizon Zero Dawn is a beautiful game. Sometimes, it seems too beautiful. Here’s how the developers achieved such an uncannily gorgeous look.

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-Mezzo-508d ago

I absolutely love this game and find it to be extremely beautiful and Detailed.

Though, I've been playing it on my PS4PRO and LG 65" 4K HDR TV and i fail to see any huge difference between 4K and the regular 1080P TV I've got in my Bedroom.

Cmv38508d ago

I don't have a 4k tv. But i think my 46 in Samsung looks way better than my 60 in Panasonic. So i have the worse ability to spot the difference. I say that to say, horizon looks damn good. And not just cut scene, every aspect of this game is gorgeous. And the varied environments... wow.

indysurfn507d ago

Try doing what I did (by accident) turn HDR off (usually you can just change HDR ports because most HDMI ports are not HDR port's most HDR TV's only have one). I did see a big difference. But friends that only have 1080p say it is the best looking game ever. And a couple of them are NOW because of Horizon looking for HDR tv sets.

joab777508d ago

I noticed a difference but only up close. Game is stunning!

Ceaser9857361508d ago (Edited 508d ago )

Well i have noticed the difference... and please do look carefully you gonna notice few details on the HDR screenshot which were missing from without HDR screen..


Without HDR

Electric_Sheep508d ago

This. I was amazed when I turned HDR off, the picture looked a little washed out. HDR makes it look even more beautiful.

REDGUM507d ago

If these two images are identical and the only difference is 4k & HDR turned on in one and 1080p in the other then I can tell the difference. It makes the individual things, meaning everything, rocks, plants, horse, sky, foliage etc, etc pop! It/ they stand out that much more to give a greater depth of field. Kind'a like 3D does, sort of, actually that's a bad example but I think you know what I mean!

TheKingKratos507d ago (Edited 507d ago )

Like i said before this (chekerborading/upscaling to 4k or what ever it called) is no where near as good as HDR
that's the real deal this gen

and i'm glad that base ps4 support it
game look flipping amazing with HDR it's like a different game imo

indysurfn507d ago

Unless they click that on a HDR tv they will see no HDR screen right?

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Maxor508d ago (Edited 508d ago )

You must not have HDR or your LG's HDR sucks. The resolution don't matter much because it's fake 4K but the HDR should immediately pop out at you if you set it up right. In general, I found that most console gamers are completely ignorant about tech so this doesn't surprise me one bit. For example, my neighbor invited me to show off new Pro which he boasted about how awesome the graphics and HDR looks. When I got there I found that he wasn't playing with game mode on and the "UHD color" option on his Samsung wasn't even enabled so HDR was never turned on.

-Mezzo-508d ago

My HDR is 100% enabled, My TV is good as it gets in Tech right now.

Maybe it's just me.

nX508d ago

^It doesn't matter what your TV is capable of if you can't set it up properly.

cd1508d ago

Many other console gamers know a great deal about tech and infact work in IT support - like me. The PCMR simpletons believe putting a PC together means they are experts, eemmm no - just enthuiastic amateurs that probably flip burgers for a living :)

Allsystemgamer508d ago

How do you not notice? you need glasses?

kevnb508d ago

Set your ps4 to 1080p using the 4k tv, comparing to another tv introduces other variables.

Cryptcuzz508d ago

I got the PS4 pro first, while I waited for the TV I wanted next (Samsung KS8000) to be on sale during the Holidays last year. So I've been playing on the Pro with a pretty capable Sony 1080P TV (KDL-55W900A) during that time. Noticed the difference the Pro provided over the original PS4 (most notable is decreased in aliasing, sharper image, etc.) and appreciated that.

When I finally got the TV I wanted and set up the TV properly for 4K HDR, with help from Neogaf and AVS forums, the picture difference is huge!

Picture clarity difference is immense. A whole new layer of depth to the whole image and brought the immersion to another level.

Even non-HDR games on the Pro, with a 4K TV is a big difference too. Having played Tomb Raider prior to and after purchasing a 4K TV, switching the in-game settings in favoring resolution or frame rate is night and day for me.

cd1508d ago (Edited 508d ago )

BF1 looks so much better on Pro too, no HDR there either.

Cryptcuzz507d ago

@ cd1

I do not have that game, but from what I've read and seen on YT, that game looks insanely good on the Pro with 4K. It even has faster more stable FPS in multiplayer too.

cd1507d ago

Yep it holds its frames better on Pro (not that i found it particularly choppy on original PS4 anyway) but yes the difference in rez is immediately noticeable. I guess somebody has taken offence to my findings, they really should try to have some experience with the subject matter before negging.

medman508d ago (Edited 508d ago )

It's likely that the distance you sit from your screen means you're not going to see a big difference as to see any difference you would need a 1. larger screen size or 2. sit about 6-7 feet from a 65 inch screen. Also, with my screens, the difference I notice most is HDR and lighting, not so much the resolution, and I sit close to screens 65 inches and up to considerably larger projection screens.

Horizon Zero Dawn for me is a beautiful game on either ps4 or ps4 pro...the differences between the checkerboard pro and the ps4 are minor, but they are noticeable and they are there, it's just if you're not looking at the two images side by side, you're missing a lot of that detail because it isn't as if the ps4 version is a slouch, it's just the pro version is more refined and offers more detail in the environment, and better lighting effects and brightness with HDR.

-Mezzo-507d ago

That could really be it. I'm gonna try using you suggestion and hopefully find that to be the problem.

Finally someone with a helpful comment rather just attacks. Thank you.

Cryptcuzz507d ago

Double check if your settings are optimal to take advantage of the extra hardware.

1) Make sure resolution when connected to your 4K HDR TV is 2160p-RGB.
It will result to YUV-422 when playing an HDR game. That will provide the best quality picture.

2) Make sure RGB range is correct on both PS4 pro and 4K HDR TV (Correct matches are Full/Normal or Limited/Low)
So if PS4 is set to RGB Range Full, set the TV equivalent to Normal. PS4 Pro Limited, TV to low, etc.

3) Make sure HDMI UHD Color is enable for the HDMI port PS4 Pro is connected to.
Some 4K HDR TV may have the name slightly different, but find the equivalent settings and make sure it is on.

Note: All naming I have used is coming from experience with the KS8000. Other TV's/brands may be slightly different.

4) Some 4K HDR TV's can only support HDMI UHD Color for proper HDR and to be able to support 2160P with HDCP 2.2 on a specific HDMI port.

So double check whether that is the case with your TV and make sure the Pro is connected to that port with the setting enabled accordingly.

5) Despite what others may say and down to personal preference, but I strongly suggest trying out Dynamic Contrast to at least medium on HDR games. Some simply have Dynamic Contrast on off, due to over saturation mainly for movies, etc. I think for video games is different and should have it turned on for HDR games IMHO.

I personally have it on for HDR games on high Dynamic Contrast and then lowering down Contrast to 90-95 so details are not lost on super bright scenes. Without it, the KS8000 with HDR games has a "gray filter" of sorts over the image and I can see why it would not be a big enough difference. May be the same for your TV?

6) Ensure backlight settings are set to max on TV. Smart LED equivalent is also set to High.
If your TV is anything like the KS8000, if backlight settings are not already on maxed, you'll have to manually do so on HDR content (minor set-back that has not been fixed by Samsung yet) as it does not save that setting for HDR content when using Game Mode.

All that is worth checking out at least, as it only take a moment to do so. I would be mad if I spent serious dough on hardware like a 4K HDR TV and not be able to notice a big difference from much higher resolution with an exponential increase in color/contrast and HDR, compared to a 1080P TV.

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Nyxus508d ago

"But it was not a matter of turning the beauty to 11. It was a matter of removing anything less than a 9.5 on the epic nature scale."

And it shows. 30+ hours into the game and I'm still amazed by the visuals. Especially for an open world game it looks unbelievable. And I'm not even playing on a PS4 Pro.

SCW1982508d ago

How they got this to look as stunning as Uncharted 4 and also be open world is mind blowing. Granted there are little areas where Uncharted trumps it but overall this is the most gorgeous and varied looking open world game I have had the pleasure of experiencing. This is coming from someone who has Witcher 3 maxed out on PC at 60fps in 1440P.

Nyxus508d ago

Yes and the amazing thing is that it's still running smoother than any other open world game I've played (on console).

Bathyj508d ago

The framerate is one of the most impressive and least talked about things in the game. It never misses a beat. I dont think Ive seen it noticeably dip, even when I was in the middle of a 3 way fight between me and my overridden Trampler, 6 other tramplers and a Thunderjaw. As you can imagine there a $h*t ton going on in a fight like that. Shards and disks flying everywhere. It still stays rock solid. Maybe on PS4 Vanilla it dips I dont know but I couldnt be happier with how this game looks, runs, and plays.

Now give us an arena mode where we can drop whatever combination of animals we like in it so we can really test our skills and really stress the engine.

DarXyde508d ago


At a point near the endgame, the frame rate takes a slight hit. Far from game breaking in any sense of the term, but it happened and did catch my attention, if only to say, "hm, first time for everything, I guess ".

Beyond that, if it ever drops below 30fps, I never noticed.

mogwaii508d ago

Ah it doesnt look as stunning as uncharted 4 in an open world, in spots it looks amazing but there is a hell of alot of effects left out and a lot of fog covering draw distance.
It is impossible for a game to look as good as uncharted 4 in an open world at this stage.

UltraNova508d ago

Decima engine is perhaps the best in the industry right now. Only Frostbite can rival it but only at DICE's hands.

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UCForce508d ago

The Story is very interesting to be honest. I won't spoil you, but it does make scenes now.

Inzo508d ago

Yip, this game is gorgeous, 36 hours in to it and I am still awe of it, evident by the amount of time I spend in photo mode.

indysurfn507d ago (Edited 507d ago )

@Nyxus 30+ hours into the game and I'm still amazed by the visuals...... 47 Hours here and I second that!

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UCForce508d ago

The best and most beautiful game ever on PS4 console.

rezzah508d ago

I got some games to complete before starting it, but are you saying it even surpasses Uncharted 4 graphically?

BrettAwesome508d ago

It might not surpass uncharted, but it is absolutely on par! It's simply incredibly good looking! It really does set a new standard for, not only console games, but games in general

Dragonscale507d ago

Subjective. The graphics are amazing but personally Bloodborne is still the best game. Horizon is really great but Bloodborne wins it for me.

HollowKnight507d ago

Zelda looks like a pixel art game compared to Horizon Zero Dawn.

Adexus508d ago

Was never off photo mode when I played through on the Pro, got 100% and the Platinum trophy which I very rarely go far!

Bathyj508d ago (Edited 508d ago )

Sony should implement a native definition gif capture, and then let us make animated wallpapers with them.

Id love to see them unhook the camera from the player in the photomode. It should be totally free roam. You would get some amazing pics.

Id also like to toggle the whether the way you do time of day. Id love to see a few less clouds at night and really see those stars. Maybe a Moon that wasnt always full. I know, Im just nit picking, but they could do all this, they just need to think of it.

ClayRules2012508d ago

All good ideas. I'd love to see Guerrilla patch that stuff on. I like the freedom of the camera in this game, compared to U4. I want total control, which might be asking for too much. Idk lol.

MagicBeanz508d ago

How could it ever be "too beautiful"?

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