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Is Horizon Forbidden West free with PlayStation Plus?

Hey there! If you‘re a PS5 owner, you may be wondering: can I get Horizon Forbidden West for free through PlayStation Plus?

The short answer is – yes, absolutely! Sony recently added Horizon Forbidden West to the PlayStation Plus games catalog, so subscribers can download and play this huge PS5 exclusive as part of their membership.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about getting Horizon Forbidden West for free with your PlayStation Plus subscription.

PlayStation Plus gives you Horizon Forbidden West at no extra cost

First, let‘s quickly recap what PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) is. PS Plus is Sony‘s subscription service for PlayStation that offers:

  • Online multiplayer access
  • Free monthly games – 2 PS4 & 1 PS5 game
  • Exclusive discounts and deals
  • Cloud storage for saves

There are now 3 membership tiers:

  • Essential – $9.99 per month
  • Extra – $14.99 per month
  • Premium – $17.99 per month

The Extra and Premium tiers also give you access to a Netflix-style catalog of 400+ games to download and play as long as you‘re subscribed.

This catalog includes major first and third party PS4 & PS5 games…and as of February 21, 2023, it finally includes the hugely anticipated Horizon Forbidden West!

To summarize:

  • Horizon Forbidden West is now available in PlayStation Plus at no extra cost
  • You need an active Extra or Premium membership to get it
  • Simply download it from the PlayStation Plus games catalog

This is a really big deal, because Horizon Forbidden West only came out in February 2022. Sony rarely adds big first party games like this to the service so soon.

Getting access to one of the PS5‘s most visually stunning exclusives just a year after launch is an incredible value for PS Plus subscribers!

When did Horizon Forbidden West release on PlayStation Plus?

Horizon Forbidden West first became available to PlayStation Plus members on February 21, 2023.

This date lines up almost exactly with the 1 year anniversary of Forbidden West‘s initial PS4 and PS5 release on February 18, 2022.

Based on this timing, it seems the earliest Sony is willing to add its major first party games to PS Plus is around the 12 month mark after launch.

Some other examples:

  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales was added in November 2021, one year after its November 2020 launch.

  • Returnal joined PS Plus in March 2022, precisely one year after its April 2021 release.

So while you often have to wait a full year, you can expect big Sony exclusives to eventually make their way to PlayStation Plus.

This makes the service a great way to play these big releases without paying full price!

What other great games joined PS Plus in February 2023?

PlayStation Plus in February 2023 was one of the most stacked lineups ever thanks to Horizon Forbidden West. But it also introduced several other acclaimed games across different genres:

  • Scarlet Nexus – An action RPG from Bandai Namco with slick psychic powers combat.

  • Borderlands 3 – The zany looter shooter threequel packed with guns and humor.

  • Tekken 7 – The latest release in the beloved 3D fighting franchise.

  • The Legend of Dragoon – A classic turn-based JRPG from the original PlayStation, now playable on PS4/PS5.

  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – An exciting air combat simulator combined with melodramatic storytelling.

Between the huge open world adventure of Horizon Forbidden West and these other greats, the February 2023 PS Plus update gave subscribers an incredible variety of games to dive into.

How good is Horizon Forbidden West?

Now you may be wondering – is Horizon Forbidden West any good? Or is it just a big budget blockbuster without much substance?

Let me tell you: Horizon Forbidden West is absolutely phenomenal. It currently has an 89 critic score and 8.7 user score on Metacritic, putting it amongst the best reviewed PlayStation games ever made.

Here‘s a quick rundown of why critics and fans are loving Horizon Forbidden West:

  • The open world is utterly jaw-dropping. Vibrant jungles, snowy mountains, intricate ruins – there‘s immense variety and attention to detail. Some of the best visuals ever seen in a game.

  • Fighting the machine creatures is a blast. Every machine has unique weaknesses to exploit and challenging attack patterns to master.

  • Aloy remains one of gaming‘s most likable protagonists. Her voice acting and motion capture are superb.

  • Exploring the world and combing through side quests is addictively fun. There‘s so much content and freedom.

  • The story expands on the Horizon lore in cool ways, with plenty of intrigue about the old ones and new threats.

  • Major quality of life improvements over Horizon Zero Dawn make gameplay smoother.

  • Support for 60 FPS gameplay and stunning HDR visuals on PS5 truly bring the world to life.

Simply put, Guerrilla Games created something extraordinarily special with Horizon Forbidden West. Its addictive blend of exploration, combat, loot collecting, and mysteries to uncover make it one of PS5‘s absolute must-play exclusives.

And now thanks to PS Plus, you can experience this critical darling for free! Whether you‘re brand new to the Horizon series or loved the first game, Forbidden West is not to be missed.

How long is Horizon Forbidden West?

Alright, so Horizon Forbidden West sounds pretty amazing. But how long will it keep you busy?

The answer: for dozens and dozens of hours! Forbidden West is a massive open world adventure that can easily consume your free time.

Here‘s a quick overview of the game‘s length:

  • Main story: Around 30 hours just to complete the core story and side quest chains.

  • Completionist: If you try to 100% everything – all side activities, collecting all items, exploring every corner of the map – you‘re looking at 80-100 hours.

  • Average playthrough: Most players spend 45-55 hours finishing the main quests and indulging in some side content at a comfortable pace.

So even if you mainly focus on the story, you‘re still looking at a healthy 30 hour gameplay experience – and it just grows exponentially bigger if you want to fully "complete" everything. Quantity and quality in spades!

Having this huge world to dive into makes Horizon Forbidden West an amazing value as part of your PlayStation Plus subscription. It may be the only game you need to play for a good month or two!

How PlayStation Plus membership works

Now that you know Horizon Forbidden West is available for free with PS Plus Extra or Premium, you may be wondering about the signup process works. Let me quickly explain:

PlayStation Plus has 3 tiers:

  • Essential – $9.99 per month. Gives online multiplayer access, monthly games, exclusive discounts, cloud saves.

  • Extra – $14.99 per month. Contains all Essential benefits PLUS a catalog of 400+ PS4/PS5 games.

  • Premium – $17.99 per month. Has everything from Essential and Extra along with 340 more classic PS1/PS2/PSP games. Also offers game trials and cloud streaming.

To get Horizon Forbidden West, you need to subscribe to either Extra or Premium. The base Essential plan does NOT include the games catalog.

When you subscribe to PS Plus, it will auto-renew each month or year depending on your plan. You can turn off auto-renew at any time in your account settings.

Games you "purchase" through PS Plus remain accessible as long as you stay subscribed. If your membership lapses, you lose access until you resubscribe.

There are often great deals on 12 month PS Plus subscriptions during the holidays or at retailers like Amazon. So keep an eye out for discounts off the usual month-to-month pricing!

Titles leaving PlayStation Plus soon

With new games constantly cycling into PS Plus each month, some existing ones do leave the service. Here are some of the bigger PS4/PS5 games departing in March and April 2023:

Leaving PlayStation Plus in March 2023:

  • WWE 2K22
  • Ghost of a Tale
  • Monster Energy Supercross 5
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Leaving PlayStation Plus in April 2023:

  • Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Steins;Gate Elite
  • The Wonderful 101: Remastered
  • Zanki Zero: Last Beginning

So if you have interest in any of those titles, make sure to download them soon before they disappear from the catalog!

Horizon Forbidden West was just newly added in February, so you shouldn‘t have to worry about it leaving PlayStation Plus until at least February 2024. Still, the service is constantly evolving, so download any games that appeal to you ASAP.

Is PlayStation Plus worth the monthly fee?

With a recurring subscription fee, you may be on the fence about whether PlayStation Plus is really worth the money. Let me tell you: it absolutely is!

Here are some of the key benefits that make a PS Plus membership super valuable for PlayStation gamers:

  • Hundreds of games – Access to an ever-growing catalog of 400+ PS4/PS5 titles lets you play more games than you could ever afford to buy. Trying new genres and franchises becomes easy.

  • Multiplayer – Online play requires PS Plus for most games, so it‘s essential if you enjoy competing against or cooperating with others.

  • Free monthly games – You get 24 free games per year between the regular PS Plus monthly offers on PS4 and PS5. First party games usually come 6-12 months after release.

  • Member discounts – PlayStation Store sales offer bigger discounts for PS Plus members. This saves you money on games, DLC, and more.

  • Cloud saves – Safely backup your game progress in the cloud so you never lose hours of progress.

Let‘s do some simple math. The Extra tier runs $179.88 per year. Now let‘s say there are just 5 games you want to play from the PS Plus catalog at an average price of $40 each. That‘s $200 worth of games accessible for just a $179.88 annual fee! And that‘s before accounting for multiplayer access, free monthly games, discounts and everything else.

For avid gamers, PS Plus easily pays for itself many times over. It‘s one of the best deals in gaming!

Alternate cheap routes to play Horizon Forbidden West

While PlayStation Plus Extra/Premium is now clearly the best way to get Horizon Forbidden West at the lowest possible cost, there are a couple other cheap options worth mentioning:

  • Buy a used PS4 disc – Physical PS4 copies often sell for around $25-30 on sites like eBay. You can then pay $10 to digitally upgrade to the PS5 version.

  • Wait for a PS Store sale – Occasional digital sales drop the PS4 or PS5 versions to $39.99. Worth monitoring for deals during the holidays.

  • Purchase the PS4 edition – Buying the last-gen version first saves you $10 upfront. Still offers the $10 next-gen upgrade.

  • Buy then re-sell – If going physical, you can potentially recoup much of the cost by reselling the disc after completing the game.

  • Wait for a permanent price drop – Major first party PS5 games usually see a price cut to $49.99 down the road. Expect this in 2023 for Horizon Forbidden West.

So if you don‘t want an ongoing PS Plus subscription, those options provide some avenues to get Horizon at a discount off its $59.99-$69.99 regular pricing.

But again, PS Plus Extra or Premium will get you access immediately for as long as you‘re subscribed, which ends up being the better value in the long run.

Will Horizon Forbidden West get story DLC?

Horizon Forbidden West‘s ending definitely leaves the door open for more adventures in this world. So can we expect to see major story DLC expansions release down the road?


While not officially confirmed yet, Horizon Forbidden West DLC is heavily rumored and widely expected. Respected Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier stated DLC is in development.

This aligns with how Sony handled DLC for past exclusives like Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima – excellent post-launch expansions that continued the story.

Horizon Forbidden West has been both a critical and commercial success, so story DLC is clearly a smart move to provide fans more of what they love.

We‘ll probably hear an official announcement at some point in 2023. As a PS Plus subscriber, you‘ll likely get this DLC at no additional cost down the road! Just yet another benefit of the service.

Let‘s recap the key points:

  • Horizon Forbidden West is now included with PlayStation Plus at no extra charge – just need an active Extra or Premium membership.

  • This extremely rare for a big Sony exclusive only 1 year after launch. Provides incredible value.

  • Horizon Forbidden West is widely considered one of the PS5‘s absolute best games thanks to its gorgeous open world, thrilling combat, and mysteries to uncover. A must-play.

  • Completing everything can easily take 80-100 hours. Ideal for keeping PS Plus subscribers engaged for the long haul.

  • PlayStation Plus provides tremendous value with hundreds of games for a monthly fee comparable to the cost of 1-2 full price titles. Access Horizon and more for an affordable subscription cost.

  • Story DLC to expand the adventure is widely expected. As a PS Plus subscriber, you‘ll likely receive this DLC in the future at no additional cost.

In closing, Horizon Forbidden West with PlayStation Plus is a match made in heaven. You get immediate access to one of PlayStation‘s finest exclusives, with more content likely still to come.

As a PS5 owner, I‘d highly recommend jumping into PlayStation Plus Extra or Premium to experience Aloy‘s phenomenal post-apocalyptic adventure for yourself. The world of Horizon Forbidden West is simply too spectacular to miss out on. Happy gaming!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.