Travel beyond the Forbidden West as Aloy’s story continues. Encounter new machines and a compelling new story. South of the Tenakth Clan Lands, millennia of volcanic eruptions and violent seismic activity have carved the ruins of Los Angeles into a treacherous archipelago. Experience the next chapter of Horizon Forbidden West as Aloy pursues a sinister new threat to the planet, hidden among these dangerous, untamed wilds.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Also available for: N/A
Cast: Ashly Burch, Kylie Liya Page, Lance Reddick, Sam Witwer
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Game Director: Mathijs de Jonge
Narrative Director: Ben McCaw
Art Director: Misja Bass
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores isn’t an extra chapter with no meat on the bone. This expansion picks up right where the core game finishes, wraps up a few loose threads and continues to tease where the narrative will head in the inevitable third game. You can only play this DLC if you’ve beaten the last story mission in the core game, and with that said…
NOTE: This review assumes you’ve beaten Horizon Forbidden West and will contain spoilers for the base game.
With a world eater named ‘Nemesis’ headed towards Earth at the end of Horizon Forbidden West, I was worried the core missions in Burning Shores would feel too much like you’re wasting time. However, I was proven wrong as Aloy heads to Los Angeles to track down the one remaining Far Zenith member, Walter Londra.
Los Angeles has been split into a mixture of small islands, one core land mass with plenty of water areas to explore and lava melting out from under the Hollywood sign itself. This makes for some unique locations to explore. Because this picks up at the end of the core campaign, the DLC has been designed with all the end-game abilities in mind, meaning there’s a lot of flying around, with plenty of secret areas to discover from your mount. A new ‘Waterwing’ mount is unlockable that can fly and dive into the, which made me feel like I was playing an Avatar: The Way of Water video game.
Without getting into specifics, Walter Londra makes for a juicy villain that stands out from the rest of the Far Zeniths, thanks to some specific tactics and personality traits. And if you’re wondering why this DLC is only available on PS5 and not PS4 — as much as developer Guerrilla Games has stated its fluffy cloud technology — I’d look no further than the final boss battle in Burning Shores, which is easily the biggest fight Aloy has had to date in this series so far.
Don’t expect too much when it comes to expanding the background information on the incoming Nemesis threat or the history of the Far Zeniths. There’s enough here to settle your taste buds for Horizon content for a bit longer before we’re all back to asking when we’ll get the first teaser trailer for the Untitled Third Horizon Game.
At the heart of this expansion is Aloy’s relationship with the new character Seyka, a Quen warrior who joins Aloy on all of the core story missions during Burning Shores. As soon as Aloy arrives in LA, she begins to see a lot of herself in Seyka; she is a capable, intelligent warrior and is seen as an outsider within her Quen. It may help that Seyka already has a Focus. Unlike most characters she befriends in the first two games, she doesn’t have to play dumb when explaining the world to her or have a significant moment when she first gives her a Focus that plays out like every companion entering the TARDIS for the first time. You can tell that the team at Guerrilla Games hopes for Seyka to be an essential character in the next game, and I do like her, but she doesn’t get enough time in this relatively short expansion to become as crucial to Aloy at the end of this story as she does.
It took me about four to five hours to beat the story missions in Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores. That was with a little messing between missions to do a couple of side missions and gather some materials to upgrade a new piece of gear you obtain during the story. There’s enough here that I can see a 100% completion of Burning Shores taking around eight or ten hours, which feels solid considering the price and the fact you must beat the main game first. Some of the side content is collecting fodder, while my favourite side mission saw the return of a fun character from the Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds DLC.
If you enjoyed your time with Horizon Forbidden West, you’ll want to play Burning Shores. It’s the next chapter in the Horizon story, a stepping stone towards the next game while also giving you an excuse to fly, dive, and glide around this beautiful world once again.