Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Review

By | May 8, 2023

It’s time to talk about the new DLC of one of Sony’s most popular IPs. The reason for this Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores. Let’s start by saying that the base game has been upgraded, from a cross-gen release at a technical discount, to the most beautiful game of 2022. Really, at this stage, there’s little Guerilla Games could do to better itself and apparently… mission accomplished. In this review, we’re assuming you’ve finished Horizon: Forbidden West, so there will be spoilers for its story (but no spoilers for Burning Shores). After all, the new content is a direct continuation of the main story and you can’t access it unless you finish the base game. In case you haven’t played Horizon Forbidden West, you can read our review by clicking here.

Let’s start with the basics. The development team’s choice to establish Burning Shores as a sequel to the story rather than a mid-story spin-off sets it apart from the rest of the series’ DLC, which usually feature a completely boring story preceding the ending. . The goal of Burning Shores is to enrich the world of Horizon with new story, new characters, new information, new weapons, and new ways for Aloy to turn the machines chasing her into cans. Burning Shores takes place in the ruins of Los Angeles. Still, if the ruins were so exquisitely beautiful in real life, we could go live in them. From the first moments of your arrival on the island of -now- Los Angeles, you will be breathless. The landscape is impressive, the sand, the water, the clouds, the sun, the reflections, the interaction of the water and the sand with Aloy’s clothes and in general… EVERYTHING comes to answer the question that you may have asked yourself Last year: After all, how beautiful can current-gen games get? Few titles could look Forbidden West in the eye anyway, after the patches it received from Guerilla, and now the graphics and technical side have rocketed to new heights. There are no words. It is worth visiting the “burning shores” just to take a screenshot at sunset and share it with your friends.

Together with the… graphic and color rectifier, now you can fly much higher, see farther, enjoy flying among the clouds and be amazed by the sun’s rays that escape where they can and cast shadows on the surfaces around you or colors especially realistic when they are in the clouds. Also worth noting is the underwater detail when diving with Aloy to explore. The DLC map is about 25% the size of the base map, while the areas you have to explore are much denser, rich with places to see and loot. The same happens with the central area of ​​the island called “Fleet’s End”, which is obviously much more well-kept and full of information than the populated areas of Horizon: Forbidden West. The graphics options remain the same (performance, resolution, balance) and work amazingly, however we chose performance mode to enjoy the new chapter of Aloy. If we have to mention a drawback in the technical area of ​​the game, it is that in some places, especially if you are flying high, you will notice pop-ins in the vegetation and shadows.

The title, however, quickly tells you that he didn’t invite you here just to enjoy the scenery. Major additions have been made to the core gameplay, centering around Aloy and his adorable companion Seyka (more on Seyka next, stay tuned). The DLC adds nine legendary weapons to Aloy’s range of options, two of which contain very significant additions to the combat system. We will not go into details, so as not to spoil the fun for you. In addition, five new armor sets and several new coils have been added to experiment with new builds. The game’s six talent trees have now been expanded, each offering its new Valor Surge, a passive boost, and an active ability. The most notable active ability is grapple critical strike, which allows you to latch onto a machine you’ve knocked to the ground and impale it on your spear, dealing massive damage. Each of the new features expands the battle system in its own way, offering different and, most importantly, highly entertaining options.

In addition to the above, there are several points where you can interact with the environment by shooting the vegetation on top of the buildings and exploding them, causing them to collapse and fall on your enemies. At this point, let’s say that when something explodes, it breaks into very small pieces and looks very impressive, so we used the new feature mostly outside of combat, just for eye wash. With so many new features, Guerilla also offers new types of machines, so you have something new to become… screws. The new machine that stands out in terms of focus and difficulty is the Bilegut, which either releases acid or rushes at Aloy to melt her. This particular engine is quite difficult even with the protagonist’s new weapons and abilities, and emphasizes the different strategic approaches you can take to win. The other machine worth mentioning is the Waterwing, which Aloy can tame and ride to fly, except she can also dive into water with it.

As we mentioned before, the events of Burning Shores take place after those of the main game, enriching Aloy’s adventure with a new ending and a lot of information about Nemesis, the threat that comes to destroy the world and that we will probably face in an upcoming game ( or DLC?). Our protagonist receives a message from her friend and her nemesis Sylens, after completing the last mission. The latter informs him that one of the Zenith, Walter Londra, has survived and is in Burning Shores, hatching an unknown plan. Aloy immediately goes to the place Sylens pointed out, where she discovers that the remaining half of Quen who came on the mission with Alva is trapped on the island. After her… crash landing hers, Aloy meets her DLC co-star Seyka. The two work together throughout the story.

Seyka is one of the most interesting characters to appear in Horizon. In story time, he quickly becomes very likable. At the same time, he is extremely useful in combat, as he unleashes significant firepower on opponents, strong and interesting enough to stand alongside Aloy. Seyka is played to great acclaim by Kylie Leah Page. The building of the relationship that Aloy develops with his new competitor takes center stage, as one discovers aspects of the other as they overcome the obstacles that Londra puts in their way together. At the same time, by interacting with Seyka, Burning Shores fleshes out aspects of Aloy’s character that Horizon Forbidden West never touched on, and gives us a chance to get even better acquainted with the girl who hides beneath the harsh, aloof mask she constantly wears, enduring the brunt of the whole world on his shoulders. The narration reminds us that Aloy, in addition to being a heroine who likes artificial intelligence and destroying machines, is a girl who grew up in exile and has not enjoyed a second of her life to this day, because her Destiny is to always surrender to Save the Earth.

There are quite a few puzzles and great boss fights. It ends with one of the most impressive boss fights we’ve had the chance to play in games in the last three years. Our small complaint is that it lasts very little. This short length is offset by the abundance of optional activities and exploration that Burning Shores offers, as well as the great additions we mentioned above, which can be used both in the base game and in a possible New Game+. Still, by the epilogue, we were begging for a little more from Aloy and Seyka. Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores DLC succeeds where most DLCs fail. It enriches the base game, adds a new ending with more insight into the story of Aloy’s next chapter, raises anticipation to new heights, and adds interesting new characters. All this combines an excellent technical field with an unbeatable graphic section and a unique narration, as Sony has accustomed us in its first party IPs. With the DLC finished, we can no longer imagine the base game without it. We recommend that anyone who has played Fearless Horizon add Aloy’s new chapter to their collection.

Finally, lest anyone worry, Aloy’s hair still looks like a popular shampoo commercial and shakes incessantly – and sometimes incoherently – at the slightest movement of the protagonist (The editor would be remiss if they didn’t mention it).

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