Horizon Burning Shores Review
Burning Shores is the DLC to Horizon Forbidden West and the latest in the Sci-Fi Adventure series. Burning Shores takes place in the immediate aftermath of Horizon Forbidden West, following the defeat of deluded Far Zenith warrior, Tilda. It’s largely a post-game add-on chapter, but teases the future of Horizon within its small-scale storyline, which introduces key players likely to return in a hypothetical third Horizon game.
After the conclusion of the main campaign, this DLC summons you to LA in order to hunt down a lead that may be helpful against the looming threat introduced at the end of Forbidden West’s story.
The titular Burning Shores are an archipelago roughly four times the size of the San Francisco area of the main map, and shares a lot of that region’s visual identity. It’s a smart decision to echo Forbidden West’s standout location – the sand still sparkles and water glistens – but here lava flows in a natural representation of the increased danger that lurks in the Burning Shores.
It wastes no time in throwing you into that danger, either, plunging you straight back into the rousing rhythms of Horizon combat. I immediately found myself right back into the thick of it, although finding myself much more overwhelmed by machines than I was in the base game.
The game also features new machines to combat as well so it feels like much more than a simple add-on, new level cap, skill trees, weapons and gear all add to the authenticity of the DLC. While a much smaller experience than the core game, as expected, we are still treated to a new landscape with incredible detail and an upgraded look thanks to being a PlayStation 5 exclusive.
Sylens informs Aloy that after the climactic battle against the Zeniths, one of them is still unaccounted for–a playboy industrialist named Walter Londra, who fled to the area formerly known as Los Angeles, but now simply called the Burning Shores, so Aloy goes to track her new target.
Upon getting there, she discovers that he’s essentially locked down the area with a deadly tower that prevents her flying mount from approaching, and in the process, stranded a set of Quen marines. Here is where we meet a new side character for this game, Seyka, who is a stubborn and confident Quen tribe member who’s a mirror of the character Aloy was in the first game, seen as an outsider amongst her own people, quickly aligns herself with Aloy as they agree to help each other, search for Seyka’s lost sister and hunt down Londra.
Londra is an interesting character, very charismatic, inherently evil, and instantly unlikeable. It’s ironic that the previous game needed multiple antagonists, while this one albeit a smaller adventure does just fine with this one.
Without getting into spoiler territory, the game is a likeable but short romp in a new area that serves much more as a set up for the next game than a full adventure like Frozen Wilds was for the first game.
Because of its environment, having flooded much of LA the landscape is mostly made up of smaller islands which is much different than Forbidden West, so traversal is a large part of this game, and honestly the worst part of the game, it almost feels like it was done in this manner to extend the time it takes to get through the story.
Technically speaking I had zero issues as the game looked and played gorgeously. Which I would not have expected anything less, the audio is once again top notch as is the acting. Aloy continues to grow as a person on this adventure becoming more and more humanized for lack of a better term, almost a little too much for me, facing imminent death and destruction at every corner she shouldn’t be so happy go lucky all the time. But now I am just nitpicking..