Horizon Forbidden West was a phenomenal game, so why wouldn’t you want more?
That’s exactly what Burning Shores is: more of a great thing. Sending Aloy to a new location, she’ll meet new people, face off against new mechanical creatures, and even expand her repertoire of weapons and moves. And while it’s mostly more of the same, it pushes the overall story that bit further and makes us more excited about what’s to come than ever before.
Continuing directly on from the end of the base game, Aloy travels to the titular Burning Shores after receiving concerning news from Sylens. There she is to hunt down a Zenith, a tech magnate by the name of Londra. But after her Sunwing comes under fire, it becomes obvious that achieving her goal isn’t going to be as easy as she anticipated. Help is at hand, though; making the acquaintance of a Quen called Seyka, while their objectives align they agree to work with each other.
Both skilled warriors, Aloy and Seyka make a great team. In story missions, you’ll quickly come to appreciate Seyka backing you up as you take on enemies both old and new. Some of the foes you find yourself up against in Burning Shores are rather fearsome, too, like the Bilegut which covers the battlefield with acid and can leap large distances. And rarely do you fight a Bilegut alone – they’re often accompanied by numerous fly-like robots that add to your pain.
Thankfully, Aloy also has new weapons and abilities available to her to keep combat fresh in Burning Shores. Knock an enemy down, for example, and Aloy can now grapple herself towards it before delivering a powerful downward thrust with her spear. And after overcoming a powerful enemy, a Specter Gauntlet is added to your arsenal. This allows you to mark a target before unleashing a barrage of projectiles that home in. Combine it with your glider and Aloy becomes a devastating force whether in the air or on foot.
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With a running time of around six hours, the story unfurled in Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores has two standout features. The first is the relationship between Aloy and Seyka, which is wonderful to see develop and perhaps gives a hint as to the future of the franchise. They’re like peas in a pod, basically, and it allows Aloy to show her warmer side. The next is the expansion’s final quest, which ups the ante – big time.
Only available on PS5, Burning Shores looks absolutely phenomenal, just as you’d expect. For the most part though, you’ll wonder what there is here that couldn’t have been done on PS4 to some degree. Then you get to the final quest. Culminating in a boss fight against a mechanical monstrosity that dwarfs even the giant beasts found in the likes of Shadow of the Colossus, it is well and truly epic.
For those wanting to see and do everything Burning Shores has to offer, there’s well over ten hours of content here. And while much of the terrain found in this expansion feels familiar, it’s still a pleasure to explore. Throw in all the other extras and upgrades to be discovered, which can be carried over to your endgame exploits on the main map as well, and you have an expansion that feels generously meaty for the asking price.
It would be easy to write off Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores as more of the same, but thanks to some stand-out gameplay moments and Aloy’s new relationship with Seyka, it should be considered essential for fans of the series. Make no mistake, a third game in the series is coming, and this is its prelude. But more importantly, if the new features and other additions here are a taste of what’s to come, sign us up right now.