Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Review
Horizon Forbidden West saw Aloy travel to San Francisco in an epic adventure against the Far Zenith. Burning Shores continues her journey across a rich, post-apocalyptic America as you travel to Hollywood. Guerilla Games opts for a more personal story with this smaller tale, but will this nuanced approach still manage to deliver a blockbuster experience?
Continuing after the conclusion of the main campaign, you receive a message from the late, great Lance Reddick about a missing ancestor. With information regarding his whereabouts, you take to the skies in order to track him down. Upon arrival, you quickly come across Seyka, who is in search of her sister and other missing members of her tribe. A relationship between the leading characters blossoms in an organic manner as the plot progresses. While the over-arching narrative of the franchise is an ode to Sci-Fi, there’s a lovely grounded aspect to this tale that helps this slice of DLC foster its own identity.
An Ancestor to Remember
Walter Londra serves as the antagonist and is much more memorable than those in the base game. His wealth and charisma have built a strong following which has made his minions idolize his every move. He manages to dither on the fine line between friendly and scary which gives him an unpredictable edge.
Los Angeles is breathtaking. It houses a variety of areas that encourages exploration. From vibrant jungles to mysterious caves, you’ll constantly encounter something new. A stand-out location is the iconic Hollywood sign which is splintered with the remains of robots. At the bottom of the hill lies lava which contrasts with the seas that flow through LA. Smaller islands make up the land mass which opens up more ways to traverse. You can take to the skies with Sunwing and explore the deep blue with the all-new Waterwing. These aid investigation and encourages you to delve further into this wonderful world.
Burning Shores follow the same structure as its predecessors. You can explore the environment, tackle smaller tasks or take on the main mission. These are well-designed with an array of objectives that successfully progresses the narrative and offer engaging gameplay segments. In addition to using your bow to take out machines in thrilling battles, you will also need to solve puzzles and climb through obstacles. While you are still restricted to where you can climb, there are some excellent segments that involve working your way through structures.
New enemies come into play and enhance the threat. One of which is a flying creature that begins in an egg and will hatch when you near it. These attack in swarms to make battles more intense. Bosses vary in their quality and originality. Some offer interesting attack patterns that require you to experiment with bows, whereas others get tiresome as you have to repeatedly pummel foes with arrows as their health slowly decreases.
The bloat has been removed which makes the DLC a streamlined experience. While there is plenty to do and I am sure you could spend up to 10+ hours doing all the smaller tasks, it’s refreshing to play a concise open-world title.
Reach For the Sky
It is clear to see why Guerilla Games were unable to release this on both PlayStation 4 and 5. Visually, the game is awe-inspiring. While the beautiful character models, luscious environments and smooth animations are impressive, a true highlight is the clouds. Now I know that may sound odd, but they are incredible. There is something majestic when you soar through them on the back of an elegant beast. This is complemented by the stellar soundtrack that adds to the epic sense of adventure.
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is a great addition to the franchise. Its personal story develops Aloy’s character and gives a glimpse into a different side of her. The new characters drive the narrative further to deliver a memorable tale. It’s easy to comment on the similarities with previous releases, however, the DLC offers more than this. While there are some uneven boss encounters, the jaw-dropping final segment and beautiful setting make this an unforgettable trip to LA.
*** A PlayStation 5 code provided by the publisher for review ***
- Beautiful World
- Focused Story
- Epic Finale
- Inconsistent Boss Battles
- Familiar Structure
- Arrow Spunge Enemies