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Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores - Review



OUR SCORE - 10/10


At the end of Horizon Forbidden West you learn about the existence of Nemesis. This enemy is on his way to destroy the earth. There is actually no clearer plan for a third game. And that is precisely why this DLC had to be played at the end of the main game. A year after that game's release, it would be pointless to cram the expansion somewhere in the middle of the story. If Guerrilla Games had done that, Burning Shores would only have felt like unnecessary filler.



Once you install Burning Shores, Sylens calls Aloy. He tells that thirteen Far Zenith members landed on Earth, but only twelve bodies were found. Number 13, Walter Londra, must therefore still be alive. To deal with him after all, Aloy travels to the area that used to be known as Los Angeles.

Earthquake- and volcano-ravaged LA has been split into several islands. You can explore this island by flying, walking and now also by boat – a fun new way to get around. Along the way you will see white beaches, lush vegetation and even lava flows. However you cross the world, you will be amazed! LA is so beautiful and so detailed, I really had to control myself not to open photo mode every five seconds.



Burning Shores was only released for PlayStation 5. When you start the expansion, you immediately understand why. Such a detailed world requires a lot of computing power. Of course it's sad for the people who played the game on PlayStation 4, but by focusing exclusively on the PS5, Guerrilla Games has delivered DLC that is even more beautiful than the main game. Also, the game simply runs better. You see that especially when you fly over the city and when you compete against the biggest machines you've ever seen. That just wouldn't have been possible on the PS4.



More important than the beautiful graphics is of course the content. What's there to do in Burning Shores? Let me start with the main mission, in which you are chasing that last Far Zenith. Walter is a delightfully slick villain, who uses his charm to manipulate the local Quen clan. Remember in the main game when you learned that the Quen were shipwrecked on their way to the Forbidden West? A number of them appear to have washed up in LA. Gradually you learn what exactly Walter wants with the Quen. And that makes for quite an exciting story. It is a pity that the story mainly stands on its own. You don't learn anything new about Nemesis until the epilogue.



Seyka is a Quen warrior. She is smart, strong and, like Aloy, an outsider within her clan. Seyka is looking for her sister, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. When Seyka and Aloy discover they have a common goal, Seyka will join you on an adventure. What is called: she is with you during every main mission. How different from Forbidden West, where Aloy's comrades rarely left the base. Seyka and Aloy help each other while climbing, fight together and trust each other with their life stories.



Aloy and Seyka grow closer at lightning speed. Much faster than I had expected from Aloy, who often adopts a rather distant attitude. The pace at which Aloy is bonding with her new bestie even made me raise my eyebrows a few times. It is almost inevitable that Guerrilla Games would like to introduce Seyka as an important character in the next game. Unfortunately, I don't find Seyka itself that appealing - much less than, say, Kotallo from the main game. She looks a little too much like Aloy to me. Nevertheless, Burning Shores does tell a more personal story with the addition of Seyka, in which Aloy lowers her wall a bit further. I can only applaud that.



If you only focus on the main missions, you can finish the DLC in about five hours. However, there is much more to do in the expansion. For imaging: the map takes up about a quarter of the map from Forbidden West. On this new map you will find a dozen or so side missions - check out the heartwarming mission in the ruin - and a number of new errands. Or well, new? The errands are very similar to those from the main game, but dressed up slightly differently. For example, vistas can now be discovered from the air, greenshine has been replaced by brimshine and bandits have made way for cultists.



You start Burning Shores with all your old abilities. In addition, a new row has been added to the talent entrance. Each branch contains two new abilities and a new Valor Surge – one of those superpowered attacks that you have to charge up first. And there are a lot of cool options in between. For example, you can pull yourself to a fallen machine and then quickly deal a final blow.


Guerrilla Games also added some new machines, such as the Bilegut. This giant frog can cover the battlefield with acid and jump gigantic distances. In addition, the machine lays eggs containing a kind of fly-like machines. Of course there are also new outfits – finally you can dress and make up like a Quen! – and weapons for sale. One weapon in particular is worth mentioning: a kind of glove that you can use to shoot shards. By tagging an enemy first, you can have the shards hit exactly where you want them.



New abilities, new machines and new weapons: while these additions don't change the gameplay in an earth-shattering way, they do refresh it nicely. Add to that the improved graphics and the more personal story and you immediately reach my conclusion: Burning Shores takes another (small) step in the evolution of this game series.

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