I absolutely adored Horizon Forbidden West when it released last year, so had been itching to dive back into Aloy’s wonderfully dangerous world all over again with the Burning Shores DLC. It offers everything you could possibly want from fresh content too: a gripping story that feels significant to the main plot, a whole new locale to explore, and more vicious enemies to face off against.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Burning Shores takes place after the events of the main game, so you’ll need to have beaten it if you want to play the new content. With that in mind, it’s worth noting there’ll be a few spoilers in this review, so maybe give it a miss if you haven’t completed it yet!

Everything kicks off with Aloy having to make the trek to the Burning Shores (Horizon’s take on Los Angeles) after Sylens breaks the news that a Zenith by the name of Walter Londra has made his base there. Nothing Aloy can’t handle, right? Well, after a sour introduction to the villain’s powerful forces, Aloy has to work with new ally Seyka in order to take him down.

What follows is a gripping escapade that REALLY helps set the tone for what players can expect from the inevitable third Horizon title. Sure, the ending of the base game put the pieces in place, but Burning Shores further pushes the impeding battle against Nemesis further. It’s tantalising stuff that’s further complemented by the introduction of a new ally, with Seyka certainly making her mark quite quickly. I’m excited to see more from her in the future, whilst the relationship she forges with Aloy feels especially intriguing given that they’re both outcasts.

“You might have seen the Waterwing already in some of the trailers, but picture a Sunwing except it can glide down into the ocean and soar through its waves – yeah, it’s pretty cool to encounter, but even BETTER to mount and explore the waters with.”

The core gameplay loop pretty much follows the formula set in the base game, so you shouldn’t expect Burning Shores to completely revolutionise the action. It’s more of the same, but hey, why fix what isn’t broken? This means there’s plenty of gripping missions full of action-packed battles and set pieces to push the story forward, a whole bunch of side content to flesh out the expansive world, and plenty of wonderful sights to discover across the luscious LA landscape.

That’s not to say that Burning Shores doesn’t introduce some new ideas though. One of my favourite things about the Horizon series is its Machines, so it was great to see some new varieties show up that genuinely feel worthwhile. Whilst the toad-like Bilegut and nimble Stingspawns can make for some tricky encounters, it’s the Waterwing that really feels like the pick of the bunch. You might have seen it already in some of the trailers, but picture a Sunwing except it can glide down into the ocean and soar through its waves – yeah, it’s pretty cool to encounter, but even BETTER to mount and explore the waters with.

Aloy has some new abilities of her own too, whilst there are a bunch of new weapons to play with that’ll help you unleash plenty of hurt upon your enemies – the Specter Gauntlet acts as a railgun-like weapon to deal massive damage, but I was quite keen on an uber powerful spike thrower callerd the Last Argument. Whatever you decide to play with, you’ll need it… especially in the game’s epic finale that doesn’t only stand out as a highlight of the series as a whole, but also puts all of your skills to the test.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It’s worth noting that Burning Shores is a PlayStation 5 exclusive, which is interesting given that the base game hit the PlayStation 4 too. However, that current gen exclusivity has paid off, with the game looking absolutely gorgeous throughout. It’s been a while since I played Horizon Forbidden West so I’d forgotten just how stunning it was, but the luscious (and at times recognisable) sights seen in Burning Shores acted as a reminder that the team at Guerrilla are masters of their craft when it comes to striking world design.

It won’t take players too long to beat Burning Shores, with the main story missions easily cleared in around four hours and the rest of the extras adding a few hours on top of that. Of course, you could easily spend a couple of hours taking in the wonderful sights around you, with LA itself offering a vast landscape to discover. It’s worth mentioning that Aloy can auto-collect resources now too, which makes gathering ammo and crafting items WAY more convenient when exploring – it’s something I think should be included in all open-world titles, so it’s nice to see it here.

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Review

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is a fantastic expansion that offers plenty of thrills and genuinely pushes the overall story forward. This isn’t just some minor side endeavour for Aloy, but a meaningful quest that doesn’t only highlight the threat that the world faces but also strengthens her resolve to defeat it. Add to that the exciting missions to complete, the vicious new enemies to face off against, a cool new ally in Seyka, and the wonderful LA setting to explore, and it’ll become clear that this is an unmissable piece of content for Horizon fans (even if it doesn’t try to expand upon the core gameplay formula too much).

Developer: Guerrilla
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)
Website: https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/horizon-forbidden-west/burning-shores/