It’s a real shame PS4 players can’t enjoy this expansion because it has some of the most impressive moments we’ve enjoyed in the Aloy saga. I loved Horizon Forbidden West even though I didn’t like it as much as its predecessor, so I’m happy to tell you in this review that the Burning Shores DLC fixes several of that title’s flaws.
This adventure begins right after the end of Forbidden West. In fact, it is not possible to visit the new region if we do not first defeat the final boss of the base game. Once this is done, Sylens meets us at Tilda’s old mansion to give us very bad news. One of the Zenith is still alive and is planning something in the region known as «the burning shores.»
At first glance, the fiery shores can be a bit disappointing. They are an archipelago that visually reminds too much of the Isla de las Agujas (San Francisco). Lava flows and landmarks like the Chinese Theater and the iconic Hollywood sign give it a bit of character, but it still feels very familiar. It’s also somewhat annoying that we can’t immediately explore the entire map using the flying mounts, but at least this is justified in the plot.
Aloy’s goal in this place is to find another of the Zenith: a man named Walter Londra who a thousand years ago was an aerospace magnate. Arriving there he discovers part of the Quen fleet that split off from the one he found in San Francisco. One of them is a sailor named Seyka, who will accompany us during almost the entire adventure.
A quieter and… romantic Aloy?
In the Burning Shores DLC they fixed two of the main criticisms I had against Horizon Forbidden West in my base game review. I didn’t find ‘bugs’ that affected the gameplay and Aloy doesn’t talk so much anymore.
If you remember correctly, Aloy was not silent. He loved to comment at all times about what he saw, where we should go and even tell us the solution to the riddles. He still does some of this, but much less frequently. He only gives us clues about the puzzles if we are really taking too long to solve them. That helps make Aloy that much more likable, as you’ll agree that she was a bit of a nuisance in Forbidden West..
It is important that Aloy is more charismatic due to her unusual development in this adventure. Her story arc doesn’t progress much, but her story focuses almost exclusively on her relationship with Seyka. She’s basically Aloy’s equal: a highly skilled warrior who doesn’t have the love or support of her tribe, so she has to do everything herself and ends up a hero. As the story progresses we see how they go from respect to admiration, trust and finally something else.
Oh yeah. on burning shore we finally have the option to pursue a romance for Aloy. Don’t expect Bioware-style dialogue trees and loyalty quests, as everything is limited to a single decision at the end of the DLC. But it is very nice to see a side of the protagonist that had been hidden from us for so long.
An “elonmuskian” villain
On the opposite side of this story we have Walter Londra, the villain of Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores. In our review of the base game, we felt that the Zenith had a lot of storytelling potential, but it’s sorely wasted. Londra is much better implemented in the plot. Although he is still a fairly two-dimensional character, he represents the excesses of capitalism much better.. He presents himself to a group of Quen as a god and creates a cult of himself. He fills the heads of his followers with his lies as he dehumanizes them and turns them into free labor.
I’ve already seen articles popping up online comparing Walter Londra to Elon Musk. In fact, it’s fashionable to compare any asshole billionaire in any story to the owner of Tesla and Twitter. But the truth is that this character is not directly inspired by him, but by the culture that has allowed the rich to believe they have authority to do whatever they want. Londra is a man who needs constant admiration and homage, which is why he is making sure to create a world where that is never lacking.
This villain also allows us to enjoy one of the most impressive fights against a final boss that we have seen in recent video games. It’s a shame that the promotional material for the DLC has already more or less revealed what it’s about, because it would have been amazing to take this mechanical devil by surprise. It’s a real spectacle with so many stages that it would make the final boss of a JRPG envy.. He agrees with the developers who explained Why wouldn’t this game show off its full potential if it came out for PS4?.
Speaking of that, I take this opportunity to remind you that Here’s how to copy your Horizon Forbidden West game from PS4 to PS5 via USB. So you can enjoy the Burning Shores DLC on the new console without having to finish the game again.
Aloy has new tricks up her sleeve
Horizon Forbidden West already had a wealth of mechanics, combat options, and exploration, but the DLC adds even more. We already met the Hydrofoil, a version of the Alasol that, in addition to flying, allows us to dive and move at high speed underwater. We also have a new way to attack stunned enemies, a powerful Zenith weapon that can upgrade to become a railgun, and a skiff for sailing.
All these novelties are interesting and fun, but they are somewhat wasted. Some of them are unlocked near the end of the DLC or even in its post-game and there are no more scenarios that allow them to be exploited. Still, they are welcome.
We also have a new frog-inspired machine that lays «eggs» from which other machines hatch. It’s a lot of fun fighting her. There are new collectibles and activities like dinosaur figures, the search for hidden treasure and flight pathswhich offer nice rewards.
waiting for nemesis
The main story of Horizon Forbidden West’s Burning Shores DLC can be finished in around eight hours, but doing this review I found that everything this new setting offers can entertain us for 14 hours or more.. It’s an excellent addition to Aloy’s world that doesn’t necessarily advance the main story, but it does allow us to see an unknown side of the protagonist and have fun alongside her.
Guerrilla Games has already announced that the saga will continue with a third game. It was obvious that this was going to happen. Surely a new title will be many years away, but in the meantime we have downloadable content like this to be with Aloy and the machines for at least one more weekend.
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores In Summary
As good as the base game Horizon Forbidden West is, the flaws of its story and traditional open world left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but the Burning Shore DLC reminded me why I love Aloy and her world. The new mechanics are very nice, this more compact open world is fun to explore and I loved that they showed the softer side of the protagonist. The story isn’t great and Walter Londra is nothing more than the typical capitalist villain, but it ends in a battle against a final boss that has a very high level of spectacularity. Hopefully the wait for Horizon 3 won’t be too long.