Hey all, I’m back with a much anticipated DLC. It’s the Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores DLC.
Plot: The plot of Burning Shores takes place after the end of the storyline from the core title. The main antagonists known as the Far Zenith from the series second title continue to pose a threat, and Aloy goes to an area called the Burning Shores to combat this. Aloy, Beta, and Sylens know the true name of the Burning Shores: Los Angeles.
Over the course of about eight hours we get to play Aloy as she goes against new machine enemies along with some old ones. And along the way we get to meet a brand new character who might just be one of my favorite additions to the series thus far, another kickass woman named Seyka. I won’t go into why she is my new favorite character because that would be really spoilerific. But nevertheless, I had a great time playing through the story of Burning Shores with both her and Aloy, and the DLC was definitely worth both the price, currently just $20 on the PlayStation Store, and the long wait for its release.
Check out the GiN Review of Horizon Forbidden West.
Gameplay: As for the actual gameplay, at its core Burning Shores is not very different from the base game, although there are some new skills the player can learn like the ability to grapple onto a downed enemy to deal some immediate damage. If pulled off correctly via a very easy quicktime event, it instantly sets a resonator blast up for Aloy to shoot for even more damage. In addition, about halfway through the storyline Aloy earns a very special weapon that is probably one of my favorite in this DLC. A tip for anyone who does try this new weapon out, use the weapon skill ability while using this weapon to make it much more effective. It’s a lot less impressive if you don’t use it in conjunction with that ability.
As for new machine enemies, there are a few, although one is a very weak minion spawned by another machine called the Bilegut, which is essentially a giant frog that is the height of a double decker bus. The giant frog is extremely difficult to deal with due to both its spawning of additional enemies and its ability to jump around the battlefield, a tactic that can both quickly move it out of range of your strikes and also deal direct damage if it jumps down near you.
The other main new addition to the machine monsters is the Waterwing which is a lot like the Sunwing enemy in the base game, but it can go underwater to launch an attack, so making sure to deal with it on dry land is a must if you don’t want an overly challenging fight. Of course, once you can tame the Waterwing, it opens up a new way for Aloy to explore the world, as you can plunge underwater and experience this new map while zooming beneath the waves.
The end part of the DLC’s story also introduces a pretty unique enemy as a boss, one that’s been teased since the very first title in the beginning of the series, and which was quite a challenge to fight. It really takes its boss title seriously. I failed more than a couple times due to the difficulty of the fight despite rocking a very tricked-out and completely upgraded set of equipment after going through new game plus mode just prior to this DLC launching.
Art: The biggest thing introduced in Burning Shores in terms of artwork, beyond it looking just as absolutely amazing as the base game’s did, is the new cloud rendering tech, and it truly is spectacular. I highly recommend every player just go flying around very high up in the air just to enjoy this new tech as there are no other titles out there that make flying quite as special as the Burning Shores DLC. Sure, this is overall a rather small change, but it is significant in terms of technical ability, and really does make flying much more enjoyable.
Now, I know some people might be wondering if this new tech was worth not having the DLC be on the PlayStation 4 as well the PlayStation 5, as the PS4 could not handle rendering the new clouds. That is debatable, as it doesn’t feature heavily in gameplay beyond a single side quest, but the feeling of flying around in the Burning Shores really is something that deserves recognition. In fact, if this tech isn’t recognized with some award, I’ll be shocked. It’s that amazing. So to answer the question, in my opinion, it was worth it, even if it made Burning Shores an exclusive PS5 title.
Music: The music of Burning Shores is just as good as the base game, though sadly there aren’t any songs in the soundtrack, at least nothing like “In the Flood.” That being said, there were some missteps with sound effects in Burning Shores. First and most glaringly bad is the fact that the Waterwing has a very obnoxious sound effect that occurs every single time that it flaps its wings. It’s like listening to a squeegee being used constantly.
Also, the fact that for some reason a very weird sound occurs every 20 seconds or so whenever I’m just north of the Santa Monica pier is annoying and kind of creepy. It sounds like a buzzsaw mixed with a bird of prey’s cry. Thankfully, you don’t need to go there often. In fact it’s pretty barren around there, but it’s extremely off putting.
Overall: Burning Shores is a solid and very entertaining chunk of content to bridge the gap for fans of the series until the release of its next title. And Burning Shores was well worth the $20, although the fact it’s only on the PlayStation 5 might upset people, especially if they are playing the series on the PS4 and have yet to be able to upgrade to the next generation console.
Platforms: PlayStation 5