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Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Review

Initial release date (Base Game): February 18, 2022

DLC Release Date (PS5 Exclusive): April 19, 2023

Developer: Guerrilla Games

Series: Horizon

Engine: Decima

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PlayStation 5

Composers: Joris de Man, The Flight

"Review Copy Provided By PlayStation"

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores delivers an incredible gaming experience, building on the success of its predecessor. This expansion introduces Aloy to new adventures in a fresh setting, where she encounters novel characters, confronts unique mechanical creatures, and acquires an expanded arsenal of weapons and abilities. Although it shares many similarities with the original game, it propels the story forward and increases anticipation for future developments.

Picking up where the base game left off, Aloy sets off to explore the eponymous Burning Shores after hearing troubling news from Sylens. Her mission is to track down Londra, a powerful tech mogul known as Zenith. However, her journey becomes more challenging than expected when her Sunwing is attacked. Fortunately, she crosses paths with a Quen named Seyka, and they decide to join forces as their goals align. As proficient fighters, Aloy and Seyka form a formidable duo. Throughout the story missions, players will appreciate Seyka's support in battling familiar and new adversaries. Among the new threats in Burning Shores is the Bilegut, a formidable enemy capable of leaping great distances and spewing acid across the battlefield. These creatures are often accompanied by swarms of flying robots that add to the challenge.

In response, Aloy gains new weapons and abilities to enhance the combat experience in Burning Shores. For instance, she can now use a grapple to approach a fallen enemy and deliver a powerful spear strike. Additionally, after defeating a formidable foe, she acquires a Specter Gauntlet that allows her to launch homing projectiles at marked targets. Combined with her glider, Aloy becomes a fearsome force both in the air and on the ground. The roughly six-hour-long story of Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores features two notable elements. The first is the evolving relationship between Aloy and Seyka, which hints at the franchise's future direction. Their strong bond reveals Aloy's softer side. The second highlight is the expansion's final quest, which significantly raises the stakes.

Exclusively available on PS5, Burning Shores boasts breathtaking visuals, as expected. However, players may question why some aspects of the game couldn't be accommodated on PS4. This question is answered in the final quest, which culminates in a massive boss battle against a colossal mechanical creature, rivaling the scale of encounters in Shadow of the Colossus.

For completionists, Burning Shores offers over ten hours of content. Despite the familiar landscape, players will enjoy exploring the new territory and discovering additional upgrades and extras. These enhancements can also be carried over to the main game, making the expansion a worthwhile investment.

Although it might be tempting to dismiss Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores as a mere extension of the original game, the expansion's memorable gameplay moments and Aloy's evolving relationship with Seyka make it a must-play for series fans. As the prelude to the upcoming third installment, Burning Shores offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of the franchise, leaving players eager for more.

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