The world of the two-part Horizon series has been one of my favorite post-apocalypse stories since spring 2017. He gave me a lot of reasons for this, in addition to the beautiful environment full of various robotic creatures, they also include the story, which pulled me forward, especially in the first part. In certain moments, describing the fate of humanity reconciled with the inevitable semicolon in its history, it even managed to move me.
That’s why I was looking forward to being able to make another trip to the wilderness of former California after a break of more than a year. But it must be said right from the start that the Burning Shores expansion basically represents “more of the same”, whereby more means rather less in this case. Just so you understand, I definitely don’t regret my visit, I’m just a little sad that it was really just a jump.
source: Guerrilla Games
Where you left off
The story DLC follows on from the end of the story of Horizon Forbidden West and therefore becomes available to you only when you have completed the last mission of the base game. The new quest first sends you to an old acquaintance Sylens, who has bad news for Aloy – not all villains have been caught, and one particularly cunning one has chosen as his refuge the dangerous ends, spread out on the island system lying in the places where the city of angels once stood proudly with his dream factory.
So Aloy goes to the ruins of Los Angeles, where several notable monuments and monuments have resisted the relentless flow of time, such as the Griffith Observatory, the former headquarters of the record company Capitol Records and, of course, the famous Hollywood sign, which fortunately someone painted with a durable nano-coating before the end of the world, so he can still keep an eye on the slightly altered landscape below him.
The nice thing is that Burning Shores doesn’t make any big fuss with the introduction, you get into the action and the center of the story in a flash, and the developers reckon that, considering the finished base game, you have its mechanics and controls in the palm of your hand, so you’ll be with you right from the start. they don’t quite match at first. I was amused myself, how my fingers, after a year completely used to the control scheme and the rules of the combat system, danced desperately on the gamepad surface in the first tens of minutes, trying to remember the grif, with which I was able to catch the platinum trophy last year without much trouble.
Sailors in distress
Shortly after her arrival in the new area, Aloy meets another part of the Quen fleet, with whom she had the honor already in the final stage of the base game, and quickly forms an alliance with the rebel sailor Seyka, who is searching for her lost sister and is willing to make a pact with Aloy a temporary, mutually beneficial alliance.
As I already indicated, the area called Burning Shores consists of a system of islands, which is why you will find it convenient that the first benefit of a newly established friendship is a motorboat, with which you can move on the surface of the water significantly faster than under your own power. In one breath, however, it should be added that I only used this means of transport to take a few spectacular screenshots, because you can also ride over the ruins of Los Angeles on your faithful robotic bird, which is a much more comfortable and free option.
As for the new content itself, there isn’t much under the hood. Aloy will get several new skills to unlock in the wine, among the most prominent ones is the ability to build a force shield barrier in front of her, protecting her from projectiles. In addition, the DLC will provide you with several new weapons and outfits, for the acquisition of which you need a rare local mineral, variously hidden in various sneaky corners.
The host of huntable robots hasn’t expanded in any way either, apart from the new robopelican, which in addition to flying can also dive (and you can ride it), Burning Shores only comes with a giant robo-puff that sprays its surroundings with toxic slurry and can also lay robo eggs from which they fly out annoying robot masseurs. Roboropucha (robucha?) can withstand quite a lot and at a certain moment you will have to deal with two at once, but it does not present a significant challenge.
The story line will take you through most of those memorable places of old Los Angeles, your steps will also lead to an amusement park with holodinosaurs (holosaurs?), which I consider to be the most visually appealing part. Quite possibly because I completed the mission in it at night, when all the glowing tech tinsel stood out even better.
source: own video editor
A joy to behold
Speaking of glitter, Burning Shores is, like the original Forbidden West, a beautiful game, but unlike the base game, the expansion is only available on the current generation of PlayStation. The rationale for this step is not entirely clear at first glance, because I subjectively did not have the impression that the new area and the activities in it would be any different and more challenging compared to the year-old base, that is, with the exception of the pompous final encounter, which could possibly give the old PS4 a real smoke.
Even Burning Shores offers a trio of graphics modes, apart from the obligatory Quality and Performance, there is also the increasingly standard (at least for Sony titles) Balanced setting, in which the game runs at a significantly smoother 40 FPS without noticeable graphic compromises. Technically, I have nothing to complain about, with a bit of nitpicking I’ll just mention that the influence of the giant robot on the water surface doesn’t seem believable and sometimes the splashes are downright ugly, but this “problem” is more due to the spoiling of the rest of the visual presentation.
Since the first part, I have enjoyed fighting with mechanical opponents just as much as I don’t enjoy fighting with living ones (well, really a lot), so Burning Shores gets the biggest portion of criticism from me for the length of the story line, which is more like a canapé than a rich experience. The narrative is rather abrupt, the characters who deserve it (including the main villain) do not get the space they need. Before you know it, the doorbell rings and you’re watching the end credits, knowing that the next time you’ll look into this world will be five years at best.
Burning Shores only costs a little over 500 crowns, but if the price was double and the content was double, I would definitely be more satisfied. The situation is not helped by the fact that the authors did not move even within the side quests and the relatively large new location remains largely unused.
Still, the story of Burning Shores is important to the overall narrative of Horizon and is not just an optional diversion. So if you’re going to find out how Guerrilla will conclude its post-apocalyptic saga in the future, you should know this piece too. There’s no reason why fans of the series shouldn’t like the expansion, but if you haven’t been excited so far, Burning Shores offers no reason to change that.