Random Article

Event News

REVIEW: Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores — Against the Machine


Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developed by: Guerrilla Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5
Genre(s): Open-world Action RPG
Mode(s): Singleplayer
Game Type: ,
85/ 100

User Rating
2 total ratings



Breathtaking Open-world, Impressive Visual Fidelity, Subtle improvements to the core experience.


Relatively short main campaign, only 1 new weapon type and 1 new open-world machine type added.

Posted May 1, 2023 by

Horizon Forbidden West was a formidable title that was unfortunately overshadowed by a launch year that included behemoths like God of War Ragnarok and Elden Ring. Over a year later, Burning Shores attempts to regain our attention. Question is, could it be too late?


Horizon Forbidden West_20230429153852

Burning Shores picks up pretty much immediately after the events of the first game. Now, I wish I could say that this was a standalone experience, but it’s directly related and continues on from the main story with not much exposition to shed some context or bring you up to speed. In fact, the DLC itself is progression locked so new players will have to finish the campaign first while players who’ve shelved the game for the past year will need to do some manual brushing up if you want things to make sense.

Horizon Forbidden West_20230423161621

Without giving too much away, Burning Shores begins with Aloy chasing a promising Zenith lead that could help them brace for what was foreshadowed by the end of the main campaign. This takes Aloy to a new biome of what was once LA, populated by new threats, friends, and patient quest givers waiting for Aloy to interact with them for some sweet side-quest action.

During a linear run of the story, players may find a relatively short campaign. This may seem in poor taste for a DLC at this price point, but Horizon has never been about linear story progression and justifies it’s relatively short campaign with a massive world that is well populated with activities and side quests.


Horizon Forbidden West_20230422103610

Burning Shores adds a few cool things into the mix, which includes a new tier of skills, a new weapon type, a few new combat tricks that compliment each core gameplay aspects. For those overwhelmed by the many many subsystems and metagaming found in the original, this may be a welcome pace. Crafting the new gear is also made simple, as all you’ll really need are Brimshine, a new currency scattered around LA that lets you trade or upgrade any of the new weapons and armor.  And though quests and encounters are distinct and require enough ingenuity, specially in higher difficulties, the combat overall will remain largely the same foray, kill monsters, loot, and repeat.

Horizon Forbidden West_20230422103518

The game adds a few new enemies but, in reality, only one (the Bilegut, which is a giant frog-like creature that launches pods that birth smaller machine enemies to makes Aloy’s life just a little bit more difficult) monster was added into the open-world experience, with the rest are just unique encounters locked behind story content. The rest are just Apex versions of the same enemies, which frankly, will be quite the challenge, especially for those getting back to the game after months. Now there might not be much new for the open-world gameplay loop, it does improve quite significantly, thanks to a biome that’s designed specifically for the new Waterwing mount, which is like the Sun Wing except it can also dive on water for some underwater exploration.

Visuals & Performance

Horizon Forbidden West_20230422120233

The explorable open world of Burning Shores’ LA is by far it’s most impressive asset. Flying over the gorgeous locales is breathtaking. That is until you unlock the new mount which allows Aloy to explore an impressive and massive underwater section of the world which is arguably larger than the surface, though technically there’s less to do here, though there will be moments in the campaign and side quests where underwater exploration is necessary.

Horizon Forbidden West_20230429142603

No new visual upgrades added but LA seems to look much better than most of the main game’s locales, thanks to careful and breathtaking design choices. The grandest of which is the DLC’s absolutely massive final boss encounter, which may be enough to justify the DLC’s unavailability on the PS4. It’s simply an incredible technical feat. One I hope to see more of in more games in the future.


Horizon Forbidden West_20230429143655

Burning Shores does not feel like a standalone non-consequential DLC but rather a proper bridge between Forbidden West and whatever is instore for the franchise’s inevitable third installment. The DLC trades-off the opportunity to add a few more weapons and machines than it did with a carefully crafted open-world and convenient quality of life features that compliments the game’s overall experience. The visuals and final boss alone are definitely worth experiencing so if you’re a new player, I would recommend to complete the experience with the DLC, and for players looking for an excuse to pick the game up after a year, Burning Shores is a pretty good reason. 

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher]

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response