Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West was just as successful as its predecessor and continued Aloy’s story. The second game followed her as she travelled through the post-apocalyptic Western United States, looking for a way to reactivate GAIA while dealing with hostile machines and a group of billionaire colonists who fled Earth during the global extinction event. The second game introduced new settings and mechanics and gave players access to a larger map. It’s been just over a year since the game dropped, and fans who were missing it were overjoyed when Guerrilla Games released the DLC known as Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores last month. The DLC gave players some additional story following the last surviving colonist of Far Zenith and introduced them to a new set of characters. Here’s everything you need to know about the DLC.
Burning Shores’ story directly follows the main story of the base game, meaning that players will need to complete the campaign before playing through the DLC.
After defeating the Far Zenith colony, sending her companions to warn the rest of the world about Nememis’ approach and reactivating GAIA with Beta’s help, Aloy receives word from Sylens that one of the Zenith colonists is still alive. Aloy sets out for Los Angeles, now known as the Burning Shores, where Sylens believed the colonist was hiding.
When she arrives, Aloy meets Seyka, a member of the Quen tribe, who guides her to the colonist after Aloy assists her stranded tribe and agrees to help find the missing members. Along the way, the two learn more about the colonist, his plans, his past and what he’s done to the missing members of the Quen tribe.
After Aloy frees the Quen tribe members from the Zenith colonist’s control, he makes one last ditch effort to try and kill her, but she and Seyka work together to kill him. Afterwards, Aloy reunites the Quen tribe with their missing members and returns home, where she and Sylens go over the new data Aloy discovered during her journey through the Burning Shores.
While Horizon Forbidden West features some of the best graphics ever introduced in a video game, it didn’t have the most emotionally complex villains. Gerard, the main antagonist of the main game, spends most of his time floating around and barking orders, and the game fails to adequately explore his dynamic with the other colonists or why Tilda was so quick to turn on him.
Erik is reduced to a one-dimensional character who likes to kill and only stands out to players because of who he kills. Tilda is the most fleshed-out of the Zeniths introduced in the base game, but only because of her relationship with Elisabet. The writers failed to focus on the antagonism that could have come from her constant manipulation of her former lover’s clones and trying to decide which to invest in.
Walter Londra is far more fleshed out than any of the other antagonists. He is showcased as a narcissistic celebrity who cares very little for those around him and is more interested in what people can do for them than who they are. However, the game adds excellent emotional complexity to his story, making him a much more compelling villain than the other Zenith colonists.
As Aloy learns his backstory, his actions begin to make more sense, and though he is someone you could easily hate, you still end up feeling bad for him. Despite his antagonist qualities and terrible decisions, Londra’s charm, humour and snarkiness make him an enjoyable character, even when trying to kill Aloy.
With each Horizon entry, the machines seem to get bigger and more menacing, further adding to the challenge and Aloy’s struggle for survival. Burning Shores is no different and features one of the largest enemies ever to grace players’ screens.
Four new machines come with the DLC:
These drones are across every surface throughout Burning Shores, and while they aren’t particularly dangerous on their own, they swarm quickly and can quickly become overwhelming if you aren’t careful.
These acid-spewing machines can dissolve their surroundings and summon backup via their egg launches. The Bileguts’ design was based on a frog, and they can be incredibly irritating during combat, especially when they keep summoning Stingspawns. Fortunately, they can be overridden.
The Apex Bileguts are even more irritating as they have additional fire attacks.
Like a Sunwing, Aloy can override and ride this machine after modifying her Sunwing override. In addition, the Waterwing can fly or dive underwater, making it the only machine players can use to explore Horizon’s vast oceans.
These ancient war machines are scattered across the lands of Horizon and usually lay as ominous, dormant decorations that players have been anticipating fighting against since Horizon Zero Dawn was first released.
They were often called Metal Devils and served as walking factories, processing resources and spitting out new resources at an alarming rate. They were a prominent cause of the extinction-level event that led to Horizon Zero Dawn.
During one of Burning Shores’ promotional trailers, players were shown that they would finally be able to fight one.
With all the new machines and challenges cropping up in Burning Shores, Aloy will need some new weapons if she wants any shot at survival. Fortunately, the team at Guerrilla Games has given players nine new legendary weapons, 6 of which truly stand out:
This new blastsling offers an explosive way of dealing fire, frost and purgewater damage. Unfortunately, players cannot buy the Skyhammer and will instead have to find it in a weapons cache which they will need to pry open while looking for the missing Quen tribe members.
The Gravesinger’s Lament
This is the latest addition to Aloy’s massive collection of Sharpshot Bows. This new weapon will be an enormous advantage for stealth players. The long-ranged bow’s arrows, including the Advanced Precision, Strikethrough Precision and Knockdown Precision, come with high Impact and Tear damage.
The Tie That Binds
This new ropecaster is the perfect addition to Aloy’s weaponry when taking out machines like Fireclaws. The weapon has Advanced Rope Ammunition and can tie Explosive Canister Harpoons to giant enemies.
The Last Argument
This Spike Thrower is gifted to Aloy at the end of the Friend in the Dark side quest and is described as “reserved only for the greatest machine hunters”. It comes with Drill Advanced Explosive and Plasma Spikes.
The Emperor’s Reign
When upgraded with High Impact Arrows, this elite Hunter Bow boasts a ton of Tear damage on impact. In addition, players can use Targeting and Beserk Hunter Arrows with the bow and gain additional perks, including Overdraw, Knockdown Damage, and Melee Follow Up.
The Specter Gauntlet
Aloy spends a lot of Forbidden West dealing with futuristic otherworldly weapons, and Burning Shores finally allows her to return fire. This weapon is a modified version of the arm-mounted cannons used by the Zenith colonists.
It uses explosive shards and piercing charged shots that can be fired from a railgun. Players must complete the quest The Stars In Their Eyes by defeating Zeth take the weapon off of his person. To upgrade it, you need to kill another member of the Quen tribe during the In His Wake side quest for his weapons Railgun component.
Platforms Burning Shores Can Be Played On
Although Horizon Forbidden West was made available for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Guerrilla Games made the difficult decision to have Burning Shores only playable on the PS5. During an interview, Mathihs de Jonge, a Horizon game director, offered his insights and spoke about why the DLC was only available on the PlayStation 5:
“The cityscape ruins of LA and its surroundings are highly detailed and require a lot of processing power as well as fast streaming technology to run properly; especially when the player is flying over the lands and can see a lot at once. One of the settlements is situated in and around those detailed ruins, and we were able to squeeze a lot of activity in there.”
He went on to speak about how there was one battle in particular that the PS4 would never have handled:
“Another notable on is particular battle scene that requires a LOT of memory and processing power! To achieve this grand vision both technically and creatively, we definitely were thankful for the many advantages that the PS5 hardware brings.”
Burning Shores serves as an epilogue to Forbidden West and brings back some of the focus that the base game seemed to lose as it expanded on the lore and history of Horizon. Those who have played the DLC loved it and can’t wait for the next instalment of Aloy’s story.
Guerrilla Games continued Alloy’s Story through Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores.
The new DLC introduces new weapons, machines and an emotionally complex villain.
Unfortunately, Burning Shores is only available on PlayStation 5.
What did you think of Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores?