Why Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores Is An Average Game

If you like Horizon: Forbidden West, you should definitely check out Burning Shores, although I recommend holding off on buying it until it goes on sale.

By Rayan, Posted 13 May 2023

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores had a great reception from PlayStation fans, and the game was all over social media. The game trended heavily on social media. Reviews, blogs, and gaming videos all flooded the web. There was also the LGBT controversy, but I'm not heading in that direction. While it's disappointing that Sony's exclusive Horizon: Forbidden West DLC, Burning Shores, is only available on the PS5, I doubt that Gorilla Games is the last AAA developer to lock down its content to a single platform.

Since Horizon: Forbidden West was only available on PS5 and PS4, I don't see any reason why the DLC shouldn't have been made available on PS4. The game hasn't undergone any drastic changes that would make PS4 incapable of running it. It could be to bolster sales of PlayStation 5 in the face of a struggling Xbox, but I won't be discussing that here. I'm writing this to explain why Burning Shores is a very forgettable DLC that received much too much praise.

Why Horizon Forbidden West, Burning Shores DLC, Graphics Issues, Bad Camera Direction, Awkward Control,  Aloy, Seyka, Female Protagonist

After the major events of Horizon: Forbidden West, Burning Shores continues the plot. This add-on is for the game's final chapter, and it features a brand-new campaign in which Aloy investigates a mystery that has led her to a place called the Burning Shores. Once a thriving metropolis, Los Angeles has been reduced to a perilous island populated by lethal robots due to geological and volcanic action throughout the millennia. The Quen tribe, however, also has a sizable human presence there.

Our newest team member, Seyka, a Quen marine who has volunteered to rescue her people, is introduced here. You should recognize her as a member of the Quen tribe's warrior clan from our brief experience with one of their excursions in the main narrative when we also met Alva. Aloy spends a great deal of time with Seyka and relies on her throughout the story, which is a position of vulnerability for her that she doesn't typically find herself in. The Quen tribe is explored more thoroughly throughout Burning Shores, as they were only briefly introduced in the main game.

The Quen tribe has some fascinating buildings in their village. In addition, it adds a slew of new interactive characters and NPCs to the Burning Shores, many of whom will be vendors selling the latest gear. The most intriguing addition, however, is a new mount known as the Waterwing. Waterwing, like its terrestrial counterpart Sunwing, possesses the ability to both fly at high altitudes and dive deep into the ocean. We also get the chance to learn new strategies for combat and develop our existing skills. Using the Pullcaster, Aloy can launch herself into the air, where she can deliver a crushing blow with the R1.

Why Horizon Forbidden West, Burning Shores DLC, Graphics Issues, Bad Camera Direction, Awkward Control,  Aloy, Female Protagonist

The time of day will also affect your experience, concealing and revealing certain aspects of your travels at various points. This is a significant overhaul, but the game only lasts six to eight hours before it becomes repetitive, making its $20 price tag seem steep to some. The gameplay is fun, but there isn't enough to keep you from having to repeat the story once you've completed it. There are various problems with the gameplay and story, so unless you absolutely have to get it right this second, you should definitely wait for a sale.

First of all, the story of Burning Shores feels very generic. It continues from the main game and prepares you for the next installment. It seems that there was another key leader in the Far Zenith who we failed to eliminate during the initial campaign, and now we must travel to the Burning Shores in order to do so. Walter Londra is trying to get to space before the planet is destroyed by the ultimate killing machine known only as Nemesis. Within the primary campaign of Horizon: Forbidden West, we work to put a stop to, or at least better understand and avoid, this very thing from happening in the future. So, on our way to the Burning Shores, we crash land, meet Seyka, and decide to work together to help find her people and eliminate Londra. You and Seyka learn secrets about one other and yourself along the road, but ultimately you realize that your and Seyka's intentions are remarkably similar.

After all is said and done, Londra is revealed to have brainwashed all these individuals to assist him in getting into space, making him a generic evil guy and making the story completely unappealing. Aloy and Seyka are written in a fairly basic fashion, and it felt like none of the other characters had any real depth in this DLC. You can count on a spiel about perseverance and optimism from them during every boss fights; it's standard fare. For me, the game's biggest flaw isn't the camera or the enemies or anything like that, but the dumb narrative that serves as a conduit to bring you from boss to boss. The gameplay and story are both only adequate, and the unwieldy controls only serve to make matters worse at times.

Why Horizon Forbidden West, Burning Shores DLC, Graphics Issues, Bad Camera Direction, Awkward Control,  Aloy, Female Protagonist

The story was unoriginal and lackluster, but it wasn't nearly as horrible as combat and control. The graphics are tolerable, but the controls are clunky at times. However, I find the gameplay to be off-putting, which is the primary reason I rate the DLC so low. Even though I had a great time controlling Aloy in last year's Horizon: Forbidden West, I'm puzzled as to why the controls feel so different this time around. The third-person camera's perspective made many boss encounters and passages through particular types of quartered stages much more difficult. In Burning Shores, Aloy's lack of responsiveness as a controlling factor was noticeable at times. It was quite annoying because she would not turn where you wanted her to or move where you wanted her to, and her knocked-down animations were very slow.

If you let enemies get the upper hand, they'll keep beating you over and over again, and the controller's control scheme didn't help matters any. She kept falling through the arena's odd spaces while climbing and fighting enemies. And every time you climbed back up, she simply refused to do what you wished. One time, I had to solve a puzzle-like obstacle course by climbing through a malfunctioned machine, which had fire and lightning that might burn or shock you at any time. The controls were so poor that I often got harmed despite my best efforts to prevent harm since I was compelled to either climb it against my will or jump onto the holding spots where the damage was.

And Aloy's lack of control was most annoying against the final boss. The size of this boss prevents you from always adjusting the camera to a good vantage point. His targets are so tiny that they're tolerable, but I still couldn't make them out. That's the rub, and since his many limbs are always flailing, it's hard to predict from which direction any given threat will come. Thus you won't be able to spot the approaching danger in time to avert it. And when Aloy is knocked down, she remains on the ground for an extremely extended period of time, to the point that you often lose sight of her and can only pray that you don't take another blow and die. In addition, you'll need to run across small pools of water during this boss fight, which will slow you down even more, and you'll occasionally get trapped in swimming animations. It appeared as though no thought or consideration had been given to it at all.

Why Horizon Forbidden West, Burning Shores DLC, Graphics Issues, Bad Camera Direction, Awkward Control,  Aloy, Female Protagonist

There are times when you'll be walking around a level when suddenly the camera will throw a fit. You won't remember where you were before, that's for sure. It was most annoying in the close-quarters battles when it seemed like I was up against the camera and the animations. Okay, there were times when the fighting was exciting and effective. However, you have a recipe for disaster if you couple this with the control system, which can be a bit wacky at times, especially in a close-quarters fight. It doesn't feel right that Aloy stands in place if you try to sip a potion or refill berries. These foes are not only tough and quick, but they also spray projectiles at you, so you will receive damage any time you pause, wasting even more of your precious supplies than you already had.

In addition, using the weapon wheel in such a repetitive manner is another one of my pet peeves. Wish there was a quick swap option to select two to four preferred weapons using the D-pad. When I am forced to micromanage the camera and controls, as well as the movement, it simply disrupts the flow of the action. But if the camera wasn't jerky, I wouldn't mind the weapon wheel so much; there are points where the action is so fast-paced that you forget you're even fighting. Perhaps you'll have a different opinion, but in all my years of gaming experience, I've never once complained about anything like this, and I certainly wouldn't bring it up if I didn't believe it was significant.

There are some high points; the fighting is effective at times. Combat is fantastic, especially against smaller enemies or against larger enemies of the same sort who are spread out in an open area, and you don't have to micromanage the camera. Even some of the campaign's bosses will appear in open areas at some point, as will most of the open-world events when you can fight a random boss. Unfortunately, the campaign has a penchant for shoving Aloy into small, cramped spaces, ruining some of the game's most crucial moments. For me, this is the most frustrating aspect of the Burning Shores. This is a AAA title, and there were omissions or oversights that significantly hurt the whole experience for me.


Compared to the original, the DLC fell slightly short of expectations. Horizon: Forbidden West was, in my opinion, one of the greatest basic games I played in 2022 and a strong contender for game of the year. The combat system is fantastic, as are the boss battles, and the game ran smoothly for the most part. The story may use some work, but if modern AAA games are any indication, few players care as much about the plot as I do. Without the little recap at the beginning of Burning Shores, I doubt I would have remembered the backstory before beginning the downloadable content. However, the PlayStation 5 version of Burning Shores performs admirably, just like the original. If you switch to performance mode, it looks like you're playing in glorious 4K resolution the whole time.

I don't mean to sound harsh, especially because Horizon: Forbidden West is a beautiful game. You'll also be provided with a speedboat for exploring the area, which is both a lot of fun and a unique way to see the landscape. The Waterwing is a great tool for getting about, but the game itself will encourage you to wander rather than use the fast travel system. The game's fantastic traversal system makes it all the more worthwhile to explore the breathtaking surroundings and soak up the breathtaking scenery. If you like Horizon: Forbidden West, you should definitely check out the Burning Shores DLC, although I recommend holding off on buying it until it goes on sale. If you want to play this, I suggest waiting since there are many better games available now and more on the way.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Guerrilla Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Role-Playing
Release Date: 2023-04-19

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