For us, Guerrilla Games' Horizon series has been brilliant from the very start, but it's getting better each time we return to it. Horizon Forbidden West is an excellent sequel that builds upon the first game in practically every way — a larger, more varied open world, a better ensemble cast, more interesting side quests, and improved traversal, to name a few. Burning Shores, the DLC expansion, is largely more of the same, but adds just enough on top to make it well worth the visit.

Following on directly from the events of the main game, Sylens tasks Aloy with tracking down an important loose end in the titular region. We won't give any spoilers, but it's safe to say this expansion acts as a neat bridge from Forbidden West into Horizon 3. Guerrilla has doubled down on its bonkers sci-fi story, and it's delivered so earnestly that we can't help but love the nonsense. If you do too, and enjoyed what the base game offered up, you'll definitely enjoy that side of the narrative here.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Aloy crash lands in the Burning Shores and is immediately confronted by Seyka, a member of the Quen tribe that's currently stranded and missing many of its people. This new character will join Aloy on her main quests, and she proves to be just as capable as our heroine, which is a rarity in these titles. She's another welcome addition to Horizon's wider cast, and one who challenges Aloy in new ways, helping to humanise a protagonist who was perhaps a little one-note in Forbidden West.

The main set of quests is five strong, and all of them are pretty lengthy. You're looking at about six to eight hours depending on your pace, and that's without considering the other stuff to do in the expansion. The story takes you to some fantastic locations, lays a bit of groundwork for the inevitable sequel, and, as has been heavily hinted, a Horus does indeed wake up. We'll just say that it's a spectacular finale; the scale of this setpiece is off the charts, and is likely a major reason why this DLC is PS5 only.

But the story only takes you to certain locations within the Burning Shores. The map is substantial — about a third of the size of the main game — and features a blend of dense forest, sandy beaches, open water, and flowing lava, with old world ruins to remind you this was once Los Angeles. It's visually gorgeous, as you'd expect, although there is noticeable pop-in while you're flying. While it's great fun to explore the map, some parts of the Burning Shores offer little to do beyond some sight-seeing. Main quests are mostly concentrated in one portion of the map, while a couple of side quests spread things out, but one or two areas are mostly skipped over.

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That said, there are new collectables to find, a Relic Ruin to solve, a Cauldron to infiltrate, and a handful of new machines. The Waterwing will become your new best friend — it's a flying mount that can also dive beneath the water, making swimming much faster. There are two others to discover, both of which are great additions to the roster that'll test you in different ways.

There's also a selection of new weapons and outfits to employ, but more impactful is a range of new skills. A dozen extra skills and six more Valor Surges give you yet more combat options. Many introduce new ideas, like firing weapons while gliding, applying elemental damage with your spear, and dropping large shields. Others amp up existing mechanics; for example, one skill allows you to grapple to a knocked down machine and, if you time a button press right, apply Resonator energy, which you can shoot for a big burst of damage. These new skills (and a new level cap) give players some fresh options, and make the chaotic combat even more varied.


Like Frozen Wilds did with Horizon Zero Dawn, Burning Shores takes what was already great about Forbidden West and gives you a sizeable new playground and a bunch of extra toys to play with. The archipelago is great fun to explore by land, sea, or air, with plenty of interesting things to see and do. Certain areas feel a little underutilised, but overall this is a great expansion that continues Aloy's story and sets up for things to come in Horizon 3.