Horizon Forbidden West: Secrets Unveiled

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Horizon: Burning Shores - A

Breath of Fresh Air in the

Horizon Canon

Introduction:

Horizon: Burning Shores surprised me with its post-Forbidden West journey. Despite spending over seventy hours in the massive world of Forbidden West, the initial skepticism about Aloy's trip to LA being a second-class side story was proven wrong. The immediate aftermath of Forbidden West takes Aloy to the robot-ravaged American West Coast, offering a compelling story that corrects the narrative course, giving Aloy room to breathe and shine.

Horizon: Burning Shores - Aloy facing a giant robot frog in the urban landscape.
Horizon Forbidden West : Burning Shores

Story and Character Development:

Set in a new seaside settlement crafted by the Quen, Aloy's pursuit of a lead from Sylens unfolds in the aftermath of Forbidden West. The narrative introduces Seyka, a new ally whose alliance with Aloy forms the crux of Burning Shores' story. Unlike Forbidden West's focus on the bigger picture, Burning Shores delves into smaller, in-between stories, allowing Aloy to evolve into a three-dimensional character with charm, humor, and vulnerability. This correction in character development enhances the overall storytelling experience.

Gameplay and Expansion Elements:

While the fundamental gameplay remains unchanged, Burning Shores introduces four new enemies, including the massive Bilegut, a giant robot frog, adding variety to combat encounters. New weaponry, legendary weapons, and armor contribute to an enriched arsenal, complemented by ten new skills across Aloy's skill trees. The expansion encourages experimentation with new gameplay techniques, offering players dynamic options in approaching the game's challenges.

Villain and Boss Fights:

The expansion introduces Walter Londra, an enigmatic villain with Hollywood caricature vibes, leading the shipwrecked Quen. The story unfolds as a blend of Hollywood spectacle and a narrative about family and belonging. While the final boss fight with Londra has some flaws, it remains memorable, showcasing Sam Witwer's brilliant portrayal of the character. The expansion's journey is deserving of the red carpet treatment, offering a compelling narrative with rarely wasted moments.

Exploration and Biomes:

Burning Shores opens up the most varied biomes in the Horizon series, combining urban exploration with sailing around islands. Aloy's alliance with Seyka grants access to a skiff, facilitating water-based exploration. However, the abundance of water makes the skiff less utilized once Aloy regains access to her flying mount. The urban landscape, a mix of ruins and overgrown streets, marks the most urban feel in Horizon, though it could have been further highlighted in side quests.

Urban Exploration and Side Quests:

Optional collectibles and relic ruins allow Aloy to engage in urban exploration, but the limited number of side quests is a drawback. The expansion explores a fractured and smoldering version of Southern California during main quests, offering a unique perspective through the Horizon lens. The presence of Seyka adds comedy and intrigue to familiar territory.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Horizon: Burning Shores is an excellent expansion that builds on Forbidden West's foundations with a strong focus on storytelling, gameplay, and world-building. Despite minor shortcomings, the expansion is a must-play addition to the Horizon story, rekindling love for the world of Horizon and providing a breath of fresh air to the franchise.

Rating: 8/10

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