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Don’t Sleep On Burning Shores!



Burning Shores DLC

Over the last 15 years, downloadable content (DLC) has become one of the most reliable means of monetizing a game post-release. It all started with horse armor in Oblivion and has slowly spun out of control to the point that now The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is launching later this month with recorded dialogue locked behind a paywall.  In a market that is saturated with downloadable content for nearly every high-budget, triple-A game, the race to the minimum viable product to extract an extra $20 from gamers has become commonplace; the newly released Horizon Burning Shores bucks the trend by delivering a wealth of new content that feels almost like a proper sequel.

The breadth and depth of what DLC offers have moved from a naturally experimental phase into a more comprehensive and complete experience back to a bare minimum effort. The modern DLC typically adds very minor additional content. From a story perspective, additional content is almost always woven into the existing game making it equally difficult to access as it is inconsequential after having finished an original playthrough. Most DLC focuses primarily on things that can be universally applied throughout the entirety of the game like weaponry, vehicles, and enemy types. While this content undeniably adds depth to any game to which it is added, the perception of that depth is so much more important when it comes to DLC. These types of content provide the perception of significantly greater quantities of content than what is actually being added. Other more substantial types of content like environments, quests, and story expansions are rarely significant or of a similar quality to the base game.

Burning Shores provides those rare much more impactful types of content in spades. The new map that players travel to is just as stunning and immersive as the base game if not more so. Despite it, unfortunately, being similar to so many other pieces of modern media that are so obsessed with Los Angeles, Burning Shores puts a properly unique spin on the area. Like so many other games, players once again find themselves in the heart of Los Angeles but within the post-apocalyptic context of Horizon, those iconic LA landmarks are as fun and interesting as ever. New machines make for not only fresh combat but when combined with the existing machines the possible combination of combat scenarios is nearly infinite. The DLC adds new fully voiced characters that are not only wholly original but also will undoubtedly shape Aloy’s journey in future entries of the series. And the additional story content, while poorly written, is just as good as that found in Forbidden West

Burning Shores
Image: Sony

By placing the Burning Shores DLC at the most recent point in the Horizon canonical timeline, the writers are able to create a proper continuation of their story. Instead of integrating the DLC content into the main game, it is triggered after rolling credits and functions as a mini-sequel of sorts. It is in that additional story content set in an entirely new environment to explore that Burning Shores almost becomes an entirely new Horizon sequel on its own, Horizon 2.5 for all intents and purposes. Every aspect of Burning Shores feels intentionally designed which gives it both weight and significance making it much more of an essential chapter of the canon as opposed to a throwaway optional side quest like most DLC’s are.

Burning Shores expands on the base game in a way that feels better and more comprehensive than what has become standard for DLC. The game should be held up as a shining example of the proper way to bring added value to an already existing game and, unlike most other DLC, it fully justifies spending additional money on Forbidden West. With the release of Burning Shores, Guerilla Games is now responsible for DLC which easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Left Behind, Minerva’s Den, and The Ballad of Gay Tony as some of the best of all time. 

News writer and Xbox reviewer. Patrick lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with his wife and their dog Ghost. Patrick studied economics at the University of Northern Colorado and is particularly interested in the market dynamics of the video game industry. When he's not working Patrick can be found walking Ghost through downtown MPLS, binging The West Wing on repeat, or playing hockey. You see everything Patrick does right here on

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