Horizon Forbidden West was a pretty big step on from Zero Dawn, simply having more of just about everything that you could measure. There is enough content to keep players busy for dozens, if not hundreds of hours, and by the end of it all, things are well teed up for another seemingly inevitable sequel.
You could probably have forgiven Guerrilla Games for moving straight onto that then, but instead they have delivered a hefty DLC expansion that feels like the main game has been distilled down into a satisfyingly self-contained package.
- BURNING SHORES // © SIE -
First things first, neither the DLC nor the v1.21 update needed to run it make any changes to the photo mode, so in terms of the camera this is exactly the same as you get in the main game. That comes despite Burning Shores dropping PS4 support in favour of an exclusive PS5 experience, and puts an end to any hopes that this developmental fork might lead to some sort enhancement of the photo mode options. Control over that character hero light, also a PS5-exclusive feature, would have been excellent but sadly it was not meant to be.
- ALOY // HERO LIGHTING -
That means that the added interest here for virtual photographers comes in the form of expanded photographic opportunity, and there is actually plenty to be found. Set in an entirely new region amongst the ancient ruins of Los Angeles, the new map is totally separate from the main one but can still be reached directly by simply flying off the edge of the playable area at certain points – once you've begun your quests there that is.
With a similar feel to the San Francisco Bay area in Forbidden West, the Burning Shores are an oasis of coastal beauty and sandy archipelagos, but with the added drama of ongoing lava flows, an ominous Horus above the iconic Hollywood sign, and a Jurassic Park-esque theme park. It's a visually stunning place to be.
- HFW // BURNING SHORES -
Throughout the many new and interconnected islands, you'll find a few new machines and some added variants of existing ones, gain access to new weapons, abilities, costumes & face paints, and even learn about a new flying mount that is just as happy underwater as it is in the air.
There are some new and important characters to meet over there too. Along with a previously unknown member of the Far Zenith and some NPC's that show off character model quality way beyond what you may think is necessary for guards and villagers, you will also meet Seyka.
- HFW // BURNING SHORES -
A Quen Marine who is the first person Aloy bumps into on arriving in L.A., Seyka proves to be more than a match for her with similar tenacity and drive that will prove to be an unexpected challenge for both of their characters.
By the time the 12 - 15 hours of content concludes with a finale that tries to take a leaf out of the God of War book of grandeur, you'll have spent some valuable time getting to know Aloy a little deeper and still have a beautiful extra playground to roam.
"The new map is totally separate, but can be reached by simply flying off the edge of the playable area..."
Is it worth the extra £15.99? Well, if you're already invested in the Horizon world and are eagre for more, then it has to be an easy yes.
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Full Feature Set:
Access & Control
Photo Mode Access: Options menu
Camera Movement: Free camera with bounding sphere Horizontal Pan: 360° Vertical Tilt: ~170° Roll: ± 89°
Precision Mode: On / Off Toggle Grid: On / Off View Roll: -89 to +89° (± 1°) Hide Player: On / Off Face Paint: 19 presets (+ in-game unlocks) Facial Expression: 40 presets Body Pose: 51 presets Lens Flare: On / Off Lens Presets: Custom + 3 presets Focal Length: 10 - 300 mm (23 positions) Depth of Field: On / Off Aperture: f / 1.2 - 64 (14 stops) Focus Distance: 0.5 - 150 m (± 0.1 m) Brightness: 0.40 - 0.60 (± 0.01) Over Exposure: -4.00 to +4.00 (± 0.50) Colourise (Filter): 13 presets Intensity (Filter): 0.00 - 1.00 (± 0.10) Film Grain: On / Off
Intensity (Film Grain): 0.00 - 1.00 (± 0.10) Time of Day: 00:00 - 23:59 (± 1 min) Time Lapse Speed: 0 - 32x (± 4x) Borders: 8 presets (incl. 2.35:1 & 1:1) Logo: None + 6 positions Greetings: On / Off (location contextual) Vignette: On / Off Size: 0 - 100% (± 25%) Intensity: 0 - 100% (± 10%)
Toggle Look (at camera): On / Off
Toggle Auto Focus: On / Off
Hide UI: Yes
Game Menu Settings
Show Headpiece: On / Off HDR Rendering: On / Off HDR Brightness: -10 to +10 (± 1) HDR Shadows: -10 to +10 (± 1) HDR Highlights: -10 to +10 (± 1) Graphics Mode: Favour Resolution / Favour Performance Motion Blur: Off, low, medium, default