Destiny 2 has been a weird rollercoaster of a ride for me. I played a good amount of Destiny 1 and enjoyed my time with it, but I was never super hardcore into it like others were. I would come for the story (which I really enjoyed, even if most of it was found online via grimoire cards) and the general aesthetic of being a kick-ass space zombie. When Destiny 2 was released, I was obsessed. I played through 3 characters to max level on the PS4 only to do the same thing on PC a few months later when the game released on that platform. I eventually settled into the PS4 being my main place to play the game and began to fade away from the game with the updates that came out over the next year. The Curse of Osiris and Warmind were both adequate mini expansions but they really didn’t draw me back in much quite like the game’s initial release did. With the big expansion, Forsaken, having recently released is it enough to bring back this lonely Guardian into the fold or should I stick to hanging around the Tower with other Guardians that time forgot?
To get started, the Forsaken expansion is to Destiny 2 what the Taken King was to Destiny 1. It’s the “come to Jesus” moment for Bungie that corrects any sins of the past while giving the fans what they initially wanted. To say that Forsaken is what vanilla Destiny 2 should have been is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I loved vanilla Destiny 2, but once you maxed out your characters, there really wasn’t much of anything else to do. The “hobby” of playing Destiny was lost in lieu of a game that tried to cater to too many people and in the end, lost a lot of what made the initial Destiny game (in the later years) so special to it’s fans. Forsaken takes it’s first steps to fix a lot of those woes. Things like random rolls on weapons, the ability to wield any combination of weapon in varying slots, and increased difficulty in events are just a few of the areas where the game really is trying to embrace what worked well in the past without alienating some of the newer fans that might have jumped on with Destiny 2. I’m a casual Destiny 2 player, so I won’t be able to speak much to how successful the raid is or how intricate the weapon system is now compared to how it was previously. What I will speak to in this review is the story and the end game from a casual players perspective, all of which I feel are much better than they have been in the past year.
Let’s start with the story. By now, your Guardian has taken on a Cabal warlord, saved Osiris from a Vex super computer, and let lose a warmind named Rasputin that probably won’t come back to haunt us in the future..probably. What’s next for our zombie hero? The Reef and the Awoken, that’s what. Starting the game, you’ll venture to the Reef with Cayde 6 only to witness his murder at the hands of some Awoken barons and one Uldren Sov who, if you played the first Destiny, is the sister of Mara Sov queen of the Awoken. After these events you are whisked back to Tower and come up with a plan where your character actually speaks and promises revenge on those that wronged you. The next couple hours will see you hunting down each of the Barons that played a part in Cayde’s death leading to the eventual confrontation with Uldron Sov with a few surprises thrown in at the end for good measure.
This chapter of the Destiny story is much darker than previous expansions and as a result is much better because of it. Cayde is a favorite amongst Destiny players and you really want to stick it to the guys who were involved in his slaying. Each played a part in his death and you’ll enact revenge one by one until the eventual confrontation with the final boss. Each fight is unique and difficult and quite unique compared to the others. Where previous games may have set you on a mission where you’ll focus on beating a level with a bunch of trash mobs and a few elites, Forsaken focuses more on the boss fights. You’ll usually track them down over the course of an area which will ultimately lead to a very tough confrontation where you’ll be taunted, called a dead thing, and otherwise antagonized for your crusade. This level of storytelling was much more engrossing and had me actively wanting to see the downfall of each baron boss. Killing a big worm god in an expansion is cool, but enacting revenge on a group of outlaws who killed one of your best buds is infinitely more satisfying.
A lot happens in Forsaken, but I think the bigger story to be told will be happening after the expansion. Lines have been drawn in the sand, previous character favorites are now on the outs with some people and the Awoken look to have a much bigger place in the grand storytelling of Destiny. As an Awoken Titan, I couldn’t be happier. Something else I’m really happy about are the additions of new supers. Each class got 3 new supers they can spec into if they so choose. My favorite class at the moment is the Striker Titan and our new missile skill is amazing. It’s very similar to the previous melee-centric ability the Striker has, except with this skill line it’s all about aerial dive bombing. You’ll get some speed, jump in the air, and then crash down on enemies. After picking it, it quickly became my absolutely favorite way to play Destiny and I think my old main, the Warlock, is going to be sitting on the sidelines for a while. The other classes got some new abilities as well including a laser beam type attack for the Warlock, but since I haven’t had the chance to play with them, I won’t take up time in this review pretending I did.
Another favorite addition of Forsaken is a new PvE/PvP game mode called Gambit. I’m pretty sure that I have spent more time playing Gambit this expansion than anything else outside of story content. In Gambit, you and 3 other players will match up against another team of 4. You’ll both have your own instance of a map where you’ll need to kill enemies and collect motes that drop from their corpses. If you bank these motes, you score points for your team, but if you die carrying motes they are gone for good. Banking motes in multiples of 5 (up to 15) will spawn blocker enemies in increasing strengths that prevent the opposing team from banking their motes until they are dealt with. First team to 75 motes spawns a crazy big enemy with a ton of health to melt down. First team to melt down the big bad guy wins. But, there is a catch. During some moments of the game, you can invade the other teams instance (just one player from your team invading the other map) to kill opposing players. This helps by making them lose their motes or by giving the spawned leviathan (the name for the big baddie) health regen because every kill from an invader refreshes his health. It’s an amazing game of tug of war where you’re constantly weighing the benefits of holding onto motes to bank all at once to get a big blocker enemy to send to the opposing team or to bank immediately to ensure you don’t lose this precious commodity. It’s a fun game that is easy to fall back on when you have run out of other stuff to do.
Speaking of running out of things to do, I doubt you’ll be doing that often if you’re a casual player. Each day you can login to see a number of things you need to do in order to unlock powerful gear. Previously, Destiny was on a weekly schedule. On Tuesday the game would reset and you’d get a number of quests to undertake in order to unlock better gear and once you finished your quests for the week, there really wasn’t much else to do. Now, you have daily quests that give good gear, triumphs to complete that give a separate Triumph score for your character, bounties that can be completed for each quest giver at the tower and on planets, and a number of other things that seem to be constantly rotating. Gone are the days of just doing public quests because that was really the only thing you could do. Throw on the fact that a new area opens up after finishing the main campaign and there is a lot here to keep you busy.
The game is a really great addition to the Destiny 2 base game but I do have two minor complaints. My first complaint about the game, and it’s minor, is the bounty system. Bounties are given out by quest givers (Hawthorne, Ikora, etc.) and you have to physically go to the Tower to pick them up. As any console player knows, that takes forever and a day to load into the Tower, pick up the quests, and then get going. It just seems like an unneeded step that could have been simplified by making it a menu option or something. The other complaint has to do with the amount of materials needed to infuse weapons and armor, i.e. bring them up to a certain light level while retaining appearance and stats. In the past, if you had a piece of armor you really liked, you could infuse it with another weapon for a small fee of legendary shards and I believe some glimmer. Now, in order to do this, you need masterwork cores which are incredibly difficult to come across as well as items found on planets, glimmer, and legendary shards. Sure, there is a vendor who sells masterwork cores and a rotating supply of planetary items, but for casual fans like me, it’s pretty expensive and has me weighing every possible infusion I would have previously done in a heartbeat. Maybe this is what Bungie wanted to do, in which case, fine. I just hate having to constantly infuse my Insurmountable Skullfort helmet because for my build, it’s a necessity to use.
So, after reading this if you still aren’t sold on Destiny 2: Forsaken, I don’t think anything will sell you. It’s an amazing expansions and what vanilla Destiny 2 should have been. You’ll rarely ever run out of things to do and the changes to all of the systems are so well tuned that it’s a much more cohesive game that tries to return to it’s hobby roots. It will have it’s detractors who won’t be happy about anything the game does and some areas like the raid will remain impossible for anyone but the most hardcore Destiny players (or those with a ton of time to find other like-minded people to play with), but overall it’s a solid addition to an already really good base game. It comes highly recommended from us here at The Dadcade.