It’s been a year since Destiny 2 came out, and a lot has happened since then. The game launched with a lot of fanfare and praise, but it wasn’t long before we started to realise that the end-game and the content that goes with it was rather shallow. There was hope that the Curse of Osiris, the first expansion that formed part of the season pass might fix things a little, but unfortunately, this didn’t quite happen. It was only when Warmind came out earlier this year that we started seeing some changes and improvements to the end-game with the latest expansion Forsaken making it the game Destiny 2 should have been in the first place.
A return to form
Destiny 2: Forsaken has been compared to The Taken King from the first game. The changes that come with it, along with all the content, and how it revitalises the game is almost a carbon copy of that expansion. It offers an intriguing story that’s not too bad and will take you about seven hours or so to get through, two pretty large maps to explore, as well as a completely new and fun game mode. The story is one of revenge, as your guardian sets out to track down and kill the man that killed Cayde-6. It’s very clichéd, and the final boss fight is nothing original, but the journey there is quite entertaining as you fight your way through Uldren Sov’s Barons to finally get to him.
The expansion is quite clever in how it ‘pads’ the story a bit, and also encourages you to explore the new area, The Tangled Shore, as you progress through it. Each of the barons that you need to find and kill are located somewhere on the rather large map, and the missions are not story missions, but rather adventures, which are part of the open world. It makes for some cool encounters, where you might see someone else fight a baron in their story mission, and help them out a bit. The barons themselves are also pretty fun, varied boss fights which range from vehicular combat to dodging bombs to playing cat and mouse with a sniper. The new enemy type, the Scorn, looks very interesting, but in terms of fighting them, there’s nothing too different from what we already know. The only issue I had was that it requires you to be quite high in power level, and with the new economy, it is rather difficult to get to that point and progress the story. I found myself playing Crucible or Gambit for a bit to level up and continue the story, and this broke the immersion a little bit.
The new places that you get to explore are The Tangled Shore and the Dreaming City. Both are pretty large with a quite a bit to do including new types of public events and activities such as the Blind Well. It’s kind of similar to Escalation Protocol in Warmind, but it feels more akin to Court of Oryx from Taken King or The Archon’s Forge from Rise of Iron in Destiny 1. It’s probably the hardest activity in the game at the moment, but it’s not impossible, as you can do it at different tiers with higher tiers obviously giving better rewards. Both areas are very well designed and hide tons of secrets to uncover. It’s fun and entertaining to explore and definitely a step up from everything that’s been on offer up until now.
Random rolls are back baby!
As mentioned, Forsaken makes a lot of changes to the original game, and a lot of this is carried over to the base game as well, so even if you’re new to this, and only playing Destiny 2 because you got it on PS Plus, you still experience most of the improvements. These changes include a change to the economy, which makes levelling up gear and weapons harder since it requires more resources and some of these are not easy or cheap to find. It adds a bit more thought to it, and although it might be a bit harder to level up, it gives you more reasons to play. There are new vendors that can give you bounties and quests, and well as quests and bounties from all the vendors out in the star system. Forsaken doesn’t just give you reasons to play the new stuff, it also gives you reasons to go play the old content again, thanks to incentives and the promise of loot.
Three more strikes are added, with a fourth that is exclusive for PS4 owners. The strikes are interesting and varied, with some level of teamwork required to complete them. One strike, in particular, is very well done, and Destiny 1 players will definitely have a few chuckles as they play through it. It is easily my favourite strike of the entire game, simply because it is long, it is fun and it has a lot of interesting bits to it.
Probably the biggest change that comes with Forsaken is the weapon system. It’s still divided between Kinetic, Energy and Power weapons, but you now have a lot more options when it comes to what you want to slot into these categories. For a start, you can now equip things like shotguns or sniper rifles in the Energy or Kinetic slots depending on their classification, so you can, for instance, have an Energy auto rifle to break enemy shields with, and then use a kinetic shotgun to finish them off with. It makes for interesting gameplay and experimentation, which was sorely lacking in Destiny 2.
All gear and weapons also now have random rolls, something that wasn’t carried over from Destiny 1. The reasoning for this omission isn’t very clear, but having it back is a real blessing since you now have a reason to go out and grind a specific activity in the hope of getting that ‘god-roll’ that will absolutely wreck! You can once again have different builds that give you perks depending on what you do or what you use, and since we’re all different, the meta of the game becomes much broader and a lot more fun.
You also get an upgrade to your sub-classes, with new nodes being added. You only unlock one of the nodes for one of your sub-classes early on and getting the others are a lot of work since you will have to do one of the hardest activities in the game, the Blind Well, to get those other powers. Using the new powers are a lot of fun though, as you feel truly powerful when you activate it and go ham on a horde of enemies or on a boss. I’ve only had to opportunity to use the Code of the Devastator for the Titan, which gives you a massive hammer that you can either slam into the ground for a devastating area of effect attack, or swing it around like a giant flaming gyro that pummels anything it comes in contact with! I’ve also seen some of the powers for the Warlock and the Hunter and they look pretty impressive.
The gambit pays off
Destiny 2: Forsaken didn’t bring in any new Crucible maps, but it did add a whole new mode called Gambit. It’s essentially a hybrid between PvE and PvP gameplay. You and your team jump into a scenario where you fend of waves of enemies who drops motes when you kill them, you need to bank these motes in a central area in order to summon a Primaeval that you must kill in order to win the round. If you bank enough motes at a time, either five, 10 or 15, you can send a blocker over to the other team’s side, which has to be killed before they can make deposits. You can also invade the other team’s side in order to kill them and either deny them their motes, or heal the Primaeval. When you invade to the other side, you can see exactly where the other players are, but you as the invader are a lot harder to spot. This gives you a bit of an advantage to cause havoc, but they do get a warning that you’re there. This obviously works both ways, and it makes for some tense firefights and encounters.
I like the mode a lot, but the biggest issue is the matchmaking in terms of which maps you play. There are apparently four gambit maps, but I only played on two in about 10 matches, so it becomes a tad bit stale after a while. It could be that the others will be released over the course of the next few weeks along with more Crucible maps.
The game we should have had from the start
One thing that should be noted is that Destiny 2: Forsaken is a damn expensive expansion. It cost nearly two-thirds of the base game but it does have a lot of content. If you are brand new to the game and want to jump in, there’s something called the Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection, which bundles in all of the previous expansions as well as the Forsaken expansion. This package doesn’t cost so much and if you consider all the content you’re getting, then it really is bang for your buck. The only thing that really concerns me is the Annual Pass, which will give you access to seasonal content that we know nothing about. Bungie moved away from releasing expansions every few months, but will instead be adding more content to what is currently available at an added cost. At this stage, we have no idea what the content we’ll be getting is going to be, and having people pony up for it blindly doesn’t sit quite right with me.
Overall, I am very impressed with what has been done with Forsaken. It breathes a fresh life into the game with a ton of extra things to do and two new and exciting places to explore. There’s also still a lot to come with more crucible maps expected, as well as The Last Wish Raid, which will go live next week. This is what Destiny 2 should have been from the start and it’s a shame that we had to wait a whole year for it. Better late than never I suppose.