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Destiny 2: Forsaken (Xbox One) Review

Destiny 2 has had its ups and downs. As someone that played the first game casually and didn’t care for the grind, I fell in love with Destiny 2 at launch.

It had an actual story, and everything was pretty straightforward. I loved it, but then the end game happened which amounted to a raid and not much else to do until more content released. Then the Curse of Osiris and Warmind expansions released, which were rather short and didn’t manage to keep me playing the game on a near daily basis like near launch. Forsaken has changed that, and I’ve been playing Destiny 2 practically every waking moment since it launched to the point that I’m literally having dreams about playing it. It is that good.

The story of Forsaken is one of revenge. An opening cutscene shows a beloved main character being gunned down in the Prison of Elders, an area that players of the first game may be familiar with. From here your guardian, who talks for all of two sentences now in a voice which doesn’t appear to match their groans from deaths in PvP, goes out to defeat each of the prisoners responsible for his death until you’ve reached the man who pulled the trigger. Not all that original of a story, but the hints it drops along the way of what is coming to Destiny 2 has me excited.

Destiny 2: Forsaken – Review Image Provided by Activision

In a way, Forsaken plays out loosely like a Mega Man game in that there are 8 bosses to take down at your leisure before taking on the final boss. Each boss has their own respective stage or adventure to complete before fighting them, and all feel unique from the others. In essence, this feels like a bunch of mini-strike missions and is easily the best campaign gameplay wise Destiny has seen thus far. Plus, it lasts around 8 to 10 hours in my experience from start to finish, including powering up your

Everything you’d expect to find in a Destiny 2 expansion is here from new armour and weapons sets, rare exotics to grind for, an upcoming raid, more strikes, two new large areas to explore, new supers for each subclass, and, of course, those pesky consumable shaders. I’d love to tell you excitedly about how cool the new exotics are, but I’ve literally gotten zero of them to drop and I’ve easily put around 35 or so hours into the game since the expansion released. That is to say that exotic drops are far more rare that they previously were where it wasn’t unheard of to get a couple a day. As far as new weapons go the newly added crossbows are rad. Charging up explosive arrows to one shot enemies feels great, and even powerful if not risky in PvP.  As far as cosmetics go, nothing has been mindblowing or all that impressive thus far in comparison to some of the armour sets found in the original Destiny, but perhaps we just haven’t found the cool ones just yet as there are plenty of secrets to uncover.

The core game has received massive quality of life changes that people have been asking for since the games initial release. This includes a collections menu where you can see what guns, armour, shaders, ghosts, and vehicles you’ve collected, as well as cash in resources to spawn a new one around your level. This also means you can get more shaders now without grinding and hoping they drop, but they are still consumable items which suck when compared to practically every other game in existence with customizable armours. On the plus side, shaders can be dismantled five at a time now so you don’t have to spend countless minutes doing so, though a bulk dismantling feature would be nice.

Another change is the addition of a triumphs menu that has over 800 challenges to complete ranging from simple things like completing story missions and strikes, to more impressive feats in multiplayer. Currently, getting triumphs is strictly for bragging rights in-game as far as anyone can tell, considering the game gives you a new emblem to boast about the number of them you’ve completed. That said, I’ve been driven to try to complete them, so they serve what I suppose is their purpose of extending the game and giving players more to do. Bungie has announced a rewards program tied to triumphs, however, which currently offers a digital version of the expansion’s awesome orchestral soundtracks.

Destiny 2: Forsaken – Review Image Provided by Activision

Speaking of things to do, there’s now an overwhelming amount of optional content for those that seak it. Daily and weekly bounties at practically every vendor and faction in the game, as well as daily challenges that net you a powerful engram to potentially raise your power level. Previously there was little reason to play past your weekly objectives, now I’m strategically taking bounties to try to maximize my gains from them. On the downside, inventory management of all these bounties and pursuits can be a bit of a nightmare since they have an expiration time and you’ll probably want to do the ones with the shortest amount of time to complete first. Many vendors also offer items that can only be gotten by completing lengthy quests such as killing enemies with specific weapon types or landing headshots in the Crucible. There’s just so many more reasons to keep playing daily now and it feels like Destiny 2 is finally a game that both casual players and hobbyists alike can play and enjoy.

One such reason to keep playing is the new “cooperative competitive” mode called Gambit where players are tasked with racing another team of 4 to take down enemies as fast as possible to collect motes they drop which must be turned into a bank in the center of the map. Occasionally a portal will open between the teams allowing one player to cross over for 30 seconds and attempt to kill the other players, denying them motes or possible restoring health to their primeval boss monster. The primeval boss spawns once a team has 75 motes deposited, and whichever team kills their primeval first wins the round. Matches are best of three and often are extremely close which makes for exhilarating and risky plays of desperation which may or may not pay off. As long as you’re matched up against an evenly skilled team, it’s a great time, as getting steamrolled by skilled players is never fun, but for the most part, Bungie’s intelligent matchmaking seems to do a pretty alright job.

Finally, another reason to keep playing is the final endgame area, the Dreaming City, which is littered with secrets, many of which are yet to be found or revealed. Bungie has stated it will change over time, what that means is yet to be revealed. Currently, it just feels like a massive open map with a handful of hidden chests to find with lacklustre rewards, and enemies that are far too strong to compete with until I’ve ground to a higher power level (currently at 514, with some areas suggesting you be at 540 and above). While Bungie boasts that this is the biggest endgame area it has ever had, that doesn’t mean a whole lot if it isn’t filled with anything meaningful to do. Sure, there are a couple of public events exclusive to the area (one of which has the chance to give you a rare drop that allows you to unlock the other subclasses new supers), and the aforementioned chests, but otherwise, it seems rather large and empty. Perhaps that will change soon in some meaningful way, but its hard to tell as Bungie has been tightlipped about it.

Destiny 2: Forsaken – Review Image Provided by Activision

While all of the new additions are welcomed, not everything is perfect in Destiny 2 land. The collections menu can only be used to craft items from before this expansion, due to the fact that the new armours and weapons now drop with random perks much like in the original game. This alone adds a ton of playtime for those that want to land perfect ‘god rolls’ on their equipment and is a totally optional grind for those that want it. Though it would be nice if these were offered with a blank or default state to be able to pull them out of collections as needed for the more casual players. Inventory management is still a nightmare in Destiny 2.

You can still only hold nine of each item type, and now you’ve also got to juggle a pursuits menu that can be filled up pretty quickly thanks to all the new stuff to do along with quests that drop randomly when dismantling guns. And if you’re like me, you also use the mailman as a means to holding onto recent drops until you’re sure if you want to keep them or dismantle them based on their perks. I, for one, hate inventory management in most games, as its almost always tedious and not beneficial to gameplay, and that applies here.

Your old weapons and equipment that you’ve been hoarding in your inventory? Mostly useless thanks to the new random rolls, depreciation of the mod system, and infusion of higher powered weapons being quite costly as it now requires not only glimmer and legendary shards but also the resources found on each planet or even rare masterwork cores.

Destiny 2: Forsaken – Review Image Provided by Activision

Lastly, the game is just downright expensive now. The Forsaken expansion alone costs $53.49, which also has its own season pass at $46.99. Sure, you can buy them together and save a bit, or buy the whole collection that includes the base game and the other expansions, but $129.99 is not pocket change for most people. Activision Blizzard also has the gall to offer to boost a SINGLE CHARACTER for 3000 silver, the in-game premium currency you can buy for real money for a total of $39.99. Yes, really. These premium boosts also skips all the story content from the base game so you start right where Forsaken begins, meaning you’ll miss out on the original story and expansions. Hear me out, but holding people’s time hostage behind an expensive paywall in an already expensive game with cosmetic microtransactions is appalling.

In the grand scheme of things, if you can afford it, Destiny 2 is now easily the best shooter on the market. The gunplay is unmatched, the set pieces are breathtaking, getting a new piece of loot and making progress feels great, and there’s a ton of new bosses to take down, not including the soon to be released raid and a mysterious strike that no one has been able to access just yet.

 

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