Bungie’s sci-fi loot-based first-person shooter has undergone a complete overhaul within its first year of release. With the introduction of the massive 2.0 patch that launched alongside the third expansion to the game, Forsaken, Destiny 2 has taken a much-needed step to keep players invested. Many of the enhancements to the game’s core systems are available to all players; not inherently tied to the purchase of the expansion. With that said, many of the changes originated from player feedback, especially those considered to be the dedicated, loyal fanbase. For that reason, Destiny 2, which launched as a casual friendly shooter, is once again making changes to alleviate the issues with the (lack of) endgame loop. You can expect to spend plenty of your free nights grinding loot for unique rolls, as well as a new game mode blending cooperative and competitive play. Let’s not forget the new raid, Last Wish, is the most difficult/satisfying piece of content I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing across any loot-based shooter.
Destiny 2: Forsaken is a grind, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. This is something that the dedicated fanbase has been clamoring for, even if it means newcomers and those who play casually may have a harder time keeping pace. If you thought the opening sequence in Destiny 2’s narrative was an emotional roller coaster, the story in Forsaken is just as heart-wrenching, but I almost wish that the death of Cayde-6 remained a secret up until release. With Cayde out of the picture (Nolan North replaces Nathan Fillion in his final appearance) and new threats emerging, the narrative follows a tale of revenge. Being the most critical guardian in the galaxy, you and Petra Venj, formally the Queen’s Emissary, witness the death of the master of one-liners at the hands of the Scorn, and the corrupted Uldren Sov while trying to secure a breakout in the Prison of Elders.
With the assistance of the leader of a Fallen crime syndicate, Spider, you form an unlikely alliance, hunting down the now freed Barons across the incredibly designed Tangled Shore destination and patrol region. After completing a few story missions, which proved to be quite tricky for an underleveled (light level) Guardian when playing solo, your goal of hunting the Barons is uniquely tied to completing Adventures scattered about the landscape. The recommended light level increases with each one, so don’t expect to be taking anyone head on if you are under 400 (at least alone). A full fireteam could be a lifesaver in a pinch, especially if you coordinate your supers and your power weapons. Since these are linked to adventure locations, there aren’t any matchmaking options, which is not ideal. I already mentioned it, but the design of the Tangled Shore helps to make each encounter feel unique and just breathtaking. You must chase Yaviks (The Rider) across death-defying jumps across bubbling toxic pools while avoiding consistent rockets and spawning enemies. That is only one of the eight uniquely inspired boss encounters that you’ll need to face before reaching the leader and traitor, Uldren Sov.
The Tangled Shore isn’t the only new location in Destiny 2: Forsaken, as The Dreaming City opens up after you complete the campaign. It is here where the game truly takes on new life, as this new endgame zone is where you’ll be spending a significant amount of time, especially in the new wave-based event Blind Well. It works similar to the Court of Oryx from the original Destiny, where you spend Charge of Light consumables earned by completing various activities around The Dreaming City to start the encounter. It is not something you’ll be taking on solo, so bring a fireteam or pray there are other players in the area that are willing to assist. There are three difficulty tiers, each bumping up the difficulty of the final encounter; Heralds of the Plague. Picking the highest tier every time is not a good idea if you are underleveled and lacking the firepower to complete. If you are aiming to collect all three Seed of Light drops to unlock the new subclass supers, you’ll need to complete a tier two Blind Well, not to mention defeating the first boss in the new Last Wish raid. I won’t go into detail about the new raid, but it is without a doubt the most, and satisfying content Destiny has ever had. The puzzles and strategies needed to defeat each of the boss encounters are thoughtful and engaging, forcing you to be in constant communication with your team.
With the inclusion of Gambit, Bungie is blurring the lines between cooperative and competitive gameplay, by combining the two into a highly addictive and engaging 4v4 hybrid game mode. Two teams of fireteams face increasingly more difficult waves of enemies; just like in Blind Well, however, you’ll pick up motes from fallen enemies, and back to spawn a blocker enemy on the other team’s side. When you reach 25 and 50 banked motes, you can send a teammate through a portal to invade and reek havoc for the other team.
As previously mentioned, there are also core changes to the framework of Destiny 2, however many of these are available for all players, not just those that purchased Forsaken. The new weapon structure always for a lot more flexibility in your loadouts, and was a much-needed lift for some of the underperforming weapon types. While PvP may be full of shotgun-wielding guardians, it is nice to see them no longer be limited to the power (heavy) slot. Time to kill (TTK) has been improved; meaning the Crucible feels much faster and players feel more powerful at the same time. On the downside, the revamped infusion system is not something that I could get behind. Instead of using just legendary shards and glimmer, you need to have legendary shards, masterwork cores, plus a planet specific material. For those that have been stockpiling and grinding daily, this doesn’t really mean anything, but for the casual player, it puts a damper on trying to gain enough power levels even to attempt some of the high-level activities. Not to mention, being able to collect your new supers (two of the three) as well as the top gear drops are limited to these activities that many players may never encounter. There needs to be a specific balance between what the game was at launch and where it is today because having things too easy or too hard will always leave someone disappointed.
Destiny 2: Forsaken cements itself as the savior that was desperately needed to reinvigorate a dwindling player count. It has been a long road, but Bungie has been committed to turning the development of the game back to the very loyal and adamant fan base. While some of the changes feel that they were done to appease the dedicated players and leaving everyone else on the outside looking in, there is indeed some great ideas that can be expanded upon. The inclusion of in-game triumphs tasks dozens of various tasks to be completed, some of which you’ll already have done. Not to mention, all of the game’s lore can be read and viewed from within the game. The collection section includes every weapon (all rarities) you have collected, as well as ghost shells, ships, and more. You could reacquire any item if you previous dismantled it for a reasonable cost.Note: Destiny 2: Forsaken was reviewed on PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.