Bungie promises new direction with newest expansion
by Alexis Tucker, Managing Editor
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Before getting into the thick of things, Guardians that have never enjoyed “Destiny” in the past will probably not enjoy “Destiny 2’s Forsaken.” All of the same problems are there, but Bungie has made promising progress in the right direction with “Forsaken.” However, the expansion is $40, and that may alienate some consumers right off the bat.
Bungie’s “Destiny 2” lost much of its previous user base with competitors such as “Warframe,” the anticipation of Electronic Art’s “Anthem,” and many other games in the same or similar genre. The original “Destiny 2” campaign gave what fans were craving for… for three whole missions. The exciting idea of the player, known as the Guardian, losing their light to Cabal Red Faction leader Ghaul, who could arguably be the best villain the series has seen. Without the Guardians light, they cannot be resurrected. But Bungie ruined it when they gave the Guardians light back 30 minutes into the main stories, which took away the high stakes they had created.
The raid team were put in charge of “Forsaken,” which created a lot of excitement because raids are the best part of “Destiny.” With their first expansion of full control, and this potentially risky bet has paid off for Bungie. The raid team has always created new and interesting mechanics with similar and familiar elements to build fantastical and challenging raids for Guardians to explore. The raids have always been the hardest and most rewarding experience in “Destiny,” and now, the whole DLC feels that way in the best way possible.
As always, Bungie has switched the endgame system up, but this system is akin to the way the original “Destiny” year one felt.
Guardians have to infuse weapons and armor with higher light level variations using consumables such as masterwork cores, legendary shards, glimmer and planetary materials, which is a pain. Masterwork cores at the moment are only available by dismantling legendary weapons, and Guardians are only guaranteed up to two or three at most per dismantle. The majority of Guardians have cobbled together a hodgepodge of armor pieces with no shaders, refusing to infuse their armor to save on masterwork cores. Along with the masterwork core system, Bungie brought back Triumphs to unlock, but it’s more like achievements or trophies tracked in game.
The new gamemode Gambit is a refreshing contrast to how ‘sweaty’ Crucible can be. Gambit is a best two out of three, four-versus-four, player-versus-enemy match where guardians race to 75 motes to kill their primeval, a giant boss that is summoned at 75 motes, first. Guardians kill enemies and each enemy drops a “mote” with different enemies having varying amounts of motes dropped. The maximum amount of motes carried is 15, and once Guardians drop their motes off at the bank, they send blockers (a large at 15 motes, a medium at 10, and a small at 5) to the other team to prevent them from depositing their motes. The team sending the blocker can then, after enough motes deposited, have a chance to invade the other side and kill the opposing team. Once motes are dropped, they are lost forever. Invading and killing the other team while they have their primeval heals the boss. Most Gambit matches seem to be one by the wire with the other team only just pulling ahead or just losing by an extremely small amount, so playing Gambit feels rewarding and less like a chore as is Crucible.
The story of “Forsaken” at face value is just a simple revenge story, but the plot evolves as the player gets deeper into the game and unlock more endgame content. The plot takes Guardians to the Tangled Shore, the first of the two patrol areas unlockable in “Forsaken,” and they have to help Petra Venj get the Prison of Elders under control. The Scorn, reskinned Fallen, are introduced as one of the main antagonists of “Forsaken.” After completing the campaign, guardians can talk to Petra, and she’ll vanish after that encounter. They have to do some “chores,” and Guardians unlock more missions and a new patrol, the Dreaming City. The Dreaming City is where “Forsaken” shines. It is the most beautifully crafted patrol area to date, and there are secrets begging to be discovered as developers hinted at earlier this year. In a completely surprising twist, the Last Wish raid opened Sept. 14, and only two teams completed it in the first day. These 12 guardians get a free jacket and emblem in honor of this feat. It took 19 hours for the first team to complete it. This is the longest completion time for any “Destiny” raid ever. The moment the first guardians completed the Last Wish, it unlocked another mission and a new strike, which reveals some interesting theories to the story direction. Bungie has finally succeeded in creating an evolving world, and it is exciting to play for once. When Guardians spawn into the Dreaming City, the city is being “taken” over. Black flecks float in the air, and the Taken are more aggressive and more numerous. The implication of this development could mean that the Dreaming City will continue to evolve over the coming weeks, but no one knows what’s going to happen next.
Overall, “Destiny 2 Forsaken” is familiar and recaptures some of what Guardians loved in the first with some new and much needed additions. It is more of the same in some aspects like collecting loot, get higher light level, and then raid, but the ever-evolving Dreaming City breathes some new life into the game that was promised way back when “Destiny” was being teased.