Full disclosure; I’m a huge fan of Bungie’s older games. Halo CE specifically is to date one of the best titles they ever made (I will fight you!). So when Destiny was released back in 2014 I was quite eager to jump into this MMO-ish (totally a word!) FPS for the first time. That’s when my rose-colored glasses were shattered. Gone were the intense storytelling, amazing firefights and epic feel of my previous experience and in its place was a grind fest shooter that needed a lot of refining and further development. Arguably as the expansions dropped and Bungie began to work through the many issues the title had, Destiny began the process of becoming a solid MMOish Shooter.
So with Destiny 2’s release, I have to confess that I was a tad bit excited to see if Bungie had learned from its previous experience. Although the base game was loads better, offering tighter, more focused storytelling, better team play experiences and a solid raid experience for high-end players, the base game still had some issues to work out. I’m telling you all this because context is king when it comes to making statements so as I begin this review of Destiny 2: Forsaken, I want you to have the full context and perspective from where I started when playing through this expansion.
This all being said I have to confess that Forsaken is awesome! I’ve spent the last week or so pushing through the content and finishing up the main story arc. As a side note due to time restraints and gear level, this article won’t be including the new Raid ‘The Last Wish’. However having played through all of the story, spending the last several days hunting bounties and running strikes I’m here today to give you the Gamespace Review of Destiny 2: Forsaken.
Set after the events of Warmind, Destiny 2 finds Cayde 6 and yours truly summoned to a high-security prison in the Rift to help with a massive prison break that is currently taking place. With his usual charisma and flair, Cayde 6 essentially lays out the situation and sends you on your merry way to help locked down the facility. Crazy stuff happens, an amazing dialog is delivered and After 20 minutes into this new campaign, I found myself more invested in the story of Destiny than I’ve ever been across its 2 games and several DLC.
Storytelling is at it’s finest here with excellent dialog delivery, focused arcs and all of the feels that reminded me so much of Halo: ODST (arguably one of the most underrated Halo titles, and yes I’ll fight you again!). From start to finish the story pacing was balanced, never allowing me too much downtime but also never moving so fast that I couldn’t enjoy the experience. To avoid spoilers I won’t get into the details but suffice to say that this is the best story experience I’ve had in Destiny.
The new strikes that released with Forsaken have also experienced an upgrade with some creative and original ways of moving characters through the level. Of the three (four if your a PS4 owner) new strikes to release with the expansion, Warden of Nothing is by far a personal favorite. With runaway trains and some great dialog, this strike brings you back to the aforementioned prison where the campaign started. Each strike offers some great new boss encounters, great level layouts and some pretty intense firefights throughout. Plus with the new way of selecting the power level you want to run a random strike on, it really opens up Strikes for players.
The last piece of new content that should be highlighted is the new Gambit mode. This interesting PVP/PVE hybrid mode sees up to 8 players face off as two teams in a mad grab for tokens in two separate but identical arenas. Waves of NPCs pour onto the map and, upon death, drop tokens for the players to pick up. The first team to collect 75 tokens can summon a final boss. whoever kills their final boss first wins.
The catch, or catches, in this case, is that each team can dramatically troll the other team. Turning tokens in at your central deposit cause various enemies to spawn at the other teams deposit effectively closing it down until said enemies are dealt with. Throughout various points in the map one player from your team will be able to jump to the enemy teams map effectively causing mayhem for several seconds before either being ported back or killed. During the boss phase killing enemy players actually heals the boss making from some pretty intense moments.
The whole mode is fun, creative and crazy hectic! Even as someone who traditionally does not enjoy PVP (I am old and slow), I find Gambit awards teamwork and strategy over straight up skill shots. Don’t get me wrong skill shots help but a well-coordinated team can cause huge problems for the other team without ever sending anyone over.
Moving away from the story and new content, there have been some great additions to the base mechanics of the game as well. At the time of writing, I’ve really only spent time with the Titan class but the added subclasses have been a much-appreciated treat. I specked solar for my first subclass pick because why wouldn’t I want a hammer I can throw at enemies indefinitely (assuming I scoop it back up after each throw). The new subclasses feel distinct enough that each is enjoyable in its own unique way. With the ease of switching that is afforded by the subclass system, it’s easy to find one that works best for you even on the fly(assuming you have unlocked it). It’s a great feature that helps make combat feel fresh and rewarded.
Speaking of rewarding combat lets just take a moment to talk about my favorite weapon in the game, the compound bow. In a world with guns that can cause lightning arcs across enemies when you take damage to guns that literally explode all of the things, the announcement of a bow as a new weapon type that was coming with Forsaken, seemed odd and slightly out of place both in lore and setting. I’m still not sure what the lore reasons were for bringing this sweet weapon into Destiny but I don’t even care. It’s now my primary weapon! It is one of the most satisfying weapons in the game to use and when you land those headshots, well nothing quite feels like it!
The New expansion isn’t all sweet headshots and great storytelling. As much as I love pretty much everything about Forsaken, as you reach level cap some of the old MMO tropes begin to creep back in. upon hitting item level 500, the gear grind begins to set in. Now I will say that the grind feels a little better this time around with some unique bounties and the most wanted list of hunts, along with some nice progression milestones. In fact, the only issue I really ran into was that for as much gear as I’ve farmed it feels like my gear level has moved very little. It all seems a bit unbalanced atm and as much fun as I am still having it gets a little frustrating to not feel like your progressing despite the hours put into the title.