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Returning in 2017

Destiny 2: Forsaken - Forsaking Story for Grind

For all its shortcomings, I’ve really enjoyed the Destiny franchise over the last 4 years. It’s engaging enough that playing it doesn’t feel like a chore, but also easy enough that I can usually multitask with some podcasts or Netflix while I play. Destiny 2’s newest expansion, Forsaken tries to do what the Taken King did with the previous game, and that is make it worth playing. Destiny 2 somehow left behind any improvements the expansions made to the base game of the first Destiny and quickly lost my interest after hitting max level, and the soft cap of power. But just like any other addictive and self destructive drug, I was pulled back in to play this new adventure, and while the endgame definitely feels a lot better, there’s not much else of note.

To me, Destiny’s biggest shortcoming is its campaigns. Narratively, they have all been rather weak, and while there have been improvements since the laughable D1 campaign, there is still no competition when compared to Bungie’s previous masterpiece, the Halo series. This is most frustrating because Bungie shows that they still understand how to make engaging missions and stories. The first and last mission of each of the major campaigns since the Taken King have been wonderfully constructed, cinematic, and engaging. Between these missions you are dropped into public areas and everything stops feeling like a campaign, feeling instead like a series of activities to complete to get you to the end game. Forsaken doesn’t do much to change this, lengthening the “campaign” by having the player do public events, bounties and patrols before unlocking adventures to take down each of the leaders responsible for Cayde’s death. In the base game, adventures were little side stories with minor voice overs, here they are mostly the same, and make up the bulk of the storyline. It’s frustrating because the first and last missions are so good and it seems like Bungie simply decided to cut corners with the stuff in the middle, a recurring theme with Destiny.

“But that’s not why people play Destiny!” Some may say. Those people may be correct, but that is not a valid excuse for minimal campaign content. If the game is only about the end-game grind, then why bother with a campaign to begin with? Why have us level up if it’s only a formality? Bungie have created a very interesting universe in Destiny but refuse to truly explore it with campaign content like they have in previous games (Halo).

All of this said, the endgame of Destinty 2 got a huge shot in the arm with Forsaken. The number of weekly and rotating daily activities mean there’s always something to do if you’re still looking for powerful gear to level up your character. The new strikes are in a different class compared to the base game and previous expansions. Warden of Nothing is a standout that has your fireteam taking down the servitor that used to run the prison of elders during the House of Wolves expansion of Destiny 1. The strike is very well done on its own, and also adds the nostalgia by recreating the fallen map from PoE and having you “dismantle mines, yes?” The blind well is also a fun new horde type mode reminiscent of the Court of Oryx. Hopefully Bungie doesn’t shy away from reintroducing Destiny 1 content to the game in future content drops.

Another real standout of the expansion is Gambit, a pve/pvp game mode. Each team spawns in its own instance of a map and is tasked with killing adds so that they drop motes. These motes are collected and turned into the bank. Get to 75 motes and you summon the primeval, a boss that your team must kill to win the round. At times a portal opens, allowing one teammate to invade the enemy’s map to try to kill them, which causes them to lose the motes they’re holding or heal their team’s primeval. The maps for this mode are diverse, and the drifter, the guy running the show, is a welcome new addition to Destiny’s cast of characters.

I haven’t played the raid yet, but if I’m reading the reddit hivemind correctly it’s being well received. The fact that a team completing it totally changed the world, adding new maps, missions and a strike is awesome. I’m excited to see how Bungie continues to expand it in future weeks.

Overall the Forsaken expansion is a must have if you’re into the core idea of a Destiny game. I don’t think it will change your mind on the game, but if you’ve been looking for a reason to come back, this is definitely it. Even though the leveling and campaign experience is lacking, the changes to end-game such as the new locales and activities are a breath of fresh air for the game. Each subclass’ new skill tree brings with it new and unique supers, playing differently, giving a fresh feel to all characters. The expansion has been out about two weeks and there is still a lot to be done and accomplished.

Rating: 4/5
Value: Worth it