Review

Developed by:Bungie Published by:Activision Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 (2-16 Online) Release date:September 6, 2017 Reviewed on:XBox One Expansion Release Date:September 4, 2018

    Destiny 2: Forsaken – Review in Progress

    The inevitable moment is upon us. Ever since we saw the cover/Bungie released a certain E3 trailer for Forsaken, we we’re bracing ourselves for the loss of a major character. Even more so though, we were bracing ourselves for what could have been a lackluster experience. Let’s face it: not all of Destiny 2’s DLC was created equal. And while the game has improved over time, a bad update (or in this case, an expansion) could undo some of Bungie’s efforts. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Forsaken.

    Warning: If you’ve somehow missed news (trailers, etc.) detailing which hero meets their demise, go ahead and skip the next paragraph. It shouldn’t be considered a spoiler at this point but…yeah, still. Spoilers!

    At the start of Forsaken, the guardians are sent to address a riot at the Prison of Elders. Cayde-6, who put many of the criminals there in the first place, rushes ahead. What follows are some explosive shootouts; the guardians are tasked with subduing the ornerier villains. Things eventually take a turn for the worse with Cayde being attacked by the Scorn. In the ensuing skirmish, his Ghost is destroyed. That’s when Uldren Sov makes his move…

    What makes this mission so hard to play is knowing that you are leaving without Cayde. The tension is held at an all-time high leading to his demise; it was difficult to watch one of the most beloved characters in Destiny being murdered. This feeling was mutual among the survivors/NPCs. Even the vendors were impacted, with those who had never shown any emotion reacting to the news of his death. Bungie made sure that these major events meant something in the grand scheme of things. Beyond that though, what ultimately sells the story is its relatability. I mean, we’ve been chasing the darkness for years now and I still have no idea what exactly it is. And with the only real way to consume the lore being avenues found outside of Destiny 2, the “blink and you’ll miss it” stories feel like ambiguous reasons to constantly shoot things. That’s not the case here. The issue is more personal; though the stakes are still high, you aren’t necessarily trying to save the world this time. This set up works really well in revitalizing Destiny 2’s overarching narrative.

    With the reintroduction of one of Destiny’s older villains, players are sent to a place beyond the reef called “The Tangled Shore.” This new playground is one of the better environments, though it still presents another moon-like area. With its vast flatlands and building peppered about (allowing for the spawning of enemies), it feels like previously released/unlocked areas. That is, it did at first. After a while though, it opens up a bit – there is an entirely different side that showcases The Fallen. This is before newer enemies are introduced in what’s called The Dreaming City, a place at the edge of the reef. Basically, the shore is familiar in design, yet still provides an exciting trek through a foreign landscape.

    Beyond the campaign comes new powers, weapons, gear, game adjustments and more. We nearly received a brand-new version of Destiny 2 – it that takes the best of what the first game did and blended it with what’s here. Simplified weapon setups return, with Kinetic weapons as the main weapon, energy for a secondary and Heavy or special third option. Initially, players weren’t able to have sniper rifles as main weapons anymore as they were moved onto the heavy weapons category. What Bungie didn’t account for was how one dimensional this was, creating a situation where mid to close quarter combat ruled. This put people using Warlocks at a disadvantage when they tend to have less life than say, a Titan for example. You can also imagine how predictable it allowed PvP matches to become when you know everybody is essentially rushing until they can find heavy ammo to use long range tactics. All of these things changed for the better with this this expansion.

    Speaking of PvP, I’m happy to announce that Bungie made some fun changes. Namely in the new Gambit mode – a mixture of PvP and PvE that puts two teams of four against each other in a uniquely competitive match. Instead of fighting each other, for the most part, the teams must work to kill a group of AI controlled enemies before their rivals do. As enemies are killed, they’ll drop motes that need to be deposited into a bank in the center of an arena. Doing so will spawn blockers, non-mote carrying enemies that attempt to impede the other team. The more deposited at a time, the larger the blocker, making a secondary goal of hording motes. This comes at a risk though. If a player is killed while holding their motes, they’ll lose them all. While Gambit is mostly at PvE experience, there are points in a match where a portal opens and one enemy from the other team is able to enter their opponent’s area. They have over-shields to balance out the numbers and don’t show up on any map, their goal obviously being to cause as much havoc as possible.

    Once a certain number of enemies are killed, a boss like foe will appear. The team that kills him (on their side of the arena) will win the match, with the overall victors being the ones to win a best out of three. Winning requires regular communication. It’s easy to get outplayed be a more organized team; invading players who kill their rivals restore portions of their boss’ health, making the fight more difficult. This isn’t really the case with other PvP modes, which is noteworthy given the smaller team sizes. I would have liked to see the option to play in 6v6 matches but Bungie’s collective mind seems set on keeping the 4v4 set up. That said, the competitive modes are still entertaining. Guardians get their ultimate abilities faster so there are far more combos being utilized around the battlefield. Because the weapon mechanics reverted back to their original configuration, snipers are forcing players to think twice before popping around a corner or chasing folks down with swords. But the biggest surprise that most people have gravitated to are the new crossbow weapons (named Bows in-game).

    Unlike the toxic response you get picking an arrow-based character in another competitive game, people have fallen in love with shooting arrows at enemies. It’s far more effective in PvE, but with the right team it can be nearly as great as having a dedicated sniper on your squad. You are given one in the story that has explosive rounds that everyone has seemed to use in the campaign but, like every other weapon in game, the best ones are the weapons that drop randomly. The Bows are certainly a departure from Destiny’s normal running and gunning. They’re also a refreshing addition to the usual arsenal. Coming in different variations, they provide a new way to engage others in combat.

    So, almost two hundred dollars later and now Destiny 2 feels like…Destiny. It’s funny how much things can change in a game just to go back to what worked in the first place. This is odd considering Destiny needed a bunch of DLC to be considered great (depending on who you ask). And while Destiny 2 started out great, it slowly became not so – it still feels like Destiny 1.5. Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed it at launch. My previous review is evidence enough. It’s just that it can be hard to champion the game when it’s always changing, sometimes for the worse. So far though, this particular expansion is worth the price of admission.

    Our copy of the game was supplied by Activision for review. 

    Editor’s Note: You might be wondering why we aren’t giving Destiny 2: Forsaken a score just yet. It’s because of the coming raid “The Last Wish” (due to launch on September 14th at 10amPT/1pm ET). We felt that the raids are a big part of this series and that it wouldn’t be right to give this expansion a final score without first experiencing Forsaken’s raid. Once we’ve done so, we’ll update this review to reflect our final thoughts.

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