If you’ve been following the site, you would’ve noticed that I have a certain affinity for Bungie’s titles. Call it fanboyism, fandom, or just sheer admiration of their work, I’ve definitely been admiring their games, and when Destiny came along I saw a franchise that appealed to me deeply. After more than 900 hours “wasted” in the original Destiny, and close to 350 hours on the current one, I’ve reached sadly to the point where I was deeply annoyed by the game. While the core release of Destiny 2 was a great upgrade to the experience, what followed it was a massive disappointment, whether it was the recycling-heavy Curse of Osiris or the overpriced Warmind. And so Destiny 2: Forsaken is the developer’s way to regain the trust of the hardcore fans, and hopefully, grab the attention of a new generation of guardians with the Legendary Edtion of the game, and a lot of help from their Activision sister company: High Moon Studio.
Destiny 2: Forsaken expansion starts quite heavy for a lot of fans, with the death of one of the most emblematic characters of the game: Cayde-6. The Hunters’ Vanguard, and iconic rebel, you start the game with a certain mission to help our beloved Exo in the reef (an area you probably visited in the original Destiny), set to put some order in the Prison of Elders which hosts some of the galaxy most dangerous enemies. Supported by Petra Venj, the Awoken’s queen emissary, we soon discover that the prison riot is only a mere distraction for a prison break, started by Prince Uldren Sov and his eight henchmen known as Barons, leaders of a mutated type of Fallen knowns as Scorns. Once again, lots of lore for you to learn on your own, but Destiny fans would recognize these names from the original game, and off we are on a hunt for revenge, and catch Uldren and Cayde-6’s killers.
The story is definitely a different tone than anything that was ever done by Bungie in the franchise. The death of Cayde-6 who brought so much comic relief in both the original game and of course this one pushed your guardian to be on the border between what’s right and wrong. This translates into a series of missions where you will be making deals with the Spider, the leader of a Fallen crime syndicate, hunt down all of the eight barons and eventually find Uldren Sov and follow the law of “an eye for an eye”. Without ruining the storyline for most, all I’ll say that it’s quite an interesting twist, and might surprise a lot of you lore nerds of the game including being forsaken by the Vanguard.
In terms of content, Destiny 2: Forsaken is definitely a larger project than what the previous two expansions were on all front, closer to what The Taken King was for the original Destiny. We’re talking about a new weapon type (a Bow and Arrow), a new subclass for each element (total of 9 if you have one of each class), a new enemy faction known as the Scorn, a proper new raid, 4 new strikes (with one being exclusive to PlayStation 4 users) and much more including two new destinations and my favourite addition: Gambit, a brand new multiplayer mode that fuse PvP and PvE for something totally original.
A little bit of lingo teaching before we tackle what Gambit is. Among MMO players, there is often two style of players: the PvE (Player Versus Environment) and the PvP (Player Versus Player) fans. Destiny 2: Forsaken cuts the boundaries between these two type of games, and blends all of them into one mode which is Gambit. In this new activity, you will be split into two teams of four Guardians, each playing on the same map but what seems to be different dimensions, and will have to race against the clock to kill enough AI enemies (Vex, Fallen, Hive, etc) to collect a certain amount of motes. The latter currency will need to be collected by the guardians (which you can only carry a maximum of 15 per guardian) and then banked in a machine the middle of the map to summon a Primeval, which you will need to defeat to win the game. Sounds complicated right?
Well, it is actually easy to pick up, but mastering Gambit is a harder challenge than you’ll expect. First of all, you need to understand that everything you with your three other teammates will affect the opposing team’s experience. For example, motes recovered from killed enemies when banked will summon three different levels of Blockers, which are basically 3 different kinds of Taken enemies that will invade the opponent team’s map and “block” the access to their machine unless they are killed, which can delay their chance to summon their own Primeval. If this wasn’t enough, at several levels during a round, a portal will open, allow one of you four members to invade the opponent’s map and cause chaos for a limited time, or until you get taken down. This will basically help you hunt down potential opposing players that have a large amount of motes ready o bank, and if killed will lose them all. And this my friends is Gambit! A fun gamble of wit and teamwork, with quick decision-making needed, where the course of the game can be altered within seconds.
Of course, all this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Destiny 2: Forsaken. Regulars of the franchise know that there is always more than meets the eye. The level cap is now set at 50, with what seems to be a maximum light level of 600 once the Prestige edition of the Raid lands later in the year. On top of that, there three new subclasses for each of the Hunters, Titans and Warlocks, which can be unlocked by recovering fragments of visions during your battles. Like with the Taken King, each new subclass unlocks new abilities, but most importantly a new super, and some can be either offensive or supportive. Titan Sentinels, for example, will still wield a Void powered shield but can be used now to extend a shield of light where other Guardian can safely shoot behind it as he moves through an area. On the other hand, the Hunter with the same element turns into a stealth-killer that wields void-powered dual-blades and cut through enemies or turn invisible. Reminds me of the original Hunter Bladedancer super, except with Void.
As you’ll play throughout the game, you’ll realize that Destiny 2: Forsaken definitely did major changes to the core of the game. If the first two DLCs offered only minor changes and additions, this full expansion brings a real batch of new gameplay mechanics. While much of this change was introduced through patches a few weeks and days before the launch of Forsaken with the Solstice of Heroes event, one thing is certain, Bungie brought back the need for a daily grind, especially as the biggest of changes is when it comes to your gear and weapons.
The weapon system has been completely changed, going back to the roots of the original Destiny. The third weapon slot is now only intended for heavy weapons (like Rocket launchers and Swords), while the other two can accommodate either a kinetic weapon or an energy weapon. The small subtlety is that a weapon, a Scout Riffle, for example, can now drop as a kinetic or an energy weapon and will be assigned to that specific slot. The most drastic change, but also the most awaited, probably comes from the big return of random perks on legendary equipment, weapons and armour. Something I missed from the original Destiny, there’s nothing more satisfying – and at the same time painful – than hitting the god roll on a weapon or piece of armour. Sadly, like it is with the main game, once experience level 50 and light level 500 is reached, you will have to grind like crazy to cross that cap. This will rely on you to bank on prime engram, especially since upgrading any item will now need more than just glimmer and legendary shards, but also materials like it used to be the case with the original Destiny.
To restore meaning to farming, Destiny 2: Forsaken also brings new methods to recover Powerful Engrams, which is the only way to cross your light level beyond 500. Every day you can participate in daily activities in Gambit, or Heroic Adventures, Strikes or even Crucible that will help you earn these higher light level Engram. That’s on top of the usual weekly challenges that were already in the game, like beating the Nightfall or gain enough Clan XP. This multiplication of ways to get better equipment is a real blessing for the players used to the grind inherent in the original Destiny, and in a way reignites the flame that many had lost over previous DLCs or expansions.
Despite this, and to be quite honest, the grind can still be frustrating when you get a bloody Edge Transit grenade launcher for the third time in a row. Sure you can infuse a weapon with any other weapon from the same slot now which helps, but the cost has become much higher. Besides glimmers and legendary shards, you’ll need 25 materials whether it is Datalattice or Dusklight, and sometime Masterwork Cores depending if they are Masterwork weapons or not. This pricing policy should ultimately only impact those that haven’t played and farmed on a daily basis before Forsaken, and might push away newcomers that are not used to the MMO core gameplay.
In terms of ergonomics, Bungie also reviewed several points, some for the better, others for the worse. In what does not work very well, note the changes to the Director. For example, the tab which allowed us to follow each weekly Milestones or tasked is now shrunk to the bare minimum, pushing all indications on the map itself, forcing you the visit each planet or moon to know what it is. Not sure what was the point of this change, considering the previous system worked perfectly, and nobody asked for this. But on the other hand, the menu has two new addition which will please collectors and lore-lovers. The Collection tab now allows you to see all the weapons, armour, and any sort of items you can equip, where to find them or win them in the game, to hopefully help you get a full set of armour. The other is known as Triumphs, which are a series of achievement that when completed give you Triumph points and open lore pages within the game, and sometimes as well rewards like Ghost shells, emblems and more. Definitely, something to satisfy the most addicted of Destiny players.
I could go on and explain more about the numerous changes in the crucible, including the fun new mode known as Breakthrough, as well as how fun the strikes are, but I will focus more on the end-game content. Currently a little shy below the 540 light level mark, I only got the chance to experience the new lair via a bunch of my colleagues and friends. The new raid called the Last Wish is activated once you finish the main story campaign and open the door to the Dreaming City, a majestic area that is sacred to the Awoken and home to a lot of their secrets. The Last Wish has you go deep into the depth of the Dreaming City, now under control of the Taken since the war you probably experienced in Destiny: The Taken King, and slay the last of the Ahamkara known as Riven. The latter also corrupted by the Taken was at the root of the chaos in this expansion, and the raid is one of the most intense and difficult challenges Bungie has ever made.
Ever since the original Destiny, the Raids have been a key feature for end-game players, especially since some of the most exotic weapons could only be attained from those challenges. Hell, I remember doing the Vault of Glass over 30 times before my first Gjallahorn dropped, and that intense sense of rush when it did. But I’ve yet to feel the same with Destiny 2, and while the original Leviathan raid was fun, the two Lairs added with each DLC were short-lived in terms of content, so it all fell on the Last Wish to revive this rush of raiding with friends and discovering secrets. And boy oh boy did they do a great work! Not only properly difficult which reminds me of my World of Warcraft raiding days, the Last Wish is one insane feat of programming and design, but also a treat for lore lovers. As a clan-member told me, the raid pushed his team of 6 to discover new ways to communicate, think, and work on a solution instead of abusing cheese like we sadly did with Destiny. I will definitely tackle this challenge myself, and I’m excited to experience this rush that everyone lived so far.
Destiny 2: Forsaken was reviewed using an Xbox One digital download code of the game provided by Activision. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via Battle.net and retail store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).
• A darker and well-written script.
• Amazing artistic direction
• That end-game content is worthy of a full game
• Gambit is one hell of a great mode
• So much content to go through
• That soundtrack!
• The campaign feels a bit too linear
• The grind can definitely be challenging for some
• Loot random roll needs some tuning