Destiny 2:Forsaken isn’t perfect, but it succeeds in giving Destiny the content filled shot it needs.
The Destiny franchise has had an interesting history in a very short amount of time. The trend seems to work like this. Release the base game with tons of hype and excitement. The base game releases to critical acclaim and admiration. In a month the community starts to rebel against Destiny, citing a lack of content, questionable game mechanics, and not enough reasons to play even as players log in and play for hours on end.
After two mediocre expansions, a huge annual September release promises to really shake things up. New trailers and vidocs promise to change the formula, add content, keep players engaged, tell a full story and make fundamental improvements to a game people love to hate, but also love to play. That expansion was called the Taken King, and when it arrived it changed the conversation about Destiny forever.
Another major expansion a year later called Rise of Iron, added more fuel to the fire. The hype started to build for Destiny 2 just as it had with Destiny, three years earlier.
You probably already know how the story goes. Destiny 2 released in September of 2017 and for a couple of weeks was the greatest game of all time. Rave reviews abound, and the player base was overjoyed with the numerous improvements and the flashy campaign.
Literally two weeks went by and the Destiny fan base revolted for a second time. Long time Destiny fans were put off by the over simplification of RPG mechanics, the stripped down nature of PVP, and a pool that was a mile wide but only an inch deep in all aspects.
I was one of those players. In the span of a month I had put in days of playtime with it. I was in love at first. Impressed by it’s story and gunplay changes. Everything that would later become something I resented was something I couldn’t get enough of for that first month. Then eventually I hit a wall, like most of the community and realized most of the changes absolutely gutted all of the depth and layers Taken King and Rise of Iron had previously added.
The first two expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind added new locations, story, guns, armor, and several new mechanics. Larger quality of life patches were also released to try and change the story about Destiny 2.
Warmind for sure had a bigger impact, and was the opening salvo of Destiny 2’s comeback. Forsaken was announced shortly after and prepped up as the next Taken King, the next major piece of content that would “SAVE” Destiny 2.
While I’m not sure that Destiny 2 needed “saving”, but it did need something. A new start, a change in direction to give the community a shot in the arm and to give it a second life. Destiny 2 Forsaken does exactly that.
Starting off with a bang, the Forsaken campaign begins with the death of Cayde-6 at the hands of Uldren and his eight Barons. What follows is a very clear and direct revenge story as your guardian abandons the vanguard and joins Petra, back from the Taken king, on a quest for vengeance.
Right away the streamlined an smaller scale of the story resonates in a big way. The stripped down narrative allows a more meaningful story to be told, with a clear set of villains and an obvious motivational pull to continue your quest. This is a stark contrast to the abstract and lackluster effort the original campaign tried to tell.
In addition to a massively improved campaign, a much larger suite of features and additions bring a lot of depth to the table.
The biggest and most obvious are two brand new locations. The Tangled Shore and Dreaming City are massive new patrol zones. Full of new secrets to discover and enemies to shoot. These two zones are gigantic and bring a different dimension to the game.
The Tangled Shore is home to the Scorn. A group of Fallen fanatics that follow Uldren. The Scorn are the first all new enemy faction since the Taken. The Scorn are full on Mad Max meets Destiny, with clamped metal armor, loose leather straps and big shrapnel weapons that they attack you with.
The Dreaming City lies in the home of the Awoken, one of the playable races in Destiny. The Dreaming City is the most stunning Destiny location yet. It features a vastly different look to the rest of the game, with breath taking vista’s and secrets galore. It feels like part Asgard, part Lord of the Rings, and is home to the all new raid.
The other major change Forsaken adds is the gear itself. When Destiny 2 debuted it featured an armor and weapon system that had fixed rolls on everything. If you played and picked up a legendary scout rifle named Nameless Midnight for example, the 200th Nameless Midnight was the exact same as the first one you picked up. This system severely limited the longevity of the end game.
The reason that was so bad was because you would earn tons of duplicate legendary and exotic weapons through out Destiny 2’s play time. After a while you become numb to it. You feel nothing, no hype, no mystery, no excitement. If you are trying to play a game poised as a huge, persistent action RPG, getting loot and having it be meaningful is a big part of it.
Now with Forsaken, Bungie has brought the grind back to Destiny, but in a good way. Now weapons and armor roll with random traits, mods and perks. This one addition adds a ton of replayability to the game, as the hunt for your perfect build is something you can actually chase down. Now when I get that 200th Nameless Midnight I will be checking it right away to see if I get that perfect combination of stats.
The other major gameplay addition are a new subclass, and Super move, for each character in the game. Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters all have three subclasses, and each subclass received a new build. This adds a completely new layer to the meta. Now players can experiment with the new abilities, and try to form a build based on whatever their new favorite super attack is.
These two changes are joined by a couple pages worth of changes and adjustments to all of the various system Destiny 2 has. The economy, the time to kill, even weapon loadouts and ammo adjustments have been implemented that all call back to the style of the original game.
Forsaken doesn’t stop there however, another new mode Bungie added is a game type called Gambit. Gambit is a hybrid. It’s a bridge connecting PVE and PVP in one big, action filled match. Every round of Gambit pits two teams of four against each other as the Drifter (one of a handful of new characters) tells both teams who they will face.
When the round starts both teams will run out in there own maps and hunt down waves of A.I enemies and collect a new resource called motes. When a team collects and banks a total of 75 motes, they summon there primeval. The first team to summon and kill there primeval, wins the round.
Things aren’t that simple in reality. Every time you bank a certain number of motes, you send a blocker to the enemy team. The enemy team then has to kill the blockers to regain the ability to bank their own motes.
In addition to those rules, portals will open at certain intervals that will allow one player from your team to invade the enemy side and try to hunt them down and in general become a nuisance.
The careful balance of focusing on the AI enemies, clearing out blockers, banking motes an warding off invaders is a frantic, fast paced fusion of the best parts of Destiny distilled into one chaotic brew.
Some harsh reminders are still present to remind us this is just an expansion, and not a full fledged new sequel.
Some issues I have with Destiny 2 are still present and as frustrating as ever. Extremely poor playlists that can place you in the same PVP map or Strike multiple times. They once again don’t have a solo queue so if you play alone, nothing is there to stop you from getting matched up against a full team of six. Horde modes like the brand new Blind Well and Escalation Protocol still have no attempt at matchmaking. The three player fire team limit is still around and just as arbitrary as ever. As much as the new systems changed, a lot has stayed the same. Most of the deep, core issues from Destiny 2 are going to need a complete rework from the ground up. Forsaken isn’t that, but I didn’t expect it to be. Those are issues that the inevitable Destiny 3 will have to address from the outset.
Destiny 2 Forsaken is a massive expansion. With a new story, powers, gear and Gambit all in the mix to give Destiny 2 the content filled shot it needs. It isn’t perfect by a long shot, with some fixes merely providing a bandaid on the deeper issues at Destiny 2’s core. As a starting point for the next year of content, it does put Destiny 2 in a much better place.
Bungie’s mission statement with Forsaken was to bring the hobby back.
If the playtime I poured in so far is any indication. Mission Accomplished.