Unless you’ve been living under a rock, if you’re a Destiny fan, then the chances are that you know of the big plotline revolving around one of the series most beloved characters. Now just in case you don’t know, I’ll soon go into who that is, so this is your pre-spoiler warning. During the many trailers that featured prior to the release of Forsaken, Destiny 2’s big expansion, comparable to that of The Taken King, we have known nice and early to prepare for the loss of beloved Guardian (here’s the spoiler)…3…2…1…Cayde-6. It was a bold move by Bungie that sparked a very mixed reaction from the community, but given that the story in Forsaken doesn’t necessarily revolve around the fate of the galaxy for once, the death of Cayde-6 certainly provides the much needed emotion that is required to feel invested in this very personal story.
I’ll give a somewhat brief overview to the story of Forsaken. You will likely remember Prison of Elders from the House of Wolves expansion from the first Destiny. Well, the prisoners have escaped and more notably, the Scorn! Fallen legion outcasts, freed by Uldren Sov, the brother of Queen of the Reef, Mara Sov. She has been missing since the first game, in-fact she’s presumed dead by some, but Uldren Sov believes that she’s still alive and he will stop at nothing to find his sister, even if that means letting loose some of the most dangerous villains held captive in the Prison of Elders.
Upon hearing of the prison break, you and Cayde-6 are summoned to the Reef to aid Petra Venj and it is here that you soon discover that this mayhem has been ignited by the Uldren Sov himself. Being the valiant hero that he is, Cayde-6 goes in pursuit of Uldren, however, he is ambushed by the Scorn and before he can draw his last breath, he is assassinated by Uldren using Cayde’s very own weapon, the Aces of Spades. Following the death of Cayde-6, Guardians Ikora Rey and Commander Zavala have very different methods of approach to act revenge. However, despite the unrest within the Tower, you travel to the Tangled Shore, lawless wasteland within the Reef to meet with Petra Venj and for an unlikely alliance with the leader of a Fallen crime syndicate known as Spider. But before you get your hands of Uldren Sov, you must first hunt down and eliminate the eight Scorn Barons, some of the most deadly villains known in the galaxy. Speaking of the Scorn, other than being a mutated version of a previous enemy, the Scorn are very much a new enemy type, and not just a simple re-skin, like the ice-cube Thrall’s from the previous Warmind expansion.
Gameplay-wise, Destiny 2: Forsaken still offers arguably one of the best FPS mechanics out there. It’s a game that’s always been tweaked here and there by the developers, but in essence; it’s pretty much the same fantastic shooting mechanics that existed before. Whatever gripes you may or may not have had with Destiny 2, its core gameplay has always been one of its strongest assets and that still remains the case in Forsaken. So what has changed in Forsaken? To be honest, quite a lot in many respects, perhaps way too much for me to ramble on about in a single review. However what it does do is identify what was worked since Destiny 2 launched, expanded on that by making not so dramatic, but much need improvements and bringing back some features that worked in the previous game. In my opinion, it is often the case that I game can be improved the most by subtle changes, rather than anything drastic.
As always with any Destiny expansion, the level caps has been increased with the Level Cap going up to 50 and the Light Level having a soft cap of 500, though you can reach 550 to get ready for the new ‘The Last Wish’ raid. One improvement that I felt would be quite strange when I first heard of it is the overhaul of the weapon slots. Previously you were restricted to Primary, Secondary and Heavy (so to speak), with you only being able to carry a certain weapon in its designated category. Now in a nutshell, you can have far more freedom in your first two weapon slots, so if you want to carry two side arms and two hand cannons, as long as you have the weapons, you can. Weapons such as Fusion Rifles, Sniper Rifles and Shotguns now also return to your second weapon slot. So if you just so happen to have a shotgun in each of your three slots, you can equip three shotguns if you wish. It’s perhaps not the most ideal of loadouts, but it’s great to have that freedom of choice.
We also now have new abilities for each of our Guardian’s sub-classes; each Guardian class will get three new additional abilities in total. The Titan (my main) has the Thundercrash (Striker alternative), similar to the Fists of Havoc, but instead of landing-in Thor style, you can now run around unleashing havoc, becoming somewhat of a self-guided missile. The Big Hammer (Sunbreaker alternative) is what you’d guess it would be; now you can bash the hell out of your enemies with a large Rise of Iron inspired hammer, which is a lot of fun. Finally for the Titan you have a new Sentinel alternative, which adds the ability to widen your shields guard over a larger mass which also does damage to your enemies as they attack you.
Now as I’m still playing through as my Titan, so I’ve not had the opportunity to try out the Hunter and Warlocks new abilities, but I’ll briefly detail them the best I can. The Hunter will have Fire Knives (Gunslinger alternative), jump into the air and repel a launching attack of flaming knives down upon your foes. The Spinning Staff (Arcstrider alternative), let’s you go all Donatello from TMNT inflicting damage and can even deflect rockets, and finally the Shadowmark (Nightstalker alternative), which will have you wielding two deadly blades to cut though a group of enemies with ease.
For the Warlock we have the Blade Stab (Dawnblade alternative), which when planting your Dawnblade into the ground, it will blast some sort of mega rift, dealing big damage to any foes within its radius. Teleportation Explosion (Voidwalker alternative), which allows your Warlock to teleport around the map, while dealing Void damage in the process. And finally the Lighting Beam (Stormcaller alternative), blasts out a very powerful beam of energy for a short period of time dealing big damage. If you think of Iron Man’s Repulsor Blasts, you will kind of get the drift.
One of the main criticisms of Destiny up until now has been how it’s very deep and interesting lore has been accessed. In the first Destiny, you would earn what is called Grimoire points, which would unlock lore stories to your Bungie account. Problem was, none of this was accessible in-game and you had to access it via the Bungie website. Thankfully now all the lore has been implemented in the game and can be viewed in your Triumphs tab. Triumphs is now a permanent feature in Destiny 2, which not only features the games deep lore, but also detailed information on story missions, side-quests, multiplayer performance data, event and much more, all of which will be tracked.
As you unlock more Triumph milestones, you will earn points, which by the way; those points can earn you some very interesting rewards, such as the Forsaken digital soundtrack for completing the main campaign before the end of September (more details here). To coincide with your Triumphs tab, you also have Collections, which keeps track of all weapons, gear, exotics, ghost shells, vehicles, shaders and emblems you have unlocked so far. This is not only a great way to keep track of what you’ve earned, but also what you still need to acquire if you got to get them all!
As with any Destiny expansion, to release along with the main campaigns, strikes and raids, comes the multiplayer aspect or as it’s known here, the Crucible. In terms of new maps, they haven’t arrived yet sadly (at the time of writing), but they will be coming soon apparently. But they will be accessible to all, regardless of whether you own the Forsaken expansion. However, one of new Crucible elements that will arrive as part of this expansion is the new mode called Gambit and it’s a lot of fun! Basically Gambit is a 4v4 PvP/PvE hybrid. You’ll have teams of four pitted against each other in two separate maps, the match will begin with you and your team killing as many enemies as possible, collecting their dropped motes and banking them. The more motes you hold on to and bank, the greater the CPU enemy that you will send into the opposing teams map. The team that has banked the most motes by the end of the round, wins that round. However, you will also have opportunities to invade the other teams map for a brief time to reap some havoc. As long as you have a good team with you, in my opinion, Gambit could very well be my favourite Crucible mode ever in the Destiny series.
Other then the Tangled Shore, the other new area that comes with Forsaken is the Dreaming City. I don’t want to give too much away here, because it will be far better experiencing this area when you discover it yourself, because it really is quite impressive. Prior to the release of Forsaken, the developers at Bungie dubbed the Dreaming City the “largest endgame experience” in the series and you can certainly see that this is the case, the area is huge! The Dreaming City will feature the usual missions, adventures and secrets to discover, with some added puzzles to take on too. It will also be the home of a new challenging location called The Blind Well, which contains some powerful treasures to acquire, but this will prove to be a very challenging quest, so you’ll need to be on the top of your game if you are to be successful.
The Dreaming City will also be the home of the new Raid lair, The Last Wish, which has now released and been beaten by some and in doing so, it has added a new Strike and Gambit map inspired by the evolving Dreaming City. Sadly at the time of writing, I’m not what I’d call “raid ready” just yet, but hopefully I will be in the coming weeks. The new Raid will have a recommended level of 550, but I like to go at least 10 or 20 over the recommended level for Raids. Speaking of Light Level requires, the new Nightfall recommends that you go in at 540, which I’m not also at yet. But hey, this is what happens when you come back to Destiny after being away for many, many months.
While far more players have impressive hours clocked up then I with the original Destiny, generating over 2000 hours of playtime is quite some going for me. I always tried to fit every minute into playing Destiny whenever I could. Sure I dipped out with The Dark Below, but I soon began to get into the swing of things late on into the release of The House of Wolves. By the time The Taken King came about, I had found a clan and this is when I clocked up more hours than ever before. For me personally, The Taken King will have a special place for me, not only with finding my clan, but I loved the King’s Fall raid and my enthusiasm followed into Rise of Iron.
Yet when Destiny 2 released, initially I was an enthusiastic as I could be. I clocked up a decent amount of hours, not a great deal, but more than enough to get a good feel of the game. But something didn’t feel quite right, somewhere along the way, I had lost my Destiny mojo. I had hoped that I would rediscover it with the two expansions that followed, Curse of Osiris and Warmind. I finished both of their short campaigns and some of its end game content, but I still couldn’t regain my mojo. So as we built up to the release of Forsaken, while my expectations were reserved, I had hopes that it would re-kindle that feeling and the enthusiasm that I had when experiencing The Taken King. Thankfully it seems that has been achieved with Forsaken.
The campaign has me gripped with its personal tale of revenge, the adjustments made to the games overall quality of life, with little things such as access to the lore and Triumphs being a mainstay, and even how tasks are clearly highlighted on the map. And as already highlighted, the new Gambit mode is so much fun, I just want to jump back in now, oh and one other thing that would please many would-be returning Destiny players, is that he grind is well and truly back. Not just in the sense of missions taking ages to unlock gear, but you now have a clear path how to acquire luxury gear and it feels like your getting somewhere as you gradually level-up. Forsaken has well and truly helped me re-discover my Destiny mojo and I couldn’t be happier to say that. Only time will tell if Forsaken surpasses my person favourite expansion The Taken King, but I know I’m going to enjoy the grind getting there. Forsaken has brought back just about everything you love about the series and then some, this is Destiny 2 as it should have always been.
+ A gripping personal tale of revenge
+ Map objectives are clear to see
+ Gambit is a brilliant multiplayer addition
+ The good grind is back!
- May be little too late to tempt old players back