For those who have read my articles before, you’ll know that my articles focus a large amount on the pros and not enough on the cons. However a good article focuses on both, and supplies you all an unbiased opinion of a game so that you can decide whether it is right for you.
I will be doing my best from now on to supply articles that don’t sing the accolades of games too terribly. With that being said, I have played Destiny since day 1 Destiny 1 back in 2014, and I firmly believe after playing this update for about 28 hours since launch, that Destiny is in the best place it has ever been.
THE STORY OF FORSAKEN
Despite past expansions and story lines, Bungie has some amazing story tellers on their team, and Forsaken demonstrates what can be accomplished by this team.
Going into Forsaken we knew some key features of the story. That the Barons would be escaping from the Prison of Elders and that Uldren Sov would be breaking them out. We also knew that Uldren Sov would bring about the end of the hunter vanguard, Cayde-6. All of which sounds like a lot of information, and to be fair it is. Some were driven by the shear desire to avenge Cayde, while others felt as though the entire story had already been shown before the actual expansion launched.
However, while playing through the story, not all is as obvious as it seamed. There was plenty of mystery, specifically surrounding Prince Uldren’s motivations and what exactly was happening between him, the darkness, and the light. Much of these motivations aren’t seen to full fruition until after the story before you unlock the dreaming city.
One of my personal issues with the Destiny 2 vanilla campaign, The Red War, was that the plot was not only shown before launch, but there were no real surprises. Every point of the story felt as though it was simply reiterating the points already made. This supplied for a very stale story that became almost tedious to do over again for subsequent characters. However, as mentioned above, the story for Forsaken supplies plenty of mystery, while still ensuring that our end goal is clear.
Another pleasant surprise was the character conflict that I personally felt while playing. The story begins with us wanting revenge for Cayde, however, by the end I no longer wanted to do so. Funnily enough, the story almost directs you to a conclusion where it seams you will get to choose what you do in the end. Though it does not, it does supply you with a “scapegoat” of sorts in the form of Petra Venj.
The end of the main campaign isn’t the end of the story though, it goes beyond just Uldren and deeper into the lore of the universe that is Destiny.
One of the most important aspects of any game when it comes to story, the lore is something that differentiates good games from great games. A game that has lore in the world and follows it’s rules shows a team that loves and cares for this world enough to build not just a game, but a universe.
Destiny has always had some very interesting and exciting lore, though it has not always been as accessible as it is now after Forsaken has dropped. Supplying a new lore section that fills when completing missions, collecting items and gear, and living in the world.
The best part about lore is that it’s optional. For those who enjoy it and interweave it into our gaming experience, it is nearly vital, but for a player who doesn’t care too much about the world, they never have to touch it. This new update puts that to practice. It tells you when you’ve found something lorewise throughout the world, but the notification isn’t any more intrusive than any other achievement in the game.
One part that I can’t help but feel missing, is the lore from before this update. Having four years of storytelling, most of it absolutely brilliant, and to not include it into Forsaken is an opportunity lost in my opinion. I would love the lore from The Red War, Curse of Osiris, and Warmind to be included or collectable as well, and I would love to see the grimoire from the first game brought into this new codex of sorts.
Other than that, the lore is wonderful and well thought out. I haven’t gotten a chance to read all of it yet, but of what I have read thus far, it is full and complete.
THE NEW AREAS
With Forsaken came two new explorable areas; The Tangled Shore and The Dreaming City.
The Tangled Shore is where the majority of the story and main campaign and missions are held. On top of that, there are bounties and collectables, lost sectors, regional chests, strikes and everything else an explorable destination has to offer in Destiny 2. It is a very beautiful place in a rustic type sense. The landscape is a cluster of rocks strewn together by cables in a hodge podge sort of way. However this perfectly matches the fallen race, who primarily habit this area. A scavenger race that makes junk into treasures and machines.
However, after the campaign of the story, as with all the other areas and worlds up until this point, The Tangled Shore becomes almost pointless. There grows to be nothing to do there unless you WANT to explore there, in which case you are supplied things like bounties that seem to simply fill your time. Recently there have been changes to the economy of Destiny that would have you return for planetary specific materials and other valuables, which make going back a much more enjoyable task, since it feels a bit more vital, however it isn’t a permanent solution to this problem.
However, Bungie seems to have figured out a way to fix this by supplying the second area of this expansion, The Dreaming City.
Serving as not just a place with planetary activities (such as public events, patrols, materials, etc) but also serves as an end game activity hub world. Instead of having traditionally separate end game activities such as raids being kept in a separate activity, The Dreaming City supplies several activities throughout the world to go and visit and engage in. These activites supply hard to achieve loot such as weapons and armor, and to put them all within the same patrolable area is a very large step in the right direction.
Since it is end game activity, and the expansion has only been out for several days, it is hard to give a reasonable review on the area. What I can say is the area is beautiful, complex, and if Bungie can deliver on such an ambitious idea for their game, it is sure to be a home run!
QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENTS
Several welcome changes to the game came with quality of life improvements. Changes to the economy, quests, pursuits, bounties and more. They got rid of the token system for planetary activities which was a complaint from almost everyone in the community, and replaced them with quest steps and planetary materials instead. A very welcome change, however, since it has only been a few days, we will see how this new economy unfolds, though I believe it is the best economy so far, including the years of Destiny 1.
The User Interface (UI) has changed quite a lot as well. As mentioned before, there is now a tab on the start screen left of the character screen called “Triumphs” which supply lots of things for players to chase, not just lore and lore books, but weapons, gear, and much more. These are not easy Triumphs to complete, and when they are completed, you are rewarded with a title under your Gamertag/PSN/BattleTag for all the world to see.
There is also a collections tab where you can buy previously received gear such as exotic weapons, emblems, armor, vehicles, ghosts, etc. However these things will cost lots of materials and be fairly low on power level when purchased. And they do not include randomly rolled weapons (as far as I know)
Speaking of which:
Random rolls are back, not just for weapons, but for armor as well. Exotics are not going to be random rolls, so as to balance those specific weapons and armors individually if needed. Hunting for the perfect “God Roll” is something for players to do, however it does not, in my opinion, qualify for a grind, since it is often a very passive activity. What Random rolls does give us though is customization. Different armor sets with certain perks allowing for different ways of playing. Having a full set of armor that is super resistant to void damage and gives fast draw time to your auto rifle works out great! Pair a build like that with an auto rifle with quickdraw and snapshot sights and you’re a tank against void damage and can draw your weapon super fast. It’s a terrible example I know, but there you have it.
They’ve also redone the mod system to provide with additional perks like better in air accuracy or more damage towards harder bosses. Masterworks and how they operate has also changed for the better, however it has also taken a step back. Not being able to reroll masterworks makes the masterwork feel more like a randomly rolled perk than a masterwork. To fix this, I would suggest something like allowing us to reroll a masterwork after leveling our current one to the highest level. It might take more materials to do so, but that means more time to play and things to do.
Another large selling point for the game, and a fairly large one at that, are the new Super subclasses. Not sure if the quality of life tab is where I should put this, but what the hay. Each class now has 3 new subclass trees, one for each damage type (solor, void, and arc) and these subclasses play very differently from one another. I’ve gotten a chance to play with the new void classes for Titans and Hunters, and though they are part of the same damage type, they are different enough that you don’t feel like you’re picking between 2 of the same super when selecting your subclass talent tree. This provides for a very fun and new way to play your characters, and gives you additional missions to work through.
The Forsaken expansion has seen nothing but improvements from the previous year of Destiny. Though those systems may need some addtional tweaking themselves, nothing comes to mind from this expansion that is worse than it was before. We will have to see how end game activities are going to go and whether Bungie can deliver on all their promises on that front.
Personally, and for many others I’m sure, I was comparing this to The Taken King expansion from Destiny 1. Forsaken was supposed to do to D2 what The Taken King did to D1. A step in the right direction, and a change for the better. In My Opinion, thus far, Forsaken has shadowed The Taken King, and if The Dreaming City and what Bungie are saying they want to do with the end game come to fruition, there will be no need to compare the two expansions.
If you’re looking for a reason to get into or back into Destiny 2, now is the perfect time. If you’re more skeptical however, and you want to wait a few weeks to see how everything settles, then that’s smart too. The more time you spend waiting, the better idea you’ll have when you come in.
We hope to see you there!
Destiny 2 Forsaken is out now on PS4, XboxOne and Battle.net