Destiny 2: Forsaken Review – PlayStation 4
+ Mandatory integration of adventures into the story
+ Gambit is absolutely addictive
+ Loot rolls are more mysterious and often feel more rewarding
- Power level progression can be stunted based on drops
- Poor communication will doom raid runs
- Grinding still a potential turn off
Do you remember the first time you ever laid eyes on Uldren Sov’s condescending visage all the way back in the original Destiny nearly four years ago? While we may have not known his name back then anyone who’s dove into the latest chapter of the Destiny franchise sure knows it now with the release of Destiny 2: Forsaken for the PlayStation 4.
Over the last several weeks, I like many Guardians set out to tackle the new challenges that Bungie had in store for use. After much blood, sweat and emotional rollercoaster rides I can finally put my swirling thoughts to word with my coverage of Forsaken. Unlike anything that I’ve experienced in the Destiny world, this newest expansion tests a player’s skill just as much as their feels. It’s no secret now that Forsaken is kicked off by the departure of one of the series’ most beloved characters, Cayde-6.
The loss of the wise-cracking and often risk-taking Guardian spearheads your Guardians solo path of revenge…I mean bringing Uldren Sov to justice for his actions in one of the most intertwined expansions to date. If you’ve been hitting with Destiny for the long haul then any newcomers should be able to jump right into Forsaken with a required level 30 character. For those that haven’t quite hit that mark or are joining the Destiny world for the first time, players are given a single one-time boost to get you up to speed for Forsaken.
However that comes with a bittersweet note, as you will locked out of the base game story and the previous DLC arcs of Osiris and Warmind should you use this on a character. So if you want to experience Destiny 2 in its entirety including the acquisition of some exotic weapons then I would forgo this but as a player this is a nice option for everyone. With that little warning out of the way I can get right to the details of everything I enjoyed mixed with what I think detracts from the game as it currently is.
Chief amongst the things that I really enjoy about Forsaken is its tone. Coming from a darker place this time around, as if we needed more pitch dark corridors, the story really drew me in largely because this campaign felt a lot more flushed out in both content execution and writing. Despite the fact that Cayde-6 had a voice lift for his short moments throughout Forsaken, something I’m currently undecided on, they went the extra mile to add little nuances that players might not catch or even experience based on certain met criteria.
While having characters from all three classes and races there are little nods that once I heard them made me sit up and take notice even as I ran the campaign in tandem with clan mates. Now I’m not saying that you’ll be missing crucial moments by only playing as certain races or classes other than say hunter or awoken but I felt a certain extra validation for making those choices over the course of two games and all the accompanying content releases the moment Petra Venj uttered just a few words. For everything that Bungie has done right or wrong over the years, attention to detail has never been a weakness for them.
It also seems that they’ve been listening to many of the grievances and wishes from players as well. Shortly prior to Forsaken, Bungie rolled out an overhaul to the entire sandbox experience as a whole that for the most part makes an original Destiny day one player such as myself happy for the change. While the thought of actually going out and manually gathering resources to infuse more powerful weapons and armors into gear that you want to continue to use may not appeal to everyone its actually something that I actually missed doing to an extent.
This update did bring about its own share of bugs and glitches only one of which has really plagued me in the form of loot drops. As of the time of this review I have yet to come across any Exotic drops that wasn’t part of a quest line which compared to previous installment is a bit surprising but I haven’t seen one drop even from turning in weeklies. On the opposite side of the coin I’ve had decent luck with legendary drops even somehow managing to keep certain weapons from invading my dreams with their drop rate. I actually really like the random rolls that have made a resurgence making every duplicate a chance for a better roll than my previous one.
Once you get that perfect roll though you don’t want to give it up so resource gathering from loot caches, bounties and even buying them from a new vendor is now a part of your weekly routine more than ever. Your mission to avenge Cayde’s death is one that you have little aid to back you up as the Vanguard can’t risk getting into a war with The Reef after current events. Luckily, depending on how you look at it, you are not completely without aid as Petra and the unlikely alliance with a Fallen called The Spider are your main source of story progression and some resources and armaments to boot in one of two new zones. The mostly lawless expanse of The Reef has been opened up in the form of the Tangled Shore, an area once under the complete control of The Spider right up until a certain jailbreak has rendered it a playground for an entirely new race called the Scorn.
This new race while formerly Fallen are twisted monstrosities, warped by repeated deaths and the use of Dark Ether. I have to say that I loved the wide variety of units that make up this race. Unlike the Hive variations of Warmind these Scorn operate on a whole other strategy. For starters outside of the Raiders, who can “teleport” trackable only by the trail of dark blue dark ether, most of the Scorn are a lot more aggressive and deadlier than any faction before them. The almost Cursed Thrall-esque Screebs are even worse as they move in packs and are faster and detonate over a larger area compared to their Hive counterparts. Don’t even get me started on their arc bolt shooting ogrish Abominations. You think getting pelted with a void beam is bad wait until you are Palpatine’d from across a room.
Your foes are not the only ones with new tricks as all three classes have new abilities and Supers added to their rosters. Getting your first one is a fairly straight forward so the hardest part will be choosing your first of 3 subclasses because it’s going to be a while before you unlock the other two. These extra subclasses are going to take you a while because you can’t even begin to gain access to them until you first beat Forsaken’s campaign before entering the Dreaming City, the second new zone, to participate in a Court of Oryx style event. Here you must complete a Tier 2(out of 4) at The Blind Well to get a small chance for a resource known as a Seed of Light to trigger your next class.
As someone really partial to the Warlock class I have to say that I love the new Chaos Reach ability. While it does have some drawbacks it’s amazing for most challenging bosses and mobs. In PVP its execution has to be timed just right or you can completely waste it unless you cancel it out. As a player that enjoys support and ranged combat, I quickly found enjoyment with the new Attunement of Grace for the solar subclass.
Titans also got some pretty nice abilities that work well both in PvE environments as well as on the PvP battlefield. The Titan’s new Burning Maul Super for their solar subclass really makes them a beefy force to be reckoned with as they can swing around one giant hammer obliterating mobs or smashing it into the ground. Though it their void Banner Shield Super that I found most interesting as it is a block incoming damage when you’re using your block ability similar to how swords work when moving. As it is not stationary the rest of the team can stack up and shoot through it unlike the actual bubble shield.
Hunters are still the bane of my existence in Crucible for a couple of new reasons. The first is their new void based Spectral Blades that allows them to turn invisible and decimate players with deadly bladed attacks. The other that I really like is the solar based Blade Barrage which makes Golden Gun seem tame at times. When triggered, Hunters throw a barrage of tracking explosive knives that can cause serious damage. If only one Guardian or enemy is present that barrage turns into one big knife with a higher equivalent output. For this reason they are great against groups of PvP players or mobs due to it quick execution.
You’ll need all of these abilities to be able to complete weeklies in the effort to increase your power level. The newly added strikes offer a chance to procure stronger gear including the unlocked The Corrupted strike after the first Guardians beat The Last Wish Raid will test your skills at both combat and teamwork to complete. This strike is by far one of the coolest if not most complex in its navigation and mini-raid like mechanics. The currently timed PlayStation exclusive strike, Broodhold, is another tricky one whose final boss is a two-fold encounter that will keep you on your toes as you face off with the Hive Brood Queen. By far my favorite of the three new strikes is Warden of Nothing. This one compared to the other two was an absolute rush and easily my favorite across both games. The train section alone was worthy of praise but that near ending before the final boss was epic beyond measure.
Finally we come to the ultimate tests of a Guardian’s ability to work with a team. The first of course is the insanely challenging The Last Wish Raid that requires absolute communication to attempt. This is by far the most exhausting raid I’ve ever attempted and while I haven’t sealed the deal yet I hope to in the future. Riven, the final Raid boss itself requires a hefty 580 up from the 560 required for the Raid’s first boss Kalli.
The second way to hopefully gain some powerful gear to build yourself up for the Raid and possibly the start of an exotic quest is the new Competitive Co-Op mode called Gambit. As someone that is not a huge Crucible participant, Gambit is a high stakes experience that combines a bit of Prison of Elders/Archon’s Forge with a little Crucible Clash action. This mode pits two teams of four players against waves of a randomized enemy type in different arenas.
The goal for each opposing team is to kill enemies and gather the motes they drop. Player then hold onto and bank up to 15 motes at a time towards summoning a final boss called a Primeval. The catch is that if you are defeated by enemies you will lose all motes that you are currently carrying. These motes also act as a way to summon creatures called Blockers on the opposing team’s side preventing them from banking their own motes until they are defeated. This goes both ways and there can be multiple Blockers on a side at any given time.
To make things even more challenging if a player banks enough motes it will activate a portal that allows you to invade the other team’s arena to give you a chance to personally halt their progress in Deathmatch fashion. Once one or both team’s Primevals are on the field it’s a race to see who can burn their boss the fastest. Though this is also a perfect moment to wreck the other team’s progress as the portals are completely open at this time and defeating an opposing Guardian actually restores health to their Primeval. A Gambit match is officially over once a team hits best out of three rounds. Gambit is a risky mode but one that I thoroughly enjoyed through thick and thin.
Destiny 2: Forsaken is an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed with my clan mates through everything. It definitely feels like Bungie has changed things mostly for the better bringing back elements from the original Destiny that I actually enjoyed and bring them forward. It seems that there will be no shortage of things for me to unlock and discover for the months to come with and if what releases next from the Annual pass is half as good as what I experienced in Forsaken then I cannot wait. For those just joining Destiny 2 or those that are continuing the fight Destiny 2: Forsaken is a great addition to the franchise.