It has been over one and a half months since Destiny 2’s first big expansion, Forsaken, released.
I don’t even want to guess about how much time I’ve put into the game during this time, but suffice to say it has been A LOT. I’ve gotten two of my characters to 600 (and my third is very close), I’ve completed the raid a couple of times, and I’ve solo’d the Shattered Throne dungeon.
I’ve seen all that Forsaken has to offer, including the first post-Forsaken in-game event, Festival of the Lost. It’s finally time to write the review, and it’s not going to be overly long like I’ve been known to do in the past.
Last year, I reviewed Destiny 2 vanilla. As a huge fan of Destiny, it pained me to be so disappointed in the game to give it a three star (good) rating. It should’ve been great, or better. A year later, we’re finally where the game should’ve been all along, in the excellent category.
Now it’s important to point out that excellent does not equal perfect. Destiny 2, with Forsaken, is far from my ideal perfection for the game. That’s essentially always going to be the case with any game though.
Right now, Destiny 2 feels excellent. It’s the best of Destiny: The Taken King and Destiny 2, and in that regard it is the best the franchise has been in most ways.
As usual, the campaign of Forsaken is nothing special. The tone is darker for sure, as you’d expect considering Bungie killed off the Cayde-6, the Hunter Vanguard and one of the most beloved characters in the franchise.
The missions and adventures that follow were all good, typical Destiny story missions that are fun to play-through one or two times. Although, with that said, a couple of the Baron hunt adventures were pretty fun and definitely worth plaything through again when The Tangled Shore is the Flashpoint. I really liked both The Rifleman and The Trickster.
Speaking of The Tangled Shore, it’s a great location that’s got a good size and was a lot of fun to explore. Definitely one of the better patrol zones in Destiny 2. The problem for it is that it’s just another patrol zone, one really not worth visiting unless it’s the Flashpoint.
You’ll have to return to the Shore often to do patrols to get Ghost Fragments if you want to do the Spider’s weekly bounties (the powerful one more specifically) if you want a chance at Lord of Wolves and to complete some triumphs. Other than that, the only reason to return to the Shore in the end-game is to purchase cores and materials from Spider.
It’s a great location; very well designed and very unique. I just wish there was more of a reason to go there and do things. Feels like a bit of waste since it’s a fairly big new patrol zone, and yet was completely overshadowed by the other new patrol zone, the Dreaming City.
The Dreaming City, the Awoken homeland, is the star of Forsaken. Arriving post-campaign, it is the Destiny franchise’s first end-game patrol destination. It’s also the best looking patrol space that we’ve seen, and it’s also quite big.
In The Dreaming City, you’ll find Petra Venj. She has daily and weekly bounties. Complete her two weekly bounties, and you’ll get a piece of powerful gear. One of the weekly bounties itself awards powerful gear. Complete eight daily bounties, and you’ll get powerful gear. She even has a story mission every week that awards powerful gear. Complete the Blind Well heroic version (aka the Tier 4) and you’ll get another piece of powerful gear.
As you can see, The Dreaming City is packed with ways to earn powerful engrams each week. Outside of powerful drops, this destination also has an exclusive armor set and a suite of exclusive weapons that only drop from completing activities and bounties within The Dreaming City. The armor set is one of the best looking in the game, and the weapons, with the right rolls, are amongst the best legendaries in the game.
Needless to say, you have ample reason to return to The Dreaming City on a daily basis, and that helps make the destination succeed in being a true end-game destination. It’s also packed with secrets and hidden stuff that rotates on a weekly cycle for a three week rotation. On the third week, where the Taken curse is at its strongest, players can visit Mara Sov and more importantly can enter The Shattered Throne, Destiny’s first “Dungeon” which is really more like a three-man raid that can be solo’d.
The Shattered Throne was a big surprise when it first appeared. Never before has an activity like be available in Destiny. It is a raid for one to three players, which the game needed and needs more of in the future. The more challenging content, that can be solo’d, the better the game will be.
The Shattered Throne offers up three powerful drops, two boss battles with mechanics, and some challenging and fun sections in between the boss battles. It’s the most “Dark Souls” like activity in Destiny, and it’s a lot of fun. It also houses a number of collectibles and reasons to explore the sprawling dungeon, and a secret quest to get the exotic Wish Ender bow.
Speaking of raids, Forsaken offers up a traditional Destiny raid for six-player fireteams. It took the first team to beat it over 20 hours to do so, and by the time the raid had been out for 24 hours, only two teams had managed to beat it.
Of course now that players are geared up and the mechanics are known, The Last Wish raid isn’t a tremendous challenge that’ll take teams many hours to complete. No Destiny raid ever does, and that’s a good thing.
The Last Wish is perhaps, arguably, the best raid that we’ve seen in the Destiny franchise to date.
The encounters are varied and the pacing is very well done. In between encounters, of which there is six, you have some jumping puzzles.
The second encounter, Shuro Chi, is quite possibly the most intense encounter in a Destiny raid to date. It’s an action packed race against the clock that requires your team to be constantly aware and on their toes. It’s about how quickly you can slay enemies and survive an onslaught, how much DPS you can pump out in a given window, and in between all that there’s puzzles and even platforming that needs to be executed.
As exciting as that encounter is, my favorite is the fourth encounter, The Vault. The Vault is also action packed, though not quite as much as Shuro Chi, requiring good teamwork and callouts and the ability to slay enemies including massive knights that will cause a wipe. It’s also a timed encounter that constantly keeps you moving and needing to be aware.
All said, The Last Wish is a fantastic raid experience that again is probably the best we’ve seen from the Destiny team. It is a ton of fun from beginning to end, and it doesn’t hurt that the loot pool for the raid is the best since Crota’s End in Destiny 1. You can get anything from any encounter or chest, but each encounter has a special curated roll of a weapon that it can drop that makes doing all the encounters worthwhile.
Forsaken introduced us to a brand new mode and concept in Destiny, Gambit. Gambit combines PvE with PvP for the first time in the Destiny franchise.
Two teams of four battle it out to defeat enemies, pick up motes and bank those motes. Banking motes in increments of five will send a Taken blocker to the other team’s side, locking down their banking and making them kill an enemy that can be annoying to deal with.
Once a team has banked 25 and 50 motes, a portal will open up to the other team’s side. This allows one player to go through the portal and try to take out as many Guardians as he can. As the invader, you have an over-shield and the ability to see exactly where the other team is giving you quite the advantage. You can also how many motes a player is holding, so taking them out based on who has the most motes can really set a team back and give your team quite the lead (or ability to come back).
If you’re being invading, your screen goes red, The Drifter calls it out, and you get an on screen notification counting down how much time the invader has. While the invader has the advantage, you aren’t helpless. You can hide or you can hunt. The invader will spawn in one of three locations. The odds of an invader spawning on the same side as the current wave of enemies is very low and perhaps impossible. So that narrows it down to one of two areas.
If you’re aware, you can guess when someone is about to invade and be in position to take them out within seconds of their arrival especially if you’re in a fireteam with at least one other.
Gambit is a fun mode that plays with the Darkness and we’ll likely see an expanded version of the concept in Destiny 3 with a PvPvE patrol zone not unlike The Dark Zone from The Division.
While the mode can be fun, it can also be extremely frustrating. For starters, there’s a ridiculous catch up mechanic that makes it so good, smart teams will always summon their primeval last. Catch up mechanics have no place in anything remotely competitive and a team shouldn’t be punished for being the first team to summon.
In my review last year, I talked about the Crucible last and said “I’ve saved the worst for last.” As we near the end of this Forsaken review, I’m again talking about the crucible, but it isn’t last this time.
The Crucible is in a much better state than it was a year ago. It can actually be fun now, which isn’t something that could be said for the Crucible last year.
I still have some issues with it. I think there’s too much power ammo, and with the change to the weapon slot system with shotguns, snipers and fusions in the other two slots, I think it’s time that we go back to the Destiny 1 style of heavy ammo drops. That’s to say that heavy ammo should drop once or twice a game, in a large crate that everyone near it gets.
That just makes sense. It cuts back on rocket spam, and soon machine guns, and it also creates a risk/reward style of play. Do you hang back with your team and grab heavy, or do rush the enemy’s heavy and attempt to take them all out with a super and steal their heavy? That was a always a fun part of the crucible in Destiny 1, and we need to get back to that now more than ever.
I also think that there’s too many supers in the current crucible (and I’m specifically referring to 6v6 Quickplay). Look, I’ve never been a fan of supers in PvP, and I understand I am in the minority on that. But if they are going to be in the game, then they should produce orbs of light in PvP (to stop super chains) and you should only get super energy when you get a kill. That’s just my take. They’re too powerful, and there’s really not much a player can do now to counter them if you don’t also have a super. Supers shouldn’t be for free. You should have to earn your super by getting kills. Yes that means those slaying get supers to continue slaying. Oh well.
Things that came before Forsaken like 6v6 quickplay and right before Forsaken like the weapon slot changes and sandbox tuning have all contributed to taking the crucible in the right direction. It’s not on the level of fun that Year 1 Destiny 1 was, but it has been trending more so in the right direction.
Unlike a year ago, I actually enjoy my time in the crucible more often than not nowadays. There’s work to be done on it, and I still wish they’d bring back post game drop screen and do away with the efficiency rating. All in all though, the crucible is much improved and actually worth participating in now.
I also have to point out that Forsaken brought with it random rolls on weapons and armor, perks that actually matters on armor, a better mod system, more bounties than you could possibly do, a new weapon type in the bow, and nine new supers/sub-class skill trees. It brought collectibles back into the game, a robust triumph system (in-game achievements and in-game grimoire), and practically solved the vault issues with the collections system.
It was a big revamp of Destiny 2, not unlike The Taken King was for Destiny 1. In fact, the most fair comparison for Forsaken is The Taken King. Taken King was excellent as well, but as an entire package and what it has done for the state of the game as a whole, I’d say Forsaken is much better than Taken King in just about every way.
There’s a plethora of content. The game is literally jam packed with stuff now. The new subclass trees have breathed new life into subclasses that were lagging behind. I still think every tree needs to be looked at and adjusted to some degree, because some are clearly superior in every single way.
Of course there are still issues. There’s not enough armor in the game, and half of it is ugly. It’s too much of a hassle to try to get the build you want because everything comes down to RNG and you have no way to reroll anything. You have a better chance of hitting a lottery than getting the exact build you want.
The shader system is a bit of a joke with how much of a hassle it is to delete them, even with Rahool serving as the stack of five shader deleter.
Right now is the perfect time to get into Destiny 2. Whether you skipped it last year, or abandoned early on, right now the game is in the best state it has been in and is back to being an addictive grind packed with things to do. If you enjoyed Destiny after The Taken King, then you should love Destiny 2 now with Forsaken.
Destiny 2: Forsaken gets a five out of five: EXCELLENT.
Purchase Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Edition from Amazon for $39.50 to get Destiny 2, Curse of Osiris, Warmind, and Forsaken.
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