Destiny 2: Forsaken Review
Destiny 2: Forsaken starts with a literal bang, as fan-favorite character Cayde-6 is mercilessly killed by the Scorn and Awoken prince Uldren Sov during a prison escape at the Prison of Elders. The wise-cracking rogue exo Cayde always gave off a cowboy vibe, which makes the Spaghetti Western feel of Forsaken’s lawless frontier quite fitting. Your character will seek out vengeance against the Scorn and Sov in a campaign that feels much more personal and engaging than any of Destiny’s previous stories.
Forsaken’s campaign feels very much like a side story in that it’s mostly self-contained. Your character is hell-bent on avenging Cayde, and Vanguard leaders Ikora and Zavala can’t get involved, as much as they want to. This is an unofficial, off-the-books mission – should any member of your fireteam be caught or killed, the Guardians will disavow all knowledge of your actions. Forsaken’s main campaign is over in about five or six hours, but the ever-changing landscape of the Dreaming City unlocks afterwards, offering players plenty of fresh content.
Destiny 2: Forsaken has a lot to offer longtime fans of the series. The cutscenes are beautifully rendered, and environments such as the Tangled Shore and the Dreaming City are stunning. Hardcore players finally have some worthwhile long-term incentives to grind for. Between the new hybrid PvP/PvE mode Gambit to the Strikes, Crucible and Raid, Bungie has taken care to give players a true sense of progression and reward them for the time they sink into the game.
When Destiny 2 first released, it was met with high praise from critics and players alike. It didn’t take very long, however, for the game’s shortcomings to become evident, especially in regards to endgame content. Similar to the original Destiny’s life cycle, it has taken a year and two mediocre expansions for the game to truly shine.
Restrictions to the weapons system have been lifted, as players can now use grenade launchers, shotguns, fusion rifles, and sniper rifles in primary or secondary weapon slots, allowing them to be used more often and making players feel more powerful. These weapons were previously only available in the heavy weapons slot. If you want to get crazy, feel free to equip three different shotguns. There’s also a fun new weapon type in the bow, which feels great and gives players a fun new toy to master. The Year Two Forsaken update makes the ability recharge rate faster and gives players access to powerful weapons much more often, so you feel faster and stronger.
While taking away some of the power fantasy made sense thematically in the beginning of the campaign for vanilla Destiny 2, it became annoying towards the end when many of the guns just felt like they were doing nothing. Between these new changes and all of the perks, players now have a lot of freedom in how they want to play the game, rather than being forced to use gear that they hated just because it was more powerful than what they wanted to use.
There are many options in front of you, whether you want to go after smaller rewards with a quick session or tackle a massive raid for the best gear Forsaken has to offer. There are new quests and tempting rewards around every corner, and this game will eat up all of your free time if you let it. If you have an addictive personality, beware.
There are definitely some issues with Forsaken’s economy. It’s next to impossible to find Masterwork Cores for Infusion – where you use low-level gear to upgrade higher-level gear. In vanilla Destiny 2, all this cost was Glimmer, but now it’s much more difficult to upgrade, in an obvious cash-grab attempt. Sure, some hardcore players might have a massive pile of upgrade materials from consistently grinding, but for casual players the economy is completely unfair at the moment. Exotic gear drops so rarely as to be practically mythical in this new expansion.
Forsaken’s new mode Gambit throws players into a hybrid PvE/PvP mode, which is fun and totally chaotic in a good way. Players are thrown into battle against both AI enemies and other player-controlled Guardians. Tokens are dropped when enemies die, and the team that deposits the most tokens in their vault wins. The more tokens you deposit at once, the stronger the enemies unleashed on the opposing team’s base. The gamble is that you can either be safe and deposit a few tokens at once, or risk losing a massive amount of them for a massive killing blow against the opponent. It’s a welcome addition to the roster of other modes that compete for player’s time.
Destiny 2: Forsaken has some stellar story content, a host of improvements that fans have been clamoring for, and a lot of cool ideas to keep players engaged over a long period of time. There’s a large amount of new content that’s designed to be repeatable content, and hardcore players will sink plenty of time into acquiring weapons and gear with their favorite perks. The game gets its hooks in you early, and provides enough meaningful content and rewards to keep you engaged with its smooth, satisfying gameplay loop. Most importantly, all of these gameplay changes are available to all players, not just those who own Forsaken. Gear from the new expansion and all of the daily and weekly missions are available to everyone, which is great. Destiny 2: Forsaken finally feels like the game that Bungie promised years ago, and one that players old and new will feel excited to log into daily.