Hey all I’m back with my review to the real expansion to last year’s fall flop-buster made by the good folks at Bungie. It’s my Destiny 2: Forsaken Review!
Plot Synopsis: Some dude from the first game goes and straight up murders your friend Cayde, so you decide to go hunt him down…
Plot: The plot is okay, it’s not spectacular, and frankly way too dark for my own tastes. But that is a personal view, and many might enjoy the darker tone set by the murder of the one person in the entire Destiny universe that seemed to be able to crack a joke.
In addition I’m not really psyched by the path Bungie has taken with the story in Forsaken. The fact that what goes on in the main storyline, and also the Raid, keeps returning to certain storyline that started after the launch of Vanilla Destiny is more than a bit annoying. The Destiny universe has a ton of interesting plot lines, or at least it did until the less than stellar expansions Curse of Osiris and Warmind decided to absolutely destroy a bunch of that potential. Whether they can ever turn from this particular storyline is a question that’ll be answered in the future.
Characters: We don’t get introduced to many new faces, but there are a few. Most are so spoilerific that I’ll leave them unnamed, but the one I can name, Spider, is a rather interesting take on the Mafioso stereotype. His introduction made me remember scenes from Return of the Jedi and as that’s my favorite Star Wars movie, so I was more than a bit happy. The rest of the main players in this expansion are old faces we’ve met in the past, mostly in Destiny 1, but like I said there are new faces. One interesting note is that we as Players actually spoke a line, something that I believe we haven’t done since the Vanilla Destiny when we met with the Awoken Queen. The fact that it’s an almost perfectly templated one liner is less than stellar though, and makes me question the competence of the storywriters at Bungie even more.
Gameplay: Now for the good stuff. I had a freaking blast playing this, from opening to the beginning of the Raid, which is as far into the Endgame as I’ve gotten as of now. The gunplay is finally back to the blast I had playing in Destiny, with me being able to equip a Shotgun or Sniper Rifle and a Rocket Launcher in addition to my main go to weapon of choice, a Pulse Rifle or Scout Rifle. It was absolutely a blast.
With the addition of the Bow as a weapon type, I’ve finally found a weapon that I enjoy as much as the Hand Cannons of Vanilla Destiny. While they aren’t as fast paced as the Hand Cannon, they do allow for precision damage over incredible distances and can match a Sniper Rifle’s range easily. The fact that they are single shot weapons is absolutely ok as the “reload” time is nonexistent and the main speed bump comes in the form of pull back time.
I personally have been running with the Exotic Hand Cannon Ace of Spades, a gun you can, and should, start to acquire as soon as you finish the “main” storyline of Forsaken; and Subtle Calamity, a Void Bow that has random perks. I was lucky to acquire the perks Explosive Arrow and Archer’s Tempo as choices in addition to Quickdraw which drastically reduces pull time. The first choice, Explosive Arrow, is my go-to loadout as it allows me to fire arrows that have a small explosive effect that happens a second after impact. That particular feature has given me many kills in the Crucible and the new Gambit mode and is incredibly satisfying to play with. It also adds more damage which is nice in PvE as well.
Now that I’ve brought up the new mode, Gambit, I have to say that it actually is a lot more fun than it sounded in press releases and videos prior to release. It features a map where you and a team of three others kill many computer generated enemies in order to gain Motes which drop at a rate of one per Enemy generally, although harder enemies do drop three or more. Once a team banks enough Motes they spawn a boss monster that upon death ends the round in that team’s victory. A match of Gambit consists of three rounds, although I personally would prefer if it had a quickplay mode, with only a single round of Gambit and a more competitive mode with three rounds.
Now going back to the weapons system changes that happened with Forsaken, the fact that you can equip three Shotguns if you decide to run that way is insanely fun, and frankly I expected a division of gunplay between PvE and PvP to be a feature of Forsaken. The fact that such a division isn’t such a feature is a bit worrying, but as long as Bungie doesn’t nerf stuff in PvE because of PvP concerns it won’t be a problem. That is a big if however given Bungie’s past track record in that area in the past. We shall see, but as of the writing of this on the 17th of September it hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully that doesn’t change.
The new additions of three new Supers per sub class is also highly fun. Though I must admit I haven’t had the chance to use all three of my Hunter’s new supers due to the fact that you can’t unlock all three at once and I’ve only gotten two unlocked. For instance the new Voidstalker Super of Spectral Blades is incredibly fun, and with the perks that are unlocked with it make for some incredibly interesting gameplay that allows me to quickly stealth myself at any time as long as I can kill someone with a precision headshot if I crouch first. This takes getting used to, but once you get in the habit you can start quickly stringing together kills while remaining unseen by anyone.
The other supers are just as interesting, for the most part. The Arcstrider one for Hunters is a bit disappointing from what I’ve gathered, because I’ve seen not a single person take it as either their first or second pick yet. This may or may not be true as again I haven’t unlocked it myself, but the fact I haven’t seen a single person use it in the days since launch is telling.
Not all is great though, and some issues that I’ve been harping on since Destiny’s Alpha are once again highlighted. The lack of six or more person fireteams in Patrol mode is highly frustrating and perplexing as Bungie has stated they will open up Patrols to six and possibly more people. Further is the lack of proper instancing that really highlights Patrol mode’s shortcomings when it comes to Public Events. These can be really fun given enough people, but when it’s just you alone they quickly become an exercise in frustration.
Finally, the addition of Random stat rolls on weapons is both a good and bad thing. This isn’t a concern for all weapons as some have fixed rolls no matter how many drop for you, but some do come in all sorts of different forms. This is leading to many players hoarding guns that aren’t high in power, but feature great perks in the hope to infuse them to a higher level later on. Frankly I’ve gotten sick of getting Edge Transit, a sentiment shared by pretty much every player, as it’s not only a generally terrible weapon but it has random rolls that sometimes make you question the sanity of the QA team.
Art: The artwork of Forsaken is actually pretty awesome, with tons of new effects and locales to explore. I was blown away with the artwork of the new patrol areas. That being said there are times that my poor plain old PlayStation 4 just takes forever to load into an area, so not all is well. Personally I think this is an issue with the way Destiny 2 handles instancing as I’ve heard from friends with Pros experiencing similar issues.
Music: The musical score of Forsaken is pretty well done as well, however this isn’t the best I’ve heard from Bungie especially given that Marty O’Donnell is now long gone. So while it’s good, it’s not the best I’ve heard. One side note I will make is that if you finish Forsaken’s main storyline before the end of September, you can claim a code to download the entire Forsaken soundtrack for free. I’ll be doing that for myself in the next few days as you need to claim it by the end of September as well.
Overall: This is a huge step in the right direction, but if Bungie makes bad choices in the near future with gameplay changes it could quickly become many steps backwards. So far that hasn’t happened, but it is something to keep in mind. If such a thing happens I’ll probably write about it in a
Bungie Bashing Video Game Tuesday column.