Destiny 2 Forsaken is The Golden Age of Content We Needed After a Dark Year One

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By the Traveler’s Light; the grind is real and the grind is good, y’all. Destiny 2 Forsaken dropped at the beginning of the month, and I have been grinding like it’s my second. Listen. From way back when four years ago when we first heard Ghost tell us “Eyes up” wayback in the Cosmodrome, it’s like first love all over again now. I’d be lying if there wasn’t some struggle in Destiny 2 Year 1. Now that everything between Curse of Osiris and Warming has lead to this, I am ecstatic. Ecstatic, I tell you! I’m not a gamer anymore, I’m a Destiny 2 Forsaken enthusiast. The world is larger than ever and there is so much to do (although I am fortunate enough to have several people to play with every day of the week).

Quality of Life

D2 feels different, regardless if you own the expansion. The new weapon system allows for more customization than ever. If you want to run triple snipers, triple shotguns, or triple grenade launchers, you can. There would be an ammo struggle, but you can. I tend to be fond of the D1 system rocking the primary and special, but when slogging through the Nightfall it was nice using a bow and hand cannon. I’m currently enamored with Pulse Rifles and Shotguns. RNG has not been on my side, so I find myself with a trusty pulse rifle and shotgun. The amount of options is staggering, and it takes a while to fully appreciate all of the ins and outs of the gear process.

The collection system is a much needed, “why-didn’t-we-have-this-already addition to the game”, but I am much more vested into the Triumphs system (and especially how it ties into the new title system). There aren’t a lot of PS4 trophies, but there are plenty of accomplishments you can achieve and knock off the list.

The return to the bounty system is a little bit of a bummer. Now I need to remember to visit the tower before doing anything, but it does reinforce the and succeed in habit formation. There’ll be a small adjustment period before it’s second nature. The drastically reduced exotic rate has been the most demoralizing part of the game. I like using the gear more than I like getting the gear. Dropping all my mats and playing constantly for a week resulting in two duplicate exotics and one new weapon is not exactly my definition of a good time. Xur won’t be helping me out for a minute, but it’s a small price to pay for the thrill (and repeated disappointment).

Story

The creative team really stepped up this time around. The story wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but it was well written and executed wonderfully. Cayde-6’s send off was haunting, and our journey of vengeance/justice was equally so. The baron fights were great encounters. The Trickster and Mindbender were of my favorites outside of the Fanatic, who I enjoyed fighting the most in both story and strike. The last act had a great WTF moment, and it’s nice seeing the endgame built into the story (much like Taken King way back when). Without too many spoilers, they could have called this expansion The Taken Queen and no one would have blinked.

The story emphasis continues into the new strikes too. The Hallowed Lair, Warden of Nothing, The Corrupted, and (PS4 exclusive) Broodhold have absolutely stellar moments and top-notch commentary from their respective NPCs. It’s a cohesive storytelling experience. Warden of Nothing also had the advantage of being one big nostalgia trip. The mechanics and artwork continue to be spectacular, showing Bungie really outdid themselves.

New Gear

The random rolls means that weapon and armor drops are exciting again. I want SMGs, Pulse Rifles, and Shotties, though, and goddamn the game is not working with me. Gotten way too many long distance guns that it’s been frustrating getting three snipers in a row. I suppose that will make the eventual drop that much more sweet but wow, gear is definitely a little harder to come by. Although, my energy slot in PvE has more often than not filled by my favorite gun in the game: the IKELOS_SG_V1.0.1. It’s a trusty shotgun that has continues to serve me well and may actually be the most powerful weapon in the game based on sheer DPS numbers.

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However, the addition of bows has led me to one long-distance weapon that I enjoy using. Whereas even the deftest scout rifles or snipers continue to be too heavy of a weapon for me to use properly, bows have a lightness to them that make the incredible fun to use. Every notch of an arrow, every draw of the bowstring, every headshot feels crisp and satisfying. Even with all sorts of modern weaponry, the combat bows feels viable
— and in some cases, even better than guns. I’m sticking with what I know, I know many who have embraced the archer life.

New Supers

One of the things that got me the most hype going into the expansion was the new subclass nodes. I immediately went for the Striker Titan, and well…I’m in love with every skill (particularly the Ballistic Slam).

Bungie nailed it. Thundercrash feels better than Fist of Havoc ever did. It absolutely annhiliates mini-bosses, and flying about like Superman while making meteoric damage on impact has been great. My classmates have been rocking Well of Radiance, which has ruled the Gambit scene. My Hunter first mate enjoys the Spectral blades in PvP, but still loves tether the most when it comes to PvE. The new Gunslinger class, Way of a Thousand Cuts, continues to be the plague of my existence. It highlights a crucial fact: everyone has a new way to play. They are all viable and it’s great to have that build diversity.

New Game Mode: Gambit

Gambit is Destiny 2’s new PvEvP game mode, and I have not had as much fun in any game mode in any game ever. It is a simple game with simple rules: Fight. Collect. Bank. Invade. The level of strategy that emerges from two fire teams of four Guardians on four maps with 3 different enemy types results is staggering.

Sometime I gear up with Code of the Juggernaut against the Fallen or Cabal, relying on an SMG and melee to mow through adds. Against Hive, Vex, or Scorn, I rely on more mid-range tactics by sticking with Code of the Missile to get in and out. I’ve come to love solar warlocks saving my life with their super rifts, and appreciate the Hunters out there slaying. The most intoxicating feeling is when I invade and get that crispy Army of One, no matter how sloppy it is.

The daily bounties have forced me to try many different armaments, although I find that a HC/SG/Launcher meta works best for me. I have come to fear Linear Fusion Rifles and the Sleeper Simulant (which thankfully has a tweak coming its way).

New Locations (and an Endgame Befitting of a Queen)

I don’t have too much to say about the new location other than they are really, really pretty. The Tangled Shore brings a wonderfully western feel to the idea of an asteroid belt. The Dreaming City is just gorgeous, with so many secrets to uncover. I’m convinced we have barely scratched the surface of everything hidden within this update. The three-cycle makes Destiny 2 feel more alive than ever.

With weekly reset activities and daily challenges, there is plenty to do as we try to get raid-ready. As a chronic player, I’m already struggling to keep everything straight. Between wanting to play Gambit and explore the Dreaming City, I also want get good at competitive, and power-level. I’m currently grinding my light with the rest of my clan to prepare for the Last Wish. It’s shaping up to be a harrowing experience given the world’s first taking 18 hrs and 43 minutes to complete due to the mechanics and the power level. What little we have ventured has been daunting, but we’ll get there.

Final Thoughts

Mikkel: I love it. I already loved it, but man I love it more. I have a list of things I’m working on (One-Eyed Mask titan helmet, Redrix’s Broadsword, and the Dredgen title) and the future is definitely looking bright. I’m fortunate enough to have a solid clan to come home after the grind at work, so I honestly think this is the best Destiny has ever been. Everyday has something to do, some goal to inch towards. It’s a slog, but the game is beautiful and fun to play. I’ll suffer my horrible RNG because the pay off will come in time, and Bungie has made the investment worth it. Sounds like the trend is only going to continue.

To old guardians, come back to the light. To new guardians, welcome to it. You’re in for a good time – whether you invest a couple hours a day, or a handful of sessions here and there throughout the week.

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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