Destiny 2 got a bit of a bad reputation for itself when it was released. While it got mostly positive reception from most critics when it was first released, player response was mixed, mostly due to the number of microtransactions that could be found within the game. Personally, I quite liked both Destiny 2 and the original Destiny. While neither title was flawless, for example, when Destiny was first released it was almost devoid of content, which was only properly rectified a year later with the release of the Taken King expansion, I found them entertaining enough, with fun gameplay, incredible world design, and an incredible cast of celebrity voice-actors. This new expansion promised to shake things up in a major way, both story and gameplay wise. And honestly? It has become one of the most entertaining and engaging experiences I’ve had with this game in a long time.
Forsaken starts boldly. Killing off a major character, especially a character that might be the most popular one in your franchise, is a bold move, but it’s one that Destiny developer Bungie does within the first hour of the expansion, with Fan-favourite Cayde-6 being the unfortunate fella on the chopping block. Witnessing Cayde’s death at the hands of Prince Uldren, the player, a Guardian of the Last City on Earth, is thrust into the lawless wasteland known as the Tangled Shore, a collection of cobbled together asteroids that sit at the edge of the solar system. With no support from the Last City, the player must hunt down Uldren and his ‘Barons’ alone.
As I said, the expansion starts incredibly strong, and the cutscene showing the death of Cayde is surprisingly emotional. While the character has had little characterisation, with his personality being a copy of Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly (a comparison only strengthened with Cayde’s voice actor being Nathan Fillion, who played Reynolds in both Firefly and the movie Serenity), the scene is still a gut punch, showing the normally happy-go-lucky android beat down, bruised and facing his last stand. And the other cutscenes in this expansion are equally fantastic. While the voice actors (including famous actors such as Lance Riddick and Gina Torres) don’t have much in the way of good writing or characterisation to work with, they throw themselves into their roles with such passion and skill it’s easy to forget that Destiny’s writing is sub-par, even for video games (the writing for the item descriptions continue to remain incredible though). The actual missions in the new expansion are a mixed bag. While there are some levels, including fighting your way through an alien prison in the midst of a riot, or the fake out of partaking in a large-scale assault on Uldren’s hideout, only for him and his barons to escape. These moments are inarguably highlights of the game. But there is a lot of busy work you must do to get through this expansion, including doing hit jobs for an NPC called The Spider who, while a fun NPC, slowly wears out his welcome.
Alongside the story update, there are also a bunch of gameplay changes. The most notable, and the ones that were most publicised are new weapon options, including bows, and new super abilities that change how the game is played. There are also some new balance changes, that make the game a bit more fun and rewarding. However, the most negatively received change is the requirement of a currency called ‘Masterwork Cores’ to upgrade equipment. This currency is hard to find, and this has caused a backlash amongst the community, as it feels like Bungie is forcing players to scrap the older gear that they have gotten attached to. However, updates are planned to change this, and hopefully, players will soon be rolling in Masterwork Cores.
With a significantly better-written story and some amazing set pieces, Forsaken expands the Destiny universe in some incredible ways. Despite the mixed gameplay and the changes to upgrading equipment, it remains an absolutely essential experience for any Destiny fan, and an amazing send off for one of the most popular characters in recent memory.