Bungie, in some ways, has captured lightning in a bottle with Destiny. It’s got a great sci-fi look and, notably, the most refined shooting gameplay that I have ever had the pleasure to play with, next to id Software’s reincarnation of DOOM. There is so much to love about this series and yet, so much to be disappointed with. Every minute I spend with Destiny never feels wasted, but I can’t help but think of the ways that Bungie could improve what is a solid foundation.
Each big release of new content or a new entry in the series since the first game’s release, which includes The Taken King expansion and Destiny 2 last fall, seem designed to fix the problems that players previously had with the base game. However, those initial problems that Bungie fixes are then quickly replaced with new ones; balancing, item drop rates, and lack of consistent content are just a few of the well-known problems that Destiny has had since it debuted in 2014.
Once again, we are approaching the launch of another big release for the series with Destiny 2: Forsaken, the next major expansion that promises to bring a slew of new content that is both replayable and intriguing. At E3 2018, I played the first mission of the upcoming expansion’s campaign, and while Forsaken didn’t solidify whether it will keep me playing beyond its release, it did get me excited for more Destiny 2 content.
So the question now is: Will Forsaken get me to bring my Guardian out of hiding? More than likely.
Destiny 2: Forsaken begins with a prison break at the Reef in the Prison of Elders; you may have visited the prison before when the Arena game mode of the same name was introduced in the House of Wolves expansion for the original Destiny. You and Cayde-6, the rambunctious Exo voiced by Nathan Fillion, are sent to control the situation. I won’t spoil what happens after the first mission but if you really want to know, you can check out the latest trailer and see for yourself.
The moment-to-moment action wasn’t anything you haven’t played before; you’ll move through an instanced setpiece with tons of explosions and waves of enemies to destroy. However, it’s how the mission ends that made me want to play more. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s the first time that Destiny‘s story caught my attention since 2015 when The Taken King released.
That is just a minor case for my excitement; the gameplay is what sold me and has me itching to play Destiny 2: Forsaken. I did not think Bungie could get me to gush about its combat more than I already do, but they did with the series’ newest weapon, the bow and arrow.
Though it’s the most archaic of any weapon you can use, the bow packs a ton of power with every shot, destroying anything in your path. The Exotic bow I used in the demo allowed the Guardian to shoot three arrows at once after landing a precision hit (i.e. headshot). What made this weapon so satisfying to use was its elemental ability; if you did get the tri-arrow shot and hit an enemy, it would trigger a chain lighting perk that would damage any surrounding enemy near it.
My time with the bow solidified it as my new main weapon choice. The worry I had with it was that it would be too slow and require too much precision. It does require a bit of time to pull the bowstring, but it isn’t much longer than charging up a shot with a fusion rifle; the accuracy required is no different than the skill needed to wield the scout rifle, my current weapon of choice. Others may have a worse experience with the bow, but in my time playing it felt like a weapon that was created for me.
Since the Guardian I’ve mainly used these past four years has been a Titan, I decided to choose Destiny‘s tank class as I visited the Prison of Elders. The subclass I used was called Thundercrash, an Arc subclass that lets you deal the most damage by getting up close and personal with enemies. The super for this subclass is basically a Superman dive that does a tremendous amount of damage to the enemy it hits, as well as some area-of-effect (AoE) damage.
An intriguing trait with this particular subclass was its special melee ability. Similar to the sprinting shoulder charge, if you sprint and then jump, you’ll notice a glow surrounding the screen; when you hit the melee button, the Titan will commit to a Superman dive from above and deal some decent AoE damage. The ability reminded me of a modified version of the Arc Titan super from the first game. It wasn’t as strong, but it was still fairly effective. The amount of mobility that the new subclass gave to the Titan gives the player a sense of power that only a few have, like the Titan’s Sunbreaker or the Hunter’s Gunslinger subclasses.
As much as I’ve been out of the loop with Destiny 2 since its launch, my time with the Forsaken expansion did get me a little bit stoked to jump back in. The first mission of the story had me interested to see what would be coming next. Cayde-6 seemed to be a favorite among fans, so it’s interesting to see that he is the character that is taken out. The shooting is just as good as it has ever been, especially with the addition of the bow and arrow, now one of my favorite weapons I have played in a video game. The new Titan abilities I used made me feel more powerful than ever, and the ability to put any weapon class in any slot is a nice feature as well.
Am I going to play more consistently because of this new expansion? That I am still not sure of. I’m not totally sold that Forsaken will fix my problems with the base experience of Destiny 2, but at the very least it will get me to see another Destiny campaign through. That particular question will be answered when I get more time with the new raid and the new Gambit multiplayer mode when the expansion releases on September 4th, 2018 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.