Destiny 2: Forsaken Review – The Best Iteration of the Franchise To-Date
Destiny 2: Forsaken has been out for two weeks now, and I still haven’t fully completed everything it has to offer — mostly because I don’t do raids — but the fact that I have spent two weeks religiously playing the game and still have aspects of it to explore speaks volumes about the experience it offers. For all intents and purposes, Destiny 2: Forsaken is the best version of Bungie’s MMO-lite FPS franchise, and it should be based on player feedback, and the pedigree of the developers behind it.
From the beginning of time I’ve always been a bigger FPS campaign fan than a multiplayer fan, so with each new Destiny expansion I always look forward to exploring more of the world through a structured campaign. Unfortunately, most of the campaigns become quite scattered after the first few missions, and they have no real structure as to how you play through the missions to create a coherent story. Things got better with Destiny 2 proper’s campaign, but then they went back to the toilet with the very short and plot-lite Osiris and Warmind expansions.
Now with Destiny 2: Forsaken though, Bungie has crafted what can be described as the best Destiny campaign to-date. It still lacks a few cutscenes, but overall it featured a great balance of structure and freedom with its missions, and provided some of the more emotional moments for the franchise as a whole. The way Cayde’s death was handled is both heroic and masterful, and it really helps to infuse a new level of emotion for this game. Hell, it is such a big moment for the franchise, that your own Guardian speaks for the first time, which quite frankly I appreciated.
What I enjoyed the most about the campaign though was how it was structured. Thanks to a new character you meet called Spider, who is a chubby, Fallen, Jabba the Hutt-like gangster, running the Tangled Shores, you’re given a series of identifiable missions with goals that will ultimately lead you to the campaign’s final boss, Uldren Sov. These missions entail taking down Sov’s eight Scorn Barons, which are a new race of baddies in Forsaken, and easily the best enemy canon fodder featured in the game so far. Tracking each Baron provides for a unique experience each time, and each of them has their own personality, which in turn creates different scenarios for your hunts. It never feels like you’re doing the same mission from Baron to Baron because of this structured setup. They even provide their own unique Boss fight mechanics, so hunting them all down to exact your revenge is a blast, albeit a challenging one.
I have to say that the Forsaken campaign as a whole is easily the most challenging Destiny campaign yet. This is especially true if you play through it alone, which I do recommend trying for the sheer challenge of it. Forsaken excels at creating chaotic firefights, and at times you’ll feel like a freaking superhero when you clear a room of seemingly insurmountable odds, and it can offer up a gaming high unlike any other. The final boss is a helluva challenge by yourself, but one that made me feel like a hero after I beat it, so if you enjoy a game that can kick your ass a bit, you’ll love Forsaken’s challenges.
While the campaign is my favorite part of Forsaken, I also enjoyed the two new areas to explore in the Tangled Shores and the Dreaming City, and the fact that it now feels like gear drops will always net you a useful item regardless of what activity you do. I’m a seasonal Destiny player, which means I dip in for the expansions, and usually dip back out after a month or two playing them. I don’t consider that to be a fault of the franchise either, I just don’t have the time to grind the end game content anymore, and there’s always new titles to play, so I can’t dedicate my limited game time to playing Destiny year round.
This means that I miss out on all of the patches and tweaks throughout the year, so when I come back for a new entry like Forsaken, I’m always pleased by the new experience. I truly do feel that the world of Destiny as a whole is just more enjoyable and rewarding than ever before, and the fact that you can gain light levels with just 10-15 minutes of gameplay each day is a bonus for players like me without a ton of time to grind. I now look forward to my short excursions with the game, and feel that I no longer have to spend hours at a time to earn a bit of light, which is a stress relieving revelation.
Forsaken also added new multiplayer content in the form of two Strikes (the second unlocked after the new Raid was beaten), and a brand new PvP/PvE mode called Gambit. The Strikes are a nice addition, solely for the fact that they’re new and you aren’t completely bored with them yet, but also because they take advantage of the two new environments. Their challenges are also entertaining, as long as you have a competent Strike team.
Gambit on the other hand is one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve ever played. At least for someone who no longer is competitive in traditional FPS multiplayer game types, which is me. I love the fact that it mixes PvE with PvP gameplay, because players of all skill levels can now contribute greatly to their team’s success. The strategy factor is strong with this mode as you must balance blowing away AI enemies to collect motes to get to the end game by summoning a Primeval to kill, and screwing with the other team of human players by sending powerful AI character to attack them, or even crossing over to their location to take some out on your own. It’s just a really fun and at times chaotic experience that can really make for a fun night of gaming with buddies.
The only aspect of Forsaken that I haven’t dabbled in is its raid, but honestly — and please make fun of me because I deserve it — I’m not a raid guy and have never completed a single raid in Destiny. Yup, I’ve played every expansion since the franchise’s launch, and have managed to not do a raid yet. I just don’t care to take on the challenge, and I know I’m robbing myself of some amazing team-based gameplay, but I just don’t really care. I’m jealous of those who have been raiding from day one, and know I’m an asshole for forgoing them, but at this stage in my life I just don’t feel like spending hours of my day working with strangers over a headset to complete a very challenging video game task. I urge others to pursue the Last Wish raid though, because it should tie into the somewhat surprise ending of the campaign, but it’s not for me at this time, or probably anytime, because I’m a wuss.
Destiny 2: Forsaken is a fantastic iteration in Bungie’s ever-growing franchise. It feels like the most complete Destiny experience to-date, which is thanks to the focused campaign, excellent new environments, new weapons and skills, and of course the new multiplayer focused content. Playing through Forsaken and all that it has to offer never felt as grindy as the other Destiny expansions, and even though I’ll probably put it down for good in a few more weeks, I still think it’s well worth investing your time and money into if you’re a Destiny fan. If you’ve been away since last fall, you definitely will be impressed and hopefully satisfied with all of the gameplay changes and tweaks, because this latest Destiny outing is definitely its best.
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