Destiny 2, like Destiny before it, has had its ups and downs.
Players were upset that Destiny 2 even made the sequel leap at all, having jettisoned all of the old content in favor of a new game that was one step forward, two steps back. Then the initial DLC came, and people just weren’t having it with the half-hearted Osiris and Warmind add-ons.
Arguably, Destiny 2 never had its “Taken King” moment with Forsaken, despite drastically upping the overall quality of the experience. Shadowkeep was more of the same. Now Beyond Light tries to work its magic with some substantial additions.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X [reviewed])
Released: November 10, 2020
Since Destiny 2 expansions can get confusing, let’s go over what that $40 will get you.
The big initial draw is the new planet/hub: the frozen tundra of Europa (Jupiter’s moon). That comes with new story missions, strikes (dungeons), and a raid (on November 21). The long-term draw is the trio of “stasis” trees, which provide Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters (these are ranked by coolness, by the way, don’t @ me) with the first new subclass in…well, a long time.
Hilariously, Bungie was able to work the vaulted content (read: the stuff that’s gone) into the story by having those planets “mysteriously disappear.” Props! Until we meet again, old stuff. For now your job is to head into Europa to embark upon another shooty adventure against another underestimated big bad: Eramis. Yes, Ghost says “this is real bad” out loud once again after you storm their stronghold and run away with your tail between your legs early in the story. I still can’t get used to the talking Guardian, however sparing that plot device might be.
Europa itself is an interesting setting: a little stronger, personality-wise, than a few DLC locales before it. Even more Fallen getting injected into the story once again though? Don’t mind if I do! Beyond Light even has the machine from RoboCop (see above). At this point, Bungie has its little bag of tricks that it can use to entice long-term players, even if the newcomers are mostly going to have their eyes glazed over when it comes to the “story.”
One thing I noticed right away was that the Ghost can now be upgraded and customized: a far cry from the menial bonuses it offered in the past. Now you can opt for more experience, enhanced radar capabilities for open-world items, bonuses for certain playlists: and so on. Slowly but surely, Bungie is adding to the game’s RPG elements.
Destiny 2, naturally, is still a great shooter because Bungie managed to get that right the first time around ages ago with the original game. I’m testing out Beyond Light on the Xbox Series X actually, and menus feel a little snappier, in part thanks to the SSD. Loads, however, are still very lengthy as the game does need to communicate with Bungie’s servers. Also, the “next-gen upgrade” still isn’t here yet: that’s due in December.
Today I experienced issues logging in initially, and was booted out of a mission right in the middle of it: typical of a Bungie expansion launch. Stay tuned as I work my way through the story and test out Beyond Light‘s new subclasses. When I can. It hasn’t blown me away yet, but it’s not a dud: so far.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]