“Destiny 2” has a lot of ground to make up.
After receiving positive reviews when it launched, the multiplayer shooter’s user base has taken quite a tumble. Developer Bungie hopes to revive players’ perception of the game, bring back dedicated users, and invite new people into the fold. Bungie’s betting on its newly-announced Forsaken expansion to do all of that.
Forsaken is a pretty hefty expansion pack, on the order of the original “Destiny’s” Taken King, and it will bring a number of updates. New weapons, a new Raid, and a new story called the Prison of Elders, in which your Guardian accompanies the smart-mouthed Cayde-6 to the eponymous lockup only to discover some of the most dangerous criminals contained therein have escaped.
Bungie brought Forsaken to E3 2018, and let me sit down with a bit of the Prison of Elders. There I got to see the new area (a portion of The Reef) and try out the new weapon class: a bow and arrow.
The portion I played places you in the Prison of Elders after the jailbreak. Cayde-6 is off somewhere trying to find a way to corral all the baddies that are wreaking havoc in a place that already seems pretty rough. There, I battled waves of mostly Hive and Cabal enemies, while Cayde-6 was quipping his way closer to a solution.
And from what I played, for better or worse, it’s more “Destiny.”
The new area and the missions all felt extremely similar to the same “Destiny” I’ve logged many hours in since 2014. I spied a few enemy tweaks, but most everything else about the experience was very rote. There were no big surprises, no changes in enemy types, and not really any interesting gameplay mechanics. Once, Cayde-6 was trying to unlock a mechanism, and debris kept getting caught in the machinery as the Hive poured out. So I had to shoot the Hive and the debris. That’s about as complex as it got. Pretty standard “Destiny 2.”
But it still feels like “Destiny,” which is always a plus. The shooting, movement, and control over the weapons feel as good as ever. Even while I recognized the repetitive nature of the gameplay, it was still far too easy for me to get caught up in the combat. One of the biggest complaints against the game since the original launched in 2014 was having to replay the same content to gradually advance characters. Having new scenarios to experience Bungie’s refined shooting is always, always welcome.
Which brings us to the bow and arrow. Bungie joyously announced the new weapon type in a livestream earlier this month, with developers discussing how cool it felt to use. The new weapon does feel good, but I’m having trouble figuring out how it differs from a sniper rifle. Currently, Destiny 2’s sniper rifle are labeled power weapons, which mean they get fewer ammo drops than primary or secondary weapons. In the demo I played, the bow and arrow was a secondary weapon giving it more ammo. However, Bungie has said that you’ll be able to use power weapons in whatever spot when Forsaken releases, with no word on whether ammo drops will be affected.
So, currently, the bow and arrow was like a less powerful sniper with more chances to use it. But when those Thralls came a-chargin’, the bow and arrow felt more cumbersome than anything.
There was a brief time, when Cayde-6 and his sassy robo mouth were fan favorites of “Destiny 2’s” more personable, less austere tone. If you still love the Nathan Fillion-voiced robot and his wise cracking ways, then you will adore how much space is given to his PG-rated Deadpool antics. I, sadly, have had my fill of the Hunter. That’s a bad thing for me because the new story absolutely disagrees and wants to give the character all the time in the world to put his metal tongue in his metal cheek. But it also might be a good thing because Bungie straight up showed the death of Cayde-6 in a new story trailer released earlier this week.
However, I’d be very surprised if he stays dead.
I was not able to play Forsaken’s new, interesting-sounding player mode called Gambit. It’s a PVP/PVE hybrid that pits players against a horde of swarming enemies as well as against other players. Nor did Bungie divulge any new information about the end-game area The Dreaming City or the Raid that will take place there.
Bungie will release Forsaken on Sept. 4. It will cost $40 on its own, $70 for an Annual Pass which will include new premium content.