Destiny 2: Forsaken is the first annual expansion to the sequel to Bungie’s shared world shooter. While the base game was well received by our staff, it didn’t quite end up having the staying power that diehard fans had hoped for. The biggest problem was a lack of meaningful and engaging end-game activities. Bungie hopes Forsaken will breathe new life into Destiny 2 much like The Taken King succeeded in doing for its predecessor. While it’s too early to say for sure, early signs look promising.
As one would expect, the new expansion brings a host of new content with it, at the forefront of which is a series of story missions that take you back to the Reef, a location not seen since Destiny 1. The central focus of the storyline is a vengeful hunt against a group of Fallen Barons, who kill off a series favorite NPC early on. It sets a darker tone that the series was previously not known for. You’ll encounter each of the Fallen Barons in elaborate boss fights that are undoubtedly the highlight of the story missions. With a few exceptions here and there, they’re generally well thought out and interesting to take on.
There’s also a new breed of enemies known as the Scorn, which, as the name implies, are scorching iterations of the Fallen. It’s not exactly a new enemy race, then, and more of a spin on an existing species much like how the Taken were introduced in Destiny 1. The Scorn is further divided into a decent number of enemy types, each of which come with their own unique attack patterns.
While Forsaken doesn’t add any new planets to the Director, it does feature new regions to explore, including a new end-game space called The Tangled Shore. This is where you’ll be accepting bounties and claiming rewards for completing them. The area is designed to fit right into the expansion’s darker tone. There’s also another social space called Dreaming City for the more dedicated community that seeks a level above the base level cap of 500. In other words, this is where powerful gear can be obtained upon completing weekly activities.
Speaking of Dreaming City, this is where Destiny 2: Forsaken’s new raid, titled Last Wish, takes place. As of writing, the raid isn’t available to try out, though it’s neat to be able to roam around the area where it’s set to take place. In a way, this also adds to the mystique and fascination typically associated with a raid before experiencing it for the very first time.
There are also a number of key quality of life changes introduced in Forsaken. It’s now possible to purchase a consumable item known as the Raid Banner from a new vendor, which essentially lets you or your raid mates place a rally banner in a challenging raid area, from where every member can refill their heavy ammo and super meter. This system makes failed attempts a lot easier to manage, as you won’t be feeling pressured to do ammo runs just to regain crucial ammo or refill your super gauge in order to prepare for a difficult raid section. Other noteworthy changes include the addition of Collections and Triumph tabs in the menu screen, which makes it easier to keep track of your achievements and activities, as well as the game’s overarching lore.
As for the class-specific additions, each subclass has received a new super, bringing the available supers per class up to three. While the supers available to each class now feel more diverse in terms of utility, it’s not clear whether this will bode well for class balance going forward.
With respect to the end-game, Forsaken has made it a little more challenging and time-consuming to complete powerful gear milestones. Equipment random rolls have also made their way back in order to encourage an ongoing hunt for weapons and armor with the best possible perks. While the grind is certainly strong with these changes, which may not be all that welcoming for casuals, they’re likely to extend the endgame for Destiny purists. Speaking of equipment, there’s a range of new weapons and armor, including some that are exclusive to the PS4 over the course of next year. It’s also possible to adjust your equipment via mods that you acquire during the course of the game. The most noteworthy addition to your arsenal is the inclusion of a new weapon type – the bow and arrow. As is the case with Destiny’s other weapon types, it feels unique and is a great alternative for medium to long range encounters.
Lastly, and quite possibly the most significant addition to the series yet is the new Gambit mode that does a fantastic job of bringing together elements from both its PvE and PvP. Two teams of four fight against waves of AI enemies in their respective arena, acquiring motes of light and depositing them at the central hub, leading up to a boss encounter. The first team to defeat the boss wins a round in a best of three matches. But there’s a catch – a player from either team can invade the other side via a portal and thwart their progress. Successfully invading the other team and wiping it out entirely is quite an exhilarating and satisfying experience. It’s a page right out of Miyazaki’s Souls games, but Bungie makes it its own by successfully incorporating it into its game dynamics.
On the whole, Destiny 2: Forsaken succeeds in bringing back lost glory to Bungie’s shared world shooter. The end-game shows promise in the here and now, though it’s uncertain how things will shape up in the future. That said, as of now, Gambit mode is the true star of this expansion and a must-play for fans of the series.
Destiny 2: Forsaken Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Forsaken is a downloadable content (DLC) expansion pack for Destiny 2. It was formally revealed during a live stream event on June 5th, 2018 and is released on September 4th, 2018. The expansion includes major updates to Destiny 2's gameplay, weapons, and reward systems in addition to a new storyline, game modes, and raid.
Final Score - 8.5/108.5/10
Destiny 2: Forsaken succeeds in returning lost glory to Bungie's shared world shooter, with Gambit mode being the star of the expansion. The end-game looks promising, though it's uncertain how things will shape up in the future.