‘Destiny 2: Forsaken’ gives the series the boost it needed

It’s no secret that Bungie’s “Destiny” series has had a rocky history over the past 4 years.

When “Destiny” originally launched, players bemoaned the lack of diverse content and mediocre add-ons in the first year. By the time its third dlc, “The Taken King,” came around, their player base had dwindled considerably.

However, “The Taken King” revived the community, giving them a new area full of difficult challenges, interesting lore and cryptic mysteries.

“Destiny 2” has followed its predecessor's path in nearly every regard, which is working out for players now that the newest expansion, “Forsaken,” has launched.

The new content — which sells for $40, with an optional $40 season pass — has two fairly expansive new areas to explore, making it one of the largest additions to the “Destiny” series to date.

There’s a brand-new mix of standard player-versus-environment and player-versus-player content called Gambit that offers the best of both worlds for players.

Two teams of four players each kill enemies in an arena until a portal opens up. At that point, one player from each team can cross into the other’s world and try to kill them. Each death kills the end-of-round boss, so each trip into the enemy camp is much more impactful than in a standard crucible match.

The new campaign is a revenge story, and the plot is better than most of the series’ storytelling to date. The game starts with a prison break and the death of the fan-favorite hunter Cayde-6, briefly voiced by Nathan Fillion, which sets the tone for the rest of the expansion.

The first new area, the Shattered Reef, is a dark, grimy place filled with genetically modified aliens and new repeatable events. However, it’s unlikely the reef will hold your attention for much longer than the 10-15 hours it’ll take you to finish the new story.

It’s not clear whether the main character is a good guy this time — you’re working with a black market criminal leader to systematically hunt down and kill nine escaped prisoners like a vigilante serial killer.

Once you’ve sated your thirst for blood and justice, you’ll gain access to the Dreaming City, an ephemeral, mysterious new area to explore. It seems that Bungie has been listening to the “Destiny” community lately, because they’ve been asking for a challenge and this new foggy landscape offers plenty of challenge.

The game’s new level “soft-cap” is 500, but you can actually reach 600. This 100-point gap is the largest in the series’ history, which should theoretically give players more content to play through.

The Dreaming City emphasizes doing other content outside of running around in the open world by setting the enemies’ level higher than the level cap. In some ways that’s great, because it stretches out the length of time players will be interested in the environment. However, it’s disappointing, because exploring the Dreaming City’s environmental puzzles is the most exciting thing, outside of the secret-filled raid, in the game.

Additionally, the game’s gear system has been updated with “Forsaken,” the new system allows players to do pretty much whatever they want and still continue to make slow but steady progress.

Aside from the level gap causing some difficulty, the dreaming city gives virtually no direction to the player. While that’s a little frustrating at times, it makes it a hundred times more exciting to stumble upon a new area or hidden mechanic.

The expansion’s raid “The Last Wish” is also one of the hardest the in the series. While part of the difficulty came from the high light-level requirement, it’s mostly based on the mechanics required in the raid.

All of the game’s six-man raids have required some level of teamwork, but this requires a precision that will probably make this new raid nearly impossible for pick-up groups for the next month or two at least.

While “Destiny 2: Forsaken” is a great package, it’s probably best to hold off on the extra season pass until we have a clearer idea of what your extra $40 is going to get you.

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