It's hard to shake the feeling that we've been here before with Destiny 2: Forsaken. When The Taken King hit the original Destiny and propelled the game to a point where it once again felt complete and compelling, it was a welcome addition after months and months of frustration. It's the same story with Destiny 2, a title that's been struggling to stay relevant, treading water with its lacking Curse of Osiris and Warmind expansions and essentially betting the farm on Forsaken. But is it enough to repair Bungie's slowly sinking ship?
In a word, yes. Again, it feels like everything has been leading up to Forsaken's release, but the wait has ultimately been worth it. Hardcore Destiny fans will gobble it up and likely find that their passion for the game has been rekindled. The urge to play Bungie's shooter on a regular basis hasn't been this strong since the launch period of Destiny 2 last year.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Forsaken certainly restores Destiny's status as a "hobby", but it's also a very good expansion in its own right. There's a grittier tone to Forsaken that's appreciated -- it's less Superheroes in Space and more Intergalactic Outlaws. After the death of Cayde-6 -- arguably the best character in Destiny -- your Guardian sets off on a mission of revenge as you take down a ruthless group of baddies one by one. It's a straightforward and consistent narrative that does a solid job of keeping you interested, and although Cayde's demise was used as the main thrust of the expansion's marketing, it's an event that still adds some welcome weight to proceedings.
Having said all that, Forsaken does unfortunately go down the "but what if you're actually the bad guy?" route with its main plot, and to be brutally honest, it's a suggestion that comes across as tired, lazy, and incredibly lame. It can be fine to ask that kind of question in a role-playing game where there's choice and consequence, but we've been blasting the heads off evil aliens for years in Destiny because we literally can't do anything else. You can't just suddenly turn around and suggest that the zombie-Fallen who crave destruction may in fact deserve some kind of mercy. We'd love Destiny to be a little more nuanced in its storytelling, but this is entirely the wrong way to go about it.
Narrative gripes aside, actually facing off against the aforementioned zombie-Fallen -- or Scorn, to give them their official name -- is the meat of Forsaken's campaign. The gang that killed Cayde is made up of seven Barons, or generals, and you're tasked with tracking each one down and putting a few hundred bullets in them. The twist is that each boss fight has its own theme, and it works really well. For example, one battle sees you hop on a pike and challenge a Baron to a vehicular duel, while another has you cautiously tread through a trap-filled lair. The variation kind of reminded us of the boss encounters in Metal Gear Solid 3, and that can never be a bad thing.
The new patrol zones are pretty interesting, too. The Tangled Shore -- a haven for outlaws that sits in an asteroid field -- is dingy and atmospheric, while the endgame Dreaming City zone is, well, dreamlike and rather striking. What's more, Bungie's breathed new life into Destiny 2 by gifting basically every non-playable character daily bounties that you can pick up and chase, giving you actual good reasons to get out there and explore the game's world(s).
And that's really where Forsaken is going to shine for a lot of people. There's once again a sense of purpose in returning to Destiny 2 on a regular basis. There are daily and weekly challenges and bounties to complete, and doing so nets you guaranteed 'powerful' rewards that steadily make your Guardian stronger. The grind is most definitely back, and it's perhaps more accessible than ever. Co-op Strikes, competitive Crucible, solo exploration -- you can earn this stuff however you like, and that's the beauty of it.
On the topic of activities, Forsaken adds one more mode to the mix: Gambit. Combining PvE and PvP elements, Gambit offers something a bit different, and even though you're still shooting big ugly aliens and dealing with the occasional opposing player, it's by and large a refreshing addition. There's a unique rhythm to Gambit as you and your team slaughter computer controlled hordes, banking tokens in order to summon strong enemies that the other team of players have to deal with, effectively slowing their progress. And adding spice to proceedings, players can periodically hop through portals to take the fight directly to their opponents for a short time. It admittedly takes some getting used to, but it's a varied and addictive experience. Barring some slightly questionable balancing -- players can potentially steal the match if they time their 'banks' properly and there's no real way to stop them -- Bungie's crafted something great here.
It's safe to say that Forsaken delivers on its promises, but at what literal cost? In order to play Forsaken, you need Destiny 2 and its two previous, smaller expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind. Destiny is an expensive hobby, then, and 'hobby' is the key word. If you have the time to spare and you're able to hop on Destiny 2 a few times a week, then you'll probably get good value out of Forsaken. If not, then you're left with a rock solid expansion, but one that doesn't quite justify its hefty price tag.
Destiny 2: Forsaken is an undeniable return to form for Bungie's shooter, boasting a very enjoyable campaign and breathing some much needed life into the overall experience. It reestablishes Destiny 2's status as a 'hobby' game, once again giving players good reason to come back on a regular basis, but your mileage will no doubt vary depending on your tolerance for the grind. With a hefty price tag, it's best to make sure that you know what you're getting into before lining up the shot.
Apologies this didn't go live earlier — really wanted to get a good feel for the expansion and pumping out a review in just a few days wouldn't have done it justice.
Any questions feel free to @ me.
Hmmmm.... I'm just not sure I have the time for this now. I used to love D2 and then got burned by it, so although this looks good I'm just not going to go for it.
Destiny isn't an expensive hobby though. I guess relatively it is, but console gaming, and gaming in general, isn't.
Try like, karting or something. That's expensive lol
I've heard a lot of people say the story part where it's suggested we're murderous and oh but why are you doing what you're doing killing all these aliens. Yes that is completely stupid, earth has been invaded by several alien species and humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction, to suggest we have any other option but to protect humanity and kill everything is stupid.
@Johnnycide it's as good as D1 at this point, some things missing some things added
I think Destiny 1 got lucky in some respect that there wasn't a lot out when it released so the time sink grabbed a lot of people myself included. But as you mentioned this time round there are a lot of good games released in the last 12 months or so. I would rather be playing other games then grinding repetitively in Forsaken may pick it up when cheap enough for the story.
I think I’d honestly get Forsaken if I didn’t need the first two.
I’m with you on that one. Time to precious
@kyleforrester87 Okay, okay, relatively speaking in terms of gaming. You little git, Kyle.
@ShogunRok I think your review is mostly fair and on point. The only criticism I have towards what you said was in your conclusion. It seems like the cost of owning each piece of Destiny 2 to play Forsaken has potentially reduced your review score. I think something like this expansion has to be reviewed on its own merit and not because it’s tethered to the base game and older DLC’s. Personally I’ve been a fan of the series so far, so maybe my opinion is a bit skewed, but this is an 8.5/10 for me because of what it has done to the entire game. The QoL issues are mostly reworked and are better off now than before. They did make a couple of dumb decisions like redeeming stuff at the Weapon Master takes 100 parts now. Which is fine, but why do I have to pay in increments of 10 parts? Shouldn’t I just press the button once and see 100 weapon parts transfer to him? There are a couple of things like that that I find annoying, but there is so much to do now that I’m struggling with alt characters, and having too much to do in this case is a good thing.
@shafedog247 I tend to agree with what you're saying — there's so much more to do on a regular basis now, so Bungie's finally got that right.
I do think price comes into it, though — there's no doubt that Destiny is still an expensive pursuit if you want everything. That said, it didn't factor into the score too much.
I gave The Taken King an 8/10 and I still stand by that — it totally revitalised the original Destiny and it was great. I think Forsaken is the same but obviously with Destiny 2.
That said, the fact that this has had to happen twice now does rub me the wrong way — that's the main reason for the 7. We've been here before, if you know what I mean, and I think that's frustrating.
Still an easy recommendation for those who like Destiny though, without a doubt.
@ShogunRok Mario Kart though, that's great value. What a game.
What a system.
What a company.
This expansion has sucked me back in, playing an hour or 2 a day since it released. Some much much needed improvements but I if someone isn't sold on Destiny already I don't think this will push them over. Overall I'm happy with the changes in both storey and mechanics they've made.
a lot of similar things were said last year in the destiny 2 review, and the honeymoon was shortlived. once the soft level cap is reached and the really grindy stuff starts, might feel more of the same. if you don't own osiris or warmind, the changes brought by forsaken have buggered the base game in my opinion. it's why i think the franchise will appeal less and less to the masses.. unlike taken king, this one is accompanied by another £25-30 season pass, and unless you keep forking out, you get left behind, unable to play the game as you paid for it.
Cayde was literally the best one in it out of zavala and ikora, I'm not buying forsaken like he said it's for the hardcore players just like warmind if your a casual player don't waste your money
I agree that D1 was of it's time, and that that time has kind of passed. I also don't like Bungie's business model, as you say, if you tot up the total possible spend, it's somewhere IRO £160; no game is worth that IMO.
I do have one question though, have they brought back individual rolls on weapons? This, for me, is where they went drastically wrong in comaprison to D1, the only point in grinding games is to get better gear than the next guy, surely. Until they do it, I won't even think about spending any more £ on it, and then probably not anyway, lol.
@XurAgentofthe9 Yeah random rolls are back on Forsaken legendaries.
@zazzy I am currently 534. I don’t think the grind is too much. You get powerful rewards thrown at you for doing daily and weekly challenges. I find the grind much less painful than in other games i have played. Yes it is time consuming, but at least right now it is still rewarding. Every day you get a prime attunement buff which can get you up to 2 prime engram drops if you kill challenging enemies in strikes, public events of just roaming around. It’s a bit quicker when doing escalation protocols.
In other MMORPGs or looter shooters I would have not progressed as far as I did in destiny with the same time spent. Just do the grind correct and don’t force yourself to play non-stop.
This is the first time in destiny I actually enjoy a lot playing solo
While I sort of agree with you I have to admit I feel your entire review is based around the price of the expansion and its extra content, which I feel is a tad harsh.
Bungie got so many things wrong with D2 and now they have undone them things and got it right to the point that its a hard grind but not one I will complain about.
You are missing out the bits about the strikes and the raid which have really cranked up the difficulty.
@ShogunRok I agree, it seems the QoL team that brought Taken King and the launch team that brought the original Destiny 2 were clearly never in the same room when discussing production, story, what players like and how the game should carry on TTK changes that were introduced. Bungie may have thought they knew what we wanted, but clearly assumed it was only a better launch story and not all the rest of the stuff they took away from us. Maybe by the time Destiny 14 comes out everyone at Bungie will be on the same page.
I’m honestly surprised by the grade of 7, I would at least give it an 8 1/2 due to all the improvements and added content. I don’t feel the fact that forsaken requires the previous two expansions should count towards the final review score being d1 and d2 have both required all expansions. it’s not specifically just a forsaken expansion requirement, it’s destiny in general and this review is for the expansion.
@Ypmud Like I've said the price does come into it but I just don't think it's that great an expansion. It's rock solid and enjoyable but a lot of the improvements to Destiny 2 are separate to the expansion in the first place. If I was doing an overall re-review of Destiny 2 at this point I think it'd probably score a very good 8, but Forsaken by itself I think is a solid 7 and not too much more.
I'm still feeling hurt from the original destiny
@Ypmud Isn't that the issue though; Bungie knew what kind of game players were expecting at launch and failed to deliver, then spent the next year making players pay for expansions to get the game back to where D1 was. Not good imo.
I dont care I am fully enjoying forsaken and am glad I bought it
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