Since the original launch of Destiny back in 2014, there has been an ambitious yet overly vague storyline building in the depth of its ever-expanding lore. The gist of it? Good versus Evil, or in the case of this universe, the Light versus the Darkness. For so long, it's felt like a meandering excuse for you to shoot aliens across the solar system. However, with the launch of The Witch Queen last year and now Lightfall, narrative seeds planted almost a decade ago are beginning to sprout. The end result to this latest expansion is a contradicting amalgamation of both disappointment and pure FPS joy.
Lightfall is being tagged as “the beginning of our end”, acting as the second chapter of a proposed trilogy of expansions which will wrap up the decade-spanning storyline with next year’s The Final Shape. The game’s opening cinematic certainly feels high stakes with the calamitous arrival of The Witness — who for those out of the know acts as the physical embodiment of the Darkness, and the proprietor of this universe’s first collapse. As fans of Destiny since its original launch, we were swept up in the epicness of this opener, as it did feel like the beginning of everything we had been waiting for. This should have been our Avengers: Infinity War.
You're very quickly hyper-spaced away to a new setting on Neptune, and the neon-swept city of Neomuna. If you’ve been playing Destiny for a while, you’ll be struck by how different this city is visually with impressive skyscrapers, clean streets, and a brilliant collective of bright and vivid colours. Destiny has always excelled with visually impressive settings and Neomuna is no different.
Where it does suffer however, is in its lack of character. With Neomuna being one of the first settings we’ve visited that isn’t desolate, destroyed and abandoned, it was disappointing to find the streets of this city so devoid of life even if there were narrative reasons for it. Whether it's the Moon, Nessus, or the Dreaming City, Destiny settings have captured the spirit of their respective realms and planets in a way that you could lose yourself in the smaller details and get a real sense of their history. Neomuna is flashy but lacks that charm, instead acting as more set-dressing than a story backdrop. Granted there is a decent amount of lore to dig into if you go looking for it, but Neomuna didn’t reel us in in the way that we had hoped.
But what about the story which urges us to explore Neomuna in the first place? Well, through the opener we had hoped that we’d finally be getting to fight alongside our favourite characters from the series, in a war we’ve been training for for years. While Lightfall certainly feels like a late-story expansion, and one with plenty of big moments, it was frustrating to be served yet another set-up campaign. The story at play here felt too small and separated from the real action of this narrative, and when it did eventually bring it back, it left us with a mountain of questions and not very many answers.
We’re sure Bungie could have even condensed it all into a seasonal campaign, especially after what just went down in Season of the Seraph. We suspect, though, that integral narrative beats will sprout from Lightfall and spread across the next year’s worth of seasonal storylines. It might make the next year as a whole more interesting narratively, but as of right now we couldn’t help but feel let down. As we fought Callus, and befriended the Cloudstriders on Neptune, we really just wished we were back defending the last city alongside the likes of Zavala and Ikora.
With all of that being said, we still came away from Ligthfall with a big smile on our face, and a quizzical enthusiasm for the series. Lightfall may be a set-up, but it still leaves the universe in some very exciting places; Destiny as a whole no longer feels like it's stuck in varying states of stasis. It is evolving, maturing, and we really can’t wait to see where it all goes. While most fans of the series will sound like broken records, exciting times are indeed ahead for the Destiny narrative.
Okay, but with all of our talk on the narrative let-downs of this expansion, what about its actual content? While exploring the streets of Neomuna, Guardians will familiarise themselves with the new Strand subclass, which we can already tell will be a fan-favourite. Threadlings seek out their prey with the Broodweaver Warlock subclass, whilst the Titan’s Berserker claws rip through waves of Vex, and the Hunter’s Threadrunner whips away droves of Cabal. These new abilities feel fresh, powerful, and fun to use, but the most exciting introduction of the Strand subclass is its grappling ability.
Guardians can switch out their grenade slot for the grapple, and it’s hard to put into words just how satisfying a great grapple swing can be. Destiny 2 was already one of the best-feeling first-person shooters out there, and the introduction of the Strand grapple just elevates it that bit more. You’ll certainly be wanting to mess around with your builds to ensure you can swing more regularly, but whether it be to avoid a killer blow, or deliver one with the momentum melee attacks, there’s no end to the fun you can have with it.
Then there's the new Tormentors, which you'll need Strand's mobility to survive against and defeat. This new, big, and intimidating enemy type is the standout of the Lightfall campaign. Destiny is well know for its reliance on bullet sponge enemies, but it's nice for the game to throw a genuinely difficult foe your way. When playing in our fireteam, a Tormentor would cause giddy excitement as we knew we would need to bring our A-game and stay on our toes — especially in the campaign’s immensely fun legendary difficulty. Whenever Lightfall threw our fireteam into a claustrophobic level with a Tormentor or two, it was easily the best fun we’ve had in an FPS in years.
There is so much we could still cover with this latest expansion, like Buildcrafting 2.0 and the new Guardian Ranks system, both of which aim to streamline the Destiny experience. However, at its core Lightfall is all about its story, setting, and gameplay changes. The campaign and setting largely let us down, with the whole thing feeling like the middle child of the Witch Queen, Ligthtfall, and Final Shape trilogy. However, the vigorous excitement that Destiny 2’s brilliant gameplay elicits greatly elevates the overall Lightfall experience, with some stellar enhancements thanks to Strand subclasses and grapples. It’s irritating to be left in narrative limbo for yet another year, but you’ll still struggle to find a space shooter that is this much fun.
Bummer, Witch Queen was really good.
Looks cool tbh. I’d like to dive in with my old guardian for a few hours!
Been getting back in to Destiny in a big way in the last two weeks.
Admittedly I've not gotten anywhere near Lightfall yet, but the changes that have been introduced are very nice.
I haven't been this engaged with the game since the first year of Destiny 1.
Could you cover build crafting 2.0 please. Strand is definitely a lot of fun especially during the campaign when it refills much faster and lets you do some insane skills. The final boss on legendary became fairly easy once we realised we could keep throwing grenades to interrupt his attacks. Only real challenge was the tormentors. Yea those guys are a major pain but hella fun.
User reviews on this are so far removed from these critic reviews that its a little suspect. User reviews on steam are sitting at a 5, on consoles thus far, 2-3......
@KundaliniRising333 User reviews can be a decent barometer of how something is being generally received at that exact time, but it's hard to put a lot of stock into them overall.
You get a lot of extreme user reviews purely because people might be trying to make a stand about something. A game can be bombarded with 0s because the servers are broken at launch, or the pre-load hasn't worked, or something else that isn't necessarily indicative of the actual product.
Likewise, you see a lot of games with hugely inflated user scores because apparently no scores exist between 0 and 10. I think user reviews have their place, and they can certainly be helpful, but they tend to be extremely skewed when taken as a whole.
I've been a big Destiny advocate on this forum, but Lightfall sucked. It was a rush filled expansion with so many reused assets and lack of meaningful content considering the cost.
The story is horrendous, post campaign if gets a bit better, but it's awful for any new or returning player.
They made some fantastic QoL changes but also some terrible changes to various other things like lost sectors, etc.
I still heavily enjoy the game but this was a massive blunder when the community outlook was at an all time high from the amazing year of Witch Queen.
@Stragen8 Bungie is simply working on a new IP under Sony. Do not have high hopes for the last expansiion "Final Shape" either. They are basically on milking-the-cow-while-we-are-working-on-something-else-mode
I have no idea why this site gives destiny such a free pass on everything. This is £40 for a 5 hour campaign and as far as I read there is one new strike and no crucible changes. There monetisation is one of the worst in the gaming business yet no mention in the review. I think user reviews should be taken into account for this as it’s mainly destiny veterans playing this so I think there views are important.
I have all the expansion packs for this game EXCEPT for this one to me beyond light was the best one. Their is so much wrong with this game its unreal. For one almost every exotic gun has been nerfed to hell. Just to please the pvp commnity Then the season passes suck ass with the same exotics over and over besides the one gun in every season pass that is new. The rest is nothing but cosmetics. Getting a raid togather is worse then what it was on destiny 1 because their is hardly any one on. Who in the hell wants to have to keep using their phone to use the destiny app just to set up a raid? Why your trying to enjoy your video game??? Then the armor the scale eater legs for hunter got nerfed to ***** in just 2 weeks after release!! Bungie just needs to tie up this games story with destiny 2 no need in making a third one. The game has no life to it. Their is so many good games coming out its unreal I put my money on street fighter 6 and final fantasy 16. Destiny is a dumpster fire of endless money pit. I don't need or want it!
I just finished the campaign today. The Witch Queen is definitely better, but Lightfall is also quite good. Bungie truly knows what they are doing.
Destiny is like the Lost tv series in season four where the writers realized they painted themselves into a corner because if you just dangle the end coming over and over and over it becomes stale because the audience knows it's not ending.
Destiny is in a bind to that extent. I love the gameplay, but as far as tying it together, every expansion is the same, threatening the ultimate threat of all threats.
I'm not saying I have any answers out of that bind, but they are trapped in a loop for any attempt at plot.
They should just go the No Man's Sky way, story-wise, and put some bare bones things you could collect to fill in some light stuff, but for the most part just keep adding planets/levels for people to explore for exploring's sake.
I'm positive the majority of Destiny players aren't there for the plot. They just want to kill some aliens in a variety of locations.
No need to over complicate that.
@burning_as_souls I agree 100% it can't be universe ending in every plot that kind of plot shouldn't have even in game into play until the last year of wrap up on the whole destiny trilogy. You would think with a whole universe their could be other foes and made up planets besides our own solar system but wtf do I know? I think in the grand scheme of things their free to play just is not good enough to compete with the likes of fornite and apex legends. I think a 3 game trilogy was a bit too ambitious their running out of ideals and hell it wasent like they had many to begin with. This could have been the Star wars of video games. But they let that slip through their fingers. I hope sony don't get screwed on buying bungie. Cause this is not the same bungie of the halo days. Those members the majority left a decade ago.
@ShogunRok I hear ya.
I fully understand the concept of review bombing and review puffing with 10s. This isn't that. However, when nearly all users of the destiny scheme whom have no financial incentive in how they portray new releases, almost unanimously express disappointment. In my experience, it's a safe bet to assume it is likely indicative of a likely true consensus via what the scores and commonalities in there opinions reflect. It has almost always been the case unless review bombing or puffing is taking place due reasoning outside the actual quality and content of the game.
On the flip side, with the favorable take, it's almost ONLY those that do have something to lose(marketing money and future review period access to titles) by being completely straight on the quality of the release. Or they cite similar problems, but ultimately rate it decent or the safe (7), so the score only viewers remain potential adopters.
That's all I'm saying. In the case of this release, The contrast between the opinions of mainstream outlet reviews and regular early adopters is massively divergent.
@KundaliniRising333 I think this review should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not stated in the review but on push square youtube the reviewer was given a load of Destiny merchandise by the PR team at Bungie. So its hard to see this as an impartial review.
I don't know what to think about it.... The campain was a bit weak, the gunplay on the other hand is still amazing, the new ability it's fun when you get the hang of it, but the enemies are a reskin of the exsiting Cabal, the visuals are amazing as Destiny had get us used to... I maybe would give also a 7... but don't know really...
For the price of $50, I have decided to skip it. I am kinda getting tired of paying for 4-5hr story experience.
Any true Destiny fan knows the real content lies within the Raids and Dungeons which aren’t even out yet, so yeah, I’d agree with a 7/10 from what we’ve seen so far. Strand is fun to use and holds up with other subclasses and the exotic quests have been enjoyable.
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