DESTINY 2 – FORSAKEN [Review]: Shuffling the Deck.
The newest DLC from Bungie dropped on September the 4th and as a devoted Bungie fan my opinion will be a bit biased. I also know the shortcomings of the franchise. Trust me, I was one of the biggest critics after the vanilla release (just weeks after rewarding Destiny 2 with 5 Bibles) and the following Curse of Osiris DLC. I hated the lack of Random Rolls, the weapon changes, the amazingly bad reduction in ability cooldowns (grenades and melee), the light-hearted mood, and the cringe-worthy dialogue (real talk: “stay back you ugly piece of work”, “oh shhhh-anks”, etc.). A lot of my real life friends stopped playing Destiny 2; Twitch streamers bailed, and — worse — the overall userbase fell like a sinking ship. This happened a week after the release of CoO (two tokens and a blue). So, after all of this Bungie went into full-on damage control…
DECEMBER TO REMEMBER
Before Forsaken became a thing Bungie first opened up communications on Reddit and their own forums, asking everyone still active what they wanted; they began to intensely engage in all the threads, and followed with a release of a Roadmap. This schedule told the community what patches and fixes were coming in the months ahead, instead of the usual drip of info via the TWAB (This Week At Bungie). Afterwords, they announced The Bungie Summit, where the biggest Twitch streamers and Youtube’ers went deep into their studio to discuss what, they perceive, is wrong with the game and how they would fix it. After the discussions they would be able to play a new game mode, which we now know as Gambit. After the Summit they reported back they felt Bungie was listening, took in everything asked, and would put it into the game. A month later, Bungie asked for game testers and hired Twitch and YouTube streamers (Holtzman from Destiny Podcast and MylinGames, lore extrodinaire). As far as I was concerned, it was all lip-service; but I was a bit hopeful that Bungie could turn the Titanic around…
OPEN YOUR WARMIND TO ME, QUAID
Boy, did the game change. While, no, not the dialogue, at least we were faster and some exotics became uber-powerful (Hi, Graviton Lance!). The overall feel of gameplay was improved; abilities were faster, but not as fast as the community hoped. Escalation Protocol became a cool thing to do and a lot more Endgame content was dropped. Near the end of Warmind we had a new exotic quest that was discovered by happenstance. That quest was for the new exotic Whisper Of The Worm, practically the freaking D1 exotic Black Hammer. Mulligan drew ammo from thin air (an old Destiny 1 thing) and box breathing (i.e. aiming the weapon without firing for a brief moment that grants bonus range and precision damage while it remains zoomed). The Quest became, and still is, the thing to do–and, no, I still don’t have it–but, more than anything, this brought Hope for the Future (thanks Paul McCartney). The Community became a united positive thinking community again, with post after post thanking Bungie and asking them for more of this.
WE CAN BE HEROES
Then, a few weeks before July, Bungie via the Roadmap finally revealed what the whole Solstice of Heroes event was all about, this year’s “Age of Triumphs”. Then, they announced mid-way through the month that on August 28th … the day Solstice ends, most of the changes happening for Forsaken will drop — which included weapon slot changes, random rolls, the vault space expanding, mass shader deletion, delete your mods, the director changes, etc. Consequently, D2 felt different. I was back to the old D1 loadout (Scout, Sniper, Rocket Launcher/Grenade Launcher) and it felt so good. Not because it felt familiar. Nope–the base changes Bungie did from the transition of D1 to D2 godsendingly made a difference.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Let me make one thing clear: HOLY MOTHER OF THE BABY JESUS this campaign is nuts, an Old Western-slash-Choose Your Own Adventure. The story is dark and rich, an element Bungie has severely had a problem with; but, Forsaken shows the devs still have the skill to do it. In Destiny, they had red way-markers known as Adventures, which took roughly 15-20 minutes to complete, ranging from kill dudes and then stand here, to kill dudes and then kill that dude. Well, these “Missions” are the latter, with Bungie stating that players can go at their own pace and kill anyone they want. The first Baron I took down was named The Rider. She’s a pike rider (think speeder bike from Star Wars) and yup … female. It was a vastily different battle than most Destiny players are accustomed to. As I have progressed, each battle tests more and more of my skill and how it’s showing that as you get older, so do your reflexes.
Since, the majority of players got to experience most of the gameplay changes early, I was going in expecting what I already experienced; instead, I was shocked to learn Bungie had a few tricks up its sleeve: Guns feel more crisp than ever before, new mods add a lot more depth than expected, new perks are fun as hell (i.e. Slidewinder), and the Bow is one of the most satisfying things to experience in Destiny. Getting a two headshot kill with a bow is almost orgasmic. See, Bungie has always been known to be damn good with gunplay — from the sound effects to how the gun feels in your characters hands and how it recoils; So, with the bow it’s beyond amazing, a sort of scout rifle with sniper range.
INITIALIZING SAFETY PROTOCAL
One of the best additions to Destiny was Escalation Protocol. At its core it’s a Horde mode — a set amount of levels of enemy waves, with the last wave usually consisting of a boss. In EP, a boss will come after the 3rd wave, with the final boss coming at level 7. So, in Forsaken Bungie expanded that and made The Blinding Well, with waves upon waves of enemies and a final boss, like before, only this time in a public space. While this makes it harder to get a group of people to join, it’s in a designated area which is easier to match-make (so, the old Archon’s Forge trick works by slowly crouch-walking).
The other addition is Gambit. On September 1st, all Destiny 2 owners were able to play it after first dropping at the Summit and later at E3. Overwhelmingly, this PvE-meets-PvP mode was a smash hit. Two groups of four fight waves of enemies who drop items on the ground (motes). You or your allies pick them up and bank them; bank enough motes and you can send a boss over to the enemy’s side — which also stops them from banking their motes — and they have to beat the boss before they can deposit their own, or call forth a Primeval a.k.a. final boss. Beat him and you win. Now strategies have emerged; collect 5 and summon a mini boss over to the Bravo Team. Wait and bank 10 to send over a stronger boss, or collect 15 and summon an Ogre. Or, you can wait for your other allies to collect 15 and if you have 15. Everyone can send over more than 3 bosses. Oh, and after a 25 you can invade the enemy side. You get overshields, an enhanced radar, and outline of the enemy Guardians. You are also immune to the enemies on the field. While it seems like a lot, it’s extremely fun. If you like PvE but hate PvP, you may like this mode.
THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR
My biggest fear is a lack of loot, you know, since Destiny 2 just so happens to be a looter shooter. If I had a gun to my head and needed to answer (sorry Cayde, I miss you), I would say unknown. As of now I have yet to reach the point of legendary drops, but from what others have reported on Reddit, the answer is “no”, add to the fact Random Rolls are back. Even if you got the same Legendary Gun, the roll will be different. In fact, there’s just a lot more to do. I can spend hours on the Tangled Shore and just explore. I have yet to reach The Dreaming City, but I’ve heard that it’s the best thing Bungie has done since Halo. The Raid is days away and most are racing to be up to level (550?). Not to mention they will get a WWE-style World Championship belt. Yes–you will get a real belt.
THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY
Out of all this Good, Bungie had to screw something up right? Right? Yup!!! First, they made it totally unclear and to this day; still unclear, about Daily and Weekly Bounties. So, Weekly Bounties can be picked up on Tuesday and they won’t disappear till the following Tuesday (this is known as the Weekly Reset). Daily Bounties sound like they last 24 hours. NOPE. NUH UH! NADA. ZIP. ZERO. They last Four days. But here’s the kicker; some vendors have the 24 hr daily bounty, while the director has the four day variety and even then it is unclear when they begin and when they end. FYI. I still don’t know when. The other problem is Infusion — I can combine higher power gear into lower power and up the lower powered gear. Example: The Gun I like is 390. Gun I just got is 440. I infuse the 440 into the 390. 390 becomes 440. Cool. Back Be-Forsaken, it would cost money and what Bungie called Legendary shards (dismantle Legendary or Exotic gear and you would get shards).
Now? It requires money, shards, a planetary material like Dusklight (found on the EDZ) and Masterwork Core, only found when you have a weapon that is, well, masterworked. You usually get them in the wild or when you decrypt them (RNG a.k.a. Random Number Generator). So, this is a very rare item, and it’s not guaranteed how many Cores you get when you dismantle a Masterwork gun or armor. That too is Random; a lot of players have voiced their displeasure with this change and already Bungie (the new community liason and Reddit has responded to both of those requests.
I love what has changed with Destiny 2, and there’s absolutely enough changes to warrant people to give this a second chance. Bungie has slowly started to embrace the RPG aspect of their game while simultaneously going back to what made Destiny 1 so good as an MMO with the amounts of loot you could obtain. I know you’re all too busy hangin’ with Peter Parker and Lara Croft, but once you’re done with those, definitely give Forsaken a go if you enjoy looter shooters or mixing it up with other like-minded people. 4.75/5 Bibles.