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Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 22 - 2019

Keep going, Guardians.

 
Bungie have a lot to prove. With Activision out of the picture, the Destiny developers have nothing but their own ambitions to hold them back as Destiny 2 evolves, and in a big bang of things changing, Bungie launched the latest expansion Shadowkeep. Given how impressive the previous expansion Forsaken was, and also taking into account everything else that is going on and changing, can a trip to the Moon to face past foes really measure up?

 


 
That is the problem straight out of the gate. There is so much going on that players, especially those returning after a break or the hordes of newcomers that are presumably attracted by New Light, may find it all a little overwhelming. However, the actual amount of new stuff that comes as part of the Shadowkeep expansion, and thus only for those who have forked out for this latest expansion, is relatively little. Much of this will come down to everything else that has been going on.

 
Firstly, alongside the launch of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, we now have Destiny 2: New Light. This is a free-to-play offering and is frankly quite impressive. Now, anyone who has looked at Destiny 2 and wondered will be able to jump into the game and find out what all of the fuss is about, without having to spend a penny. The best thing about this is the sheer amount of content included, with the base game and the early DLCs, although the set up will have changed to bring the game in line with the new systems. Of course, new players who want more will have to shell out for Forsaken and Shadowkeep if they want, but as Destiny 2 is now more like a service than just a game, there really will be plenty here to keep players entertained without the need for anything extra.

 


 
The launch of New Light is to bring in new players. Those who have been around for a while will have no need for this entry level free version of the game, and will instead be looking more towards what all of these changes will offer them. Outside of Shadowkeep, I would guess what most will be talking about is the Armor 2.0 update, allowing for more complex character builds. Basically, armor now has values that will affect stats, thus giving the Guardian a boost in one area or another. Mods can also be equipped, giving rise to perks to further customise a character. For the more casual players, by which I mean those that don’t stress over every single value in the game, this is just something new to keep track of, along with all manner of other numbers, and really shouldn’t be worried about until the player is happily in the end game. For the hardcore though, there is plenty to muck around with as they make their favourite armor also their best. There is a lot more excitement to coincide with the Shadowkeep launch, such as Destiny 2 coming to Steam and the like, all of which play into the whole evolution of Destiny.

 
Then there is the whole season pass situation. Bungie seem to be taking an almost “Fortnite” approach to Season Passes, offering more of them through the course of the year, but at a lower cost. The first Season Pass, for Season of the Undying, is included with Shadowkeep and presents the player with some more Vex action along with various season-length objectives that they can work towards for fun rewards. It also includes a new six player mode that is quite fun, at least in the short term, and the inclusion of a seasonal artefact that will make life a lot easier for players who are getting into the end game and grinding to hit the new hard cap. I am not sure how I feel about these season passes. Time will tell.

 
With everything else that is going on, it is easy to miss the fact that Shadowkeep should be the star of Destiny 2 at the moment. When Forsaken launched, I was straight into the adventure. With Shadowkeep, it was a good few hours before I even bothered to see what was going on with the Moon.

 


 
The lore in Destiny 2 is plentiful and well written, but not always easy to follow. Personally, it is during the campaign stories that I tend to pick up the most lore and remember it, and so the campaign stories are always a highlight. Shadowkeep will see the player heading back to the Moon, or to the Moon for the first time in the case of newer Destiny players, and features returning character Eris Morn. Original Destiny players will get a kick out of returning to the lunar landscape, especially as so much of it remains the same. Of course, things have changed, as would happen with the passing of time. But they all feel like logical changes, and areas are still recognisable. Following the nostalgic theme of this trip to the Moon, the player will this time be facing off against a selection of new enemies in the form of Nightmares. However, these Nightmares are just former enemies with a new look. It’s quite nice to have another crack at some of the big bads from before, but it is not the most imaginative set up.

 
As it stands, the Shadowkeep story itself is quite short and ends in a very unsatisfying way, that makes it seem as though the whole purpose of Shadowkeep was simply to set up whatever comes next. That’s fair enough, I suppose, but after the excellent Forsaken, Shadowkeep does feel disappointing. New strikes, new maps for the Crucible, a new raid, all of this keeps Shadowkeep as an essential purchase for long term Destiny 2 fans. For the newcomers, I am not so sure.

 
In most usual reviews, I would have covered the likes of visuals or the quality of gameplay. However, Destiny 2 has become such a massive beast now, that simple things such as how the game looks or how good the shooting is are largely known factors. For those who want to know, the gunplay is probably the best around, and the visuals are as good as they need to be. Oh, and the loading times are still stupidly long, but there you go.

 


 
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a tricky one. Had it just been the launch of an expansion, I think it could have been disappointingly small. However, with the launch of a free-to-play model for Destiny 2, upgrades to core systems for everyone, and the new season pass system, there is a lot going on and how important Shadowkeep is will depend on where players are coming from. For the newcomers, don’t even worry about Shadowkeep. Even the returning players will likely have plenty to do before they may have the itch for more content. Which leaves the serious players, and most of those will have already completed the Shadowkeep campaign. Destiny 2 feels like it is in a great place going forward. While Shadowkeep itself may be disappointing, the overall Destiny 2 experience has never been better.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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