It’s not an understatement to say that Bungie is counting on Forsaken to resurrect its fortunes and Destiny 2 — as well as the overall franchise. Just as the Taken King DLC expansion saved the original Destiny from its failings, Forsaken achieves its goal of reinvigorating Destiny 2. It shouldn’t have been necessary, but it is a expansion and will give guardians a reason to return to defend the Last City and get revenge for the death of Cayde-6.
The consistent criticism of Destiny as a franchise has been the lack of story. Destiny 2 had more story than its predecessor, but was still lacking a real motivation — short of killing the enemies of the remnants of humanity. Forsaken fixes this by providing the best and simplest of video game motivations: revenge. The players’ primary focus is now to kill Prince Aldren of the Awoken, who Destiny players literally haven’t seen since the very beginning of the Taken King DLC.
The Death of Cayde-6 isn’t a surprise, it’s been in every promo since E3. But his death is missing its resonance with the absence of Nathan Fillion, as he has been the voice of Cayde-6 since the original Destiny. Bungie was unable to get Nathan Fillion back this time due to his unavailability at the necessary time, so veteran voice actor Nolan North replaced him. North is really good, but it just feels like there is a little magic that’s missing, and that denies Cayde’s death some of the necessary gravitas.
Forsaken is a massive expansion filled with a plethora for returning players to explore. The Tangled Shore, where most of the DLC takes place, is genuinely new ground. Based amongst a collection of asteroids strung together in deep space, it’s a departure from Destiny’s primarily planet-based locations. I haven’t had the chance to play through the whole Forsaken campaign yet, but the Tangled Shore is a welcome addition to the playable locations.
The Scorn are the new villains of the Forsaken campaign. In all honesty, I’m waiting for Bungie to provide a truly new enemy type at some point. The Scorn are still Fallen, one of Destiny’s core villains. There are, however, some new mechanics in fighting them. They are more aggressive than the other enemies (like the Hive or Cabal), but visually they still feel like my old familiar foes. As in the Taken King with the Taken, who were versions of every existing Destiny enemy race, bent to the will of Oryx, the Scorn are still the Fallen. To be fair I haven’t finished the campaign so I’m open to changing my mind.
Despite my criticisms, Bungie is (without a doubt) masterful when it comes to the weapons and the sandbox changes that are part of Forsaken. Changes were made prior to launch to allow players greater options in how they choose to use the kinetic, energy, and heavy weapons in Destiny. All that is cool, but nothing is better than the new bows.
It’s amazing that in a game with rocket launchers, hand cannons, and rifles that make enemies explode, a bow and arrow could be so fun and such a perfect addition to the arsenal. The new bows are easy to learn and (with a little effort) easy to master. I went from skeptic to devoted fan within 15 minutes. From HALO all the way to the present day, Bungie have never lost their ability to make weapons that are dynamic, visually spectacular (watch a YouTube clip of someone using Sunshot), and a joy to play with. The bow was a hyped addition to Destiny 2 and lives up to all of the advertisements.
The new supers, for all intent and purposes the superpowers of Destiny, are one of the major selling points for this expansion. Each of the three classes, Titan, Warlock, and Hunter received new supers this time around; and while I’ve only played the Titan’s new solar super (the Burning Maul), my official response is…..I love it. Unleashing a huge maul on enemies feels …well…kinda super, every single time. The supers have always been one of the best aspects of Destiny. If the other seven new supers are this good, then that alone makes Forsaken worth getting.
Gambit, the new player versus player/ versus enemy mode is impressive. Two teams of four kill multiple waves of enemies in two different areas in order to capture motes of light. Capture enough and you summon a blocker preventing the other team from banking motes. Bank enough motes and you summon a primevil boss. Kill the boss and win. Oh and you can invade the other team’s side and kill them. It is a frenetic, addictive addition to Destiny’s existing player versus player mode.
Destiny is not a perfect game, but Forsaken does what it’s intended to do: save Destiny 2 and give players to a reason to reengage. For those reasons Destiny is worth picking up. The death of Cayde-6 might not be enough to motivate people who have never played Destiny 2, but for returning vets like me, it’s time to put Aldren in a box.
4 Guardians out of 5