We are now just under a month since the launch of Destiny 2’s latest expansion, Beyond Light, and now that the raid has been completed most of the content is available to us. So, what’s the verdict?
Now, before you plug your ears and yell “LA LA LA NOT LISTENING”, I won’t be posting spoilers in this review. What I will say though is that for Destiny, the story is pretty great. There’s a clear plotline, with engaging characters and compelling interactions between these characters. One huge positive is that the ending feels complete and satisfying, which is a criticism many people including myself had with the last expansion, Shadowkeep. Oh, and the guardian talks more than ever, which in my eyes is always welcome.
If you’re a fan of going deeper into the lore, then this expansion should catch your interest. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this is some of the best lore we’ve had in an expansion, minus maybe the Destiny 1 Year 2 expansion, The Taken King. There was genuinely moments reading it that made my jaw drop.
The main campaign is all well and good, but where people spend their many hundreds of hours in Destiny 2 is in the post game. There is a couple of cool quests after the campaign which dive further into the Fallen and the Darkness, but these are relatively quick to complete.
There is some controversy around this expansion surrounding the loot, or more the lack thereof.
Between Beyond Light and Season of the Hunt (which won’t be discussed in this article), there is just over 30 weapons available, and a handful of new armour sets. Compared to many previous expansions, this isn’t a lot. However, what can be said about the loot is that the new weapon archetypes and perks are a lot of fun, and you will still be spending a while acquiring and finding the perfect rolls of these weapons, so I think there’s a lot to be getting on with.
As always there is new exotic gear, but this time the exotic armour is acquired from the new Legend and Master lost sectors, which are more difficult versions of the lost sectors found on Europa. I’ve not yet been lucky enough to acquire this armour, but I hear good things about them, especially the new Warlock arms Necrotic Grip, which actually synergises with the exotic hand cannon Thorn, where kills with the Thorn will inflict poison on nearby enemies thanks to the gauntlets perks. There are also new exotic weapons available from quests and the new activity Empire Hunts, which are all as powerful as you’d expect from an exotic.
With Beyond Light arrived the new darkness element, Stasis, and the subclasses associated. Stasis can be summed up best as cosmic ice, and allows you to freeze combatants and shatter them, which launches sharp stasis shards which damage enemies surrounding. These subclasses are a lot of fun in PvE and can be quite powerful for crowd control in particular. The new fragments and aspects system allow you to customise the subclass to suit your playstyle, which is a whole lot better than the previous subclass approach.
One place where these new subclasses have been more controversial is in PvP. This is due to the ability to freeze your enemies, which can get frustrating and really kills the pace of a match. This was a much bigger issue in the first week or so when everyone and their grandma was using the Stasis subclasses, however now people have started branching back out to the older subclasses I haven’t noticed nearly as much freezing.
Europa is beautiful. The surface is a desert of ice, with frozen buildings showing the remains of the society that lived there, Vex architecture, Jupiter dominating the skybox and of course one of the many dark pyramids that invaded the system laying dormant in the horizon. Underneath the ice you’ll find the clean futuristic Clovis Bray facilities, with details that tell the story of what dark research took place in the area. At the north of the map you have the Fallen city, Riis-Reborn, which is by far the largest Fallen contruct we’ve seen, and it’s a sight to behold. The moon is probably one of the locations I’ve had the most fun exploring.
As for the Cosmodrome, I feel it serves as a reminder of how far Bungies map design has come. For those who’ve played Destiny 1 you may get enjoyment out of the nostalgia of the location, but I feel the map is somewhat bland compared to newer locations. Though the location does do a good job of giving an apocalyptic feel, with rusted cars and skeletons littered around the place, and the remnants of the colony ships showing humanities grand ambition before the collapse.
Another issue with the Cosmodrome is that there’s very little to do there for existing players, though with Bungie expanding the Cosmodrome later in the year I imagine they’re planning for more content in the location.
New Player Experience
The new player experience has been vastly improved with Beyond Light (though you don’t need the expansion to access this!). Previously, new players were given one mission where they would be taught the most basic information then they’d be plopped into the full game with very little guidance. Now, there is a whole mini campaign for new players where they learn the systems of the game and the basic story behind the game as they help a new character, Shaw Han, in the fight against the Hive in the cosmodrome. It’s a much better introduction to the game, and I hope will leave less people abandoning the game because they feel overwhelmed.
Overall, I feel that Beyond Light is a fantastic expansion for both veterans and new Destiny 2 players, and now is the best time to hop in now that there will be a higher population thanks to Destiny 2 going free to play on Stadia, meaning you won’t be waiting quite as long on some of those core activities. However, be warned if you are a PvP player, as you may face frustrations with Stasis, and the most hardcore players may find the loot pool lacking enough that they run out of things to do.
4 / 5
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