When I spoke to my editor about the idea of doing a piece on Destiny 2 Forsaken from the perspective of a noob, he thought it would be a splendid idea.
He gave me a fair warning though, that there’s a ton of content to go through since all the DLC’s were released. I scoffed when he said he had a friend with over a thousand hours played.
Ridiculous, why would anyone spend that much time on Destiny? Well, after two months with the game, I can confidently say that figure is about right for a regular player.
It’s all about that light baby
Destiny 2 is a master of the ol’ carrot and stick formula. It dangles that ever better loot reward behind a myriad in-game and end-game activities that keep you playing. It’s a drip feed as you slaughter countless enemies in the hope of that next exotic engram or the completion of your weekly milestone.
Too many times I cursed Bungie for giving me another annoying pair of boots or armband; which though powerful had no effect on my overall light level.
So each night, I religiously followed my schedule of daily and weekly activities in the hope of a useful drop to get me through the next power level. At the time of writing this, I’m well on my way to 600 light.
I’m truly amazed that I’ve actually got this far without ever doing a Raid. However, with the release of Forsaken, the race to 600 became much easier as Bungie changed much of the levelling.
Keep that playlist on repeat
In the very first mission of the game, you make a mad dash to stop the villain, Dominus Ghaul in his attack on the city and the mysterious Traveller. Very shortly after that, you are rendered powerless as the Light of the Traveller is taken away. Ghaul in a badass moment kicks you off his ship to which you fall, presumably to your death.
You awaken, not surprisingly very much alive but so wounded that your character moves at a snail pace. It’s at this point that I fell in love with the incredible soundtrack. Journey by the Kronos Quartet is a sombre, moving track that accompanies us as the player escapes the city into the unknown wilderness.
In the first mission of Forsaken, you fight alongside the doomed but every chatty Cayde-6 in a magnificent, adrenaline rush prison break. The soundtrack for The Fanatic accentuates the roller coaster ride till the inevitable climatic fall of everyone’s favourite Vanguard.
I have the entire soundtrack playing on repeat all day, every day as I’m reminded of the frenetic fights and missions I’ve played.
From the opening scene of Destiny 2, you will recognise the star power that went into the voice acting. Lance Reddick’s powerful voice is perfect for Zavala, Gina Torres soothes as a powerful Ikora and of course, everyone’s favourite gunslinger, Cayde-6 by Nathan Fillon.
You get an immediate sense that Bungie isn’t playing around with this franchise and are throwing the best production talent at. But it’s not just the soundtrack, it’s every audio cue in the game.
From the visceral slashes of fallen soldiers staffs to the spitting of a high RPM submachine gun to the voices of Cabal readying for war or the patter of approaching footsteps of opposing players in the Crucible. The soundscape in Destiny is incredibly nuanced and lush. I recommend playing with a good pair of headsets to fully appreciate it.
I am Dawnblade of Clan Crom
I’m a selfish gamer. I love to play my games alone. That’s why I prefer to play single player experiences. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that standing shoulder to shoulder with a five other guardians as we bring the pain to a massive Ogre with tons of adds trying to take us down is extremely exhilarating.
When it happens.
Destiny has some amazing content for all kinds of players but it’s best endgame content is shared experiences. Things like the Raids, Nightfalls, BlindWell, Escalation Protocol all work best when you aren’t a one-man show.
If there’s been one thorn in my side on this journey into Destiny, it has to be finding a consistent group of people to play with regularly. I was encouraged very early on to join a clan, if for nothing other than the weekly collateral rewards.
Joining a clan was ridiculously easy. All our PowerUp! crew are in the same clan and I was easily accepted, no questions asked.
I’m the only Xbox player in the clan and thanks to Sony’s cross-play wall, I can never do anything with my clanmates. What this means is that I can never get a lot of the cool loot that comes from vendors like Hawthorne who reward players with powerful gear for completing activities with clanmates.
It’s not a total loss though. I’m still able to get weekly powerful gear as a clan reward and my own activities contribute to my clans weekly XP.
It’s still a bummer that I can’t play with people I know and like.
I’ve been able to use LFG to link up with some people to do some activities but it’s far more hit and miss than successful. As such, I’ve not even attempted a Raid because doing so with randoms who aren’t communication sounds like a perfect recipe for frustration.
Playa vs Player
Speaking of playing with others, I gotta talk about Crucible — Destiny’s PvP domain. In a nutshell, I hate it.
I’m not sure if it’s using a controller or if I just totally suck but I literally groan every time I have to do any type of PvP. I’m a 595 power level with some of the best weapons in the game but I’m getting creamed by players who are even sub 400 light. My personal best is 6 kills in Rumble.
Atrocious, I know. Don’t at me.
It seems to me like everyone else literally one-shot’s me even if they aren’t using Power weapons. Dodging, weaving, ducking and most importantly, aiming while doing all of those things have escaped me as a skill.
So why do I torture myself with PvP if I’m so bad? Because Destiny gates a lot of very cool gear behind PvP activities. First off, there are daily and weekly Crucible milestones that drop gear. Secondly, the more you play, the higher your Valor rank which also rewards gear. Thirdly, several of the games best weapons have quest steps that involve the Crucible.
Ace of Spades, Malfeasance, Luna’s Howl, Not Forgotten are some of the best damn hand cannons in the game. But to get them, you need to complete several Crucible kills — particularly precision kills. To the uninitiated, that means headshots. HEADSHOTS!
Do you have any idea how incredibly hard it is for someone who sucks at PvP to land a headshot? A part of me thinks I should just give up on these weapons but damn Bungie and their perfect carrot and stick.
I gotta have that fix!
But Gambit, on the other hand, is awesome
Oh boy. Gambit, on the other hand, is extremely, fun.
Dubbed PvEvP, Gambit is a mix of both worlds with two teams of four fighting to bank the most motes and summon a Primeval. The team that burns the Primeval down first wins.
Hosted by the charismatic and shady character only known as The Drifter, Gambit sees you fighting different race types which all drop valuable motes that you must deposit.
While you can deposit any number of motes at a go, batches of 5, 10 or 15 will send a Taken enemy to the other teams vault and lock it down, stopping them from making deposits until they kill it.
The PvP part comes in through opposing team members invading your instance of the match. The reverse is also true. It’s as annoying as Crucible and I hate having a ton of motes and then an invader enters the instance while simultaneously having my vault locked by two Taken Phalanxes and an Ogre!
It’s heart pumping stuff and I love it. Unlike Crucible, I totally look forward to my daily and weekly challenges from the Drifter. Great job Bungie.
More Story than meets the eye
A particular draw of Destiny to me as a player is the lush sci-fi world and narrative. Peculiarly, Destiny 2 hides most of its lore in items scattered throughout the game.
Stories like that of Cayde-6 are so deeply moving but aren’t something you can easily uncover unless you’re like me and go watch an “I am Byf” video on YouTube.
I’m not sure why Bungie chose this approach but I do find it unappealing.
Weapons of mass destruction
I’d heard that Destiny has the best shooting mechanics of any game right now and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree. There is a sense of satisfaction at shooting things in Destiny that’s hard to describe.
Every single weapon in the game has a unique feel to it, from recoil pattern to reloading action to the sound it makes as it spits out death.
The level of attention to detail and narrative around every weapon in Destiny 2 blows my mind. In Destiny, weapons aren’t just tools with stats but more like characters with different personalities.
With insanely cool names like the Ace of Spades, Chattering Bone, Whisper of the Worm, Sleeper Simulant, Bygones, Risk Runner or Thousand Voices. Each of these has a lore and backstory.
Each weapon has a clear use case scenario that plays to my strengths and I absolutely love PvE activities where I’m switching as I run, gun and jump my way through.
And I could spend hours studying the different weapons and reading their lore and don’t even get me started on their rolls and customisations of their appearance.
Speaking of shaders, I had seen a number of Guardians around the game looking extra spiffy with their armour setups and I am one to keep up with the Joneses.
The atrociously long loading times in the game provide me ample time to tweak my weapons and gear shaders till they match. I can’t stand the mismatch of gear and using shaders helps me fashion my Guardian exactly as I please.
Bungie’s weapon design team deserves an award.
Shall we go on a quest, oh noble guardian?
One of the best things about Destiny 2 are the Exotic weapons which can either drop from extremely rare exotic engrams in the world or can be obtained through exotic quests.
These quests are usually initiated by one of the vendors in the game and will often require a number of laborious tasks in order to complete.
The steps in themselves often involve mundane things like killing so many enemies with such and such type of weapon or health bar, bank so many motes, find so many caches and so forth.
Some of these tasks are incredibly challenging. The Ace of Spades Hand cannon quest that I am doing right now has a task to get 25 precision kills in Crucible. It’s really challenging for a terrible PvP player like myself.
After six hours of play, I’ve only managed to get nine and those were all by luck. I see this may take me quite a while to complete but damn that carrot and stick.
I’ll push through the pain because each of these exotic weapons is very, very good. I don’t regret the grind I had to go through to get my Sleeper Simulant or my Thunderlord; which to be honest were really easy compared to the hand cannon quests.
And the great thing is that Bungie can and does drop new exotic weapon quests every so often, the Thunderlord being the latest one. And I’m all for it.
I’ve still got to hunt down the Whisper of the Worm, the Malfeasance and if I’m so inclined, the Sturm and Drang for completion’s sake.
Stay a while and listen
At first glance, Destiny 2 seems to have a fairly chewable story with the main campaign lasting no more than 10-15 hours. It’s not mindblowing but it’s good enough to support all the excellent gunplay.
But here’s the thing. After the main story of Forsaken was done, and I discovered the Dreaming City and found that there is a huge amount of lore and story hidden underneath the covers.
What is Riven? Where is Mara Sov? Who exactly is Cayde-6? Who are Clovis Bray and how come Rasputin is so powerful and yet hardly spoken of? Who is the Drifter and what does he do with motes? If you search long and hard, you will put together these stories.
Throughout the game, there are items that will reveal more of the story while plenty of the lore is split across the plethora of weapons, armour, locations and NPC’s.
Hi, my name is Kizzy and I’m a Destinyholic
At the start of this article, I remarked at how I scoffed at anyone playing 1000 hours of Destiny 2. It’s been 243 hours of playtime since I immersed myself into the space opera that is Destiny and I am absolutely shocked at how much I love it.
Bungie has clearly addressed all of the games weaknesses through continuous improvement. Forsaken has been likened to the Taken King expansion in terms of how it totally revitalised the game.
It’s honestly overwhelming the sheer amount of stuff there is to do in this game, no matter what type of player you are.
If you are a lonely explorer who loves to search high and low for everything in the game or a Colosseum gladiator who just loves duking it out with fellow guardians, Destiny is a hell of game that will keep players glued for hundreds of hours to come.
I find that I don’t even want to play anything else now. It’s just that good. I’ll soon hit 600 power level and have new awesome gear and I’ll still have all the Raids to do. I also have a Hunter and Titan characters to learn and level up when I’ve hit the pinnacle with my Warlock.
And that’s not even accounting for all the new content coming out in Season 5. Bungie’s seasonal events like the recently concluded Festival of the Lost or Cryptarch Murder Mystery are more than enough to spice things up every so often.
If I can find myself a good Xbox Clan and a fireteam that works with my odd Daddy schedule, I will be in heaven.
It’s clear to me, that my journey has only just began. Unlike so many other AAA titles, for the first time, I don’t feel turned off by the sheer amount to do.
Well done Bungie.
A digital copy of Destiny 2 and the expansions were provided by Activision.