It’s been a long journey back to the Moon in Destiny 2 but with Shadowkeep we’re finally going back. After entering the Hellmouth and defeating Crota, the Moon was a seldom visited location in Destiny. Sure, The Taken King sent us briefly back to the Moon but that was way back in Destiny. Finally, we all get to be like Philip J. Fry again.
Despite revisiting an old location, Bungie has made the Moon feel fresh with some additions and changes for the better. Shadowkeep plays like a ‘greatest hits’ for established Guardians, while helping introduce new players to the world as well.
For the first time in ages, the plot of Destiny, you know the one about the Light and Darkness, actually moves forward too. Best of all, we see the return of Eris Morn, one of the franchise’s best characters.
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep
Shadowkeep begins when the Guardians are sent to the Moon to follow up on a mission Eris was undertaking on her own. Strange readings have been emanating from under the Lunar surface and a new Hive fortress, the Scarlet Keep, has appeared.
Heading into the Keep and down into the Moon, we discover a giant black pyramid, a herald for the darkness. This structure is creating Nightmare Hive and nightmarish, ghostly versions of dead Guardians and the Light’s worst enemies.
Trying to discover the nature of these ghouls and stop the Hive from whatever they have planned, the Guardians need to team up with Destiny’s most enigmatic figure, Eris Morn.
Not black and white like every other character in the game (aside from the Drifter) Eris is hard to read. You’re never quite sure where you stand with her or what her motives are. However, stopping the Hive is paramount so you must work together.
Throughout Shadowkeep, Eris is plagued by the nightmare ghosts of her dead Fireteam. The Guardians who lost their lives trying to defeat Crota. She’s burdened and tortured by these visions and it really fleshes out one of Destiny’s supporting cast in a great way. She’s still the same character, we just get to understand her a lot more.
The campaign, while fairly short, pushes the narrative forward more than maybe anything else in the history of Destiny. It does, of course, leave lots unanswered, but that’s the nature of the beast. On completion, you’ll still have tonnes of content to play including new missions, a new/old area, Strikes and a Raid.
The Moon itself is largely unchanged, though there have been some Lost Sectors Added as well as an additional area known as the Scarlet Keep. It’s still a great location with plenty of exploring above and below the surface.
When it comes to content, Nightmare Hunts fall somewhere between a mission and a Strike. They’re matchmade but at the Adept difficulty are laughably easy. When you get into Heroic and Legendary difficulties, that’s when you start dealing with modifiers and a challenge that will suit most Destiny players.
The new Strikes are also decent, as you’d expect. They’re not going to blow you away but really, when has a Strike ever been mind-blowing? There’s a quality here that is expected of Bungie and they’ve certainly met it. Shadowkeep makes Destiny 2 worth playing again.
Other changes and additions in Shadowkeep include Armour 2.0, the Season Pass track, Artifact and more. Armour 2.0 is a great change to the way Armour works and has been designed to give players more control over the look and function of Armour in Destiny 2.
Armour now comes with an energy pool and three mod slots. Mods require differing amounts of energy to insert and aren’t consumed on use. This means you can mix and match mods to find the best loadout for you. This gives players a huge amount of customisation. It’s not a perfect system but it’s an improvement. However, mods being tied to elements is a real pain in the butt. You have to hope RNG will go your way with the elemental roll or else you’re not able to use it…
Prior to Armour 2.0, the only viable armour sets were those earned in Raids or other high-end activities. Now, players can make anything worth wearing.
Back in the Sparrow
The Season Pass track is exactly like you’d find in other games with a Battle Pass. There’s a free and a paid track and as you level up you earn rewards. Gone are Bright Engrams when you level up and in their place is the Season Pass track. It’s far better and gives you more useful and usable items. Investing in the premium path is worth it for hardcore players as you’ll earn a few extra Exotics and some great gear to boot.
The Artifact is Bungie’s self-professed experiment. It will change each season and levels up as you play. As you level it up, you select which mods to unlock which can be applied to your gear. It also slightly increases your Power level. It’s not a massive game-changer, but it does give players slightly more options to mess around with when it comes to building their Guardians.
With a focus going forward on Seasons, the Vex Offensive missions are ok at the moment. They’re incredibly easy though and don’t provide nearly the level of rewards I’d hope to see. I’m sure Bungie has some plans for how to make Seasonal Content enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run, but for now, Bounties and Challenges are the best way forward.
Vendors will now require you to complete a number of Bounties in a week to earn Powerful Gear which is a great way to make Bounties meaningful again.
Overall, it’s great to have a reason to play Destiny again. Lapsed players will have to spend a while familiarising themselves with the mass of changes, though players who’ve kept up will have plenty to learn as well.
Bungie has clearly worked to reinvigorate Destiny 2 and Shadowkeep is a great step in the right direction.
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by Bungie.
Game Title: Destiny 2 Shadowkeep