Forsaken has been a pivotal moment for Bungie and the Destiny franchise at a moment when the game has been going at a slow but steady pace to regain momentum after Curse of Osiris, the games first DLC, was such a let down. Warmind was the second DLC to come out and did a lot of things right. But it only went a small way to repairing the damage done by Osiris. Forsaken has been Bungie’s chance to continue down this path and bring back many lost guardians. Has Bungie struck lightning twice after a similar timeline with Destiny 1 or has Destiny 2 been doomed? I’ll tell you everything you need to know below.
Generally DLC reviews do not get a full game review treatment, however the sheer scale of Forsaken is unlike anything we’ve seen before, except one thing. Back in 2015 Bungie released The Taken King DLC for Destiny and it revolutionised the game. A lacklustre first year was completely revolutionised bringing back old players and bringing in new players alike (like myself). Bungie *has* done it again and Forsaken has been a revelation for them after yet another lacklustre first year of Destiny 2 with some ups and downs.
Let’s start with the story. Before Forsaken even came out we were told exactly what was going down. Cayde-6 is dead. Aldren Sov killed him and we are on a hunt for revenge. It was all over all of their marketing and promotion for the game and many were confused and upset because they felt the whole story was ruined for them. I can tell you flat out, that is not the case. The story stretches on in one way or another for around 6 weeks, in real life and potentially even longer. I won’t spoil what happens, but it has been a genuinely surprising and genius approach to story telling by Bungie which has seen a usual mainline campaign with cutscenes that can be completed in a day stretched out to nearly 2 months of story telling through time gated content and a fantastic plot in of itself. We will cover some of this within the end game content section of this review but the Dreaming City contributes brilliantly as the hub for content past the “main” campaign and is on par with the dreadnaught as a fantastic end game location.
Once the campaign is over, the end game comes into play. InForsaken this includes a wide variety of options. These range from trying to level up to 600 power, running and completing the Last Wish raid (more on that later), an entire location in the Dreaming City which has it’s own list of end game activities, as well the usual suspects such as the Crucible and it’s events like Iron Banner. Within the Dreaming City you have the Blind Well also, which has several tiers to it to allow beginners to experience it as well as high power Guardians being given the opportunity to prove their worth at the top tier and earn high power loot. The Blind Well is a hoard mode style activity, extremely similar to Escaltion Protocol which was introduced in Warmind. However, instead of 7 waves, there are 5 and as you move up in tiers you are presented with more bosses to defeat at the end of the fifth wave. As well as this, there is a secret 4th tier which gives you an extra boss to defeat with a different mechanic each week. What’s so fantastic about the Blind Well is that it’s not an activity for the sake of having a new activity. It has lore behind it which I won’t go into for spoiler reasons, however as long as you focus on the dialog and complete the corresponding bounties tied to the Blind Well (you can get those from Petra, the returning NPC from Destiny 1), you will be exposed to some fantastic yet subtle story telling.
There are plenty of other secrets within the Dreaming City too, which includes the addition of Destiny’s first ever Dungeon. Again, without giving away any spoilers, it can only be found at very specific times and is perhaps best described as a mini raid. It has several encounters and has the same difficulty as the Last Wish raid however it can be done by 3 people as opposed to the traditional 6 in a raid. This dungeon also holds the secret to a secret exotic weapon too, which fans of the series love ever since the Whisper of the Worm quest that was introduced in Warmind.
Within PvP, guardians are incentivised to play in with the re-introduction of pinnacle weapons. Warmind brought the Redrix Claymore, a pulse rifle with a unique set of perks which you could only obtain through a lengthy grind which required you reach rank 3 in the Glory competitive playlist. This proved too much for the majority of guardians with only around 8000 players in the entire world gaining access to this weapon. Once Season 3 ended the ability to gain the Redrix Claymore also ended to the dismay of many. In Season 4 all pinnacle PvP weapons are now done via a quest and can be completed over multiple seasons. This time around we have 2 weapons to chase, the Redrix Broadsword, a clone of the Claymore and Luna’s Howl, a hand cannon with its own unique perks. The Broadsword is arguably the easier of the two as it doesn’t require a rank to be hit in the competitive glory ranks where as Luna’s Howl does. Both of these weapons are fantastic though and really give some meaning to PvP content beyond the initial enjoyment.
The real end game activity has always been the raids in Destiny. The Last Wish raid is real joy to behold in all honesty. In Destiny 1 we had some special raids and raid bosses and while Leviathan in Destiny 2 is a fantastic raid in of itself, it lacks a certain amount of scale. Last Wish does no such thing and from the beginning you feel just how enormous this raid actually is. With more encounters than you’ve ever seen in a Destiny raid and potentially one of my favourite all time raid bosses, Last Wish does a phenomenal job of feeling like the grand, epic finale to the the end game. It merges action with boss mechanics and enough puzzles to not feel too repetitive as you go through it and has some of the best weapons, including one exotic, in the whole of the game as rewards for completing it. It’s also very, very difficult. With Bungie conforming there won’t be a prestige version of the raid, I think to the relief of many, Last Wish is the longest and toughest raid in Destiny history. I only managed to complete it once I was above 590 power – although many did it from 550 onwards.
If we look away from the main end game content, I want to talk about Gambit. This is the hybrid PvEvP mode that has absolutely stormed the Destiny universe. Adding new levels of lore behind it, The Drifter has brought Gambit to the guardians to collect motes of darkness. We don’t know why or what he wants with them yet but the mode itself is so much fun, no one cares just yet. You face off against 4 opposing guardians in a team of 4 and defeat enemies in waves. Collect motes that they drop and place them into a bank which is located at the centre of the map. If you bank 5 motes you send a small “blocker” enemy to your opponents, bank 10 and you’ll send a medium blocker and bank 15 and you’ll send a large blocker. While blockers are up you can’t bank any motes yourself. Once you bank 25 motes a portal opens up which allows you or a guardian from the opposing team to invade the opponents map and try to defeat the guardians. If you are holding motes and are killed you lose all of those motes. Once you dump in 75 motes as a team you will summon a “Primeval”. This is the final boss and once you kill it you will win the round. However if your opposing team summons their primeval first or kill theirs first then they will win. It’s a mode that is a mixture of strategy and brute strength and I absolutely love it. Gambit feels like something we should have had a long time ago and it’s been a key factor in my enjoyment of Forsaken.
Along side Forsaken came a host of quality of life changes too for everyone who plays Destiny 2, not just those who have purchased Forsaken, so the game is in the best state it’s ever been. Bungie have absolutely knocked Forsaken out of the park and while it’s not completely perfect (lack of matchmaking for Blind Well and still lot’s of bugs), the game has never been better and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my grind to 600 power.