Destiny 2: The Witch Queen – Review

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It’s historically been incredibly difficult to judge a Destiny expansion until three, maybe even four weeks into its release. There’s usually a raid to come, content locked behind time gates and a lot of power levelling to do which can take a while. However, Bungie have released The Witch Queen in a state where it’s very easy to judge after it’s first week. As someone who has been playing Destiny since its inception in one way or another, I can confidently say this is the best overall release Bungie has put out for the Destiny franchise. 

Even with the new raid just under a week away, I feel that what Bungie has given us has completely eclipsed anything we’ve had before. A 10/10 campaign (finally!), Void 3.0 being a roaring success, power levelling not feeling like a complete chore and so, so much more, The Witch Queen is the Destiny game we’ve been waiting for nearly 8 years.

A Story Worth Telling

There are two layers to discuss when it comes to The Witch Queen’s campaign. The story and missions and the new Legendary difficulty that has been introduced to be more of a challenge for veteran players.

The story delves deeper into Destiny’s lore than the game ever has before as we learn all about Savathun and her family lineage, instead of having to figure it out in lore entries or YouTube videos. The story telling takes twists and turns all the way throughout until we finally hit an ending I don’t think anyone thought was coming. What’s even better is that the ending of the campaign looks to be leading directly into the Raid coming next week. We have an amazing conclusion to the campaign AND more story to come in the Raid. We’ve truly been spoiled. 

The missions themselves were phenomenal. I’ve never enjoyed story missions more than The Witch Queen’s. They are longer than story missions had ever been before and have several stages to them. It honestly felt like 3 or 4 missions in one which is what I’ve always wanted. We had grand, mechanically challenging levels and some epic boss battles. The Hive Guardians are LETHAL, taking some of our favourite abilities and ripping me to shreds with them. Although, I know we’re meant to feel remorse when destroying their ghosts, but the visual of our Guardian crushing them to pieces is really cool. 

When you do the campaign on the game’s new Legendary difficulty as my fireteam and I did, not only are the story missions an actual challenge and require strategy, but you are handsomely rewarded for your efforts. Double chests filled with loot and upgrade modules allow you to power as you play instead of having to grind furiously in content you may not care about. Then at the end of the campaign you’ll get one of the new Exotic armour pieces for your class and an emblem to flex with. 

The campaign honestly couldn’t have exceeded my expectations any more than it has. A massive congratulations and well done to the team at Bungie behind it. 

Deep into the Void

Void 3.0 is the first step at transitioning our Light subclasses into the format that Stasis was received in. The ability to pick your aspects and fragments to further customise your armour and weapon loadout was as brilliant then as it is now, but this time our Void abilities are the stars of the show.

All three classes have seen some really cool and fun improvements with Hunter’s Mobius Quiver super standing out to me as the best Super amongst them all. Warlock’s have some serious damage dealing though with their grenades and seeing my Titan throw his shield at a group of enemies with the new melee ability gives me series Captain America/Kratos vibes. Although that particular one would be just slightly improved if we had the ability to pick it back up (my clan mate has been particularly passionate about that idea).

I’ve found that, naturally, my Void subclass has now become the go to for the season. The Seasonal mods are clearly designed to complement it and it has spawned some incredibly powerful and fun builds. What will be very interesting is how the subclass copes next season when we see an upgrade to either Solar or Arc and they have the seasonal mods on their side.

Loot for Days

We’ve been introduced to a brand new weapon type this year with Bungie proudly introducing the Glaive to our arsenal. This spear/blaster has fast become one of my favourite tools to use. It has three key features, a short to mid range blast, a melee that does not require any ammo and a shield function for when you’re in a pinch. It can handle a lot and when combined with some of this season’s artefact mods, it is a beast. We craft our first as part of the early campaign, but there is one more Legendary and three Exotic variants, one for each class. These will be at our disposal over the coming weeks when certain post game missions are completed.

We’ve also been treated to FOUR more new Exotics in the form of Osteo Striga, Dead Messenger, Parasite and Grand Overture. The latter is free with the season pass and the rest come post campaign. All have so far proven to be fun to use but Ostea Striga stands out for it’s insane ability to clear ads easily. Add the Catalyst into the equation and it’s even more potent. 

Then there are the many, many new legendary weapons to collect and grind for,  several new armour set’s and this season’s Ornament set in the pass that is my favourite set out of the bunch. Bungie has once again, knocked it out of the park when it comes to loot in the Witch Queen.

Weapon Crafting Malfunction

Weapon crafting was easily one of the most hyped systems to come to Destiny 2 in a very long time. At its core it works as it should, you can craft the exact weapon you want, but it comes with a fair few caveats. You’ll need to make sure the weapon actually has the perks you want in its pool. If so, then you can begin down the long journey of perfection. 

You will need to unlock the weapons pattern but hoping you get a random drop of it with what Bungie calls, Deepsight Resonance. This is a weapon with a red border around it. Once you have that you then need to use it and complete activities until the percentage bar on the weapon is complete and you can extract the Deepsight Resonance from the weapon and it’s pattern. Some weapons only need this done once, but I’ve seen some need it as many as five times. 

Once the pattern is unlocked, you can craft your dream weapon… almost. You craft it with it’s base perks, which may not be the ones you want. You then need to level up that crafted version of the weapon to unlock more and more perks, which include Enhanced versions of the perks we know and love. But of course you need to make sure you have enough of the many different currencies needed to place those perks on your weapons. 

All of the above, which I personally find a bit tedious, is fine and makes sense. Bungie wants you to really work for that perfect weapon and even grow an attachment to it. You’ll see the date you originally crafted it on the weapon’s inspection page just so you know when your baby was born. However, once you’ve built it, if you then decide you want to change it to suit a different style of play, you then have to pay up to make those changes, and then again if you want to swap back. This heavily stifles any experimentation you may want to do with the different perks unless you decide to continuously grind out the materials, which I am sure some will. For me though, there is enough grinding in the game already without this extra layer. I’ve reserved my weapon crafting for the really special weapons and likely not experiment too much so I have plenty of materials for when I do want to craft.

Love for Rituals, Mostly

Gambit has been given a boost with mechanical changes to freshen things up. I’ve not had enough time to play much but from the little I have played, it certainly feels different and I’ve had less of a frustrating time with less invaders coming our way and more effort being put into the Primeval phase. Only time will tell if the changes made were for the best or if it really needs a complete overhaul. 

Strikes gained a couple of new and really fun entries to the playlist as well as all of the Battleground missions from Season of the Worthy. Systems wise though, Strikes are still just strikes, so either you enjoy them or you don’t, nothing will change  any existing opinions.

Crucible is still the most underappreciated mode in Destiny. We know attention is coming, but this release only sees two returning maps that had been previously removed from the game in Eternity and Vostok. That’ll give a little bit of variety to a map rotation that was certainly getting a bit stale. We know next season we’ll get 2 old Destiny 1 map’s and in the seasons after we’ll get some actual NEW maps for the first time. I don’t even remember when. We also know that Rift may be coming back and Bungie are working on a new game mode. But none of that is in Witch Queen so we can’t give Bungie credit for it just yet.

Overall, with the exception of some missteps with weapon crafting, in my opinion, Bungie still has a 10 out of 10 expansion in the Witch Queen and we’ve just barely scratched the surface. I’ve not even spoken about the stunning new Throne World location and all of the secret’s we’re yet to unlock, the absolutely gorgeous original soundtrack and OF COURSE the raid on the 5th March. I’ve not been so excited for a new raid based off of the lore alone and the implications for the universe that Destiny is set in.

10

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is the closest thing we'll get to a Destiny 3 and that is a HUGE compliment. With Sony now coming in to back Bungie up, the future for Destiny is brighter than it has ever been, as is the present. 

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