Destiny 2: Lightfall Review
Since its inception, Destiny has had a tumultuous journey, with its second release carrying much of its legacy beyond what was perceived, even by Bungie themselves. Destiny has been a pillar for the once heralded Halo-based studio for a near decade and it seems that Lightfall was its crescendo to a finish. It goes without saying that without the series, the landscape of free-to-play online shooters wouldn’t be as massive as it is today. It paved the way as a catalyst to many franchises that have gone onto surpass it in many ways, but it always comes back to Destiny. Lightfall is the latest chapter in Destiny 2’s various expansions, and serves as the penultimate act before Destiny 2’s inevitable close with The Final Shape expected to release in 2024. But does Lightfall satiate that hunger for its titular deliverance?
While I would love to say this specific season cites as a landmark chapter for the shooter, it more aims to bridge gaps and close open ends to its longstanding narrative rather than make any form of surmountable impact toward its pending future. Lightfall rather has the distinction of being an arc that will serve the final chapter relatively well, opening up new possibilities for the series’ future past Destiny 2. However, while Lightfall tries to cement itself prominently within Destiny 2’s pre-determined pathing toward The Final Shape, its not as fulfilling of an experience as we’ve had from prior expansions. It’s usually the act before the closing that piques interest to a maximum, but I think this was purposely done to raise anticipation for its last expansion, and bring Destiny 2 to a monumental close in 2024.
As they say, it’s not about the Destination, it’s about the journey. This is where Lightfall tries to tell a tale of an initial close to a longstanding legacy that will no doubt be in the minds of many gamers for years to come. Lightfall’s prominent plotline delves deeply upon the discovery of Neomuna, the dystopian cyberpunk city that was the outlier in the collapse of the Solar System with the arrival of the Black Fleet. The Neomuni are regular humans that inhabit the planet are without light but are augmented with cybernetics that may aid them in combat but reduce their lifespan tenfold. This is done to protect the city from potential invaders, and essentially tout its population as a region of soldiers that are capable of guarding their own. The narrative guides you through some seriously convoluted plotlines that are somewhat inconsequential to a massive extent, but again this is all pathing your journey toward The Final Shape.
The campaign begins after the Season of Seraph, with The Black Fleet arriving to orbit, with a goal to attack The Traveler. The Vanguard is facing a resistance, while The Witness finally appears from its tomb to destroy the Vanguard, along with its army which travel toward Neptune in hopes of capturing the Veil. The Witness then coerces Emperor Calus, the Shadow Legion and his Tormentors to retrieve the artefact. Osiris sets upon their own expedition to go after Calus and their Legion upon knowledge of the Witness locating the Veil on Neomuna, along with Guardian whose orders are to watch over Osiris, after the untimely death of Sagira had weakened him to his final life. Upon their arrival to Neomuna, Rohan, a respected Cloud Strider, and his sidekick Nimbus hand Osiris and the Guardian the Ancient Sceptre, a gift from the Awoken Queen Mara Sov to guide them through their travels upon the troubled planet.
Calus’ ship, the Typhon Imperator had arrived to Neomuna shortly before Osiris and the Guardian, with a pre-determined attack on its people, with those surviving placed into stasis with their conscious uploaded to the cloud. The Cloud Ark acts as Neomuna’s storage system for the Neomuni people, both for protection and networking between each cybernetically enhanced being. While nefarious, I wouldn’t coin Calus as menacing in the slightest. His character is possibly the least devious within franchise history. I would slate them as substitute or unwisely puppet for the Witness as his character ties in to match comedic efforts made from other characters within Lightfall’s lore that astonishingly fall flat. While colloquy can lead to minor chuckles, nothing hit the mark and for it to be a ubiquitous trope spread across the entire cast, it strips away dramatic effect that should be emphasised of this expansion.
Then there’s the expansion’s unique ability to which is simply handed to players without any hurdles or impeding battles to acquire or even learn. The strand – no not a Kojima style video game – is an arcane-type elemental, that allows the player to control the Weave, an amalgamation of psychic energy that is connected to every living being within the universe. This allows the Guardian to sever any communication between enemies, but also gives the the Guardian the capability to manipulate their course within the Sol System. Now as cool as this all sounds, the one thing you’ll find to be of any use out of the mechanic will be its stasis capability. This locks and ties one of a group of enemies into place for you to play a game of shoot the target. It’s fun for a while, but the novelty wears off quick. Maps themselves in Lightfall feel barren, or bare by comparison to Destiny 2’s prior expansion, or even its vanilla campaign, with arenas becoming a roundabout obstacle course that leaves more to be desired.
Not the Destination, The Journey...
✔️ Excellent aesthetic. Gorgeous design alongside its orchestrated overture.
✔️ Strand is a lot of fun to use. Love the fastened pace of utilising its grapple hook across each map.
❌ Root of Nightmares is too short.
❌ Lightfall’s campaign lacks impact or necessity.
More of the same, Vex and Cabal armies are deployed everywhere with little to no changes made. In vain of what Destiny 2 has tried and truthfully been for its ten year cycle, I wouldn’t have minded some variety in villainous foes, but familiarity isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just tired and that’s where Destiny 2 starts to wear thin all-round. The strand enables some unique and versatile traversal mechanics that allow the Guardian to get from point A to B, albeit mostly a simple grapple-hook like power. This does expedite the action somewhat, above what is a more concerning and monotonous instance of altercations.
The Strand also unlocks a new melee and ranged attack, some buffs, new Super’s and some smaller facets that aren’t necessarily notable, but aid you in your quest across Neptune. Of course, in choosing the strand class you will sacrifice some abilities for the newer ones, and this is where it becomes a tantrum of unbalanced and slightly underpowered value from these new features. Tormenter battles are some of the most exhilarating encounters within the campaign, and make up for some lacking surprises.
The new boss wields a deathly scythe, which of course signal impending doom, I would say lures you into combat with high anticipation. This definitely had my excitement with some of their unique offense, to which I was able to counter using the strand, making for more tantalising manoeuvres during my numerous altercations with the dark force. Then of course, Raids are a massive piece of this puzzle that have exponentially improved over the years with each expansion and its respective campaign titled “Root of Nightmares” is no different. I would class this is quite possibly the most challenging Raid campaign, pitting six teammates within a destroyed spaceship that has been deteriorating in Orbit with growths of moss and floral beginning to overrun its innards. While its aura is perceived an almost dreamlike state hinted in its title, the campaign turns into a maniacal death trap with its boss Nezaric, holding the distinction of “Final of God of Pain” being one of the strongest I’ve ever encountered. It’s the shortest Raid, but it’s lofty and has much to offer within the Multiplayer mode.
Lightfall’s overall aesthetic is rich and vibrant, delivering a futuristic take on Destiny’s usual astronomical subspace, which tends to bleed over within expansion to expansion, so its disparity is a pleasant differentiation to its normalcy. But despite this, even Root of Nightmares has its shortcomings that do include some dull level design, and Boss AI that remains outdated. Thinking we’ve finally moved past the days of dumb boss brain, where enemies take time to register multiple players on the field, Nezaric clips through walls and objects, with the fallen angel even stuttering in place to the point where it looks like its having an existential crisis to choose an opponent. Apart from this, the music, the shading, the gorgeous graphical design and swarming encounters do make up for some of Lightfall’s mishaps.
Destiny 2 Lightfall is worth the price of admission, despite having some qualms that take its esteemed reputation down a peg or two. While its about the Journey before the destination, Destiny 2 still has a year left on its laurels to reel in fans that may or may not be attached to it right now, as the penultimate arc signifies the beginning of the end for this title overall. Is it a justified chapter in Destiny 2’s plotline? Possibly not, but it does give us a nice bridge toward The Final Shape, to which I feel is Bungie’s final goodbye to what has been an excellent online shooter for a near decade. Destiny 2 Lightfall isn’t the best expansion, but is indeed an expansion to experience if you’re deep into the series and are looking forward to its curtain call.
Destiny 2: Lightfall Review
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