Developed By: Bungie
Published By: Bungie
Platforms: PS 5, PS 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, PC
Reviewed On: PS5
Sometimes some of Destiny 2’s DLCs content is longer or shorter than others; this is just one of the latter and it’s ok to skip this. After many years of playing this since its beta, it’s safe to say that Destiny 2 as a whole seasonal package comes in a form of yearly access with a Y. It goes to show that players who are buying it early are not getting immediate access to a whole lot of new seasonal activities. But just part of it before the game slowly inches its way to unlock new stories, contents, and new guns in a matter of few weeks or months to come, to keep things fresh and engaging until the year’s end.
Each of which either demands a certain amount of grind in return to earn that rare/exotic loot aka guns to either boast more DPS or faster PVP kill time. Or weeks later ironing out crashes, exotics, weapon buffs/nerfs/banning ( which results in a lot of nerf later on again), because the community is resourceful to find the right builds and exploits after. As well as divided segmented storytelling with a similar experience as ‘I don’t have time to explain, why I don’t have time to explain’ sorta deal that slowly unravels the whole story in bits and pieces in missions later on and to be experienced by the near year-end along with a new trailer drops or a recap video in the new season, made by Bungie themselves or a content creator.
When it comes to feedback, the relationship between Destiny 2 and its player base has always been in a love-and-hate situation.
One might say Destiny will never make us happy by nerfing stuff simply because the majority of players are using that said weapon, weapon type, or DPS meta (damage per second) while the other says I hate this game so much while still playing it anyways like myself. To me, the reason is that the Destiny 2 gunplays, gun recoils, and gun types as a whole have always been solid in their very foundation since beta and will always pump in those ASMR-addictive trigger-happy associations. And this is the main reason why no other game has been able to replicate even by many Destiny killer game’s out there. Yet to be honest, it is only a matter of time as currently, Lightfall expansion is pretty much mediocre in a lot of levels and in my opinion much worst than previous expansions, and here are the reasons why…
Animation And Story – Let’s Make Up A Wild Goose Chase Along The Way
As much as the bombastic cinematic at the beginning of a new threat coming to earth/traveler and a big war ensues – with new characters and villains introduced – is always strong in its introduction, however, in the rest of the mission, everything just falls flat and under the category, I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain’. Consists mostly of short divided segmented introductions to the chase of a new subclass called strand – only to use it briefly in most missions. Asking you to follow the strand flow instead of resisting it (aka Bruce Lee), only fully come into owning the new subclass at the end of the campaign which is about four-five hours long. The whole segment has that eighties-inspired storytelling of coming to terms with not owning the darkness power but following the flow with it via karate kid training sections.
it’s worth noting that while Strand offers technical utility usage of synergy but at its core from the beginning, it’s not as strong and viable as other subclasses such as Stasis which freezes up everything in its path or gives breathing space in one go while facing harder enemies. This could be a potential issue for new players during the Legendary or Hard mode at the beginning of the story campaign, which is necessary to obtain better level loots and exotics. Do bear in mind that playing on a higher difficulty level may not be for everyone and could potentially frustrate many players, especially newbies.
The new villain, the Witness, is a striking sight resemblance to the main villain wearing a dark sith attire that is smoking hot (literally), like a vaping huge cat-like-eyed sith lord with a huge bunch of head-shaped smoke emanating from his very head.
The return of Calus (King of Calus) as the primary foe in the story campaign, dressed in a purple jester outfit, is expected as it is already known beforehand in the previous season. While there are only a handful of villains and raid bosses including only one new enemy type, the Tormentor, which is visually scary and impressive but the lack of context surrounding their motivations is a notable weakness in the campaign’s storytelling.
The Tormentor is a tall slim but tanky, scythe-wielding melee enemy with short cinematic and suppressive attacks that relentlessly chases players to no end. Similar to Alak-Hul AI from the past Lightblade campaign, the tormentor won’t attack if the player is at a different elevation, so keep jumping around while being chased as the other player just shoots at it.
In terms of storytelling, until now, I do not know why or what the Witness is doing or chasing by opening up the Traveler but I am sure more will be revealed by the end of the year or in between. Just that I am not sure if I can keep track of it by the time comes or even care – ending up playing PVP most of the time. Similarly, this also extends to the new guardian allies called the Cloud Striders aka half-dressed silver surfers or silver-colored Mr. Nimbus from Rick And Morty that look partially cool but also make me feel like I am looking at those odd unwearable futuristic-themed fashion shows. Showing off their runway filled with unwearable pieces of garments in a Strip Mall in design. I find myself steering the focus toward the game’s PVP aspect instead and leaving the broken-up made-up story as it is. Given the story’s fragmented nature, it will definitely be revealed and pieced together at the end of the year with a new trailer of the upcoming Final Shape in-game, the content creator piecing up the fragments or the start of a new season trailer as a form of a new recap.
As much as the cloud striders are cool with their shorter lifespan instead of an immortal guardian and chose to protect Neptune without a ghost choosing for them. Their character development is lacking in context as well as there are some early death moments during the campaign to make that gap even wider. Also, it was too short of the timeframe and screen time compare to Cayde to actually make me care for the said character.
While new harder missions do unlock memories and shed some light on the cloud strider’s as well as Amanda Holliday’s origins. The main campaign often uses exotic jargon such as Quantum/Veil/Radial Mast a lot just to bridge that explanation gap without meaning, similar to Marvel’s approach but in a shoehorned manner. However, this leaves me still scratching my head with little to no understanding of cloud strider’s technology plus society. And I would just leave it as it is because I feel that the team is just making things up along the way.
To date, Elsie Bray, the future Exo Stranger, and the darkness she prophesied in the original Destiny have yet to be seen, and the storyline changes to the point that the collapse of the universe was caused by an entity wielding the power of darkness, rather than the darkness itself as darkness is now tied as a form of emotional power that reacts inwardly while the light comes in a form of external terraforming light.
Perhaps a Youtuber will later eventually piece together the fragmented/inconsistent stories in the missions and shed some condensed story for us to fully grasp the world later on, but that shouldn’t always be the only way to deliver its story.
Gameplay – Shooting is Great But Guns Are Never Intended
In all honesty, since the beginning of beta, the shooting in this game is the main reason why players stay and even those who left will miss that shooting feeling from the Destiny franchise as a whole as they have nailed the alluring recoils and its sounds. The thing is, while varied, most guns in Destiny will never stay as strong as it was in PVP or PVE content because nerfs coming in every week or month will never end, in time turning it into a mere pee shooter. The constant balancing of guns through buffs and nerfs means that the strength of weapons is always unpredictable – making it hard to form a long-term attachment to them and eventually the game. Even the past mods earned through hard work and effort can be subjected to change and Lightfall shows a set of completely different mods from the past, making players feel like their efforts were for naught.
While the need for freshness and change is understandable and newly seasonal mods are reintroduced in every new season to motivate different perks and build synergies. Like its story of the strand, it can sometimes leave players feeling like they’re constantly chasing a constantly moving unachievable target – making it an inconsistent design overall.
As Destiny 2 are in constant change with frequent nerfs and modifications, this also extends to building powerful synergies between weapons, armor pieces, and mods, becoming crucial gameplay for players while maintaining a tight vault space. The meta does shifts on a weekly/monthly basis however most of this content is covered by Youtubers again to give the latest and the best build outcomes. So periodically watching YouTubers became a constant pastime to update the coverage of the nerfs and buffs. I believe since saving load-outs of armor and weapons are now available, there should also be optimizing loadout options as well, to make things simpler and even more accessible instead of mostly counting on strangers’ videos online.
The new strand subclass is awesome for swinging around in the story campaign like a spiderman wearing a green lantern ring on steroids but lackluster when it comes to the normal gameplay as the charge time to use each swing is as per using a grenade slot (approx two minutes). Other than that, the new missions, in general, are pretty much copied and pasted safe formulas from the Destiny missions, either be it controlling a point, killing all enemies, or breaking a shield and killing a boss -with no new maps for PVP and Gambit. The only time I have real fun is with Iron banner in the past introducing new mechanics of the killing sprees turning myself into a target for opponents to kill to get more points or vice versa as well as the new Lightfall PVE mission called the Partition that introduces Sparrow driving to rush and fight enemies while defusing the bomb but all this are time-limited events which is also a bummer.
The raids, on the other hand, are another reason why Destiny strands out from the rest of the crowd in MMOs out there because the solid gunplay plus the collaboration of puzzle-solving mechanics between friends is definitely a must-try experience. Good and bad news, Lightfall raid is the easiest in the series as it only involves two to four players to know the mechanics with only two bosses throughout. While the other players are focused mostly on the tasks of enjoying clearing ads like myself.
Level Design and Music – In Awe, But Selective Upgrades
Overall the level designs in the Lighfall campaign are empty but beautiful, with the new location in Neptune called Neomuna which is portrayed as a neon-like strip malls buildings at the front along with a digital world on the side like something out of a Tron movie but a box of shipyards right at the back. As well as the mountainous regions of its floors smoothen out like sandy beaches on the rocks, like something out of a cartoony comic book. Everything is vastly empty but filled with enemies, adding that it’s littered with stuff such as an Arcade center that is surprisingly empty as well. I am sure they will say something along those lines of the residents being either dead, kept in some archives, or frozen in place because that’s pretty similar to the other planets.
The new raid location is set in the Witness’s pyramid-like ship protruding out of every crevice many striking ivory-like vines, leaves, and branches of the Traveller’s aftermath right in the middle, to be used as platforming. As it’s so beautiful and filled with giddy sensations, this would be Indiana Jones’s lost ark in space if there were one.
However these designs are all but selectively placed for the new content as PVP, Gambit, and Tower hub do not have any new designs to accommodate this change. This also extends to the lovely music the game portrays which themes a spiritual orchestral with the melodic choir hitting the piece, turning it into the alluring themes of a modern space adventure. However again, the music only hits the main menu starting screen, and the new PVE content but mostly it did not extend its magical touch to the old PVE/PVP content.
Bugs – Bug Are Everywhere
Servers and bug issues are always prone issues in Destiny 2 that are very consistent throughout the game, be it newly added campaigns or even with new weekly updates sometimes. It’s pretty much more obvious in Lightfall which is surprising for an old game.
Another example is at the beginning using and playing as Strand class in specific events such as Terminal Overload will overload your PS5, causing the game to freeze. This occurred to me multiple times as the new Heavy glaive weapon exotic requires this event to be completed in multiple succession. After that was fixed, there will be occasional PVP crashes as well as a disconnection from the server from time to time including invisible targets and invisible weapons on hand. The fix is never enough to provide a solid solution as by fixing new stuff, other bugs will pop up as well.
What I Liked About Destiny 2: Lightfall
Easiest Raid in the series – Clearing ads is a mechanic
Good core gameplay – gunplays, gun variations, and recoils
Saving load-outs – Easy to keep and change load-outs on the fly
Fun-looking level designs and good music
New Power Strand – Is fun at the later stages
The Community – This is what keeps the game alive and garners interest with their videos.
What I Wished Was Better
Easiest Raid in the series – Lack more mechanics to learn
New power – Strand is not fun at the early stages
Guns – Are constantly changing and lack vault space to accommodate them, no sense of attachment and to keep. This also extends to mods and seasonal mods.
No new level designs – For PVP and other old content.
Storytelling – Feels made up of spacey jargon and fragmented content on a weekly/monthly basis.
Characters and enemy designs – Lacking or only a handful of designs.
Character development – Died after an introduction or when you are starting to care.
New Music – Is selectively placed only on the new content’s story and locations.
Bugs – These are constant and consistent on a weekly basis, especially more obvious in Lightfall. Ranging to crash, server issues, gun exploits, builds and boss exploits.
Verdict – How The Light Has Fallen
As a game that heavily relies on its gunplay – Destiny 2 often evokes a love-hate relationship among its players with constant changes to its gun types, builds, and mechanics which resulted in a constant draw. Yet, updates of new maps and story contents take a longer stretch to roll out, revealing themselves through various patches notes and fillers
To be honest, it’s impressive that the Destiny series resiliently stayed this long as not many MMO’s out there will remain alive service even after a year or two. It goes to show that its shooting mechanics have remained the reason for its longevity even though there are many issues popping up for a really old game. To the point that I feel like I am playing an old vaulted content copied and pasted in new skin without realizing it.
However, for someone new to the game – As much as I wanted to, but I wouldn’t recommend Lightfall purchase due to its full price tag and lack of more exciting fully fleshed-out content to justify this purchase alone beyond the light-filled fun of playing with friends. Despite that, the game’s dedicated community, including myself, finds fun in playing with friends on both PVE and PVP stuff even though it’s still having issues or is taking its time in introducing new content. And by the time Lightfall has fully realized its content and storytelling; most of my team would feel the burnout on the filler content and focus more on playing it casually right at the end. In my perspective, Destiny’s player base is caught in a constant loop where long-time players gradually lose their initial drive of interest level and play it in a more casual manner. While new or returning players are often overwhelmed by the game’s changes, bugs, and meta, and ended up struggling to find friends to play with, especially with those who have been playing for a while earlier.
Most of the contents felt halfbaked or in the process of baking while using its player base as beta testers to constantly provide live feedback to reprioritize bug fixes and eventually iron itself out. Lightfall is fully dependent on content creators to flesh out its game, guns, and exploitations like in a weekly episode of ‘fun facts/guns’ you didn’t know about, just to garner a bit more interest and the purpose of playing it. In a way, community and content creators are the very reason why Destiny 2 can still survive; not because of its content but because of the community that guides along with the changes. In comparison wise, playing Witch Queen is much more fulfilling in terms of added content and storytelling. Perhaps Lightfall is not full content on its own, serving as a separate introduction episode for the Witness filled with fillers in between. An indication of the content needing more time to process and fully extend its content to the next year’s phase which is called the Final Shape.
In a way, Lightfall is fifty-fifty slow-burn content that will either be better or worse but only time will tell. While some of my old destiny pals will definitely not be enticed to return simply as Lightfall fails to hook them with the initial impressions, – with a similar safe formula to the old vaulted contents. Resulting in reminding them why they don’t play it in the first place which is a grindy burnout on its own. Hence that is why Lightfall would not be a must-purchase unless you do not have other games to play this year.