Destiny 2: Beyond Light – First Impressions
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Genre: First-Person Shooter, Action RPG, Multiplayer, Online
Platform: Xbox S|X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Google Stadia
Age Rating: 16
Release Date: 10/11/2020
Game reviewed on the Xbox Series X.
The Destiny 2 universe has changed forever and it’s all down to the latest expansion Beyond Light. With the release of Beyond Light, the latest expansion to Destiny 2, developer Bungie has not only trimmed down the game’s original content, but the studio has also added a new campaign and a new planet to explore. Whilst Beyond Light may not be as grand in scope as to how Forsaken was, it’s more of a bridge to what comes next.
The biggest concern with heading into Beyond Light was Bungie’s promises to downsize the game to a less bloated mess. Whilst the studio has been quite liberal with their axe, they’ve not been very generous with the content that they have replaced it with. Naturally, with how 2020 has been so far, it’s difficult to blame Bungie for taking this route – but the sad truth is what content we currently have available isn’t enough to last two weeks, let alone a few months.
Eye’s Up Guardian!
Thankfully with what content there is, it’s very good, even if there’s not a lot of it. The bulk of Beyond Light’s content comes from its campaign and in true Destiny style, it’s quite the rollercoaster. Set on the ice moon of Europa, Beyond Light aims to deal with the aftermath of The Darkness’ arrival into the Sol system. With planets such as Mercury, Mars, IO and Titan now cut off from the light, Guardians from across the Solar System turn their attention to Europa. What we find on the Jovian Moon is an old friend and an even deadlier threat – the Fallen have regrouped under a new Kell. Dubbed by the Vanguard as “The House of Darkness” this new Fallen House aims to wield the Darkness as a weapon to take back what they proclaim the Traveller stole.
Whilst the campaign is only a few hours long, there is quite a bit to do after its conclusion. In pretty much a similar style to Forsaken, Beyond Light at its core features Empire Hunts (basically assassination missions that eventually become repeatable). These Empire Hunts feature three targets that we can choose from to hunt. How we achieve this is by completing various ‘fetching’ quests to then having a battle against the main target at the Hunt’s end. They are simple to complete, don’t take a lot of time and are incredibly repetitive.
Between these, we will be travelling around Europa as well as the returning Cosmodrome (which serves as one hell of a nostalgia trip) from the original game. That’s not all, throughout the story we get to intermittently play with the new Stasis power, whilst we finally get to unlock the subclass permanently at the end of the expansion. The way that the Stasis subclass is teased to us is very reminiscent of the other subclasses. We get a short moment to wield the subclass with near-instant cooldowns – and a tonne of enemies to test it out against. Although this time it happens six times and by the end, it completely mocks the expansion’s final encounter.
The Darkness Is Here
If you’re someone who’s quite clued up on your Destiny lore, then you’ll be in your element with Beyond Light. It’s a veritable who’s-who of the series’s more popular characters. There are also some brilliant plot points and small nods made that only someone who is clued up on their Grimoire will understand.
Due to the new subclass acting as a crowd control class, Bungie isn’t afraid to throw enemies at you. Throughout the missions for Beyond Light we get a good amount of Vandals, Shanks and Dregs sent in our direction and the content is way more fun as a result. With the crowd control that Stasis supplies it’s a whole lot of fun freezing the mobs in place to then blast them to pieces with a shotgun or heavy weapon. Speaking of crowd control…This season’s exotic weapon, Duality, is one such gun. It’s a two-mode shotgun that hip-fires pellets but launches slugs while aimed. Scatter kills grant a stacking damage buff, while slug kills extend the duration, making this a powerful and satisfying way to clean rooms and melt boss encounters with relative ease.
Even when fully kitted out with Legendary gear, these missions can still be challenging to get through. It’s refreshing to see the campaign keep up the pace for once and in doing so the rush to reach the endgame is slowed down a notch. These tough encounters also apply to the new endgame content too. Already there are missions out there that are asking for a recommended Power Level of up to 1300 (well above the season’s soft cap of 1260) to even start the mission, let alone attempt it.
Stasis is the name of the game in Beyond Light and as such we can now wield the power of The Darkness – no, not the rock band! The power is pretty unique in its execution as it gives you fixed abilities from the get-go. Add in extra grenades and an extra melee charge and you’re pretty powered. The subclass can be customised further by completing the “Born In Darkness” questline. Doing this feels more like the fully customisable classes from Destiny rather than the scaled-back ones we got in Destiny 2.
Stasis is a lot of fun to wield, with some classes being a lot more powerful than others. Freezing foes feels fresh but it’s one that’s suited to a more organised playstyle. It’s a pain in the backside when fighting a Strike boss and someone sticks a shield wall of ice up in front of it due to a mistimed Stasis grenade. I’m not much of a PvP player but I hear from my Clanmates that Stasis is pretty broken in the Crucible, more so if you’re a Warlock who happens to have a melee attack that freezes on contact!
The Sunsetting Fiasco
The ‘sunsetting’ of gear is getting a (dis) honourable mention due to its impact on the wider game. Every piece of equipment now (except Exotics) has a maximum Power Level; in a lot of cases this caps at 1060. As Beyond Light launched Bungie decided to up all previous gear to 1050. Which means in an hour of the PvE campaign, all your previous weapons and armour are useless. In principle, it’s a brilliant idea and stops the trend of the same overpowered weapons being used year after year (the Recluse is the worst for this). However, in practice removing such a large amount of equipment has left the available pool pretty shallow.
The problem with using the same tried and tested weapons was that it already limited our weapon options. But with Bungie adding ‘sunsetting’ to the equation it’s made the system worse off. It doesn’t feel like a solution to the problem but more of a step backwards. In a game that’s focused on loot to not have any is simply not good enough and hear’s hoping Bungie rectify it before the current season’s finale.
Season Of The Hunt
Season of Hunt’s main activity is Wrathborn Hunts. The hunts themselves are quick and entertaining enough, but they’re gated behind having to charge a lure by doing playlist activities. While it’s brilliant that we get to choose between Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit, it still means we spend half an hour gearing up for the new activity and then just five minutes playing it.
With all the stuff sent to the content vault, it seems strange that the seasonal activity would push players towards playlists which are notably shorter than they were two weeks ago. We’re down seven Strikes, 11 PvP maps, and two Gambit maps thanks to the content vaulting, so we’re going to see the same ones come up a lot more often. It’s fun that you can pick a reward to attain and apply mods to the lure to alter the stat roll on the items drop, but the repetitive charging process means you probably won’t stick with it after you’ve got your powerful drops. There are also only four targets, all with the same mechanics, so there could do with being more if this is going to have any kind of lasting impact.
Goodbye “Little Light”
Beyond Light‘s Raid, Deep Stone Crypt is now live. As teams of Guardians and Clans clamber to complete this new Raid, hopefully we will see a different story once the grind for its release has been and gone. Hopes are high for Deep Stone Crypt and all it’ll take is for this Raid to have great encounters and great loot to ensure a weekly visit from a lot of players. Either way, Destiny 2 remains a lot of fun, and it’s only going to keep getting better as Bungie continues to add new stuff and old favourites.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Destiny 2 Beyond Light on the Xbox store here