For­saken does more than ex­pand Des­tiny 2. It rewrites it for the bet­ter.

PC GAMER (UK) - - DLC REVIEW - By Austin Wood

Des­tiny 2 was not the game many play­ers wanted at launch. It was a fun shooter, but shal­low and fur­ther marred by poor post-launch de­sign de­ci­sions. It is, there­fore, a re­lief to say that For­saken is the sec­ond wind Des­tiny 2 needed. It’s a full-fat ex­pan­sion for Bungie’s space opera of a shooter, and comes with every­thing you’d ex­pect: new mis­sions, ac­tiv­i­ties and en­vi­ron­ments. But For­saken also de­liv­ers ex­panded RPG el­e­ments and qual­ity-of-life changes which make Des­tiny 2 more com­pelling.

As you may have heard, the ex­pan­sion opens with a big story beat: the death of Cayde-6, the chat­ti­est and most light­hearted of Des­tiny’s Van­guard trio, a sort of coun­cil of lead­ers. Cayde bites it at the hands of Ul­dren Sov and the eight Barons who lead the Scorn, a scrappy new en­emy fac­tion loosely based on the Fallen. So be­gins a quest for re­venge. The Man Who Shot Cayde-6 is some­where out there in the bad­lands and you’ve got to go through his odd­ball gang of hench­men to get to him.

The bulk of the cam­paign con­sists of Baron hunts, which are more than your typ­i­cal Des­tiny boss fights. These hunts are unique mis­sions which re­flect the per­son­al­i­ties and pow­ers of the Barons you’re pur­su­ing. I start with The Rider, the leader of a hov­er­bike gang. To lure her out, I hi­jack one of her pre­cious ‘Pike’ ve­hi­cles and use it to slaugh­ter

some of her rid­ers in her own ter­ri­tory. Thor­oughly pissed off, she rolls up in her own souped-up Pike and chal­lenges me to a death race through an acid-filled thun­der­dome.

As I dodge mis­siles, steal re­place­ment Pikes, and evade the trail of fire that the Rider leaves in her wake, it oc­curs to me that this fight doesn’t feel like Des­tiny. I mean, I’ve hardly shot any­thing with a reg­u­lar gun. But it feels great. Mem­o­rable, flavour­ful, and above all, un­like any­thing I’ve done be­fore, which also de­scribes much of For­saken.

Dead eye

The next Baron to re­ally stand out is The Ri­fle­man. Blind, save for a sin­gle cy­ber­netic eye­ball, this bas­tard played an es­pe­cially big role in Cayde’s death by shoot­ing his Ghost – a float­ing res­ur­rec­tion-grant­ing com­pan­ion. As you may have de­duced, he’s a sniper, so what bet­ter way to get his at­ten­tion than to take pot­shots at him from his own nest? Even­tu­ally he gets tired of play­ing tag and lures me to an arena where he and his army of holo­gram clones have the up­per hand. While the ac­tual fight is a fun chal­lenge, it’s The Ri­fle­man’s di­a­logue that el­e­vates the en­counter. He’s a marks­man who de­lights in mock­ing my aim, which brings home one of my favourite parts of the Baron hunts: they’re not just about killing the Barons, but beat­ing them at their own game.

I beat The Rider in a death race and I out­shoot The Ri­fle­man. Like­wise, I take out The Mad Bomber by de­fus­ing his ex­plo­sives and hunt The Ma­chin­ist us­ing a tank stolen from her per­sonal arse­nal. I’m gen­uinely sur­prised I can rat­tle these Barons off from mem­ory, be­cause go­ing in I didn’t ex­pect to re­mem­ber them at all, let alone so vividly. In­ci­den­tally, The Ma­chin­ist is my favourite Baron, again be­cause of what she has to say rather than the fight it­self. She talks about the other Barons like they’re part of her fam­ily, and she reveres Ul­dren Sov as a benev­o­lent leader. The Barons stick to­gether, she says. I can kill them, but never break them. Which is the first line in all of Des­tiny to ever give me pause. That’s what the vic­tims tell the bad guys, right?

I’m gen­uinely sur­prised I can rat­tle these Barons off from mem­ory

Shades of grey

Ar­guably for the first time ever in the se­ries, Des­tiny’s story has be­come a bit am­bigu­ous, and it’s a mas­sive im­prove­ment. Des­tiny 2 has spent the past cou­ple of years telling play­ers to fight the Dark­ness and save the so­lar sys­tem, but maybe these Guardians that we play as aren’t the golden he­roes they’re made out to be? After all, they are all corpses, hav­ing been re­an­i­mated count­less times. Ene­mies re­vile them as the zom­bie war­riors that they tech­ni­cally are, and it feels like Bungie is fi­nally ready to tap into that. This ker­nel of doubt is fur­ther ex­plored in Ul­dren’s sto­ry­line, which de­liv­ers a more con­flicted, in­ter­est­ing

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