The comparability between Destiny 2: Lightfall and Avengers: Infinity War is fast from the opening moments of Bungie’s newest enlargement. There is not any extra exposition to get by; the Witness, a legendary villain that represents the foundation of the Darkness that Guardians have fought in opposition to for near a decade, is right here, and the Traveler who has given our heroes the Light and their god-like talents is underneath direct risk. The stakes couldn’t be larger, however Lightfall doesn’t stay as much as that second.
I’m not drawing connections right here that shouldn’t be made — the bombastic opening moments of Lightfall name again Infinity War‘s unrelenting momentum in its first act. The Traveler is under siege in Lightfall and Guardians are dismantled by a flick of the Witness’ wrist, echoing the fast slaughter introduced by the arms of Thanos moments earlier than he arrived on Earth. That feeling is similar; our antagonist is right here, and there’s nowhere else to run. In the ultimate moments of the marketing campaign, a member of my fireteam even exclaimed, “hey, that’s a line from Infinity War.”
It’s clear that Lightfall is a two-part conclusion to Destiny 2‘s Light and Darkness saga, one that won’t be absolutely accomplished till The Final Shape arrives in 2024. But whereas the stakes are excessive for what ought to have been an exhilarating conclusion, there are not any penalties. Marvel’s storied cinematic universe is in rocky water proper now, however the Infinity Saga got here with hard-fought momentum and devastating penalties. Lightfall fulfills the primary half and falls woefully brief on the second.
High stakes, no penalties
It’s laborious to keep away from spoilers right here, so take into account this your warning, however that’s the principle drawback with Lightfall. Very little really modifications by the top of the story. You’re despatched round a brand new location, Neomuna, and it appears like there’s momentum. But the ultimate moments of Lightfall haven’t modified a lot about how the Destiny universe works in comparison with the top of The Witch Queen period.
Let’s get within the weeds of the narrative for a second (prepare for lots of correct nouns). You’re despatched to Neomuna as a result of Calus, an outdated face from Destiny 2, has arrange his Shadow Legion there. Calus is a brand new disciple of the Witness, following within the footsteps of Rhulk that gamers noticed in The Witch Queen. Why is Calus on Neomuna? The Veil.
The Veil is one thing, however I couldn’t let you know what precisely. Apparently, it’s wanted for the Witness to realize entry to the Traveler and harness the Light, however little or no is defined about what the Veil is, the way it works, and extra importantly, why that is the primary time we’re listening to about it. Despite that, everybody you work together with in the course of the story is aware of precisely what the Veil is, a lot in order that none of them really feel the necessity to clarify this elementary driving pressure behind the narrative to you.
This is much more problematic contemplating the top of Season of the Seraph, the final season in The Witch Queen period. The story caps off with the Traveler leaving earlier than being chased again by The Black Fleet, cornered with nowhere else to run. There was a way of loss; the Traveler was abandoning us. But Lightfall doesn’t observe up that loss with the true penalties of what the Traveler leaving would imply — as a substitute, it runs you round an enormous circle to finish up nearly precisely the place the final 12 months of Destiny left off.
That’s the place Lightfall fails in its Infinity War second. There are not any penalties. In Infinity War, there’s a devastating ending the place half of the much-loved MCU is snapped away, and though a lot of these acquainted faces come again in Endgame, they’re not the identical. Bungie arrange stakes the place it needed to basically change the Destiny universe, however it didn’t change something. Characters act as if the world of Destiny has shifted, however I used to be by no means alongside for the trip with them.
It’s laborious to count on extra, although. After all, Destiny 2 is a stay service the place a constant and replayable gameplay expertise is all the time extra essential than a story arc. Infinity War might snap away its characters, however is that kind of loss doable in a stay service like Destiny 2 the place a big chunk of gamers don’t even work together with the story? I consider there are methods the narrative might carry that sense of weight that Infinity War introduced, however the lack of narrative flexibility in a recreation like Destiny 2 actually works in opposition to the story of Lightfall.
Struggling with Strand
Pacing all through Lightfall has some critical issues, too. There are splendidly crafted motion sequences, stable character moments together with your essential companion Nimbus, and a number of the finest strikes and Lost Sectors that Destiny has ever seen. But the marketing campaign suffers from uneven pacing throughout encounters that results in a way of vacancy upon completion.
Mostly, this comes from the brand new Strand subclass. Strand is exclusive as a result of Guardians are the primary to ever harness its energy, a incontrovertible fact that Bungie leaned on closely within the advertising for Lightfall. The story went that we’d uncover Strand, the threads between actuality, on Neomuna. That’s true, however that’s as a result of a Strand node is simply sitting brazenly in a metropolis road in the course of the second mission of the marketing campaign.
Strand is simply there in Neomuna, and apparently the Cloud Striders, the defenders of Neomuna which have been combating the Darkness with out assistance from the Traveler, haven’t stumbled upon it. This is even though the Cloud Striders have found out tips on how to add your complete inhabitants of Neptune (the place Neomuna is situated) into the cloud. I suppose they simply missed the brilliant inexperienced nodes dotted across the future tech panorama of their metropolis.
Discovering Strand results in some nice moments in the course of the story, together with a coaching montage ripped straight from an motion film. Still, it by no means appears like our Guardians want Strand. There’s an overarching villain in Calus and the Witness that we’re already geared up to deal with, and the marketing campaign bounces backwards and forwards between our climb to grasp Strand and the villains threatening the Light with out ever connecting the 2. You’re torn between two plights, neither of which really feel like they’ve motivation and neither of which finish in satisfaction.
There are main enhancements right here
There are issues with Lightfall, and it’s laborious to suggest the marketing campaign proper now. However, I don’t wish to depart this story with out saying that Destiny 2 as a recreation has seen a large enchancment with the enlargement. The new construct crafting system makes speccing out your Guardian deeper, extra rewarding, and accessible. The Guardian Ranks lastly present a easy onboarding expertise for brand new gamers (one thing the group has been asking for over the previous few years). I can confidently say that Destiny 2 as a recreation has by no means been in a greater spot.
Season of Defiance, which launched alongside Lightfall, is improbable as effectively. It’s a way more compelling story than the one informed in Lightfall, and comes with what may be the very best seasonal exercise Bungie has ever made. Various quality-of-life enhancements have made their method into the sport, too, lastly fixing some elementary issues with chasing loot you need, managing your stock, and juggling an infinite barrage of currencies. From a gameplay perspective, Lightfall is a large win.
It’s the narrative that suffers. I’m hopeful that the upcoming Root of Nightmares raid pays off the story in a significant method, however it’s laborious to think about a world the place delaying that conclusion makes the third act of Destiny 2‘s first saga higher. My solely hope is that The Final Shape, when it launches, retroactively makes Lightfall a greater enlargement.
Destiny 2: Lightfall is accessible now as an add-on for the bottom recreation.
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