Destiny 2: Lightfall Review – Deft Stranding

    With Destiny 2: The Witch Queen and its assorted seasons within the rearview mirror, 2023’s Lightfall enlargement has some large sneakers to fill. Improved storytelling, new gameplay modes, and the following seasonal content material made The Witch Queen enlargement a standout expertise, and Lightfall does not handle to succeed in the excessive bar it set. Destiny 2’s newest add-on introduces main gameplay tweaks, an thrilling new subclass to mess around with, and loads of recent Exotic gear on your arsenal, however that is overshadowed by a disappointing marketing campaign and a dull Neptunian vacation spot that make for an underwhelming mixture.Lightfall does not waste any time setting the stage, going down shortly after the devastating occasions of Season of the Seraph. After a fast slideshow narrated by the silky-smooth voice of Lance Reddick’s Commander Zavala brings everybody on top of things, it is all fingers on deck because the Witness lastly makes its long-awaited arrival within the Solar system to battle the Traveler. From the opening mission, the motion unfolds at a breakneck tempo, as a brand new Shadow Legion of Cabal led by a reborn Calus set a course for Neptune, and also you’re hitching a trip alongside them in an effort to stop a doomsday state of affairs from occurring.

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    Now Playing: Destiny 2: Lightfall – Opening Cinematic

    Bungie has spoken a number of occasions about adopting an ’80s motion film vibe for Lightfall, and that affect is felt in every single place on Neptune’s major location, Neomuna. From a metropolis bathed in neon lights and a coaching montage as you grasp your new powers, to the introduction of a forged of characters that embody analogs of unfastened cannon space-cops, maverick rookies, and grizzled veterans only one week away from retirement, Lightfall wears its not-so-subtle inspirations proudly.However, on the similar time, the marketing campaign has the depth of a direct-to-VHS motion flick. The story is frustratingly imprecise as you chase down a paracausal MacGuffin, encounter barely upgraded house rhinos, and grapple with emotional moments that really feel hole and unearned. Lightfall has an exhilarating begin, however by the point you have skilled all eight of its marketing campaign missions, it feels extra just like the unsatisfying storytelling of vanilla Destiny than a memorable ’80s motion image. After 9 years of being promised solutions and chasing each lead possible, Lightfall basically passes the buck to the remainder of this 12 months’s seasonal content material and 2024’s The Final Shape.Much of the story is targeted on The Veil, an object of immense energy that you just chase all through the marketing campaign, and is claimed to be an important artifact within the universe. However, the explanations for this aren’t defined. Calus, who has change into the latest Disciple of the Witness, is as grandiose as ever and now resembles a Pacific Rim kaiju decked out in armored kitchen home equipment. Despite all this, in the end he is nothing greater than a hedonistic bullet sponge who falls far under The Witch Queen’s Savathun, the gold customary for nice villains in Bungie’s sci-fi sandbox. After being constructed up as Destiny 2’s subsequent main risk all through Season of the Haunted, Calus is sadly handled like an expendable henchman serving the Witness as a substitute of the grandiose conqueror that followers had come to know, love, and detest through the years.Legendary mode, which dials up the problem significantly, is a recipe for sweaty palms and victories that really feel hard-earned as you overcome seemingly inconceivable odds. The new gameplay tweaks and mechanics launched in Lightfall pair properly with the Legendary marketing campaign, which have a number of exhilarating moments that may simply slot right into a spotlight reel. From a dramatic escape by Calus’ flagship to collaborating in a Cabal civil conflict that throws every part and the cosmic kitchen sink at you, Lightfall’s marketing campaign is mechanically a enjoyable gauntlet to cost by as you grasp Strand–even if the narrative drops the ball ceaselessly.Your new Darkness subclass, Strand, is launched with out a lot fanfare, ceaselessly showing within the marketing campaign as a serious supply of energy that is barely elaborated on. While 2020’s Beyond Light enlargement made unlocking the Stasis subclass aggravating, the style during which the primary Darkness subclass was launched not less than felt like a significant second for Destiny 2. But in Lightfall, Strand hits the scene after you poke round a random interdimensional wormhole, is barely elaborated on, and is primarily a set of reality-unraveling coaching wheels that you just’re given management of periodically all through the marketing campaign till you unlock it full after afterward.At least the quests surrounding Lightfall’s marketing campaign do a greater job of fleshing out the enlargement and offering stable causes so that you can go choose a combat with time-traveling homicide machines. Destiny veterans might be used to this grind, however between new missions to assert the newest Exotics and the weekly Season of Defiance storyline–which is technically not a part of Lightfall itself–the story instructed right here is way extra gripping and cohesive.The quests surrounding Lightfall’s marketing campaign do a greater job of fleshing out the enlargement and offering stable causes so that you can go choose a combat with time-traveling homicide machinesNeomuna, the brand new patrol zone the place you may grasp the artwork of Strand, is a ravishing however desolate location to discover. Thanks to the populace being conveniently positioned into cryosleep and their minds uploaded into Neomuna’s cloud servers, the key metropolis that survived humanity’s first Golden Age cataclysm is fairly to take a look at however has a desolate theme to its design, regardless of it being positioned as an extravagant metropolis constructed by humanity’s Golden Age explorers. It’s a location that lacks the magic that made Savathun’s Throne World or Beyond Light’s Europa such standout areas. It has all the same old trappings of a Destiny location, from misplaced sectors to the brand new Terminal Overload public exercise, however however its neon-lit facade cannot cover a dull design that is principally populated by acquainted public occasions and patrols that not often deviate from the established system that Destiny 2 has been utilizing since 2017.Put merely, Neomuna simply does not have the X-factor wanted to make it a fascinating location to discover. Thankfully, nonetheless, the precise construction of Lightfall’s missions makes good use of the town to offer intense missions that’ll have you ever on the sting of your seat.As for utilizing Strand, this new Darkness subclass succeeds in shaking up the Destiny sandbox with its distinctive set of powers for every Guardian class. Titan Berserkers rend by enemies with frenzied claws, Warlock Broodweavers unleash a small military of threadlings to do their deadly bidding, and Hunter Threadrunners mix elegant Silkstrike assaults with swish agility. Like Stasis and the reworked Light 3.0 subclasses, Strand additionally advantages from a system of Aspects and Fragments which can be progressively unlocked after you end the principle marketing campaign.So far, there have been some tantalizing builds to experiment with, and mixed with the suitable Exotic, seasonal Artifact mods, and armor mods, Strand positions itself as an extremely highly effective device for destroying cannon fodder enemies and weakening bigger foes. With my important Warlock, I’ve set unfastened armies of threadlings whereas wiping out complete mobs of foes in a single almighty blast, utilizing Strand’s Suspend and Sever debuffs to remain alive and shrug off enemy fireplace.The key enchantment of this new subclass is its grapple characteristic, a capability that replaces your grenade with the choice to latch onto mystical anchor factors irrespective of the place you might be and swing into motion. If you are ready to sacrifice considered one of your key explosive powers, the Strand grapple is a enjoyable addition to Destiny 2 that has loads of utility, permitting you to grapple straight into enemies earlier than you unleash a particular melee assault, or when you’re feeling courageous sufficient, hitch a trip on a Titan utilizing their Thundercrash Super proper earlier than they yeet the enemies in entrance of them into oblivion.Opposing Guardians are the Tormentors, lethal adversaries who shake up the movement of fight with their unrelenting may and talent to seal your powers in the event that they get too shut. Tormentors have a response to each assault that you just throw at them and studying the way to minimize them right down to dimension is a refreshing problem to tackle.Destiny 2’s core gameplay nonetheless feels as polished as ever, and in typical Bungie custom, when a serious enlargement arrives, a whole lot of quality-of-life modifications have additional refined the moment-to-moment gunplay. The developer has been releasing exhaustive breakdowns on these modifications, which vary from granular tweaks and the introduction of latest methods designed to carry new gamers to the worlds of Destiny 2, to a very overhauled buildcrafting system and the extremely requested inclusion of character loadouts.For longtime gamers, the armor mod system is among the most drastic modifications to participant funding. Gone are the times of transmatting into Ada-1’s workshop to see if she has that one mod that you have been in search of, as Bungie has launched a brand new suite of mods that may work on their respective armor items no matter kind affinity. This is Bungie urgent the reset key on loadouts constructed up over years of earlier expansions and seasons, creating an excellent enjoying area for gamers of all ability ranges to experiment with as they create their excellent Guardian construct.Gallery The armor mods mechanic has additionally adopted just a few concepts from the transmog system, making a extra intuitive menu so that you can slot mods in and shortly preview your construct earlier than you decide to it. Jettisoning clunky menus and making good use of a revamped seasonal artifact means you will get into preventing form way more shortly. That simplicity makes Destiny 2 extra inviting, and with the choice to avoid wasting and change between a number of loadouts immediately, Lightfall’s gameplay enhancements create an thrilling basis for Bungie to construct upon by this 12 months’s seasonal content material.Guardian Ranks are one other constructive step ahead, creating an outlined journey ahead for seasoned gamers and kinderguardians alike. This alternative for the Triumphs web page basically offers you an non-compulsory, extra linear path ahead to expertise every part that Destiny 2 has to supply, starting from campaigns to established PvE actions, Gambit, and PvP. Veteran gamers will routinely get a excessive rating on this method, and dealing your method as much as the really spectacular Guardian rank of 11 requires not solely ability in each aspect of the sport, however recognition of your contributions towards making the expertise higher for different gamers as properly.Destiny 2’s Lightfall enlargement does not make first impression, however beneath a threadbare story that depends on an exasperatingly fuzzy motivation on your Guardian, it nonetheless feels mechanically satisfying to dive into. Comparing it to the usual of excellence that 2022’s The Witch Queen saga established solely exposes the quite a few shortcomings of Lightfall, and that is a shadow that the subsequent 12 months of seasonal content material might want to step out of if Bungie desires to develop the enlargement into one thing greater than a middle-of-road entry that stumbles towards a remaining showdown that has been a decade within the making.

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