Review: Destiny 2 – The Final Shape

Destiny is one game that kept giving for quite some time… It’s a game that started 10 years ago on the XBOX One and it’s a universe that made me grind for hundreds of hours with my friends. The constant battle between light and dark, the new exotic weapons and armor pieces, and the interesting lore, … are some of the features that got the addiction going. It’s unbelievable that this game has been around 10 years and the story arc is finally ending. The Final Shape expansion takes us to our final battle with the arch-enemy of the traveler and will conclude the story arc of Destiny. Expectations were set and expectations were met. Let’s talk about it.

 

 

This franchise has done something incredible with its IP which was newly introduced in 2014. Bungie, the developers of Halo, made a commitment to create this vast online universe where players could sink in lots of hours and never get bored of it. Destiny has been around for a couple of years now and has been changing throughout this time. Like any other game, it has its ups and downs. Not every expansion was worth noting but in the long run, the developers made sure they learned from their mistakes and evolved in the right direction. The developers have shown that they listened to the player’s feedback and that they would make sure the community got what they wanted. It seems like this final story arc, is pulling on the right strings. Final Shape shapes up to be the best expansion yet.

 

“It’s without a doubt that the game will leave us speechless…”

 

If you’ve followed the main campaign for the last 10 years, buying The Final Shape was probably a no-brainer as it dwells further on the story’s plot. Bungie was able to constantly grab our attention with this mysterious voice in the back of your head popping on and off during multiple expansions… A voice that tries to make contact with fellow guardians but doesn’t make itself known for quite some time. Of course, with the ending of the Lightfall expansion, things became a little more clear for all those veteran players. The traveler is confronted with a phenomenal entity that calls itself The Witness. The Witness wants to reshape the world into a world where everyone can be at ease with their favorite or darkest memory. It tries to control the world by anchoring everyone into this memory prison, so it could shape the world into its final state. Of course, the traveler has protected the city beneath itself for countless years by granting light to multiple guardians. Warriors of tremendous power could resurrect themselves from the dead and harness the power of light with the help of their mechanical/ mysterious companions called “Ghosts”. The Vanguard is a composition of the Traveler’s finest warriors that defend the innocent in the name of The Traveler. Without The Traveler, there would be no light and no powerful guardians to defend the people. The Witness tried to eradicate multiple heroes by tapping into their darkest memories and imprisoning them. It is without a doubt that The Traveler will need its best warriors to stand against this imminent threat. It’s a good thing that help is on the way, even the help of the former lost guardian which was heavily favored by the community. To join your ranks once more, Cayde will be joining the fray as well and will take up arms against The Witness. It’s without a doubt that the game will leave us speechless…

 

 

The Final Shape expansion takes us to the Pale Heart within the Traveler because The Witness has gotten a hold on The Traveler. The Pale Heart takes you back to a new representation of places you’ve already been to. These places are defragmented and will give a new touch to the places you’ll visit. Not only will you battle against known foes, but there are also a couple of interesting enemies that’ll make your life hard on the battlefield. The game takes you on a linear journey throughout and leaves less room for exploration during the main campaign. From the first mission, you already feel that the developers are building up towards the plot. There’s little room for exploring, as you’ll be jumping from one mission to another.This campaign brings back a couple of known characters and the game tries to tell a bit more about their own story. The amazing cinematics build up the hype towards the end of the road. All in all, the game’s story is a straightforward process with less breathing room.

 

“The amazing cinematics build up the hype towards the end of the road.”

 

The level design of Destiny 2: The Final Shape won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth afterward. The game’s scenery is top-notch and has vibrant colors. Like any other Destiny 2 expansion, there is also a focus on platforming. You’ll have to watch your step when you’re battling your enemies and not take a big fall. Every little hole has been very carefully tucked away, so falling to your death happens quite often, sometimes even helping you reach that certain level of frustration. Then again, most of the time you’ll be resurrected by your ghost and just move on from where you left. There are, of course, places where the darkness is too tight and if you fall there, you’ll have to restart a certain part of the mission. This is something that every Destiny player knows, so it’s better to just accept it and move on!

 

 

The boss fights were very decent and challenging as well. Most of the bosses have kind of different stages where you have to complete objectives during the boss fight for you to kill them. You’ll be jumping into portals, grabbing an aura that’ll shield you from the damaging dark presence, and killing off mobs to fill up your light shield that eventually can eliminate the preventive shield around the boss and do some damage. There are also a bit more puzzling aspects like killing enemies that will eventually drop an icon, the right icon then needs to be picked up in another area that eventually will unlock the door for you. It’s a bit more thinking, besides the shooting part. It’ll keep you sharp during the battles. It does take some time to figure out some of the puzzling patterns but after a few tries, the boss’s pattern quickly becomes noticeable. Just like previous expansion, you can set the difficulty level of the campaign. You can start the game on the Legendary difficulty which will bump up the stats of your enemies that’ll keep you on your toes during the playthrough. If you have completed the story on this difficulty setting, you’ll gain some exceptional rewards. Don’t worry if you have set the difficulty setting a bit too high, you can also restart the campaign on a lower difficulty and replay it on the highest difficulty level after you’ve geared a bit because gear is everything.

 

“It’s difficult to get the right story/ content recap that’s accessible to anyone.”

 

The only downside of the whole Destiny- vibe is the way that they force seasonal content on you. If you’ve played the previous expansions, you’ll be able to play from where you’ve left. If you haven’t completed the story arcs in previous expansions, you’ll be forced to see a cinematic where everything  (story-wise) is being told in a nutshell. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get up to speed but I’d rather get there on my terms. Not everyone has the large amount of time to grind/ play the game for 24 hours straight. This doesn’t mean you can’t play the previous story missions, but it’s just not a lot of fun when your own pace is being set by another. Also, the game could only progress when other players have succeeded in completing the raid within The Final Shape Expansion. The moment the raid went live, different teams tried their best to become the first raid party that succeeded in the new raid. After this completion, the story could be continued by other players. Same story here as well, if you’re playing Destiny and you have not completed the final story mission before the Raid’s release, you also will be forced to watch the recap of that side of the story. It’s a difficult balance to keep. I can also imagine that the game can become a bit confusing at first if you haven’t played the game from the start. The game is full of seasonal content next to the main expansion missions. It’s difficult to get the right story/ content recap that’s accessible to anyone.

 

 

Next to the story, The Final Shape also gives you a lot more than just some story bits. You can expect a lot of new weaponry and armor parts. Next to the normal bit of equipping the right amount of gear to power up your item level, you’ll also be able to customize different weapons and armor pieces with different traits to your liking. It’s one of the most enjoyable and also grindable things in Destiny 2. Not only do you gain a lot more equipment, but you’ll also be able to use the prismatic power that’s being introduced within The Final Shape during your first walkthrough. This prismatic power allows you to combine abilities (Void, Solar, Arc, Strand, …)  from different types within your class. For Example: the Warlock can equip his/ her Solar snap with the ability to throw a Void Grenade. The moment you transcend into this prismatic type, your grenades, and melee abilities will recharge faster. Also, your grenades will combine all powers into one to make the perfect grenade with the perfect area of effect. This Transcend ability is also useful against enemy types that are protected with the same status. You’ll need a transcend ability to eliminate an enemy that’s being infused with the transcend ability.

 

“It keeps the combat experience a bit more fresh.”

 

A new enemy faction called The Dread also takes its place on the stage. These enemies take their refuge in the Stasis and Strand abilities. These can be a pain in the ass since they’re able to lock you to the ground or mid-air. So you’ll be an easy target to hit. The Tormentors from the previous expansion are also threats you’ll still have to deal with. It’s good to see some unfamiliar faces next to the familiar faces. It keeps the combat experience a bit more fresh.

 

 

As I’ve mentioned before, there is also the new raid called “Salvation’s Edge” which is probably the most unique/ complex raid in the whole Destiny Franchise. A new strike called “Liminality” is also available to complete. You have different Lost Sectors that allow you to search for more exotic gear. There are also a couple of new events in the Pale Heart that go hand-in-hand with the seasonal content “Echoes”. The Pathfinder system is also a new feature that gives you tiny personal objectives that allow you to get epic equipment faster. Just like any other expansion, after the main story there are still a lot of things to do that’ll help you prepare for the live service content within the year.

 

Conclusion:

The Final Shape is a great expansion of Destiny 2. The main campaign is very good and keeps you interested towards the end. I’m so glad we got to fight other enemies, next to the familiar mobs. The new power ability is definitely a breath of fresh air and it will open up a lot of interesting experimenting opportunities. I can’t wait what kind of builds people will make with these new abilities and traits. The base game and the expansions have a lot of content to offer but it can feel a bit overwhelming. There is just so much to do, after the ending and between the different missions to get that power level up.

9/10

Tested on PC

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