(Beware lovely reader mine, venture forth and you may discover minor spoilers)
Stepping back into my memory banks I can remember rushing home every day from work, school, uni or whatever I was doing, just so I could play a few more hours of Destiny. Despite the lack of content, from day one I was enraptured. I loved the gunplay, the lore, the enemies, my void-flinging Space Wizard. And that feeling didn’t die throughout Destiny 1.
Destiny 2 on the other hand, was missing something, a flame that had gone out, at least for me. But with Forsaken being out for the past few weeks, and the Last Wish raid having just dropped, I am amazingly happy to say that Destiny now feels like a hobby once again. Forsaken has ticked all the right boxes, and has me rushing home from work, jumping into bed (with way more chocolate than I should be consuming in an afternoon) and grinding out my power, still with my trusty Voidlock. His name is Anubis.
Despite the intricate lore of Destiny, the stories have always been, with a few exceptions, quite lacklustre and disappointing. Forsaken is definitely different, as it pushes you on your quest for vengeance in the name of Cayde-6. It has an amazing emotional push as you begin the hunt for the Barons. While I am on the subject, the Baron fights perfectly played to each of their personalities and particular armament.
They weren’t just bullet sponges, and each had their own locations, environmental hazards and mechanics that players had to overcome, which made them enjoyable. Personally, my favourite was the Mindbender, because it merged two of my favourite enemy factions within Destiny.
Continuing through the story opens up a bigger one, with a lot more at stake, which was akin to the feeling of thinking you had eaten all the chocolate in the house and then realising you still had a full block hidden in your room.
The story is a massive continuation of Destiny 1 lore, both returning to it and extending it in a delightful way. Stumbling upon the knowledge of Toland, Mara and Riven made me unbelievably happy and want to delve even deeper to uncover just a little bit more.
Not to mention the references to Savathun, Xivu Arath and Quria, which is just building up to an even bigger story within the Destiny universe. It is almost as if you can see the dark clouds rushing in on the horizon, as opposed to knowing that something is coming but not having any inclination of what it is.
When you reach the ‘end game’, you are bombarded with a massive amount of options to level up your Guardian, with Powerful Gear. Whether it is Gambit, normal Crucible, Strikes, Bounties, Wanted Enemies, there is an absolute abundance of challenges that you can use to up your Power Level. I mean it is almost too much.
Destiny 2 was criticised for being too easy, too casual, and Forsaken have taken steps to alleviate that. You really have to work to grind through the content, especially for a solo player such as myself. I spent a good hour trying to complete an Ascendant Challenge that I was 50 levels underpowered for. Victory was eventually mine, and I felt a primal, savage satisfaction at seeing Tigerspite popping up as the reward.
Combined with the renewed random rolls of the weapons, a level of anticipation and excitement has crept back into the game where it had kind of deteriorated before. Destiny 2 has life and purpose now, as Guardians scour to raise their Power level and uncover the hidden secrets of the Dreaming City.
Mostly Guardians are grinding Power levels for the Last Wish raid, which, as mentioned above, went live a short time ago. Hyped up to be the longest Destiny raid ever created, Last Wish lived up to that with the first team beating it in just under 20 hours of playtime. With a recommended Power level of 350, players are going to be hard pressed for the first couple weeks, but it brings back that drive and that love of the game.
And with Iron Banner having made a comeback with power advantages enabled, like the good old days (looking at you Nirwen’s Mercy and Felwinter’s Lie), Destiny is on the up and up once again, at least in my humble opinion.
Within Forsaken there have been two standouts for me in terms of activities, being Blind Well and The Warden of Nothing Strike. I have always been a huge fan of the arena-type activities in Destiny – Prison of Elders, Archons Forge, Court of Oryx and now Blind Well. I like the frantic style, the synergy you gain with other Guardians and the excitement that comes from getting a rare drop. Blind Well covers that pretty well, on top of being quite tough to take down.
The Warden of Nothing sends Guardians back into the Prison of Elders to defeat the warden, which isn’t Variks, as he has moved on by this point. I miss him. The Warden’s Servitor has had quite the malfunction and thinks he is the Warden, complete with the exact same lines as Prison of Elders had in Destiny 1. You battle through familiar spaces, compete in familiar events, all in the signature PoE style, and even face some familiar foes. It is a throwback in every sense of the word, and I honestly giggled with glee.
At its heart, Forsaken is a homage and a continuation of the amazing Destiny world, and it doesn’t feel segmented. Being incredibly blunt, Forsaken is the sequel that Destiny should have been from day one, with the challenging environments and activities, random rolls and something to actively strive to achieve in-game.