Destiny 2’s new Lightfall expansion had everything that was the opposite of a honeymoon time, with immediate rebuff from the larger community regarding its content.
But now the backlash to that backlash has begun. Why? Three main things happened:
1) Most of the avid gamers have beaten the campaign by now, and the storyline of that campaign is the worst part of the expansion and how you make your first impression. But as we dig deeper into the expansion, the new seasonal content, and the massive quality of life changes that come with Lightfall, there are actually many positives to discover.
2) Bungie released all of the Beach Fragments, essentially doubling the amount of those available, which for some reason should be timed until the next reset or the world’s first raid race next Friday. This allowed players to open up a huge selection of Strand builds, including a fragment that solves the “your grapple is never active” issue, which was a big change from the low cooldown based campaign. Strand made a complete 180-degree turn from feeling overwhelming and like an overly intrusive part of the campaign (which it is) to one of the most entertaining sub-classes out there, and arguably had a much more solid debut than Beyond Light’s Stasis.
3) IGN ran a hot review of Lightfall, written by my enemy and former Fireteam chat member Travis Northup, giving the expansion a 5/10. Even those critical of the expansion rallied to say, “Wow, wow, wow, it’s got issues, but it’s not a *5*!” The knee-jerk defense of the expansion got everyone talking about what actually works on the extension, which a lot of people didn’t see.
In summary, Lightfall’s campaign isn’t good, at least from a storytelling perspective (I’d argue that it’s still pretty compelling from a combat perspective). That was everyone’s first impression of the expansion, which is why there were immediate negative reactions. It feels like padding. The characters feel like they’re projecting the wrong tone. Too much is unclear, Destiny 1 style. You could cut out the entire storyline and stitch the first and last cutscenes together and not miss much.
But…that overlooks everything else that came with this expansion. Everyone is warming up for Strand, which seemed like a failure until all time slots were removed, exotics were bred, and everyone started doing wild builds. The armor loading system felt like a step backwards, but it’s pretty easy to figure it out and make nearly equivalent builds to what we used to have, with a few exceptions. The QoL changes are massive. Loadouts are incredible, the lack of a million seasonal currencies is great. Crafting is streamlined and no more horrible grind. Especially new weapons and exotics are really fun.
Outside of the campaign, two other minor additions haven’t quite landed yet. The Guardian tier system seems both too easy (everyone becomes veteran at level 6 way too easy) and too hard (the grind from 6 to 12 resets every season). Commendations, while well-intentioned, have simply turned into pointless spam because they’re tied to powerful drops and triumphs. But these can be fixed and are relatively minor features compared to the overall Lightfall campaign.
The story is certainly important, but it’s nowhere near enough to sink the entire expansion, which has arrived alongside a lot of great stuff. I hope The Final Shape brings improvements, but Lightfall isn’t the disaster that some make it out to be.
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I’ve been writing about video games, television, and film for Forbes for over 10 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. I cover all types of console and PC games, but when it comes to looting or shooting I’m definitely up for it. When I look at something, it’s usually sci-fi, horror, or superheroes. I’m also a regular on IGN’s Fireteam Chat podcast and have published five sci-fi novels.
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