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Destiny 2 Beyond Light Review: Cool as Ice or Hot Garbage?

Destiny 2 Beyond Light released earlier this week and I’ve been taking this time to get a feel for how it plays, what’s new, and how the new Darkness abilities work. So was it worth the delay?

Beyond Light is the 3rd major expansion (we don’t count Curse of Osiris and Warmind) after Forsaken in 2017 and Shadowkeep in 2019. Bungie spent quite a lot of time hyping this expansion up, especially considering there was a painfully long Season of Arrivals leading up to this expansion (though it did allow me to hit season rank 500) so they really only had 2 options: Give players what they want….or give us almost no new content or information about Beyond Light until the very end of the season. They decided on the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the dark (Ah?? Dark?? Darkness??? Stasis powers!!!) for new expansions, what I’m not the biggest fan of is having a 3-4 month period of nearly no new content whatsoever and not much information to go on about end of season activity delays (looking at you, weekly Interference mission).

Anyway, let’s dive into Beyond Light….

and uh…*spoilers*

Related: Destiny 2: What I Learned After Achieving Season Rank 500 in Season of Arrivals

Campaign

The story of Beyond Light begins with a familiar Fallen face, Variks. Variks is seen sending a distress signal to the rest of the system, behind him appears the mysterious Exo Stranger as he is sending his distress call and disappears almost immediately afterwards. Variks is captured by newly appointed Kell of Darkness “Eramis.” Eramis is the main antagonist of Beyond Light and is quite honestly…a bit of a pushover. The fight with Eramis is such a let down as it basically gives you your full Stasis super in the second phase, so you can keep freezing her and enemies around and stomp her into the ground. While vanilla Destiny 2 wasn’t the best, at least Ghaul had powers of his own and swapped back and forth, forcing the player to think about how to approach him. Eramis has Stasis powers, but all she can really do is freeze you in place (which is undoubtedly annoying and this caused me to wipe so so so many times), but other than this easily avoidable attack, the fight is boring.

The rest of the story isn’t that great either, I mean the 2 (maybe 3) boss fights are the exact same as the fight with Eramis, though when facing Phylaks (one of Eramis’ lieutenants) there is an interesting “vanishing platform” mechanic that is very reminiscent of certain Vex mechanics. The narrative of the story itself was also a let down. With a 34 step quest (and only like 4 of those steps being actual missions) and not much actual story to be found, so far I would say that if you’re looking for a great story, you’re not gonna get it from Beyond Light.

[Update: Okay, so it turns out that there’s a lot more background and lore in post-campaign missions, the story gets some extra points for this, but the actual campaign I’m still not a fan of]

Europa

Related: How to Obtain the No Time To Explain in Destiny 2

When designing Europa, Bungie took quite a few risks and they definitely paid off. For starters, Europa is the first planet that has introduced a dynamic weather system with random blizzards occurring that hinders visibility as well as Sparrow handling. At their strongest, Europan blizzards are actually pretty intimidating as they remove just about all of the player’s visibility, so the only way to recognize enemies is by their eyes out in the distance. I’m actually a very big fan of Europa and its icy landscapes, it’s a nice change of scenery from the rest of the game. The only real complaint I have is the lack of landing zones. There are currently only 2 landing zones on all of Europa and they’re pretty close to each other, which means you have to either walk (like a lunatic) or Sparrow all the way across the rest of the map which can take some time (so Bungie please add another 1 or 2, thank you).

Cosmodrome

Taking a page from Shadowkeep’s playbook, Bungie has brought back another classic Destiny location, the Cosmodrome. The Cosmodrome sits next to the EDZ on Earth in the brand new Director and has some updated looks as well as a new vendor, Shaw Han.

Shaw is the new Cosmodrome vendor that serves as an introduction for New Light players and eases them into the game by giving bounties that are fairly simple to complete while still awarding a decent amount of XP.

PvP

Well this one’s a lot to unpack. Crucible has been pretty unbalanced for quite some time now and while Bungie has started to sunset certain weapons and armor in an effort to reduce the usage of certain game breaking weapons (Mountaintop, Recluse, Revoker, etc.) they also gave players the ability to freeze each other! Yay! I’ve pretty much avoided PvP in Beyond Light and I’m not looking forward to being frozen for 50% of the match, I’m already not a big fan of the fact that PvE enemies can freeze me (though it does change up the game, it’s just rather obnoxious). Though some people have taken quite a liking to it…

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

And then there’s Jez…

Credit: Twitter

Related: How to Obtain Season of the Hunt Artifact in Destiny 2

Review

Well, there it is…our review of Destiny 2 Beyond Light! I should mention, this is a review of the currently available content (as of November 13, 2020). It seems like there will be a lot more content that will be releasing in the coming weeks and months, such as the seasonal activity for Season of the Hunt (that starts next week), and the Deep Stone Crypt Raid coming on November 21, there’s sure to be even more to talk about soon and maybe I’ll come back and update this review when the new content releases! Until then, eyes up Guardians!

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