This past Tuesday, Bungie delivered the Vex Offensive: Final Assault, the second half of their newest arena mode released with Shadowkeep. If you were like me and blasted through the Vex Offensive triumphs, you’ve probably already earned your shiny new Undying title. Congratulations on the achievement. But when we set the cool title aside, the truth of the matter is that there isn’t anything else there, and the players aren’t pleased.
I’m not kidding when I say the only thing that changed with Final Assault is the end boss. There are no new enemies. There are no new or altered locations within the zone. There are no new mechanics. There is no higher difficulty. There is no impact on the story/interactions/world setting (“so far”, since Bungie claims there will be). There is no variation at all until you get to the end, and the Undying Mind even feels easier than the original boss. Final Assault isn’t a sub-selection of Vex Offensive. It’s completely replaced the original arena.
Now, while the Season of Opulence’s arena, The Menagerie, may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve heard far more positive things than negative. At the very least, it served as a solid blueprint for the developers moving forward, and also as a teaser of some of the more interesting ideas that Bungie can, and should continually strive to produce. They could have built off of The Menagerie and given us something much more engaging than the Vex Offensive’s current iteration.
And what really irks me is the entire season is named after the titular enemy, the Undying Mind. Why do that and then neglect the game mode where we confront it? Why center an entire season around something you weren’t going to give its due attention? There should have been a greater focus on this arena, delivering something akin to the Menagerie, or even better. Honestly, I’m having flashbacks to The Infinite Forest from Curse of Osiris DLC and what a letdown that was.
Worse than all that, though, was the fact they felt it necessary to delay Final Assault until the last leg of the season. What was the reason? The answer is simple, albeit ugly: to time-gate the Undying title. If you were like me and completed all of the other triumphs required for the ‘triumph seal’ pretty quickly, your final goal was to kill the Undying Mind three times. I had to wait over two weeks to spend fifteen minutes killing this boss three separate times, all for a title. That didn’t feel good.
As it stands, the Vex Offensive as a whole is only present to serve as a mindless time-sink that quickly begins losing its charm after the first run. This should have been a big compliment to the raid, an activity that not every player has access to, and maybe even served as a bridge between the two areas. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and we’re left with an enormous missed opportunity as we head into the next season.