Another year, another round of Destiny 2 expansions. This year is a bit different as the next generation of gaming begins; Bungie is making some bigger changes to the game and we are starting what is most likely the last stretch for this iteration of the popular looter-shooter. After playing Beyond Light for a great deal and experiencing most of what it offers I think this new expansion hits in the green for me this time around. Let’s dig in to find out why.
Disclaimer: I have yet to do the Deep Stone Crypt raid. This requires more friends.
Destiny 2, and the franchise as a whole, has always been hit or miss when it comes to story. Sometimes it can be pretty good, where the storytelling pulls you in and really engulfs you in its world. Like when you stumble upon one of the pyramid ships and get up close and personal with it for the first time. Other times it seems as though the writing takes a back seat to other aspects of the game. In Beyond Light, the big appeal is getting to wield the darkness, which in itself is pretty awesome (more on that later), but the story sequences that you play through are somewhat familiar. You are tasked with taking down Eramis, Kell of Darkness who is looking to take the darkness power for herself. But first, of course, you have to go through her top lieutenants and take them down before you can duke it out with the premier baddie. This reminds me a lot of Forsaken and when you had to take out the barons that escaped from the Prison of Elders.
I am not saying this is a bad way to present the story but I felt it was a little dry and could have used some more creative methods. Overall the campaign in Beyond Light serves its purpose in explaining how you slowly obtain and master the darkness power. I think it could have used a little more flair, but in the end I thought it was fine.
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes, Stasis (aka The Darkness). It is the new subclass available to all guardians and is separated from your other light subclasses and man is it cool. It basically boils down to you now having the power to freeze enemies. And as a warlock, I have some really cool new abilities that make playing Destiny 2 that much more fun to play, such as a grenade that seeks out the closest enemy and then freezes them. Then, if you shoot and break the ice freezing that enemy not only will that enemy take shatter damage but the freeze will then seek out another nearby enemy to freeze them. You can essentially keep freezing enemies as long as another one close by. The shattering damage you can do to groups of enemies is insane. You can wipe out a whole group with one simple melee attack. It is such a cool element of the game and really makes playing more enjoyable and makes it an excellent choice for crowd control.
I think my favorite little combination so far is using Monte Carlo with my Stasis subclass. Monte Carlo gives you melee energy as you do damage. So essentially you can just throw out your melee attack, which in Stasis is me shooting out an ice ball from my ice staff to freeze enemies, then do damage with Monte Carlo to fill up your melee then do it again. It is super fun to go around just freezing everything. I highly recommend it.
Beyond the new Stasis abilities Beyond Light is more of the same with some nice touches in my opinion. The new area, Europa, is a large frozen wasteland that I think Bungie did a good job with. One thing I like is that on the surface it just seems like a frozen tundra but there is a lot under the ice that makes the area kinda interesting and seemingly ripe for some exploration. Although I will say after poking around a bit I am a little disappointed that there is not that much to discover (so far). Every time Bungie releases a video documentary on the next big Destiny expansion they always say that they can not wait for players to discover what is hidden throughout the world and every time I am disappointed that there is not much to discover when exploring the world.
In terms of activities, the grind remains mostly the same. You still have your weekly bounties to obtain through different means. One thing that I like and that is pretty challenging is that you can do Lost Sectors with varying difficulty levels. If you manage to do these missions solo you can get some exotic gear. It’s a nice way to encourage players to continue to grind to give them a chance to earn some good loot. Another new tiered difficulty activity is the Elected Empire Hunts. Now you do have to do some questing to unlock this but after you do, you can grind out these missions to get exotic gear that just drops from doing the activity. Stuff like this, I think, should be more available for players so that the endgame is a stronger element of Destiny 2. I think Bungie is on the right track here, especially if they continue to add in activities like this going forward.
Another positive for me is how they updated Gambit. Previously, they had two different modes of the activity: Gamit Prime and just regular Gambit. Gambit is the usual three rounds and Gambit Prime was a one round, quicker version of regular Gambit. Now Gambit is a mix of the two. It is basically just one round of regular Gambit and for me is it a lot more enjoyable. It can still be a little sweaty once both teams get their primevils out, but I think it is definitely an improvement. The matches are much faster and I find myself playing a lot more of it during this expansion.
One thing I think this expansion really needs is some sort of horde mode activity. Something like the Blindwell or the Menagerie would be great here. Especially given the new subclass and what it can do. It would be a fun way to experiment with Stasis but also a good way to get gear without having to do the same stuff over and over again. It would be a good change of pace in terms of what type of activity you are doing. And actually, we just learned that Bungie will be adding in the Prochephy dungeon soon and that will grant powerful rewards. This is awesome news and things like this should be added in more often. After Bungie decided to vault a ton of content, adding in more challenging content like dungeons would be a good way to keep the player base interested in continuing to grind.
Overall, Beyond Light has been pretty fun for the most part. I am still actively playing almost a month after it was released which in itself is saying a lot. I think Bungie did some things wrong and some things right, but at the end of the day, I keep logging on and having a good time. We all have a love-hate relationship with Destiny, and Beyond Light is no different. I think for me it leans more on the love side and it’s exciting to see where the game goes with the new subclass, story elements, and activities. I will continue to play and continue to experience what Destiny throws at me. And I am going to do that frickin’ raid at some point.