After being postponed from a September release, the “Beyond Light” expansion to “Destiny 2” was launched on Nov. 10. The 2017 game has seen many updates, but this one brought it over to the new Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 and added a slew of new content.
It’s been advertised by developer Bungie as “the beginning of a new era” and a great starting point for newcomers and players returning after a hiatus. I disagree with that notion.
After sinking a few hours into the revamped game, it quickly became clear the missions introduced in “Beyond Light” represent all the worst aspects of “Destiny” – the gameplay is smooth but not very innovative; the story is meandering and dull; and Bungie brought back characters from the original 2014 title so unmemorable, I didn’t initially realize who they were.
I hit a wall just two hours in – playing the campaign missions in order, I soon confronted the Fallen lieutenant Phylaks in an open playing field with almost nowhere to take cover. She was able to kill me in two hits, whereas even my super abilities did miniscule damage.
After fruitlessly attempting the battle 20 times, I cut my losses and began replaying older content to increase my power level. Grinding the same content over and over to attain greater power is the intended way to play “Destiny 2.”
This style of video game is not uncommon, but it’s difficult not to feel disappointed given the development team once promised the franchise would set itself apart from other massively multiplayer online games by allowing gamers to be casual weekend players instead of catering to addicts a la “World of Warcraft” and “Eve Online.”
Initially, that promise was met. I had a lot of fun with “Destiny 2” when it was released traveling the solar system to eradicate hostile aliens and androids in a trio with my best friend and wife. It was challenging at points, but with some trial and error we made it through – just like any good video game.
We certainly didn’t chase after some arbitrary power level to unlock the next mission, which is what the “Beyond Light” expansion requires. The gunplay of “Destiny” is smooth and satisfying, the art direction is gorgeous, and it’s fun to play with friends – despite all that, for myself and many other gamers, the franchise has a fundamental flaw.
It’s purposefully designed to be replayed endlessly, but doing so quickly makes the game feel dull and lifeless. “Beyond Light” has made the issue worse – now it’s apparently impossible to even play the new story once through without grinding missions.
It’s difficult to feel connected to any sense of story progression when you’re encouraged to play random strike missions out of order so that your weapons afflict enemies with more than glorified papercuts.
I understand “Destiny” was never intended to be an arcade shooter, nor present a linear experience like the “Halo” series Bungie is renowned for – but