Destiny 2: Beyond Light is the third major expansion to the game. Much like Forsaken and Shadowkeep before it, Beyond Light features brand new areas to explore and a lot of new content. Does the new content however measure up to the previous content and more importantly, is Beyond Light the saving grace for Destiny 2?
For those of you that aren’t familiar with some of the more controversial aspects of Destiny 2’s latest expansion, here’s a short rundown of what just happened. Bungie have removed a massive chunk of Destiny 2’s content. Mars, Titan, Io and Mercury were “vaulted” and taken out of the game. Along with them, all of their content. This includes strikes, raids and special missions. Additionally some other content was also cut from the game such as the Leviathan raid and the Leviathan itself.
Now for another even more controversial aspect that Beyond Light brings to the table. Sunsetting. Sunsetting involves the introduction of a power limit to specific weapons and armour. This effectively renders them useless in the game’s Player versus Enemy encounters and severely kneecaps their usefulness in the Player versus Player competitive modes. Yes you can still use your old gear and weapons but since they are pretty much worthless in PvE now, you’ll only find them worthwhile in PvP modes that aren’t competitive such as the normal crucible playlist. You can’t take these weapons or armour into the Iron Banner or Trials of Osiris because they will simply be too weak.
Sunsetting and vaulting are both massively contentious aspects of Beyond Light and we suspect Bungie is going to have a lot of work cut out for them in making their game fun again for their playerbase in the coming months. For a developer to remove what is probably 60% of their game and only add back around 30% in terms of content is a massively bold move. Nevermind the fact that they are making people pay for Beyond Light as a fully fledged expansion on PC and PS4. Xbox Console Gamepass users do get Beyond Light included in their subscription but this is quite a limited player pool right now and ultimately alienates players on other platforms who will be met with splash screens to purchase Beyond Light quite often in-game. Nevermind the fact that the base game is a barren wasteland right now in terms of content.
Another contentious point of sunsetting is the fact that Bungie have decided to introduce a vending machine of sorts to the Tower. Players will be able to purchase weapons that they might have missed out in previous years or seasons of the game. Some players who have spent countless hours grinding away trying to get these weapons may feel as if this is a slap in the face to their efforts since others can now simply just purchase these weapons for a couple of resources. However, the “Ritual” weapons or those which required quite a hefty grind are still sunset and thus won’t get full usage. It’s a bit of a complex situation here which may upset some players while greatly pleasing others who can finally try them out now.
Now that that’s out the way, let’s get into Beyond Light itself. In Beyond Light, the Darkness has finally made its move after arriving during the Season of Arrivals. It has blanked out all communication with the aforementioned vaulted locations and beckons you to Europa, Jupiter’s moon. On Europa, players will encounter a familiar face from Destiny 1. Variks. Upon assisting Variks and preventing him from being murdered, you’ll be drawn into a fight against a new enemy named Eramis. Eramis leads “House Salvation” a group of Fallen that seek to use the power of the Darkness pyramids to exact revenge upon humanity. There isn’t a whole new Darkness race here, instead it’s reskinned Fallen.
The campaign is rather lengthy this time around and is far more enjoyable than Destiny 2 Shadowkeep’s was. There’s all of Europa to explore and the campaign ties into this pretty well. Players who purchased Beyond Light just for the campaign will have a lot of content to get through here when compared to the previous expansion. Europa is rather large though and there’s a lot of time that will be spent purely running from location to location. Bungie needs to address this somehow with the addition of new waypoints to fast travel to in the future.
Gameplay in Destiny 2 has been slightly tweaked with the addition of a new subclass known as Stasis. Players will discover the powers of Stasis throughout the Beyond Light campaign and this little subclass is honestly game changing. Whether you are a Hunter, Titan or Warlock, the new stasis subclass and abilities are a breath of fresh air.
Stasis changes the way the game is played quite drastically in both PvP and PvE. Learning how to use the new subclass is incredibly fun and it might be overpowered to be quite honest. We fully expect a lot of balancing to take place in the near future especially in PvP where stasis seems to be quite a force to reckon with. The mod system prevalent in the game also been given a slight rework too with various new mods being made available. This allows for greater flexibility with customizing your Guardian’s stats to your liking but still costs glimmer. Thankfully, Ghosts are also customizable now with their own mods which no longer limits you to using one specific ghost for a specific perk such as bonus experience points.
Graphically, Destiny 2 Beyond Light has had a bit of an overhaul. The UI has been refreshed slightly and is rocking a new dark theme that looks great. You still cannot place your own markers on the map and there’s still no sparrow racing in sight but at least Bungie have refreshed some aspects of the game and have tweaked some others such as the in-game loading. Europa is also a resplendently icy masterpiece. Every single area on Europa is quite frankly gorgeous and players will definitely want to take a lot of screenshots as they discover near areas. Why isn’t there a photo mode in Destiny 2 yet Bungie? Your game is beautiful and it desperately needs it.
The soundtrack in Beyond Light is beyond excellent. It is seriously outstanding with every single track in the game being fantastic, especially the new main theme. The voice acting is also great as per usual. Variks with his “[Insect-like chattering]” interspersed throughout deserves a special mention here. The sound effects of Stasis in action are also quite noteworthy since it ties right into the icy environment of Europa quite well.
Beyond Light is not Destiny 2’s “The Taken King” moment. Beyond Light adds a lot to the game but it has removed even more. The limited new legendary weapons and armour are exactly that. Limited. And when so many items are sunset and rendered almost worthless, it just feels bad. The return of the Cosmodrome from Destiny 1 also doesn’t feel as great as it should be purely because there’s barely anything to do there. The same can be said for Europa once you’re done with the campaign. You’ll run out of cool new things to do fairly quickly and since the Season of the Hunt hasn’t fully kicked off yet and the game is still in need of its new Raid, some players might already be dropping out to play something else while they wait. There’s also quite a lot of bugs and glitches in the game right now which affect gameplay such as weapons not acting as intended. Witherhoard, an Exotic grenade launcher from a previous season for example, had to be disabled due to doing far more damage than it should be.
Overall, Beyond Light is only worth picking up if you’re in it for the long haul. If you’re a hardcore Destiny 2 fan, chances are you already have this expansion. If you’re a newcomer, you’re going to have a bit of a better experience with the game now than with Destiny 2: New Light. The new onboarding process thanks to the addition of Shaw Han in the Cosmodrome and his quest line is a lot more refined than New Light just throwing you into the deep end of Destiny 2. However, you will still have missed out on a massive chunk of Destiny 2 that was removed when Beyond Light went live. It’s unfortunate that this is the case but the game marches on. Whether players decide to march with it is a gamble that Bungie seem to be willing to take by teasing more content to come in the future. Only pick this up if you’re a massive Destiny 2 fan or if you’re fine with being patient with Bungie for even longer. They are effectively rebuilding their game up after knocking out a few of the foundational pillars on which it was built after all.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light is available on console, Stadia and PC this review is based on the PC version of the game, which can be purchased here for £34.99.
Enjoy the review? want to read more of our reviews? then click right here to be whisked away to the realm of our opinions.