After breaking away from Activision Blizzard, Bungie’s Destiny 2 has undergone a massive overhaul. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is the game Destiny 2 should have been from the get-go and players worldwide are certainly going to reap the benefits of picking up the game’s latest expansion.
Shadowkeep introduces an old location from Destiny 1 into Destiny 2. That’s right folks, the Moon is back and yup, it’s haunted. Players will travel to Earth’s Moon and upon arrival, see that the Hive is acting up. Upon further investigation, it turns out that they’ve raised an ominous red keep and there’s something mysterious afoot involving Destiny’s main source of evil, the Darkness itself.
Without spoiling too much, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’s story brings back the familiar Moon environment and along with it, a lot of familiar enemies and bosses. It’s the “same old, same old” from Destiny 1 but slightly different. Various locations on the Moon have been opened up and expanded upon. There’s now lost sectors and various other locations that were previously inaccessible are now available to players to explore and complete bounties and other quests in.
Much of what makes Shadowkeep tick is the ever-resilient Destiny 2 formula players have been accustomed to over the past two years (and further if you consider Destiny 1). There are the usual story missions to complete, strikes to take part in, public events to best and a brand new raid too. So what sets the game apart from its pre-Shadowkeep form? The answer to this lies in the new UI and the sheer intensity of the latest grind to obtain the highest power level attainable.
The entire user interface of Destiny 2 has got a much-needed makeover. Players are now able to track Triumphs more easily and things like your armour modifications, quests, bounty tracking and progression through a season have been refined. In the endless search for better loot and higher power, the UI plays an extremely important role so it’s great that Bungie has addressed this with Shadowkeep. Claiming Triumphs feels rewarding and the streamlined UI helps make this possible.
Shadowkeep’s changes to gameplay are noticeable too with more resources being made available thanks to the Moon location. Players will now also be able to pull off highly flashy “Finishers” which are melee attacks that instantly kill enemies. The new weapons on offer in Shadowkeep are varied and the quests for new Exotic and Legendary items will surely keep more dedicated players busy for quite a while.
Shadowkeep’s campaign itself is, however, a bit of a letdown though. It’s over far too quickly at around 7 hours and it seems as if Bungie is gearing up to release additional content in a much larger expansion soon. The seasonal content will trickle through as per usual and as of writing this review, the Garden of Salvation raid and the first wave of Vex Offensive content has been released in the Season of the Undying. As it stands right now, we still have an Iron Banner event coming up as well as the latest iteration of the Festival of the Lost to look forward to.
Shadowkeep introduces a lot of endgame content grind to the game but right now it’s probably not enough to keep people coming back for more. Playing Gambit, Crucible or Strikes over and over to grind for one particular bounty or item in a limited time period does not a good game make, and some people are probably going to stop playing just as soon as they’ve finished the main story content of the game. Even for seasoned veterans and hardcore fans, the grind is lacking worthwhile reward potential right now and while the addition of the new Artifact item and its progression tree is commendable, Bungie needs to keep on pumping out new story-related content to keep players entertained. They’ve done that before and hopefully, they’ll be able to do it again with Shadowkeep and its related seasonal content. The ending of the Shadowkeep campaign hints heavily at this and we’re hoping to see a lot of the expanded lore in what’s to come.
A new dungeon is set for release on the 29th of October 2019 and while we wait for this, newcomers and veterans alike will have a lot of repetitive content to get through as they grind out some truly annoying daily and weekly bounties to get better gear.
Graphically, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is as gorgeous as ever and the moon is alive with a fresh coat of hive paint that distracts you enough from the fact that it has effectively been reskinned and so have the enemies. It’s not bad per se but a bit more variation to enemies for Shadowkeep would have been welcome. The soundtrack is great as per the usual when it comes to Destiny and surprisingly, your character suddenly has a voice again.
Overall, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep does what it set out to do. It refreshed the game enough to draw in new players and bring back the old ones. Now the real challenge awaits. Bungie needs to deliver on the seasonal content and they need to go all out on this if they want to maintain an active, fully engaged and supportive player base. It’s a risky gambit (pun intended) on their part releasing an expansion that’s so light on story content right now but one that will hopefully pay off in the long run for everyone involved, especially players.
- Developer: Bungie
- Publisher: Bungie
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
Enjoy the review? want to read more of our reviews? then click right here to be whisked away to the realm of our opinions.