Destiny 2: Beyond Light Review
Reviewed on PCAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Sony PlayStation 5, Microsoft Xbox One and Microsoft Xbox Series X
Destiny 2 has been a rollercoaster for me. The base game was decent, then the Leviathan raid released and I loved trying to figure it out blind with my friends. The first big expansion, Forsaken, was pretty solid and got better over time as the world evolved and more content was added. Then Shadowkeep came out and I found it so uninteresting I refunded it before getting very far into it. Now, the third big expansion for Destiny 2 is here, but does it match the quality of the best content the game has to offer?
The answer is a very exasperated no. Beyond Light is not worth the asking price. It’s a slog and it totally fails to push the game in a good direction.
From my perspective, as someone who hasn’t played Destiny 2 properly for over a year, I was expecting a pretty hefty amount of content to dive into that’d keep me occupied for at least as long as Forsaken did. After all, Beyond Light is the same price that Forsaken was. However, Bungie has essentially kept the same price model and lowered the amount of content. In fact, the price is technically higher if you want to invest in the seasonal content, but this isn’t worth it at all if you’re a casual player. The first season is extremely dull and I lost interest after an hour.
For $40 or £35, you get access to the new campaign, new quests, a new world to explore and new powers. Doesn’t sound so bad on paper, until you realise this content has no meat on its bones and none of it stands up the bar Bungie set themselves with Forsaken. Instead of an immersive and aesthetically gorgeous world like the Dreaming City, we’re getting a cold wasteland in Europa. There are hardly any new enemy types here and you end up re-treading the same paths over and over again. There are some cool sections to explore but overall it wasn’t as interesting as I wanted it to be. We also get to return to the Cosmodrome from the first game, but just like the Shadowkeep DLC, it feels like Bungie is more eager to bring back things we've already experienced rather than give us new, exciting reasons to play.
The campaign is repetitive and adds artificial length by making you perform dull tasks multiple times instead of introducing you to actual fresh ideas. Often I’d be shooting away at generic Fallen bosses and I’d find myself thinking “this doesn’t feel like a DLC”, and that's because it's the same stuff we've been doing for years with a different backdrop. Usually an expansion makes an effort to introduce new enemies to fight or new weapon types to toy with, but there’s almost none of that here. You have one new enemy, the Vex Wyverns, and that’s about it.
The new Darkness powers you obtain are hit and miss, but the way they’re incorporated into the campaign is perhaps the most boring thing about it. You have to “attune” with the Darkness to obtain its power, but there’s no sense you’re getting stronger every time you do this, and you just have to mindlessly mow down enemies by using your super every time it recharges. It functions pretty much the same every time you attune, and you have to repeat it over and over in different parts of the map. I didn’t find my Warlock’s new power as fun as my usual one, and I had to use it so many times I’m kinda sick of it anyway.
The story is bordering on average, with few interesting characters or twists and a lot of annoying dialogue from Variks who always pops up with his irritating, slow chattering. I didn’t care much for the plot but suspected I wouldn’t because Destiny’s story has always been a huge weak point. Beyond Light’s narrative does nothing out of the ordinary really, and there aren't very many cool sights to see or fun bosses to fight either.
There’s a decent amount of quests you can do to obtain new exotic gear but the loot overall is extremely weak. There’s less new stuff to try out here than previous expansions and it’s a shame to see. This game is all about the loot – it’s the reason players grind the same monotonous activities over and over, but they didn’t even get that right. There's a raid to occupy your time if you’re a more dedicated player, and these are usually highlights if you get a good team together. I was unable to do so for the time being because I’m not engaged enough in the rest of the content to grind it out for the raid. Frankly, it’s not enough to justify the price even if it’s the best raid ever created, and I’m too disinterested in the rest of the content (and so are many of my usual Destiny-playing friends I might have raided with).
Not to mention, half the game’s old content has been straight up removed entirely. Many old guns are irrelevant because you can’t power them up and you can no longer visit worlds like Titan, Mars or IO. I understand this was done to make space for new content, but the amount of content we have right now is simply lacking. It stings even more when you consider how much money you have to spend to continue playing. Bungie said “shelving content into the vault is about making space for awesome new stuff”, but this DLC isn’t it. I don’t have much optimism for the future of the game right now, because it seems to be getting increasingly expensive despite losing content.
Another new feature since I last played is the Eververse shop, a storefront full of microtransactions, which is expanded and honestly just kinda ugly to look at. This isn't a new addition to Beyond Light but it's still worth mentioning. This game makes its players pay close to full retail price for its expansions and still has the audacity to charge for countless microtransactions despite releasing less and less quality content every year. It’s baffling to me, but ever since Bungie and Activision parted ways the game has seen a drop in quality and an increase in greed. There are more things to purchase than ever but somehow there’s so much less fun content to play. Make it make sense, Bungie.
At least when Forsaken came out I didn’t feel like I was wasting my money, but here I feel like I was ripped off even though I got a free copy for this review. It’s truly atrocious pricing for what you get and I can’t recommend it to anyone as a result. The core gameplay of Destiny 2 is still there, but the lack of content, bad price model, repetitive missions and the new vault system all contribute to an expansion that’s devoid of passion and creativity, and one that’s simply not worth your time.