REVIEW: ‘Destiny 2: Lightfall’ Doesn’t Quite Hit The Mark (PS5)

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Destiny 2 Lightfall

Destiny 2 has had a long history of expansions, resulting in many a controversy. From the wonderful “The Witch Queen” campaign to the disappointing “Beyond Light,” where many of the planets players have been exploring for years were removed, and those portions of the overall Destiny 2 storyline along with it. But with the release of Destiny 2: Lightfall, there was a lot of hope for an expansion that promised a new world to explore and a new power for our Guardians to discover. But, after the last expansion, it would take a decent amount of change to impress. And unfortunately, Destiny 2: Lightfall doesn’t quite hit the mark. But it does have some highlights to balance out the disappointments.

In Destiny 2: Lightfall the Witness has finally arrived, bringing a much-changed Emperor Calus and a fleet of pyramids to herald the second Collapse on Earth. The Guardian will have to race Calus to the edge of the Solar System, discovering a Neptune that’s under siege and a novel way to harness the Darkness. Working alongside the Cloud Striders, Neptune’s legendary defense force, Guardians will get to explore the neon cityscape of the secret city of Neomuna.

It’s a story that promises grandeur. And it certainly plays the part aesthetically with shots of massive spaceships and Neomura, which has an abundance of towering skyscrapers. But outside of the locations, the story hits some dull notes that feel even worse after the moving “The Witch Queen” story and the complexity, emotion, and trickery that Savathun brought. And while the absolute ridiculousness of Calus brings some laughs, it’s hard to sell him as the main antagonist for the campaign; after all, we all know his motives inside and out. Savathun at least made us question her motives every other minute and added great depth to the Witness and the Darkness.

Further exacerbating the dullness is Strand—the new power the Guardian is working to obtain. This new power gifted from the Darkness is hard to master, but while this is a good note, showing your Guardian isn’t as fabled as they seem, it turns a good chunk of the campaign into a training montage. Additionally, there’s a vast difference between how Strand is used in the campaign and its actual use outside.

Strand is sold in the campaign as a fun way to move about, swinging around on strands and working your way across large chasms. But out in the wilds, the ultra-fast cooldowns experienced in the campaign are completely gone. Instead, the grapple cooldown is so long that you might as well jump around to traverse like usual. But while the traversal element doesn’t quite do what it promises, there are still parts of Strand to enjoy, like the interesting Supers or the ability to produce tangles that cause enemies to become suspended and more susceptible to damage.

Destiny 2 Lightfall — But Why Tho (1)

The campaign also leaves off oddly with more questions than answers. The entire campaign revolves around saving the Veil, but the Veil isn’t explained or what it has to do with the Traveler. There are some tidbits of info here and there, but the fact that the campaign ends with few questions answered makes your seven-hour playthrough feel worthless. I’m sure we’ll be privy to these answers eventually, but this confusion gives little weight to the finale.

I personally really, really wanted to learn more about the Witness. The campaign at least gives us some good scenes showing off their fascinating design—a figure simultaneously made up of sharp, geometric lines and wispy, ethereal qualities. But that’s all we’re given, along with a handful of cool-sounding but utterly confusing remarks to understand the Witness’s true motives.

Despite these gripes, I still enjoyed aspects of the campaign. The expansion has seen the return of the Legendary campaign, which offers some pretty good challenges. And there are some new enemies to contend with, such as Calus’s Shadow Legion and the Tormentors, which have aesthetically interesting designs and provide tremendous challenges. And the unadulterated science fiction story beats and lore are satisfying.

Additionally, Neptune is fascinating. Neomuna is a sleek, sprawling, futuristic cityscape, and its inhabitants, outside of the beefy Cloud Striders, are beams of light. There’s a lot of lore to learn, and while I won’t spoil it, I will say learning more about Neomuna and its Cloud Striders was a delight. I absolutely adore Nimbus (Destiny’s first non-binary character!) and the handful of other characters introduced. They feel like full-fledged characters. The few interludes offered to add a good deal of depth to how the events impact not only the other plot-moving characters but even the citizens of Neomuni through newscasting. I just wish there were more Cloud Striders. But the mission where you learn about past Cloud Striders expands on the idealized vision of these legendary, selfless heroes.

Destiny 2 Lightfall — But Why Tho

With a new expansion comes new play spaces. The EDZ is back with a new form of Battlegrounds. This activity takes players into an alternative reality of the Trostlands by entering the Ascendant Plane. It’s been a long time since the Ascendant Plane was relevant, so it’s nice to see it used in a fresh way. Additionally, Destiny 2: Lightfall introduces a new strike, patrols, public events, and a few cooperative activities like Terminal Overload. These all add plenty of activities to get started on before more is released with the new season.

One of the most significant changes in Destiny 2: Lightfall involves the armor. Armor no longer has elements that restrict what mods you can put on them. Instead, armor is now neutral, and all mods are available, though they still differ by piece. So helmet mods are still separate from chest mods. This certainly makes building the perfect armor set easier. But what I’m most excited about is the ability to make loadouts now. So instead of switching each armor piece depending on what role you want to play or what activity you’re playing, you can quickly switch between entire armor sets with much less hassle.

There’s also been an update adding Guardian Ranks, which is billed as a way to introduce new players to the game. While I can’t really argue for or against this purpose, I can see the appeal even to old players because it provides challenges to complete.

Destiny 2: Lightfall certainly doesn’t stand up to the fantastic story of “The Witch Queen” and Savathun as a marvelously complex antagonist. Additionally, Strand, at this point, doesn’t quite meet the expectations stemming from the campaign. But, Neomuna and its inhabitants are fascinating, and the way Destiny 2: Lightfall handles some of its characters adds a lot of lore and depth to their stories. And I can’t help but enjoy the quality of life changes that have come with this expansion.

Destiny 2: Lightfall is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Destiny 2: Lightfall
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10


“Lightfall” certainly doesn’t stand up to the fantastic story of “The Witch Queen,” and Strand doesn’t quite meet expectations. But, Neomuna and its inhabitants are fascinating, and the way “Lightfall” handles some of its characters adds a lot of lore and depth to their stories.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
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