Destiny 2’s latest expansion, Beyond Light, finally brings the Darkness to the forefront to tempt you with new powers and abilities to master. Alongside that, it brings stories of redemption, revenge, and a dark future for humanity to face. While you’re being asked to embrace the shadows, the future potential of Destiny and its evolving world has never been brighter.
You begin your journey on Europa, a ruined ice moon orbiting Jupiter that was home to the biggest tech advancements in the solar system. Now, after the collapse of humanity before the events of the original Destiny, it’s a snowy barren wasteland with many frozen secrets to uncover. Before you begin to thaw them, you receive a distress call on the icy moon from Variks, once an ally to humanity, now outed as a betrayer who inadvertently aided in the death of Cayde 6. You learn from him that a new rogue faction of the Fallen led by Eramis, has found a way to wield darkness powers in the form of Stasis, a powerful weapon that enables the user to freeze anything in its place. To combat this new threat, you team up with the thought-to-be forgotten Exo Stranger who hasn’t appeared in Destiny since 2014. She’ll help you learn to wield this dark power for good and to stop Eramis from further spreading this stasis power.
This is the main thrust of the initial six-hour campaign, but there’s much more to Europa beyond that. After taking down Eramis, you continue to learn how stasis came to be and how to further wield it with the help of the Exo stranger. As you help her, you learn and discover the horrible experiments that lead to the creation of her race of robotic humanoids the Exos. It almost felt like a second separate campaign from the one I just played through and I loved exploring Europa’s sinister history. Aside from this secondary “campaign”, most of the post-game reveals come through in-game collectibles that reveal where the future of the story of Destiny can go. I’ll avoid spoilers, but I highly recommend you search this stuff out if you’re a big fan of Destiny cause it’s some of the most revelatory storytelling they’ve done in quite some time.
Stasis is quite the departure from the Destiny norm. Instead of playing a match game with weapons and shields, your focus with stasis is freezing and shattering enemies with this new ability set. The Titan, Warlock & Hunter each get a new subclass that all come with their own set of grenades, melees, and supers like the previous light subclasses. One of my favorite new tools is the ice wall grenade, which does exactly what it says, creates a wall of ice where you throw it. This can be used in a variety of ways like dropping it on enemies and freezing them inside, or shooting it and using the exploding ice shrapnel as an area of effect attack. It’s a nice change of pace from the more run-and-gun nature Destiny has always had. This new gameplay style is even further augmented by a new system introduced called Aspects and Fragments.
Aspects are new abilities you can equip and unlock via quests from the Exo stranger. The Hunter class can get an aerial slam that shatters any ice or frozen enemies caught in its area of effect. Warlocks gain the ability to freeze nearby enemies using their healing or empowering rift abilities making them more useful in offensive situations. Fragments are passive buffs that can do things like increasing the time an enemy is slowed by stasis freezing or making your abilities recharge faster when using certain stasis abilities on enemies. This ultimately makes Stasis a much more customizable subclass which is exciting. Things are feeling a bit stale considering we’ve been using the same abilities for two to four years. Now that I’ve unlocked the full potential of Stasis, I’m excited to see how Bungie also further develop this new style of play and customization.
While Beyond Light is the major source of new content for this new season of Destiny 2, it came along with an unfortunate sour point for the game in the form of sunsetting older activities, armor, and weapons. They removed a lot, and I mean A LOT of equipment from the game’s history. This is really felt once you hit the endgame, as there are now only three raids compared to the previous seven, and the core endgame playlist activities of Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit have a major decrease in the variety of maps available. It’s making it a little hard to enjoy grinding in the current state of the game. Knowing this sunset was done so that they can revamp and introduce newer content like more strikes and raids at least softens the blow a little.
There is one positive from the content removal for new players or free to play players that came in the form of the return of the Cosmodrome from the original Destiny. With it came a new small three to four hour campaign that acts as the new onboarding experience for players coming into the game for the first time. It’s vastly improved over the previous experience, as it does a really good job of introducing you to the world of Destiny and its characters but also hits you with the necessary grinds and gameplay loops you’ll need to get accustomed to so you can know what to expect when playing the game at a higher level.
While I genuinely think Beyond Light is some of the best Destiny 2 content there’s been since its launch, it comes with some setbacks that are hard to overlook. The expansion itself proves to me that Bungie is moving in the right direction for this game and Destiny 2 will be better than ever once some more engaging activities come to the endgame. But as it stands right now it’s hard to see myself keeping with the game once the expansion’s weekly gated content runs out probably by the end of December. I think they were a little too harsh on the content removal as it worries me how new players will react coming into the game without the Beyond Light expansion. There’s not a lot for free players to experience, and at the time of writing this, the previous two Destiny 2 expansions, Forsaken and Shadowkeep also have had their armor and weapons sunset. So playing through those experiences has little value right now and will hinder your progression but you still need to purchase them to play certain content like strikes or raids. Destiny 2 overall isn’t at its best but Beyond Light shows its potential like never before and I’m rooting on Bungie to get there.