Destiny 2: Beyond Light Review
March 15, 2021
Since 2014, Destiny has been a game franchise that has been praised for many of its features, but also criticized for its problems. Even in the hardest times for the game, like the beginning of Destiny 2, released in 2017, Bungie (The developers) have always been able to bounce back with a new plan or strategy to make Destiny one of the best games on the market. But where are they now? What’s going on with Destiny, and what went wrong and what went right with “Beyond Light”?.
For those who are unaware, Destiny, along with Destiny 2 are games made by Bungie, the creators of the famous Halo games. The Destiny franchise belongs to the “looter shooter” genre of games, where you shoot enemies, and you loot them! In the games, defeating enemies, which are aliens for the most part, can drop new weapons and armor. Your player in the game, also known as a Guardian, wields a power known as The Light which basically gives them superhuman powers and grants them immortality. As a guardian, the player uses their weapons and powers to defend the last remaining city on Earth from extraterrestrial threats. These mechanics are what make the game special, and it’s what makes Destiny, Destiny.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light focuses on Europa, the moon of Jupiter. On this frozen moon, a civilization of aliens that are known as the Fallen. These fallen are attempting to uncover the secrets of an old human colony on the planet, and while doing so, uncover The Darkness, which is basically the opposite of the Light that the Guardians use. The leader of the Fallen, Eramis, attempts to use the Darkness to get revenge against the guardians for all the wrong that they have done the fallen in the past. It’s up to the guardians to learn their new powers, uncover the secrets buried beneath the surface of Europa, and defeat Eramis and her house of Darkness.
When the first Destiny game was released in 2014, it had major issues. A nonsensical story, weird game mechanics, and just not a whole lot to do. Bungie had a plan to come back from this bad launch, and Released Destiny: The Taken King, which is regarded as one of the best expansions to ever be released for the Destiny franchise throughout its 6 years. Eventually, a sequel was released, fittingly named Destiny 2, and was in a very bad state at launch. Again, Bungie botched a launch of a game, but was eventually able to correct it by the second year of its game. Now we’re in Year 4 with the release of Beyond Light on November 10th, 2020. Did Bungie succeed or botch Beyond Light? Well, it certainly wasn’t botched, but it did have it’s issues. Let’s start with the good first.
Beyond Light delivers a pretty good campaign. It moves in a logical direction of taking out different bad guys across the Europan tundra. Europa as a location is fantastic, and is the largest location ever added to the game. The moon provides many different activities and secrets for players to explore. The new gear that the player gets offers more options for unique strategies to take out different enemies in the game. Possibly my favorite part of Beyond Light is the music. Destiny has always had phenomenal music during it’s 6 year lifespan, and Beyond Light definitely delivers with an excellent soundtrack. Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin and the rest of the team obviously put their heart and soul into making some of the best music that I have personally heard in a video game. Seriously. My favorite has to be “Deep Stone Lullaby”, but every single one of the tracks is amazing! The combination of a symphony and “techno” styles works very well here and it adds to the general ambiance of Europa’s beautiful environments, whether you’re traversing an icy cave deep below the surface or jumping across solar panels on a space station in orbit, the music is simply fantastic. Beyond Light offers some great additions to the game, but also took a lot away from what the game had previously.
When Beyond Light was first announced back in June of 2020, it was announced that ~40% of the game would be going away when the expansion launched, and would be put into the Destiny Content Vault (DCV) for potential reuse at another date. Bungie’s reasoning behind this was that the content they were removing wasn’t being played much, if at all, and removing the content would free up space for new content. When November 10th came around, that content finally left. This was a much bigger blow than the community anticipated, taking away destinations, activities, and weapons that they had previously fallen in love with. This caused a major issue where there just wasn’t enough content to play and loot to find and use when Beyond Light launched and is still a contentious point to this day, almost 4 months after the expansion launched.
Players also took a major issue with the new power given to them, Stasis. At launch, Stasis was very good in the cooperative game modes and borderline broken in the competitive player vs player game modes. This is still an issue to this day, where Stasis is just much better than everything else in the game. Luckily, Bungie has acknowledged this and is continuing to work to balance the field and make the game more fair for all players.
Beyond Light serves as a turning point for Destiny. Back in 2014, people thought that Destiny would continue to grow more and more with each expansion. Now, we know that’s not the case. Beyond Light isn’t as much about building up more of the game, but tearing it down to it’s foundation, so it can completely rebuild itself for future expansions. At the end of the day, people are going to be upset no matter what happens, since people think they can run Destiny better than Bungie. But for me, Beyond Light is possibly the most important expansion that Bungie has ever released, and whether we wanted or not, we’re stuck with the path that we’re on.
I really enjoyed Beyond Light and I find myself playing Destiny more than ever now, probably more than I should, but the expansion had issues. The lack of loot hurt the game at launch, and it’s still recovering. Destiny fans are just going to have to wait and see what Bungie brings to the table later this year with Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, and in 2022 with Destiny 2: Lightfall.