REVIEW: ‘Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’ Is Both Exciting and Disappointing (PS4)

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Shadowkeep

Destiny 2 released its new DLC, “Shadowkeep,” on October 1st of this year. Destiny 2 is a science fiction, action role-playing, first-person shooter that was first released in the fall of 2017. This DLC is the fourth expansion of Destiny 2, bringing with it a new planet, or rather a moon, to explore along with new PvP maps and new PvE activities. Although the fourth DLC, “Shadowkeep” does not require ownership of previous expansions in order to play.

As a Guardian—a hero of the last safe city on Earth—your attention turns to the moon as a new threat awakens. Eris Morn, a former hunter who guided your Guardian on a path to Crota’s destruction in Destiny, has returned and unleashed something deep within the moon. There is a darkness that has long slumbered beneath the moon’s surface that is beginning to stir.

It brings with it remnants of the past: waking Nightmares that torment the living and reshape reality itself. As a Guardian, you’ll need to destroy these Nightmares that have taken the form of previously defeated enemies. Even though you defeated them once before, these adversaries have now been imbued with greater power and new mechanics are required to defeat these familiar, yet new enemies.

Destiny 2’s Shadowkeep Campaign:

Shadowkeep

Players have not been able to explore the moon since the first Destiny game. So, most people were excited to hear that Destiny 2 was bringing the moon back as an explorable location. With the return of the moon, “Shadowkeep” has bought back both new and old content. Guardians get to travel back to the Hellmouth and into The Scarlet Keep. Old enemies are reborn as Nightmares with new mechanics to figure out.

Overall, the campaign is enjoyable. It’s got a very spooky feel to it with the ghosts of dead Guardians haunting you at every step. Shadows of Hive crawl across the walls when you least expect it. Eris Morn herself is haunted by past Guardians as she slowly goes insane. We even get a bit more information on the Darkness that has always been one of the main antagonists lurking in the background of the Destiny games.

However, at the same time, it seems rather cheap. The moon map is very similar to that in the first Destiny game. There are a few new areas and more extensive underground areas which mostly consist of lost sectors to explore. With the reuse of the old map and old enemies, it feels rather lazy. The main campaign is also rather short.

Despite this, the use of old elements makes the return to Destiny‘s moon rather familiar. For those who played the first Destiny game and loved it, this DLC brings back great memories. I for one have some very fond memories of playing with friends and exploring the moon.  Our return to the moon in Destiny 2 almost feels like coming home after a long trip. This reminiscing almost makes up for the lack-luster main campaign.

Of course, there’s more to “Shadowkeep” than just the main campaign. There are a plethora of new quests that will drop powerful guns and armor. As usual, these quests continue the story and add more lore and information to the Destiny world. “Shadowkeep” has also brought with it changes to the Crucible, Nightfall, and new PvE encounters such as Vex Offensive and a future raid and dungeon.

Character Changes:

First and foremost, with the drop of “Shadowkeep,” all characters have been boosted to a light level of 750. However, the main campaign starts at a light level of 760. So, if you start the campaign straight away, you’ll technically be under-leveled.

We also see the return of character traits, such as intellect and strength, that are reminiscent of the first Destiny game. With these traits, you actually get to physically see the cooldown time for various abilities, such as your super and melee, where in the past you just had to guess how long it would take for you super to return.

We also get two new slots on the character screen. One is for a Seasonal Artifact which you don’t have access to right away. You have to level up the Season Pass, which I’ll talk about later in this article, to rank 7 before being able to use this slot. The artifact for this season, the Season of the Undying, is the Gate Lord’s Eye. As you rank up, so does the Seasonal Artifact. The higher your rank, the more seasonal mods you have access to. There are a total of 25 mods you can unlock but only 12 of them can be active at once. Once you choose a mod, you’re stuck with it. You can, however, reset your Seasonal Artifact which removes all mods for a price of 10,000 Glimmer. But multiple resets are costly because of the price for each reset increases.

We also get another new slot for Finishers. These allow you to run up to a wounded enemy, press R3 on a console and perform a flashy move that finishes the enemy off. There are a variety of Finishers that you can get, especially if you level up your Season Pass. Although there isn’t anything special about these Finishers on a mechanic level, they are pretty cool on an aesthetic level.

Armor mods have also changed with this new DLC. Armor now has up to three mod slots. However, in order to place multiple mods on an armor piece, you have to upgrade your armor. This allows for multiple modifiers to be added to armor now but requires greater cost to attach these modifiers than previously.

All these changes to the character screen and stats have so far been quite positive.

Lost Sectors:

Shadowkeep

As for any explorable location, there are lost sectors to explore on the moon. The first Destiny game did not have lost sectors so this is some new content Bungie has added. However, although lost sectors are not new to Destiny 2, they have changed up the mechanics of the lost sectors on the moon. Lost sectors on other planets allow you to quickly run in, dodge around enemies, and head straight to the boss. Of course, this can be hard if you’re not a high enough light level. But this design allows people of a higher level forced to complete lost sectors for a quest to get these steps done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The lost sectors on the moon work a bit differently. Three of the four available lost sectors set up barriers so that you can’t move past a certain point until you’ve killed all the enemies in an area. Given that there are three or four barriers per lost sector, this slows players down considerably. It makes sense on a game mechanic level, making things harder for the players and requiring more effort on their part to get rewards. However, it’s an awful pain when you have quests that require you to go through lost sectors multiple times to complete them. So, if you thought the grind was bad before, it’s worse on the moon.

Season Pass:

Destiny 2 has taken inspiration from Fortnite’s Battle Pass and created what they’re calling a ‘Season Pass’. Thankfully, the first Season Pass is free with the purchase of “Shadowkeep.” Buying a Season Pass allows you access to a host of possible rewards that you unlock by leveling up and gaining experience points.

Although there are some good rewards and I’ve only gotten up to level 11 on the Season Pass, I have yet to really feel the need to pay attention to the Season Pass. Whether or not access to this Season Pass becomes absolutely necessary or a good investment will really need to be judged as the season progresses.

Crucible:

Shadowkeep

With this new DLC, we have a few new maps added to the Crucible. In total, three new maps have been added, two of which are maps originating from the original Destiny game: Twilight Gap and Widow’s Court. In my opinion, these maps are two of the better maps from the original Destiny‘s Crucible. They play great and allow for a combination of both long-distance encounters and close-quarter engagements.

Crucible game types have also been revamped. Instead of Quickplay and Competitive to choose from, which cycled through various game types without allowing players to pick, Crucible now allows players to play in queues of single-game types. However, if you miss Quickplay or Competitive, Crucible does offer a Classic Mix, containing game types such as Clash, Control, and Supremacy, along with 3v3 Survival.

Power ammo has also changed in the Crucible. Everyone now also has the chance to get power ammo when it spawns on the map. In previous Crucible matches, only one person could grab heavy ammo when it spawned. Now when power ammo spawns, and after the first player takes the ammo, all other players have up to 7 seconds to also grab power ammo. However, the later you grab it, the less ammo you get.

Nightfall:

Shadowkeep

The Nightfall has also been changed up a bit. You still have the ability to choose between multiple nightfalls, however, there is now a new Nightfall called The Ordeal that has its own place in the Strike menu. This new Nightfall allows you to choose between preset difficulties for the Nightfall as shown above. This is different from the usual method of changing the difficulty by altering the Nightfall Challenge Card. Difficulties for this new Nightfall range from a light level of 750 to 980, with modifiers assigned to each difficulty level to make each one more and more challenging. Of course, the harder the difficulty, the better the rewards.

Upcoming:

Shadowkeep

Not all the content promised in Shadowkeep is out yet. We’ve been promised a new dungeon but we’ll have to wait until the end of the month to get access to that. As of October 5th, a new raid and a new PvE activity called the Vex Offensive have been released. Although I have not had the opportunity to play either of these activities yet, given the outstanding work done on the Last Wish raid, I can only hope for similar results. I am also excited to see how these two activities add to the story we got with “Shadowkeep.”

Besides the short, underwhelming main campaign, the only other negative experience with this new DLC was not being able to play the first day of launch. The servers were up for a few hours until Bungie had to take down all the servers for emergency repair. This was especially irksome since Bungie pushed the launch date of “Shadowkeep” back by two weeks and even took servers down for a full 24hrs prior to launch. But, disregarding the launch day problems, there haven’t been any problems since.

The campaign was entertaining even though it felt redundant due to the reuse of old enemies and was rather short for something so anticipated. Returning to the moon brought back great memories and it’s wonderful to have Eris Morn back. The changes that have been done to the character screen, the Crucible, and the Nightfall have all been pretty positive so far. I also expect that the dungeon and raid will bring more to this DLC pack.

Only time will tell if this DLC flunks or if it reaches new heights.

Destiny 2’s Shadowkeep is available on PlayStation4, Xbox One, and PC.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

The campaign was entertaining even though it felt redundant due to the reuse of old enemies and was rather short for something so anticipated. Returning to the moon brought back great memories and it’s wonderful to have Eris Morn back… Only time will tell if this DLC flunks or if it reaches new heights.