REVIEW: ‘Destiny 2: The Witch Queen’ Is Destiny at Its Best (PC)

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Destiny 2 The Witch Queen - But Why Tho

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is the latest expansion in the looter shooter Destiny series that has been around since the original Destiny game was released in 2014. Destiny 2 is a sci-fi, action role-playing, first-person shooter developed by Bungie. With the last two expansions, “Shadowkeep” and “Beyond Light,” being met with mixed reactions, it was vital for Bungie to hit a grand slam with “The Witch Queen.”

The entirety of the Destiny series can be summed by the phrase: “lots of potential.” There have been countless interesting storylines that were never fully explored or mechanics that either were never expanded on or ended up being nerfed out of existence. Destiny 2 has, except for the “Forsaken” expansion, always felt like a good idea that never did enough to be excellent truly. I say all of this as someone who has played since the launch of Destiny and has over 2,000 hours in Destiny 2 alone. It’s not that the franchise is bad; it’s just that it needed to finally live up to the potential that was always hiding right beneath the surface.

Thankfully, “The Witch Queen” has so far delivered on every front. First and foremost, “The Witch Queen” finally brought players a story that felt completely fleshed out and helped tie up loose ends that have been out there for years. Second, Savathûn, the titular Witch Queen, has arrived, bringing a whole new threat to the Guardians. Players will delve into Savathûn’s Throne World, working to uncover how she and her Lucent Hive stole the Light, a power given by the Traveler previously only available to humanity, and have been using it as their own. New enemy types use the same powers players have had for years, which adds a whole new layer of challenging combat and intriguing story beats. Working with characters that have been around since the start of the franchise, players are in for some excellent twists and turns in this top-tier campaign.

Savathûn herself feels like a genuine threat, arguably the first real story villain that has felt that way in the franchise. The lore behind her is deep and has been vaguely explored since early in the series, but seeing her in the flesh was truly breathtaking. The character design and the writing (which started in the last season of Destiny 2) have created a truly remarkable and powerful villain. Alongside fighting Savathûn, a new patrol location is introduced known as Savathûn’s Throne World. Holy cow, does it deliver. Savathûn’s Throne World feels as intimidating and evil as Savathûn herself, but it is also a beauty to explore. The attention to detail throughout Throne World is top-notch, and every location within it feels unique and incredibly interesting.

An excellent story and new location aren’t all that “The Witch Queen” brings to the table. For the first time in Destiny 2, “The Witch Queen” introduces the Legendary story difficulty. While players still can complete the story on the normal difficulty, the Legendary mode ups the ante and provides a genuine challenge while also giving worthwhile rewards. The story itself remains the same, but the way players engage with the content feels completely different. You won’t be able to storm your way through hordes of enemies but will instead be required to take a more tactical approach. It is an extremely welcomed addition missing in prior expansions, giving even more reason to play through the story on multiple characters.

Of all of the new additions in “The Witch Queen,” the introduction of weapon crafting is by far my favorite. Players can now unlock different weapon frames, which they can forge and level up to unlock new perks. Instead of farming content for random rolls, players now have a more focused way to earn the powerful weapons they are looking for. Along with the new glaive weapon type, this all helps increase the pool of weapons worth using in the more challenging end-game content. Bungie previously attempted to force users to change weapon metas by sunsetting weapons. Still, that decision quickly proved terrible since the new options were simply not as good, and players still flocked to only a few choices. Now, there are so many genuinely good options for players to create and enjoy using. Crafting resources can be a bit of a pain to acquire, but the rewards are more than worth it.

Not every change in “The Witch Queen” is good, however. One of the biggest changes is how “orbs of light” are created. Orbs have several uses but are primarily used to gain super energy to unleash powerful moves that can help turn the tide of battle. While orbs used to be created by all masterworked weapons—weapons that had been fully upgraded—now they require armor modifications to be made. The problem is those mods take up handy space that was previously used to flesh out end-game character builds. Having to waste an armor mod slot or two for something that was once created without those mods is frustrating, and it is a change I hope Bungie either reverts or modifies. Nevertheless, despite this frustration, the rest of “The Witch Queen” has a lot to offer.

While there is still more to come with “The Witch Queen,” in the form of the new raid launching on March 5th, the content given in the base expansion is simply Destiny at its absolute best. The campaign is by far the best of the series, both in terms of storytelling and gameplay itself, and might be one of my favorite shooter campaigns of all time. The bar has been raised going forward; the only question is whether or not Bungie can keep it up from here.

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is available now on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.


Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

While there is still more to come with “The Witch Queen,” in the form of the new raid launching on March 5th, the content given in the base expansion is simply Destiny at its absolute best. The campaign is by far the best of the series, both in terms of storytelling and gameplay itself, and might be one of my favorite shooter campaigns of all time. The bar has been raised going forward; the only question is whether or not Bungie can keep it up from here.