We’re eight months into Destiny 2 at this point and the highly popular shooter remains a fairly divisive game in the community. Since launch, Bungie has been working to essentially turn the ship around and slowly but surely, it seems to be getting there.
Warmind is the latest expansion to arrive for the shooter, and with it comes expectations that have grown and grown, whether fair or not. So how does the experience hold up? Is this the content which saves the game?
In a short answer, no. When combined with Curse of Osiris, Destiny 2 has essentially followed the same pattern as its predecessor by launching two smaller expansions within the first 8 months post-launch.
Warmind takes players back to Mars, though this time they find themselves in the Hellas Basin, a colder region of the Red Planet. It’s here that the warmind Rasputin has reawoken and is now being threatened by an icy band of Hive, who have started to break out of the polar ice caps, threatening its very existence.
Yes, the Hive. They’re back. While many rumors hinted at a new enemy race to fight, players actually go up against the same familiar enemies as we’ve seen through both Destiny games. The one tiny difference here is that these versions are gifted with ice-type abilities. The campaign itself is slightly longer than what we were given in Curse of Osiris, and all of the new strikes are essentially just story missions from the expansion. Well, PlayStation players get an extra strike that is 100% unique, so they’re the exception this time.
I thought the campaign was fine, a little better than Curse of Osiris, but ultimately not headlining material. It’s really not the reason you should decide whether or not to buy this expansion. The final boss fight was kinda cool and different, but the storytelling itself was a disappointment.
Whether it’s Bungie or one of the many Activision studios working on Destiny content, my biggest issue is that they never feel like they go far enough with anything. On paper, many of these expansions have great ideas, but somewhere along the way, something gets lost in translation.
Let’s look at Destiny 2 for example, which now has given us two expansions which have left folks underwhelmed on various levels. Curse of Osiris initially promised us a look at a completely new area with the Vex controlled Mercury, as well as the legendary Warlock Osiris. In actuality, Mercury is a tiny zone and Osiris only shows up for like 10% of the expansion. Then once you’re done with the short campaign, he basically vanishes never to be seen again.
With Warmind, the same is mostly true. It brings all these interesting ideas to the table with Rasputin and the Bray family, names longtime players have heard from since the very first game like Clovis Bray, Elsie Bray, and Anastasia Bray. Players finally get to meet up with Ana Bray, this mythical gunslinger Hunter thought long dead. She’s alive and clearly badass, but in this case, she basically unlocks a door for you and then becomes your new token merchant on Mars. I guess at least she’s still around for you to talk to, but still…
In either case, if you’re not going to use these figures in cool ways outside of badass CGI trailers, why use them at all? To me, it seems like a waste. From a fan perspective, I want Bungie to go further with this story content. They have great ideas, but the execution is lacking. Let Osiris and Ana contribute in a more meaningful way or at least find a way to somehow better integrate them into the experience.
I will say that Hellas Basin is a great addition and it strongly reminds me of a Destiny 1 location. That’s a compliment in this case because not only can you use your sparrow here (Looking at you Mercury…) but it’s visually interesting and FILLED with secrets. Yes, it has all the stuff you expect like patrol beacons, public events, and chests to find, but it also has a bunch of cool secrets that remind me of the Dreadnaught from Destiny’s Taken King expansion. In order to unlock many of them, players need to track down keys, finish rituals, or do something that requires a bit of thinking. It’s exactly what the base game is missing.
Certain collectables hidden throughout the zone are also color-coded to a specific element, so players can only “collect” them by shooting at it with a solar, arc, kinetic, or void weapon. Others require players to first create an override key by performing some action or defeating a certain amount of enemies. It’s these type of long-term quests that makes me want to come back and explore time after time. I feel like I’m working towards a bigger component. I hope this is an element that Bungie utilizes in upcoming expansions and content.
One of the big gameplay additions is called Escalation Protocol, a public event meets horde mode that players can undertake on Mars once the main campaign is finished. The event itself is set at 370 power, a number which is going to require a lot of grinding to hit as the soft cap is now at 345, which is significantly underpowered for this. As such, I haven’t been able to progress too far through the seven levels, but if I see players triggering this, I’ll hop in to help out.
Unfortunately, the mode isn’t rewarding as it only rewards drops at the ends of waves three, five, and seven. Wave seven, the final one, features the best loot so you could certainly argue that participating in this is largely a waste of time. I know, I still don’t care. At the very least, it’s helping me progress through some of my Warmind rituals like killing X amount of Hive or headshotting X amount of Cabal. At least I’m still working towards something.
I should also point out that I have not actually attempted the new Raid Lair, so I can’t actually comment on that. I actually don’t feel super compelled to jump in on it.
Ultimately, I feel like Warmind is a better expansion than Curse of Osiris. Honestly, though, that’s not saying all that much considering how low expectations have become. If you’re looking for a robust experience that truly changes the way Destiny 2 is played then…well…this isn’t it. Fan expectations tell me that I should be expecting that in September when the Taken King style expansion is likely launched.
Warmind may not be the home run that fans were hoping for, but it is a step in the right direction. Yes, most of the cool additions came in the free update but Warmind has caused me to log in more consistently than Curse of Osiris ever did, so that has to count for something right? Here’s hoping that Bungie and Activision’s stable of developers can continue to head in this positive direction.