Before I talk about Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, let me first briefly talk about my experience with Destiny in general…
Back in the early days of the PS4, there hadn’t been a great number of games released to keep me occupied. Destiny looked interesting even though it wasn’t my normal type of game as I didn’t play many FPS titles and I didn’t like multiplayer. However, due to the lack of games, I decided to give it a go – starting with the Alpha. Initial impressions were that it seemed fun enough and so when Destiny came out, I jumped in and started playing by myself. While I could have very easily completed the campaign and never picked it up again, something happened during that first week. People from my friend list started jumping into my game. I started talking to them and found I was actually having fun talking and playing together.
This was the start of my addiction, two years later I was still playing Destiny and my backlog of other games was getting bigger and bigger. It was perfectly normal to just jump into the game of someone on my friend list and get chatting to them while we played the day away. I developed a big group of regulars to play with and basically jumped straight into a chat as soon as I got home from work. Destiny was a grind to reach max level and the gameplay was very limited and repetitive back then while we waited for additional content to be released. I think if it wasn’t for the people, I wouldn’t have kept playing anywhere near as long as I did.
It was a pure addiction, we weren’t eating or sleeping – Destiny had us hooked bad. People hated themselves for how the game had a grasp on themselves as in some ways, they knew it was bad for them, but they couldn’t stop playing.
By the end of the second year and with Destiny 2 still a year away, the gaps in content allowed a lot of people to get ‘clean’. So, when Destiny 2 did come out, not everyone picked it up as they didn’t want to lose their one year chip. Plus by this point, the PS4 was well into its life cycle and there was plenty of other games to play that didn’t require repetitive grinding while waiting for new content.
When Destiny 2 came out I took a week off work ready to be pulled back into the grind. For that first week I played non-stop again, I was straight into the Leviathan raid as soon as it came out. Then something happened, I stopped playing. The people who I had enjoyed playing with were not there, I wasn’t too into the people I was playing with and it wasn’t the same. Over the last two years, I have picked up all the expansions as they have come out, although not always on day one.
While there have been some moments where I have played consistently, and some of the old guys were convinced to come back to the game, it never stuck. With Bungie taking control back from Activision, was Shadowkeep to be the expansion that brought the addiction back. Read on to find out…
That wizard came from the moon
Shadowkeep marks the start of the third year of Destiny 2 and the start of Season 8, bringing with it the ability to cross-save so you could use your guardians on any platform. Bungie also wanted to make Destiny 2 more accessible to new gamers by releasing a free to play version on all platforms, including the upcoming Google Stadia.
New players now get an origin story based on the start of Destiny in the Cosmodrome, so that they’re not just thrown straight into the middle of a story with no idea of how they got there. If someone decides to come back to Destiny 2, they’re also no longer required to buy and catch up on all the previous expansions before they can play the new story with their friends, which is a nice addition as it did put people off coming back. With the free to play version, you can play all the ‘year one’ expansions but the ‘year two’ ones are not free at this time – so, if you pay for the current season then you’ll have all of year one and the start of year three available to play.
The light level of your guardians and all the gear you have collected is automatically raised to 750, which is nice as you no longer have to catch up to the light level required before starting off, leaving all your old gear at a much lower level for you to manually upgrade. However, you’ll need to upgrade all your gear eventually as the new light level rises to around 200 light higher than what you will be starting off with, but that’s how the game works, at least you have a full arsenal at 750 to choose from initially.
Just stay dead already
Shadowkeep sees the return of Eris Morn who has been absent from the tower for quite some time. Eris has been on the moon and discovered this black pyramid ship deep below. You may remember this ship from the end of the Destiny 2 campaign, well it’s finally time to find out what it’s all about. The moon is a new planet for Destiny 2, it’s very recognisable from Destiny but it has been changed with the arrival of the nightmares, a new enemy to face. They have changed the hive making nightmare versions of the hive enemies, similar to the taken versions in a previous expansion.
Shadowkeep also brings the return of Crota, who we killed in the original Destiny, and other familiar bosses such as Omnigul. The moon has a new strike and raid to complete so that you can get the best gear once your light level is up to the recommended light level of 950.
As if the Hive resurrecting weren’t enough, the Vex are also trying to take over the moon and have left the Black Garden. Fight against Vex incursions on the Moon and also take part in a new six-player match made activity the Vex Offensive Arena, where you battle together to take down waves of Vex before the timer runs out for rewards.
Shadowkeep also introduces something new in the form of a finishing move for your guardians. When your enemies health is low enough, a round symbol appears above them – by pressing R3 you can perform the finishing move you have equipped. This is quite fun and at least adds something new to your moves as there are no new subclasses in this expansion. Also strangely, there are no new trophies. While Bungie doesn’t add them for every expansion, they do usually add them for the big one at the yearly point, so this is a bit disappointing for the people who grind daily and want the additional trophies after they have the platinum.
Always making improvements
I remember when Destiny came out and my friend bought me the strategy guide. It was rendered useless pretty quick due to the regular changes that Bungie made to the game, rebalancing weapons and that type of thing. They are always trying to make the game more fun and fair, if there is something that’s op – they do address it. You really do have to applaud them for always working to make the game better.
Notable changes I have noticed are; in Gambit, if you draw at the end of the first two rounds, you no longer have to do the third round as such. Now, both teams get a Primeval straight away and the team that beats it the quickest wins – this is much better as the full third round could always seem a grind if the teams were not evenly matched and you just wanted it to be over. In Crucible, the Quick Play option is gone and all different crucible game types are listed separately, again, so you know what you are getting rather than guaranteeing a quick match up with a full team in a random PVP activity.
So, is Shadowkeep enough to bring back my addiction? Well no, it’s not. While it’s still a good addition, with its new story, quests, gameplay and lore, my last ‘Destiny’ friend has stopped playing and moved on to the Division 2. There are still plenty of people playing Destiny 2 but I don’t really have the desire to make new friends and start over. Plus, I kind of like having a life outside the game and Destiny requires commitment if you want to get the most out of it, it really needs to be the only game you play.
While I don’t mind jumping in to work through the new story or play a bit of gambit or crucible, it’s not enough to get me hooked again. The raids were what I really enjoyed playing with my group and these days, there just aren’t enough people on my friend list to play it with. Sure, there are the guided game beta that allows matchmaking on the raids now, but you don’t know who you’ll get, meaning raids can take hours if you get a team that doesn’t know what they are doing.
If you are still playing Destiny 2 and have a good clan then Shadowkeep is a good expansion, but then you would have probably already bought it by now if you’re a regular so you don’t need me to recommend it! Shadowkeep isn’t a bad price if you fancy gearing up your guardian for a trip down memory lane as you run around shooting things, or to play a bit of PVP as a casual player, just don’t expect to get the good gear without putting in the hours.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep£29.99
- - New story, new strike, new raid, always worth playing as Bungie do it well
- - Finishing moves adds a little something new
- - Improvements to the base gameplay
- - Where are the trophies at Bungie?
- - Patrol is still a boring thing
- - Requires friends to be playing to make the most of the experience (in my opinion)