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Crucible Chronicles — A Forsaken review

Being a true account of the author’s trials and travails in Destiny 2 PvP

Vol. 2

Destiny 2: Forsaken went live roughly a week ago, and I’ve been playing through it. Having finished the campaign on two characters and made it to the Dreaming City, the new endgame destination, I now feel qualified to write a review. But be advised: I’m disorganized, and this is a blog (as in, not part of my actual job here), so be ready for it to be a little scattershot. Just sayin’.

The campaign is great. It’s long, reasonably challenging, and the story is actually pretty good. Our Guardian has a voice again, though you don’t really hear much of it. The Tangled Shore is a truly worthy addition to the game’s collection of overworld spaces. It’s well designed and fun to run around in, even after you’ve finished the campaign.

I really like Forsaken’s focus on the Fallen. I found the Red Legion (in the base game) to be a rather dull lot, the sort of folks you’d pick up in a store that sold pre-fab villains. The Fallen, by contrast, are mysterious and genuinely creepy, and it’s clear the developers had fun formulating the look of the Barons.

I also like that we’re exploring, vis a vis Petra Venj and Uldren, the Awoken. I must admit, maybe it’s something I missed from the first game, but I had no idea who the Awoken were and how they fit in with humanity and Exos.

Random rolls are awesome. As one of those non-D1-playing plebs, never have I known the subtle (and overt) charms of random rolls. In fact, I was a defender of fixed rolls — that is, until I got my god-rolled (or perhaps demi-god, not sure) Dust Rock Blues, a new legendary shotgun. It came with accurized rounds, Slideshot (sliding temporarily boosts stability and range, and reloads a portion of the mag) and Snapshot Sights (near-instant ADS speed).

Then I got a legit, no-bones-about-it god roll on a Bad Reputation, an energy smg. And then I got a really nice roll on a PvE shotgun, the Badlander, which rolled with Slideshot and Rampage (boosted damage after a kill, stacks up to three times). And THEN I got … OK, OK, I just need to do a separate entry on my favorite rolls so far, because I already have enough of them for a solid 600 words.

The bows feel amazing to use. Seriously, gg, Bungie; you nailed this particular element. I have two bows so far, and have been told another is available as a random drop from the Gunsmith starting today (Tues., Sept. 11). I had around 3,000 gunsmith materials saved up before Forsaken, and have played the God Roll slot machine with around 2,000 of those, so I’m glad I have around 1,000 left (which will yield about 10 engrams) to try to get that new bow!

As regards characters, I started the campaign on my Warlock. I know, I know. What happened to Hunter life? I dunno; just wanted something different, I suppose. I was a support main in Overwatch, and so the new Dawnblade super, Well of Radiance, is really appealing to me. Having just gotten it, I can confirm the healing and buffs from it are very strong.

But yeah, that super kind of sucks in PvP. All the enemy team has to do is run away from you. GG. Oh well. So, I did the story a second time, on my Hunter, going with the new Gunslinger skill tree, and it is excellent in PvP. It basically one-shots opposing supers, and since it activates and strikes all at once, you don’t telegraph to the enemy that you’re about to shut them down (unlike Golden Gun, which you can see and hear coming from a mile away). I also like the Playing with Fire ability; if you play your cards right, you can keep your melee ability up a lot of the time, which is great, because it’s more forgiving than the throwing knife on the other two Gunslinger skill trees.

The new infusion process and requirements are … weird. And, it seems, cumbersome. Now, infusing one thing into another may take up to four distinct currencies: Glimmer, Legendary Shards, Planetary Materials and Masterwork Cores. That’s right, infusing some non-masterworked items now requires Masterwork cores. No … no, I don’t know why, either. I thought the old infusion system was fine, but apparently, people (many of whom I’m guessing don’t have to work for a living) thought the new system needs be waaayyy more grindy. Too bad for me. I have a feeling this arrangement may not last, judging by the number of complaints I’ve seen on the forums (like, posts with thousands of upvotes), especially about the fact that Masterwork cores are now needed.

The mod system, however, is quite superior to the first iteration. Now, with armor mods being universal (and not tied to a certain element), you don’t have to maintain three separate sets of armor for each playlist depending on whether, for example, as a Hunter, you feel like running Gunslinger, Nightstalker or Arcstrider. And this is good because mods in general are definitely much more rare. Which, again, is good. Loot actually feels valuable again!

And this goes for exotics, too. I’m saying this with absolute conviction because, more than one week from launch, I have yet to see a single one drop. Now, when an exotic drops, it’s going to feel … exotic. Imagine that!

The new PvP weapon slot changes are a stroke of genius; this is something involved enough that I’ll cover it separately, but for now I’ll just say that it’s an elegant solution to a complex problem that, for the most part, pleases both groups (i.e. players who wanted D1’s system back, and those who wanted to keep D2’s system).

The Dreaming City is a fantastic endgame destination. Besides being gorgeous, it’s huge, and seems to contain weird little secrets in every nook and cranny. And the enemies are, uh, pretty damn strong! About half the places I go and events I jump into have adds that are a legit one-shot threat. A couple of buddies and I tried to run the Ascendant Challenge last night, and just couldn’t make it happen. We were all around 510 power level, and the recommended level is 560. Feelsbadman. No, wait, it doesn’t. Actually, it’s great. Everything about Destiny 2 up to this point felt a little, well, too easy. In Forsaken, the challenge is definitely there in spades.

Finally, Gambit is awesome. A hybrid PvE-PvP mode would seem a sort of obvious thing for a game with both PvE and PvP, but to this point, it hadn’t been done. And “obvious” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.” So, kudos to Bungie for really bringing it home with Gambit. I’ll write more on this brand-new gametype later, but for now, I’ll simply say that it’s engaging, exciting, and I’m greatly enjoying it. It’s a super-dense, substantial icing on an already delicious cake.

Overall, I’d give Forsaken an “A” rating. Bungie knew they needed to hit the longball this time, but man, a few minor complaints notwithstanding, they knocked it out of the park. Seriously, this is just damn good. If you are a lapsed Destiny player and are looking for a reason to come back to the game, Forsaken is it.