The ebb and flow of time I have on my hands to both play and write about games has led to the situation you see before you: a review coming not only a long time after the release but also a long time after I’ve finished playing it. This has had something of an impact on my impression of the game as I’ve mulled over the thoughts I had about it when I was playing it vs how I feel about it now. To be honest I think one of the biggest feelings I have is guilt, born out of the knowledge that Witch Queen had a lot more to give but I just couldn’t give it enough time to see it all. Is this Bungie’s fault? Absolutely not, but my thoughts about this game are what they are even if their justification might not be applicable to everyone.
PLOT SPOILERS FOR WITCH QUEEN AND PREVIOUS SEASONS BELOW
The unthinkable has happened: Savathun, who was thought defeated after the removal of her worm by Mara Sov, has taken the power of the light for her own. This has then coincided with the return of the planet Mars after it was taken by the darkness and shortly after Savathun’s ship arrives along with the Cabal who are hell bent on destroying her. It is clear now that the lines between the light and the dark are becoming increasingly blurred and the actions you take from here on out are going to make you question what it is to be a guardian. What is asked of you won’t change however, humanity still needs you to defend it against all threats, even if those threats wield the light against you.
This being an expansion there’s quite a lot to chew on here with a lot of things being reworked, streamlined and a bunch of new mechanics and activities introduced to keep you going. Chief among these is the weapon crafting system which gives you the ability to build, modify and level up weapons without the need to engage in the endless activity grind for your chosen god roll. All void classes have been reworked to use the system that was brought in with Stasis, giving you a lot more control over your build and stats. There’s also been a number of quality of life improvements making it a lot less costly to play around with builds. There’s also the usual array of season changes and content injection that we’ve all come to expect with the same level of quality that makes it so compelling.
The real attraction though, for a player like me anyway, was the promise of an honest to goodness campaign that I could sink my teeth into. To be sure, whilst it’ll take a lot to dislodge Forsaken’s campaign in my mind, it’s still quite good. I have to admit getting sucked into the hype a little bit on /r/destinythegame with everyone saying it was the best one ever. To me it wasn’t, with a lot of the normal annoyances (like having to dive out of the campaign to grind gear) still being present. It also felt somewhat split brained given that you had both the seasonal content and the campaign running concurrently, which did muddy the campaign’s narrative pacing since you were always getting pulled in 2 directions.
I also liked the idea of the legendary campaign, offering up the chance to skip a good chunk of the powerful grind should you be able to test your mettle against a more challenging experience. For the first few missions I felt like it had the right level of difficulty but as things moved on the gap between the regular campaign and the legendary one became quite clear. Now I do admit that doing this solo is probably the hardest way to do it, as there are numerous times I was on the edge of completing a mission only to die right at the end to something preventable where a team mate would’ve been able to get us over the line. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the legendary campaign’s allure (skipping the grind) was really only going to be achievable by those who’ve engaged with the previous season’s grinds anyway and have the materials to splash on optimising their builds. Regardless I quickly realised the legendary one wasn’t for me and went for the much easier mode.
The Void 3.0 changes are, simply put, amazing. After a little bit of grinding to get the right mods and a few bits of gear fitted out right I had a build that was honestly pretty ludicrous. It also didn’t take me long to get the Funnelweb with a decent roll which had me being extremely competitive in pretty much any PVE activity I found myself in. I hadn’t even unlocked the final tier of mods in this season’s artefact either, which would’ve only made the build more potent. I’m using the one from Fanbyte’s guide here and the amount of ability spam I can get up to even without a double 100 build is honestly quite ridiculous. It’s probably not going to work well in the higher end content but that honestly didn’t matter for all the stuff I was playing.
Then I was shot back to reality: it was time to grind again. Now it wasn’t long ago that I was actually enjoying the grind somewhat; optimising my time in Destiny to get the most powerfuls I could whilst spending a good amount of time doing the things I actually enjoyed about the game. However this time around after cracking 1500 and seeing the absolutely staggering number of activities I’d have to do each week I kind of ran out of puff. I’ll be honest and say that part of this was my DOTA2 crew ramping back up again, which put a strain on the amount of time I could invest in the grind, but at the same time I got that same old sinking feeling of “What am I grinding for again?”. Back in the previous seasons it was to finally masterwork some gear and get a really competitive build. This time around though? I had that already and I’d had my fun with it. So instead of pushing through and resenting it I felt like it was probably time to move on.
Which leaves us here, over a month since I last spun Destiny 2 up and feeling somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing. To be sure there’s tons more to explore in there that I never really got around to doing but at the same time I don’t feel like I missed out on too much that really mattered to me anyway. The community seems to be in a pretty good spot with everything and the next season is right around the corner, so I’m sure they’re going to continune to be happy for a good long while. For me though? I dunno, I definitely won’t be getting anymore time into it before the next season and I’m doubtful as to how much time I might get to put into the next one anyway (which is a real shame since I, ya know, bought the deluxe edition). Perhaps things will change then and I’ll feel more motivated, I don’t really know. But in any case the draw to play Destiny sometime in the future is still there, I’m just not sure when it’ll crest the hill and make me hit the play button again.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is available on all current platforms for $59.95. Total playtime in this season was approximately 8 hours with a total of 272 hours playtime overall.