This review was almost never written.

Destiny and I go way back, all the way to the start. There’s only a handful of games that I’ve come back to over that long of a time but for all of them it’s always somewhat bittersweet. These games inevitably change what they are, leaving behind the experience that first brought you to it. There always comes a point where I ask myself if I should even bother, especially when it’s clear that the roads that the game and I are on have diverged so much that we might just not be compatible anymore. I’ve said that multiple times with Destiny before but, still, I find myself drawn back. This time though it was for that payoff I’ve been waiting some 10 years for, the one that caps off the current overarching plot that’s been driving the game since day 1. I’m glad I did too, even if I’m left here with that grating feeling of cognitive dissonance: I’ve reached an end with Destiny 2, but I still don’t want to let go.

The day has come, the Witness has begun the creation of its vision: The Final Shape. A universe which is held static, given divine purpose by the Witness’ desire to end the seemingly pointless cycles driven by the Traveler’s light. The hole the Witness ripped in the Traveller has stopped all those who’ve tried to enter it and so in a last ditch effort Crow, along with the help from the last Ahamakara, wishes himself inside hoping that the bond he shares with his sister will allow others to follow. Thankfully succeeding you follow close behind, seeking to track down the Witness and break its grip on the Traveller. This is the greatest threat that you’ve ever faced Guardian, coming face to face with the strongest wielder of the darkness you’ve ever known.

Jumping back in after a year it felt like there hadn’t been any drastic changes to the overall formula, at least on the surface. The campaign is the first “linear” one that Bungie has put forth, essentially locking you into smaller sections of the map rather than giving you free reign over a new zone. I didn’t mind this honestly as it meant spending a lot less time platforming and following the compass than I’d done in previous expansions. Of course there was the new Prismatic subclass, a host of new weapons, a new faction of enemies, changes to the weekly rewards system to a new “Pathfinder” mechanic and even more power creep coming from a range of new perks/mods/seasonal artefact enhancements. For those who’ve been playing as long as I have all of this will feel familiar, even if it’s just more layers of similar things.

The core of the gameplay is still as solid as it ever was. After reviewing my armor, tweaking a few mods whilst replacing those that didn’t exist anymore, I was able to quickly find my feet again with my old build. Now the game doesn’t explicitly say that you need to use the new primastic class when you get it but there definitely feels like there’s a lot of pressure to from a mechanics perspective. But if you, like me, were feeling rather underpowered with that new class (even after tweaking it as much as you could) the game will not hard block you for doing so. Which was honestly great to find out about 2/3rds of the way through given I was really struggling with it without all the aspects or the seasonal artefact unlocks that would make it viable. There were even a few tweaks I made to my old build to make it even more effective with the new options I had available to me which helped make it feel like I wasn’t just playing the same Destiny I was over a year ago.

The legendary campaign feels like it strikes the right level of balance between challenge and reward for about 80% of the missions. The missions that didn’t get that balance right were the ones with long combat encounters that had numerous 1/2 shot mechanics in them, forcing you to replay 10+ minutes of a fight in order to get back to where you were. The worst offender of that is the last mission in the campaign which, whilst readily doable, has far too many mechanics in it that will end your run. I will say this though, part of my frustration came from not being sure just how much longer I needed to be in the fight. If you’re struggling just look up how long the fight actually is and that should hopefully be enough to shift your strategy to get you past where you’re currently stuck.

What brought me back though was the deep desire to see what could be called an end to a decade+ story that I’d been a part of. I’ve definitely grown attached to my Titan, retaining his look from the original and have been using the same masterworked armour set for…gosh 3 expansions now. I’d also been deep into the lore for many years although I will admit that the shift to the seasonal content model meant that I missed out on much of the smaller bits over the last couple years because I simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to playing Destiny that much. The draw of seeing some sort of finality to the huge overarching story arc that had been building for so long though overcame any apprehensions I had and, I’m glad to say, it met my expectations perfectly.

Now I, like many, were disappointed with the setup and missed goal of Lightfall. Watching some recap videos of the content that came out since then I can see now what they were setting up for but I honestly don’t feel like I missed out on much by skipping the seasonal content. Even with all that anticipation though the first quarter or so of the story takes a while to get going, running through the motions of setting up things yet again before actually letting the story unfold properly. And then there’s the big glaring issue that could totally slip by you if you’re not careful enough: the end of the campaign isn’t the end.

So imagine my surprise when I’ve read countless others saying Destiny 2 stuck the landing with this one, thinking that they got to the final campaign mission and left it there. There’s actually a bunch more stuff to do, including the first 12 person activity ever in Destiny, which actually sees the story reach its final and incredibly satisfying conclusion. The game doesn’t really tell you this unless you check the quest log and I was ready to call it a day on Destiny forever. But thankfully I didn’t because it’s at that point things go from run of the mill Destiny to something I didn’t know I needed.



I didn’t know how attached I’d become to my character, the lead NPCs and most importantly Ghost. I felt that “Please, bring him back.” at a visceral level, the grief of losing someone so close to you that you’d do anything to bring them back. Then Cayde, who wasn’t meant to be back, using his light to resurrect him I just…lost it. 10 years of pent up emotions, experiences and all things that I’d done with Destiny 2 came to a head in those few moments. Then I was left to feel that bittersweet resolution along with all the characters in the game, the torch firmly passed from the old to the new. Once it was all done I sat there, looking at the potential activities that were calling to me and I felt that the same tug I always did: do I do more so I can once again do more? I don’t know.


So let me be yet another among the countless who say that Destiny 2: The Final Shape, sticks a landing after being in the air for over 10 years. I never thought we’d get here, thinking we’d still be chasing infinite possible plot threads for as long as the IP remained profitable. But no, instead we’re at a point now where I feel both satisfaction with where we are, along with the potential to put the game down forever now should I choose, and that pull wanting me to do more. Those last few embers of that part of me that loved to raid still smoldering away. It’s a complicated feeling, one I think I’ll still be unpacking for a great long while now, but I feel that’s the sign of something truly great coming to an end. It leaves you wanting more but knowing that there’s also value in its finality. I can say one thing about this though: if you ever had any investment in Destiny then this is worth your time, it’s never been in a better state, in all things.

Rating: 9.5/10

Destiny 2: The Final Shape is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S right now for $74.95. Total playtime in this expansion was 14 hours with a total of 299 hours playtime overall.

About the Author

David Klemke

David is an avid gamer and technology enthusiast in Australia. He got his first taste for both of those passions when his father, a radio engineer from the University of Melbourne, gave him an old DOS box to play games on.

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