Destiny 2 Lightfall Review
- Story And Setting
- Performance And Visuals
While Lightfall doesn’t quite meet narrative expectations, you can’t help but admire the effort that went into designing the other elements of the expansion.
- Developers: Bungie Inc.
- Publishers: Bungie Inc.
- Release Date: February 28, 2023
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X & Series S, and PC
- Tested On: PC
- Same Sublime Gunplay
- Fun Mission Design
- QoL Improvements
- New Strand Subclasses
- Flat Campaign
- Neomuna Is Underwhelming
- Subclasses Need Balancing
As a veteran player since the first game back in 2014, it is a pleasure to know that I was chosen to review the brand-new Lightfall expansion. The DLC is intended to build up to the conclusion of the light versus darkness saga that started all the way back with the first game, and with such an overarching storyline, Bungie needed to really wow us for the next and final expansion.
And after going through the campaign on two of my characters so far, whilst also getting ready to tackle the 6-man raid in a few days, I had the liberty of discussing my thoughts on the campaign as well as a few of the new gameplay changes introduced here. So join us as we discuss everything there is about this new expansion and how it impacted someone who’s been with the game’s life cycle since the beginning, starting with the storytelling.
Story And Setting
Whether you’re someone who’s been following the narrative during the various seasonal passes, or just casually keeping up-to-date with the main storyline with the main expansions only, all you need to know is that the Darkness is finally at our doorstep after several years of teasing from behind the scenes. The main campaign of Destiny 2 Lightfall kicks off into high gear right from the get-go, showcasing the invasion of the Witness and their darkness army as they make their way toward Earth.
This army is mainly comprised of Emperor Calus and his Shadow Legion, a character we have known for a long time now. Calus is no longer who he once was, as he is now a follower of the Witness and heeds the call of the Darkness to attack the traveler and the forces of the light. This is where our Guardians make their stand to defend the Last City and, most importantly, the Traveler itself.
Along this rollercoaster of a journey, you will be accompanied by fellow guardians from the Vanguard, characters such as the House of Light leader, Mithrax, as well as the legendary warlock, Osiris. Speaking of new and familiar faces, right from the early going of the campaign, you will also be introduced to the new location of the game, Neomuna, an ancient futuristic civilization built on Neptune. The game also introduces you to the Cloud Striders here, a new race of characters who have their own storyline and motives to share.
Without delving too much into spoiler territory here, it pains me to say that the campaign of Lightfall was underwhelming in many aspects. When compared to the previous expansion, the Witch Queen, It’s fair to say that I had a much more enjoyable experience with that and its characterization with Savathun, rather than being exposed to the unnecessary filler of Lightfall.
The entire build-up to this point of the story has felt pretty grand so far, as it seemed to convey to us that we were truly moving toward the end of an era for the game’s narrative. Unfortunately, Bungie manages to elude any actual payoffs and instead focused on fleshing out the story for the Cloudstriders and Neomuna while only throwing us back into the main fray with the Witness at the very end.
The narrative being lackluster felt disappointing, to say the least. I hope that it is improved upon with the annual pass story content in the coming months, but for now, let’s put aside the story and discuss the true bread-and-butter of the franchise.
The stellar first-person looter-shooter gameplay of Destiny 2 is still the main reason for the immense success of the game even after so many years. While most players won’t need an introduction to the gunplay, it is safe to say that the experience of cooperative shooting with your friends and other guardians through the galaxy never manages to lose steam in Lightfall.
In the expansion, we are also introduced to a new subclass and element known as Strand, which in layman’s terms, allows our Guardians to manipulate the intricate threads of reality itself. These fabricated threads are green-colored and are introduced to you right from the opening mission of the DLC’s campaign.
The subclass abilities are insanely fun to use for all three classes, with the Titans having access to the Berserker, which transforms their gauntlets into crab-like pincers, allowing them to slash away at their enemies at high velocity.
Meanwhile, Hunters gain access to the Threadrunner, making their versatility shine as they carry around the chain-like spear, damaging enemies at all ranges. And lastly, the sorcery-focused Warlocks gain access to the Broodweaver, allowing them to launch different volatile strand projectiles at their foes as well as summoning creatures made from the element to help them during combat.
Alongside fighting the Shadow Legion Cabal, you will also encounter new enemies sent from the Witness called the Tormentors, which, as their name implies, will give you a pretty tough fight.
The city of Neomuna is filled with its own secrets, one that I hope gets more fleshed out with activities and other incentives so that players can explore every nook and cranny of it. Aside from that, there is a plethora of new weapons and exotics introduced here that, upon checking them out in the collections tab, really enticed me to hunt them down as quickly as possible in the future (If RNG is on my side).
Destiny 2 Lightfall also features a handful of quality-of-life changes, one of which is the new loadout system which is extremely helpful for this game as it essentially allows you to manage all of your builds in one place for your class. You can unlock more loadout slots as you progress with the game.
Speaking of which, the new guardian ranks work hand-in-hand with the existing triumphs system as they award your character with a ranking to indicate their journey and overall progression with the game as a whole.
Lastly, it goes without saying that the new in-game LFG (Looking For Group) system is one that will have a lot of players riled up for a variety of reasons. While the community of the game is large enough that you can find tons of raid groups and other players to join up on via Discord servers, this new LFG system should prove to be a valuable feature, one that will complement the Commendation system too, which rewards you with various different accolades upon activity completion with other players.
Overall, I am now at the point of the game where I’m casually tackling post-game questlines at my leisure, completing bounties across all three of my characters, and just getting ready for the raid launch in roughly a week. There are plenty of gameplay changes here that can amaze players revisiting Destiny 2, but my only concern lies with the fact that I hope Bungie can somewhat improve Strand as a subclass.
The grappling hook that the Strand provides you with is really fun to use, especially alongside other teammates in your fire team. But in comparison to the Solar, Void, and Arc subclasses, the Strand ones feel slightly shallow and lack that ‘Oomph’ factor, which will hopefully get improved with a balancing update soon. The cooldown periods are also pretty long, which does not go well with a set of classes focused on rapid mobility.
Performance And Visuals
The art direction of Destiny 2 has always been an underappreciated aspect, one which still manages to knock my socks off. Whether it’s in raids, or even during climactic story missions, the visuals never cease to impress you. From the first glance at the cyberpunk-inspired metropolis of Neomuna, as well as looking at the skyboxes at certain intervals, such as when dozens of Darkness pyramid ships are entering the stratosphere, there is a lot to marvel at here.
Performance-wise, I noticed heavy frame-rate dips during my first arrival in Neomuna, even whilst running it on an RTX 3060Ti. It isn’t something too concerning or problematic since the game’s optimization since the beginning has been solid on PC. But if you’re someone who is returning to the game, then you’d best be sure to have a solid GPU to run it smoothly at medium to high settings with a 60+ FPS framerate.
Lightfall acts as the beginning of the end for the Darkness in the expanding Destiny universe. While Lightfall doesn’t quite meet narrative expectations, you can’t help but admire the effort that went into designing the other elements of the expansion.
There is enough to satisfy almost anyone here. Still, the true progression will be truly seen in the coming months as Bungie will slowly update the game with new content, balancing, and other improvements to enhance the experience.
Lightfall, more or less, acts as a precursor to what’s to truly come in the final expansion and the grand finale of it all, The Final Shape. Bungie wholeheartedly listens to the community and player feedback to deliver on their expectations, but it seems like they always end up missing a few marks here and there. Aside from that, you can still expect the same old wild and fun-filled looter shooter experience with your friends and other guardians.
This has been our Destiny 2 Lightfall Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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