Published on November 24th, 2020 | by Daniel
Destiny 2 Beyond Light Review – Go Beyond!
Summary: Beyond Light brings a fresh start of sorts for a game trying to continue the success after Forsaken and reclaim a bit of that spark lost during Shadowkeep and subsequent seasons.
The Darkness, up till now it has been presented as the enemy. The destroyer of the Golden Age. The one thing that will swallow every planet, every world whole. But is it really so bad? Is it really the corruptor? Is it truly evil? Beyond Light seeks to answer this question. The Darkness beckons Guardian, do you dare take its invitation? Come to Europa and find out for yourself.
Destiny 2 Beyond Light directly follows the events of Season of Arrivals where we saw the arrival of the darkness fleet. Entire worlds were snuffed out, or were they? They were certainly removed from the game world, but what does the lore have to say? Right now? Very little, I’ll leave it to the lore masters to piece that one together for you. With the disappearance of those worlds, so too were the vendors assigned to each world, except Osiris. But I’ll get back to him.
Immediately upon launching for Europa, you’re given a lengthy cutscene as to what’s going on there. Variks, has sent out a distress signal. After fleeing from the reef after freeing Uldron Sov who went on to kill Cayde-6. He aligned himself with a new Kell, leader of a fallen house. Whilst on Europa they have gotten their hands on the Darkness. With that power, ever corrupting them, they vow revenge on the Great Machine, the Traveler. Variks flees even these fallen and calls for help, from anyone.
Who else but ourselves are there to answer the call? Taken aback by who it is, we stave off an attack and succeed in rescuing him. As much as we would love to enact another bout of revenge, we have more pressing matters. This new Kell of Darkness and her kin need to be stopped. They carry a far greater and immediate threat that one Variks of the former House Judgement.
After a brief encounter with the empowered Fallen, of which they prove too powerful and you are forced to flee. After this you meet with the Exo Stranger some might remember from Destiny 1. Here she gives you a splinter of Darkness and you must attune to it, to fight Darkness, with, well, Darkness. I won’t go into too much story detail, even though the expansion is already two weeks old, I’m sure there are still a number of people that haven’t played it all.
Destiny 2 Beyond Light is two things. Equal parts innovative and regressive. In my very first boss encounter, I was forced to look at how I approach boss fights anew. They are no longer simple bullet sponges that fire at you from a distance or try to close up to melee range for devastative ground pounds. They have grenades, they have other abilities. Some can use powers that you will later once you unlock the Darkness sublcass fully. So it gets some top marks there, if it was a little frustrating to have the game crush my usual approach.
Mods have been reworked, stats growth and loadouts play an even bigger role in the game. You can’t simply just equip any gun that suits you and immediately expect to win. You need to fine tune a lot of things. The sort of preparation I would normally save, for Nightfall Strikes and Raid runs, I now have to apply in base game. That makes for a challenging and immersive experience.
However, it’s much of the same old stuff. One boss, four lieutenants and a bunch of objectives in between. The game has suffered in this same way since Forsaken. I’m loving the lore and story of the game, but I want a lot more lore for my expansion upgrades. There are so many MMORPGs that have more depth, story and character in them than Destiny 2 and still have even more stuff to do in the game. I know that they’re so very different from Destiny, but blending combat like Halo into an RPG simply just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.
What’s there is great, if repetitive. Forsaken was great, it broke a lot of the old Destiny 2 trends and set a new standard. There was a lot of story and there was plenty outside of that to do. You had two, count ’em, two new locations to visit. You returned to the Reef and explored the Tangled Shore, then you got to see the Dreaming City, the birthplace and sacred city of all Awoken and it was beautiful. By the end of that campaign, most of the story was tied up. Uldren Sov was taken care of and Cayde-6 was avenged. There was more to be done, sure, but there always is.
With the build up to Beyond Light, I was expecting another expansion on the same level. A whole new set of subclasses, one new for each class. I expect there to be more additions with upcoming seasons and expansions. The subclass we got is interesting, it’s a lot more fluid and easier to tweak. But I still have a bit of an issue with it.
Beyond Light is a fresh start with serious potential that is yet to be achieved
Part way through Beyond Light’s campaign, Season of the Hunt finally dropped. Immediately, we find that Osiris has been tracking something big on the moon. After the death of his ghost Sagira, he attempts to track and hunt her murderer. Only to be led into a trap himself. One that we, with the help of another Guardian, manage to spring himself out of. Nothing about how Sagira died, only what killed her and that he is working for Xivu Arath, a Hive God under Savathun is attempting to gain power by converting other races into her army.
It is here we learn that Uldren Sov is back and he’s now a Guardian. Oh how my blood boiled when I saw him again. Bungie knows how to twist fate in cruel ways. I’ll leave this here and I implore you to play it for yourself, it’s a masterpiece of betrayal in the cruelest, yet somehow intriguing way.
In Destiny 1 and if I remember correctly. The Void subclass was treated as a pathway to Darkness and a lot of Titans and Hunters and even some Warlocks frowned upon the study of the void. In my personal opinion, the void has always been the subclass that felt closest to the Darkness. Now of course I won’t complain too much because this was a class back in Destiny 1 when they weren’t in full control of what they were making. And obviously, the logical choice after fire and lightning, is to choose ice. That’s more of a Darkness power than, say, Earth. As it is in opposition to Solar. And, I’ll admit it’s kinda cool.
What I got, however, was a little lacking. A story that clearly doesn’t end with the defeat of Eramis, Kell of Darkness. Because she’s not the true master mind. The raid is now available. And that looks amazing. But it’s content I’ll never have the fireteam numbers to achieve. And it’s a good chunk of story I’ll likely never get to experience personally in game.
I’ll have to look elsewhere for that. It’s a repetitive trend I frequently experience with Destiny. And it’s why I have such a love/hate relationship with this game. Beyond Light just lacks a lot of that spark as previous expansions. It doesn’t match the heights of The Taken King way back in D1 or Forsaken for D2.
Destiny has always received top marks from me for graphics. Beyond Light is no exception. Immediately after you log it, you’re treated to a gorgeous roughly sketched retelling of events so far and the latest challenge that awaits you. It’s footage like this that I adore. Being somewhat of a sketch artist myself, I revel in seeing elaborate sketch art. Rough course and gritty lines of detail, shading of various depth and intensity. There’s something very visceral about sketching that you simply can’t recreate detail like that in colour.
Moving on from this, Beyond Light’s colour cutscenes too are a cut above. Everything about Europa is gorgeous and all the visuals and cutscenes cast a very somber icy blue hue. Soft blues, whites and greys of the outdoor landscape. Adorning the Kell of Darkness and her followers. Meanwhile, warm orange glows fill the steely corridors of the Fallen structures and eerie yet virbrant greens and teals fill the halls of the Bray-Tech facilities. It’s a very different colour scheme of the black, dark greens and reds of Shadowkeep and the purples and blues from early Forsaken.
In game, the graphics suffer a little. Mostly under high frame loads as the new areas of Europa demand more of my aging GPUs power. The dynamic weather system is a great idea. As it not only creates a visual obscurity it also makes it more difficult to move around. This could be enhanced further in later additions, as it’s limited to either calm or blizzard. Maybe they could add storms, where you or your enemies could be struck by lightning? Or perhaps increase the wind even further so that you have to take careful steps or be blown away to your death?
It’s definitely got merit and I’d like to see more of it. I found myself actually slowing my otherwise blistering pace, to take stock of my surroundings and plan my moves forward. Beyond Light is just another graphical masterpiece on top of the already high quality that I expect from Destiny as a franchise.
Where do I start? Destiny as a franchise has always had some of the best music out there. With Marty O’Donnell at the helm for most of Destiny 1 partnered and subsequently superseded by Michael Salvatori for later expansions and all of Destiny 2 thus far. Beyond Light has to be some of his most lackluster work thus far. I am a super fan of Michael’s work and there was no better successor to take on the job after the fiasco with Marty.
Unfortunately for this expansion I simply can’t get into the music. There’s not a whole lot there to begin with and it’s really not up to the bar I set for Michael knowing his previous accolades. Firstly, Beyond Light barely has any new tracks on it’s own, at least. I haven’t really heard them anyway. Maybe I need to log more hours to appreciate it. And what few new tracks are there, can barely be heard over the sounds of me freezing my enemies solid with Stasis powers.
The only saving grace I found was the track that played during the final battle against Eramis. I did find myself enjoying that one quite a bit. But that should be expected, given Michael’s past scores.
Aside from that, I had another issue. Our Guardian gets to speak. Again. However, once again, I can count the number of lines on one hand. Even worse than that, the voice is that of the Human male from Destiny 1. The suave sassy Awoken male is nowhere to be seen. I was actually pretty let down by this, I’d almost rather no lines at all. That’s not to say the voice actor did a poor job, that’s simply to say that it isn’t how I built my character. Change the voice and you change the entire feeling of the game.
Second to this, the lack of lines from anyone other than Zavala and the Stranger is quite sad as well. I feel like Beyond Light took a great big step backwards with all things audio. We were treated to an incredible scene with the Drifter, Eris Morn and the Stranger kicking some fallen BUTT with Darkness powers. Only for two of them to be sidelined and say only a few lines in the entire campaign. I very much hope they get fleshed out as more content becomes available.
Beyond Light is a good game, it has a good amount of content, if a little lacking and repetitive. A great story, even if it doesn’t go deep enough into the lore to satisfy my cravings. A great cast, even if half of them are sidelined and most are just there to cheer you one. And a lot of great future potential.
It missed a few opportunities to be amazing. But it’s a solid foundation to build upon. I didn’t feel the loss of content that “sun setting” apparently did when half the content was axed for the new stuff to come. But it doesn’t truly fill the void in my soul. I want to see more content, more story, more acting, more music, more everything really. I want to see a version of the raids that can be done solo, or even in a smaller fireteam, so that those who do not have the numbers can experience the raids or at least the story of them.
Fear of missing out has always been a driving factor in wanting to be a part of the raid community. But the truth of it is that many people form groups and stick to them, to minimise mistakes in raid runs. This is only natural to maximise rewards and to shorten the time it takes to complete. As a result, people like myself, especially those with social anxiety can’t approach LFG sites for help. I’d like to see more support in MMORPGs for people who enjoy them solo as much as those with friends.
Game Genre – RPG, Looter Shooter, FPS, MMO
Developers – Bungie
Rating – M15
Year of Release – 2020
Platforms – PC/Steam, PS5, Xbox Series X and S, Windows
Mode(s) of Play – Single, Multiplayer
All of the footage taken was from my own playthrough. You can see more of my articles here