Destiny 2’s latest DLC, Lightfall, the penultimate expansion to the conclusion of the long, drawn-out Light and Darkness saga, came out only yesterday but already, in just under 24 hours, the community is outraged and once again feeling misled by developer Bungie and their incredible marketing team.
In typical Bungie fashion, the storytelling of Lightfall is a huge misstep, not just in that typical vague and under-explained way while making it seem like every character is in-the-know save for the playable character, but there is evidence abound that Lightfall was shoehorned in just to take up space for the year until The Final Shape. Many who have already played through the short and easy 8-mission campaign have expressed that the whole DLC feels like a season that was stretched out and advertised as a full expansion, which most definitely seems like a real possibility.
Story? What story?
Without going into the story much, which doesn’t really matter anyway since nothing is really explained and players will have learned almost nothing they didn’t already know by the end of their campaign playthroughs, Lightfall’s excessive focus on Strand as a major plot point that the story orbits around is a major hindrance. This is because most of the campaign missions overly rely on it while simultaneously bouncing back and forth on whether the characters involved in its discovery know what it is or not. That is, if you consider stumbling across the new Subclass on the street a “discovery” as opposed to something more dramatic and compelling.
As for the remainder of the plot, the whole thing seems out of place. The Last City loses its meaning, and why we have chosen to help out another city we have no connection to while The Witness is hovering in earth’s orbit facing the Traveler is… unexplained. Instead, the player has to form their own connections and play superhero against another horde of cabal led by a familiar enemy we have faced before (sort of). Many have pointed out that the opening cutscene to Lightfall, where The Traveler shot a Chaos Reach beam at the forces of The Witness, could have been stitched together with the campaign’s closing cutscene with everything in between completely removed with no change or impact on the story.
The whole thing just feels… amiss, unnecessary, and rushed. Adding to that, Lightfall doesn’t even give the impression it is part of the current narrative leading into The Final Shape, almost to say that the contents in Lightfall feel like they are a part of a different story entirely. But back to Strand…
Strand was advertised as a major mobility booster with awesome powers, at least for the Hunter and Warlock, but players have discovered that the campaign missions involving Strand’s discovery and use cases all but paint Strand in a certain light that does not match the experience once the campaign is over. As it turns out, the Grapple ability that allows Guardians to swing through the air, shares the same cooldown period as a grenade, which makes it practically useless in nearly every conceivable circumstance. On top of that, the Grapple replaces the grenade charge which puts the player at a major disadvantage in practically every scenario imaginable. Of course, if you are looking for more reasons to see why players are furious about these things, you needn’t look too hard as users on every social media outlet that Destiny 2 and Bungie occupy is flooded with demands for answers and tweaks to fix these limitations.
Then there is Neomuna, the new location that players can traverse and explore. Once again, this new zone is devoid of anything interesting outside of a few screenshot-worthy skyboxes. There is no life other than the same recycled enemies, no adorn in purple to distinguish them as a member of Calus’ Shadow Legion forces, which makes this whole new area feel incredibly empty and lifeless. The design of the space is also facing major criticism as the architecture doesn’t make a lick of sense for being a cityscape one occupied by thriving citizens. Many are referring to Neomuna as resembling an Apex Legends Halo 5 Forge map, and for good reason. Many of the design choices for Neomuna resemble a Braytech lab and don’t exactly lend itself toward being a city with 9-foot-tall humanoids who eat, drink, and go on about their day. The openness of it all is odd, jarring, and does little to make for any sort of practical design work meant to resemble an advanced city once teeming with lifeforms. To reiterate, Neomuna looks like it was meant to be a multiplayer map specifically meant for wide-open combat with a few buildings and coffee tables sprinkled in.
Reskins, Reskins, Reskins
With a new DLC being advertised as a major expansion, one would assume this would mean copious amounts of loot to go after. Sure, there are a small handful of new armor sets but the more diehard playerbase has quickly discovered that, not counting raid weapons, there is not a single new weapon model for legendaries. The issue here is that, compared to Witch Queen, in many ways Lightfall… falls… incredibly short in too many ways to count but one way that it should succeed, is new weapons with new Neomuna Cloud Strider tech. But as others pointed out, there is not only a staggeringly low amount of new weapons to go after, there are surprisingly little reprised weapons either. And, what with the changes to crafting, this could lead to some major burnout within the first week of release.
One user even discovered that one of the Neomuna weapons, the Dimensional Hypotrochoid grenade launcher, which is a reskin of Shadowkeep Moon loot (as are almost all the “new” weapons), actually has flavor text poking fun at it being a reskinned Shadwokeep weapon. Here is the actual text:
“What is this junk from, that old moon base? What do you mean, ‘just refurbish it’?!” —Exodus Indigo Quartermaster”
Bungie’s weapons, whether they are reskins or not, often stand out as a cut above the rest by at least having a unique feel and sound to them. But, in another seemingly lazy move, these weapons have the same sound as the Moon weapons they were copied and pasted from. This makes things worse considering how Bungie constantly advertised Lightfall and its accompanying loot as being this futuristic sci-fi CyberPunk-adjacent look and feel to it.
Nimbus, just shut the f*ck up
Two new additions to the character roster are Nimbus and Rohan, the Cloud Striders, protectors of Neomuna and overall, annoying is stepping on a lego in wet socks. Of the two, Rohan is far more bearable while his protge, Nimbus, can’t decide what he wants to do more- sound like an obnoxious surfer bro who has never stood up on a board before, or crack jokes around every possible turn while the city and the system of Sol crash and burn around him. So, naturally, this asshole does both. Constantly.
The relationship we have with the Cloud Striders is absurdly weak, at best. They insult earthlings and light-bearers one moment, only to demand a strong relationship with us that hasn’t been earned even over the course of the entire campaign. Narratively speaking, there is absolutely no chemistry, nor any logic that demonstrates a formed connection between the playable Guardian and these obnoxious trope characters. To make matters worse, you have to check in with Nimbus after every mission objective. Go someplace, shoot a thing for whatever reason, come back and deal with Nimbus and his cringeworthy frat bro mannerisms and quips. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. On top of all that, the entire experience with having to frequently see Nimbus further proves evident that he may have been a seasonal vendor, based on our interactions with him and the constant visits. Which are all painful.
Speaking of narrative, these characters also do not fit properly anywhere within it based on their overall attitudes and presentation. The problem here, of which are there are too many to name, is that they, especially Nimbus, do not treat the situation with the severity and seriousness that needs to be considered.
Rohan likes to tell the Guardian that he knows things better than us but fails to tell us any of it, as if that information couldn’t possibly be useful while we carry out objectives and attempt to stop the Witness from obtaining whatever the hell this mysterious “Veil” is. It seems that these Cloud Striders know plenty but like to rub it in that we do not, all the while making it seem like the player Guardian, you know, the center of everything being accomplished, is the only one who doesn’t know jackshit about what is going on here. Then there is Nimbus..
Nimbus, the relatively young protege of his mentor Rohan, is all like “dude, what’s up, totally gnar-dawg, I mean, right? Hell yeah, flip cup!” while his entire civilization is crumbling around him. The dude can’t stop making jokes at the worst possible times while also providing the most cringe-induced delivery since the Red War campaign in year one. Many were quick to address his obnoxiousness while questioning just how it was possible to go from the narrative caliber of the Witch Queen to more Marvel-esque jokes that do not fit anywhere in the tone of the narrative of our inevitable annihilation.
Nimbus makes Failsafe feel like Daniel Day Lewis.
If you liked mods, excessively detailed, albeit fairly confusing build craft tools that could turn your Guardian into something truly your own, then you are in luck, my friend. Bungie has gone to great lengths in recent months to express their devotion toward making the mods and their explanations more streamlined and easier to understand and follow. This was huge for people like us who have a hard time remembering all the verbs and what they do and how to process them with abilities and weapons. Unfortunately, they not only nerfed the ever-loving-hell out of a bunch of useful exotics, like Heart of Inmost Light with no compensation, they completely axed the f*ck all out of the modding system.
The modding system was confusing, with very little to explain major aspects of what they did or how you could get them to do what the mod descriptions said they could do. Now, everything is gone or replaced with something incredibly less than.
No more seeking wells, no Font of Might, no Elemental Shards, No High Energy Fire, no nothing. It is all gone. Everything you knew and loved about the modding system has been stripped to next to nothing and replaced with a focus on stats (which are important), and grenade or melee build emphasis. That is about it in terms of uniqueness.
The artifact mod change is a welcome one, especially since now the mods you unlock in the artifact just take effect and don’t need to be slotted. However, if you were looking for something more in-depth, you are left holding the bag.
Many have pointed out that the mods now focus specifically on the weapons and the weapon damage type you do rather than around unique and customizable build functionality that reflects your unique aptness for being the most efficient and creative Guardian on the field. Perhaps the most blunt and straightforward take is that it definitely seems like Bungie “sunset” the mod system because we were getting too powerful and the only way they could justify the change was to advertise it as something else. Don’t even get me started on Stasis. Okay, you got me started on Stasis.
“Stasis? F*ck that Subclass” -Bungie, probably
If you skipped out on playing Beyond Light or if you only did it on one character of your available three, there is no way presently to obtain it for your characters without going through the whole campaign all over again (or for the first time). It is a chore, to say the least but at the moment, that may not matter since Stasis builds were completely obliterated in the new mod system.
Stasis relied heavily on elemental shards and now that those are gone, Stasis does not even come close to having the impact it once had pre-Lightfall. Many will be quick to point out that Bungie could still address this in a future update that may include new mods but this poses two major issues. First, why was this done in the first place? And oh, it’s because Bungie likes to take things away and then sell them back to you later as if they were doing you a favor.
Bungie’s methods of taking things away and giving them back is one of the most overwhelmingly predatory practices I have ever seen in video games to date. Sure, that may not include those addictive mobile games that prey on a child’s affinity to gamble with mommy and daddy’s credit cards but this is a AAA studio. That PlayStation now owns. Honestly, if it were possible to tell those in charge of these decisions at Bungie to f*ck themselves up a flagpole directly to their faces, it would be hard not to.
Overall, this is one of the most disappointing expansions we have ever seen, and we did play it. So if at any point you recognized how many articles were referencing complaints, just know that we did this for you so you don’t fall victim to this bullshit like we did.
Bungie made far too many mistakes with this DLC and an impossible amount of mistakes since Destiny first launched back in 2014. Whatever the reason, whether it be greed or developmental limitations, the future of Destiny as a franchise would be scary to consider, if not with PlayStation backing it once The Final Shape has concluded. Because at least at that point, if Bungie wants to sell us a polished piece of fecal waste for $100, it will at least run well in whatever tools, resources, and engine(s) Sony provides them. We just hope they hire some more competent management by then as there is no f*cking way any of us should have to put up with this much bullshit, piecemeal, drip feed, Eververse, cringeworthy, tone-deaf nonsense for another ten f*cking years.