Review: Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Destiny 2 got off to a rough start, but has proven that they can handle the 'live service' earning system in their own unique way. The game is constantly building towards something bigger and now the long-awaited new update is finally here: Shadowkeep!
With Shadowkeep, the heroes go to the moon. Of course we already know this area from the first part. However, Bungie has reimagined the map and packed it with new areas and gameplay elements. From narrow adjustments to big changes, The Moon is back!
Players return to the moon in search of Eris Morn, a Destiny fan favorite and also a mysterious character. The storytelling is again at Destiny level, and then both are good and less great. Some dialogues are boring and can be stretched, but once the action bits are there, you once again have the feeling that you are one of the heroes in an eternal story.
Shadowkeep's storyline isn't the longest. Most were blown through in 3 to 4 hours, I took it a little slower and was even through in 5 and a half hours. This is of course part of the whole live service aspect, where an expansion grows into one big whole over the months. But I already wanted more. This makes sense, of course, but the fact that there's more content to come does reassure me for the future of the game, especially without Activision.
The campaign is also a bit like we are used to, you fight through an arena with 'trash monsters', walk through a corridor or tunnel, get to the next arena and kill a mini-boss. That's how it goes for a while. This was done for a reason I can't spoil, but I missed some freedom in that. You will encounter boss fights that you probably already know, as this storyline is partly a trip to the past.
Giveth, and taketh away
While Shadowkeep brings a number of new features, a few old ones will not return. There is a new Nightfall variant, there are new Crucible playlists and there are new Strikes. But there's also a lot of the same content that you'll have to grind through. For example, what isn't there is a completely new world or vendor loot.
Also there are few new weapons, it's not that they are not there at all, but scarcity is certainly present. Of course, for Bungie it was a matter of trial and error in a new environment without Activision and with limited resources available. Despite that, they have delivered a fantastic new part of an existing product. What immediately stood out was how quickly you found new stuff and better gear, the game feels more rewarding and therefore plays a little better. Too bad that this causes a bit of problems here and there due to the scarcity of completely new weapons.
The Destiny formula works and therefore it seems strange to make big changes. Why fix it if it ain't broke? That may be true, but the lack of new features and the reuse of many old assets is immediately noticeable. It's very fortunate that the game just shoots away nicely and that there are enough fans who understand that Bungie has to find their way again
Destiny 2 comes with one big advantage. The game can be played for free from Shadowkeep under the name: New Light. Base game content can now be played by anyone for free and for nothing. This brought some minor server issues, but they were resolved within hours if not minutes. The developers show that they are far from finished with the well-deserved success of this looter shooter.
Players can each area now for free play, regardless of all new features, storylines and bonuses. However, as a new player you can just go to the moon and play with your friends. You can then join patrol groups or friends in playing patrols and Lost Sectors. As a free player you also have access to Strikes, Crucibles and the Gambit from the base game. This is an almost perfect addition to rake in new players to the game, and it works!
We are very curious about the rest of Shadowkeep and the future for this virtually free-to-play looter shooter. Shadowkeep is a welcome addition that isn't perfect, but shows exactly why Bungie is passionate about the cause. The expansion feels more rewarding and plays just as well as previous content, despite the lack of some well-known features. We can definitely recommend Shadowkeep, especially for regular fans of the game!
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