The first expansion for Destiny 2 is already out, with a new planet and story campaign – but is it as essential as it would like to pretend?
On paper, Destiny 2 really does sound like the worst game ever. It’s a first person shooter that is themed entirely around the idea of repetition, in terms of the missions, the gameplay, the levels, and the enemies. Enemies which have very little in the way of artificial intelligence and are defined by a vaguely told story filled with cliché and one-dimensional characters. And yet it’s one of the most popular video games in the world – and we fully understand why.
We hadn’t touched the base game for a few weeks and, after having played a few other first person shooters since then, we were immediately in awe again at just how amazing the gunplay is. Even at 30fps on a console, there’s never been any other game where the simple act of shooting an enemy is so completely satisfying. Never even mind the loot you may or may get for doing so, the feedback in the gun and the reaction of the enemies never gets old.
In the second-to-second gameplay Destiny 2 is unsurpassed, but everything on top of that has always been problematic to one degree or another. At launch it seemed as if the sequel had overcome the limitations of the original’s endgame but instead it just swapped one set of problems for another. But if you’re hoping that this expansion would fix the random, and usually underwhelming, rewards for high-end tasks, and the overreliance on tokens, then you’re going to be very much disappointed.
Destiny has a mixed history with its expansions, and while several were severally lacking in content The Taken King was the key turning point for the series as a whole. But Curse Of Osiris is not like that at all. It changes nothing important in terms of gameplay or structure, and its story is entirely inconsequential. If you can even call it a story that is, as you travel to Mercury to rescue the Guardian Osiris and stop the Vex from doing… something. But you never gain any new insight into Osiris, Warlocks, the Vex, or any other element of Destiny’s loosely sketched lore.
Instead it’s just three or four hours of pointlessly easy story levels, capped off by an unremarkable new boss battle. We say pointlessly easy because it’s suggested you tackle the campaign starting at around power level 220, but anyone that’s played Destiny 2 for any length of time – i.e. the sort of people most likely to buy this expansion – will be well above that. Which makes all the story levels and most of the open world Adventures trivially easy even on your own.
Mercury isn’t an entirely new planet for Destiny so a lot of it already looks familiar, although there are two other terrain types that are very attractive. Destiny 2 is a great looking game, but even ignoring the fact that you’re constantly revisiting the same places the lack of landmarks gives everything in Curse Of Osiris the look and feel of a randomly-generated level – even though it isn’t.
The actual story involves something called the ‘Infinite Forest’ which seems to be setting itself up to be something like the Chalice Dungeons from Bloodborne, but it’s nothing of the sort. Something which is underlined when you realised one of the story missions is blatantly a reskinned version of The Pyramidion – one of the Strikes from the main game.
Beyond the story campaign there’s also new open world area for Mercury, filled with Adventures, Patrols, Lost Sectors, public events, and all the usual entertainments of the other planets. It’s very small though, so much so that you’re not allowed to use vehicles. And the new social space is even smaller, and just looks you’re hanging around in some cosplayer’s bedroom.
Two of the missions from the campaign are repurposed as new Strikes, which seems particularly lazy, and there are three new Crucible maps. There’s no new Raid, but instead something called a Raid Lair – which is due to come online in a few days. This is like a mini-version of the existing Leviathan Raid, that takes less time to complete but is supposedly just as hard and has some new encounters and loot.
The level cap has also been raised to level 25, which we cracked halfway through the first post-campaign Adventure, and the power rating ceiling is now 335 with mods. This is important, because it’s essentially used as a means to punish those that only have the base game. The existing Prestige Leviathan Raid and Prestige Nightfall are now only accessible if your power rating is 330, which is impossible if you don’t own this expansion.
The Heroic Strike playlist is also only available if you have this DLC, although it’s really not much different than normal. The real kicker though is that one of the Achievements/Trophies for the base game is now impossible to achieve unless you also buy the DLC. So, not only does Curse Of Osiris not add much of significance it actually takes stuff away if you refuse to buy it.
As a story campaign Curse Of Osiris is still better than Destiny 1’s first two expansions, The Dark Below and House Of Wolves, but that is a very low bar. It feels like something that was cooked up long before launch, and specifically designed not to impact the rest of the sequel – because Bungie didn’t know what the fan response to it would be. Now they do, but the underlining faults of the series are far more obvious in this expansion than they ever were in the main game.
Destiny 2: Curse Of Osiris
In Short: A distinctly unambitious expansion that adds nothing meaningful to the parent game except a very short, and mostly dull, new story campaign.
Pros: The shooter action is still second to none and some of the visuals can be extremely attractive.
Cons: The story campaign is short, boring, and overly easy. Cheap new Strike additions and disappointingly small patrol zone. Increased power level requirements are grossly unfair.
Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Release Date: 5th December 2017
Age Rating: 16