Destiny 2: Lightfall Review (PS5) – Destiny 2: Lightfall is the fifth major expansion to Destiny 2. Like the expansions that have come before, Beyond Light and The Witch Queen specifically, Lightfall attempts to add and re-work mechanics and abilities.
However, while Bungie altered one or two portions of the game in the past, Lightfall takes everything except gunplay and gives it a shot of adrenaline.
I know I have said that Destiny 2 has outdone itself before. Of course I wasn’t lying then, but Lightfall shows us a side of Destiny that we haven’t seen before.
If I didn’t already know this was a game I’ve been playing for ten years, I wouldn’t believe it.
Lightfall may not be as welcoming to new players as past expansions, but it is a fresh start for every Guardian, and I loved every second.
Destiny 2: Lightfall Review (PS5) – I Was Bit By A Radioactive Guardian And Now I Have Spider-Powers
You Get Quality Of Life Improvements, And You Get Quality Of Life Improvements
An aspect of Destiny I always struggled with was mods and sub-class builds. For those new to this never-ending space shooter, the game was much different before Lightfall.
Before min/maxing a Guardian, you must look at many other parts of the game; what super is best for the activity in question? What guns are you going to use? What mods did you unlock from the seasonal artifact? What element was the armor piece you were modding?
All of the answers to these questions would change from moment to moment, depending on the activity you and your fire team were loading into.
This is now not the case since Bungie introduced load-outs and mod customization.
Bungie has cut back on many walls in past expansions, starting with mods. Now all mods are available to see and use as long as they have been unlocked. No longer are they specific to armor elements; in fact, armor doesn’t even have an element attached to it anymore.
This opens up build crafting to suit you and the Subclass you choose versus spending materials or grinding out high-stated gear with the right element just to run the mods you want. I spent much of my initial bootup going through and reworking my Guardian and had a blast doing it.
In the past, I never invested too much time in what mods I wanted or even cared bout min/maxing because of how often my priorities change in the game.
Now, not only is it more rewarding and easier to understand, but with load-outs, you can quickly switch between builds.
This makes all of your time feel meaningful. Now Guardians can create a Raid Solar build, a Nightfall Stasis build, and a Strand Crucible build and change between them with a button press.
And once acquiring Strand, you’ll always want to have it ready at a press of a button.
Spider-Guardian, Spider-Guardian, Does Whatever A Spider-Guardian Can
Strand is, without a doubt, the most drastically different element introduced inside of Destiny, in both a subclass element and in regards to mechanics.
For those who don’t know, Strand is a new Darkness subclass for Guardians to use, and it is full of fun surprises.
As an ability and super option, Stand is pretty status quo. The Titans gain blades for hands and damage almost precisely the same as their Striker subclass.
The Warlock’s Broodweaver sends out Strand darts similar to their Nova Bomb or a Hunter’s Blade Barrage.
Meanwhile, the Hunters Strand super lets you live out the fantasy of becoming Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.
While the Super functions like an Arc Staff Hunter in terms of movement, its attack is much more ranged, and out of the three is the newest in the game.
Regardless of how players might feel about the new Subclass Supers, that’s not where Strand shines.
Instead, Strand completely changes the game’s traversal by removing your grenade ability and replacing it with a rope tether akin to Spider-Man.
Swinging around might seem out of place and hard to control in a first-person shooter. But, on the contrary, latching onto a projectile to pull yourself across the map or swinging to gain the advantage or get to safety is quite fun and easy to control.
Strand makes the gunplay, combat, and moment-to-moment gameplay feel rejuvenated and fresh.
Out of everything Bungie has added in the past few years, Strand is my favorite regarding gameplay. Luckily the majority of the story is dedicated to acquiring the new ability.
Witness The Beginning Of The End
From the new location of Neomuna to Strand, Destiny is trying new things left and right, and the story is no different.
Lightfall’s campaign begins with us finally confronting The Witness, the orchestrator of the initial collapse before the events of the original Destiny game.
The battle with The Witness has brought us into conflict with The Witch Queen Savathûn and Rulk from the raid Vow of Disciples. Nevertheless, we’re now face to face, and to defeat it, we need to go to a cyberpunk city.
Throughout my playtime and writing this review, I have noticed that some significant influencers, mainly the ones dealing with lore, dislike the story of Lightfall. While they have good points, I come at the narrative from a different point of view.
A large portion of the campaign has us defending and fighting alongside allies we know very little about and have almost no explanation for.
However, our Guardian, Osiris, and the Vanguard are also new to this information in the canon. There is no one except for the Neomuniains to explain things to us.
While it is hard to follow the next objective at times, it does allow Bungie to continue to tell and explain things through the year with the new seasons.
Regardless there is enough for our Guardian to understand to jump into the fight and follow along. Namely the return of Calus, the original D2 raid boss.
Those who finished the Leviathan Raid will remember that Calus as the raid boss was just a machine. The real Calus being somewhere off the ship, sick and dying.
This is no longer the case. In Lightfall, Calus is rejuvenated as a Disciple of the Witness and ready to go.
While I don’t want to spoil the end for anyone wondering if they should jump back into Ligfhtfall, the ending is anything but anti-climactic.
The Root Of Nightmares, Especially In Pollen Season
The Root of Nightmares is the twelfth raid in Destiny 2, and while it may not be its best raid experience, it has learned from its past mistakes.
The premise of the raid is when the Traveler attacked The Darkness in the opening cutscene. It unknowingly reanimated The Witness’s original Deciple, Nezarac: The Final God of Pain, and it’s our job to unalive it again.
The Raid may be one of the most visually stunning raids Destiny has ever offered. Stark white flora have overgrown throughout the dark walls of the Darkness’s Pyramid ship.
Most encounters play off of this by having the player solve puzzles of connecting orbs of Light and Darkness to progress.
I won’t be going into any specific encounters or mechanics. Our guides will regulate that, and we want to make sure any Fireteam can play the raid for the first time blind to solve the encounters as a team.
That being said, many puzzles are simple but fun to solve and a blast to play.
For many players, Raids are a wall in Destiny. They require a team of six and a significant time commitment. Bungie is always trying to combat these roadblocks with many forms of Raids.
In the past, Raid lairs were a more minor experience for quicker sessions. This went away with Beyond Light and the vaulted content, while Dungeons filled that void.
The Root of Nightmares brings back the smaller raid experience, and while that may disappoint some, I think it is refreshing.
In a few weeks, as Guardians level to the Pinnical level cap, Root could become a raid that can be completed in under an hour. This will give players options and allow Guardians who primarily play solo a chance to find a group easier.
The Root of Nightmares might not be the best raid Destiny created, but it is well-crafted and fun. The raid could change the final score for better or worse in many expansions.
The Root of Nightmares isn’t good enough to bring up the score, but nothing about it brings down anything I’ve seen in Lightfall.
Season Of The Defiance Builds Off Of Past Seasons
There is a lot Destiny assumes you know going into Lightfall and Season of the Defiance.
For example, Mara Sov returning, Crow and Amanda Holliday’s rocky relationship, Mithrax Kell of House Light becoming an ally, Osiris losing Sagira, and Caital, the Empress of the Cabal and Calus’s daughter, joining as an ally.
Season of the Defiance continues where the Lightfall narrative leaves off back home on Earth.
When the Witness attacks, we head to Neomuna while everyone else stays behind and protects Earth and the Traveller.
Our first order of business is to save a captured Amanda with the help of Crow and Mara. This story will continue to update each week throughout the season.
A new season of Destiny can live or die with the seasonal activity. The activity of Battlegrounds has been the most popular in the game, with them being introduced in Season of the Worthy and concluding with our meeting and aligning with Caital.
Luckily Mara brought the Ascendant plan into the new Battlegrounds. It made the activity feel different and unique while maintaining the structure that players enjoyed in the first place.
Looking Beyond Lightfall
It’s hard to say how this year will end in Lightfall. With the rest of Season of the Defiance and seasons 21, 22, and 23, the story will undoubtedly twist and turn as we approach The Final Shape.
However, with the bare minimum of what Lightfall will offer us, I can safely say we have nothing short of an excellent year and expansion.
This is The Empire Strikes Back of Destiny, a dark and unknown future mixed with many questions to explain and build the Destiny lore and universe.
Although Lightfall leaves you with more questions than answers, the promise of learning about Neomuna and the expanded Destiny universe has been missing from Destiny since its initial launch.
Rarely does a game almost ten years old still surprise you and show you sides of itself you didn’t know existed.
Destiny 2: Lightfall is now available on PS5 and PS4.
Review code generously provided by publisher.