Ahead of the launch of Destiny 2 I really was not sure what to expect but had the hope and some faith that Bungie had indeed learned from their mistakes with Destiny and from player feedback to do far better and get their original plan for the series back on track which to be fair, I felt they had. The story was grounded and cohesive and more cinematic then before. The crucible actually became a multiplayer mode I enjoyed finally and have been enjoying the new locations and building up my Clan with friends. The biggest gripe however that I had with the first game was the Expansions, the first of which being ‘The Dark Below’ which was a huge disappointment. I really had the expectation that with Destiny 2 and ‘Curse of Osiris’ that the lesson had been learned as well. I was wrong, I was sadly very wrong indeed.
Well let’s start with the main positive about this expansion, the story campaign itself that brings into the main story the infamous Guardian Osiris, and finally we get to know more about him and his story. The opening sees a battle between some Vex and a fire team of Guardians when all of a sudden time appears to stop and from a portal Osiris appears with his Ghost Sagira (voiced by the excellent Morena Baccarin) until the Vex begin to move and attack the pair. During the fire fight Sagira opens another Portal for them to escape only for Osiris to send her through alone as he stays to fight the Vex but a Vex blast hits Sagira and she arrives damaged and not functioning. This then leads to ‘your’ guardian being summoned to the new Tower to speak with Ikora who has a special mission for you, to take Sagira and find out what has happened to Osiris.
I actually really enjoyed the story of Osiris, though it has to be said it is only a three hour at most experience. The story does something that the expansions in the first Destiny failed to do which was to directly link to the end game events of the main campaign with Ikora referencing your Guardian becoming a friend to her as a result of that campaign. I also really liked the performance giving by Morena Baccarin as Sagira who is a stand out star of the story and really serves to showcase just how lackluster our own Ghost is as a side character by showing how human Sagira is with her charm and confidence. I do not want to give anymore of the story away with spoilers as it’s not necessary but the story itself is well written but with a rather throw away ending for me personally, it was fine but I was hoping for something bigger.
But I do have big issues with some aspects to how this story was delivered which I will also go into a little more later on when talking about the new location of Mercury which the expansion adds to the playable world of Destiny 2. The first thing I hated is something that continues to aggravate me from the base game and that is how my Guardian no longer has a voice, and here it is even more evident and even has dialogue that pokes fun at the fact that Guardians no longer speak for themselves. In cut-scenes our Guardians are basically mimes now with Ghost having all the dialogue and it still puzzles me as to why that is after our Guardians did speak in the first Destiny. If the writers have a belief that fans consider this either acceptable or even funny they are sorely mistaken. I do not like that my Guardian has no voice and has become nothing more then someone that follows Ghost to meetings and then goes off and shoots all the bad guys.
Next is just how much content is reused in this first expansion especially the action that takes place off Mercury which simply reuses any site in the main campaign which features the Vex. It then also annoyed me even more to discover after completing the story itself that two of the main story missions became the two new Mercury Strikes so they didn’t really spend any amount of time focusing on making new strikes for this £17 expansion, just ripped out two story missions and said…there you go, job done.
So what else does this expansion bring to Destiny 2, well to start player Light levels has increased to 25 from 20 and the power cap is now 335 instead of 305. Now I am struggling to really understand why they bothered putting the light level up other than making sure some effort had to go into increasing power level and push people to complete the story campaign which by the way you will hit 25 by the time you complete it. The DLC does bring with it new weapons in legendary and exotic weapons as well as armour to collect with new ships and sparrows as well. Whilst some of the new ships look rather awesome, the new sparrows are basically versions of the Racing Sparrows from the Sparrow Racing event the first game had, and there is even one of the story missions, which is also a strike, that features a section that is very familiar to one of the race courses from that event. I do feel as though getting Exotic engrams has become more infrequent that with the base game, and trying to get any of the new gear and weapons from the DLC via Purple Engrams is also a struggle which in fact took 20 of which through playing the story before a new weapon actually dropped for me. We will have to see if that is improved on the first game maintenance post DLC launch.
This brings me nicely to Mercury itself as a new location world in the game and it really is the smallest area yet for Destiny. Mercury is a tiny world with one single Lost Sector to complete, the same three patrols each time I have gone there and one Public Event. That is rather empty if honest and a little disappointing to find it as ultimately small as it is. It does feature the Lighthouse with new vendor Brother Vance who takes Mercury tokens for his items with so little to do on the world it takes a good deal of time to farm those tokens and with the same three patrols to complete, one lost sector and Public Event it all becomes very repetitive very quickly. Now the one good thing that Mercury has going for it as a place to visit is the Infinite Forest which features in the main story. Adventures take players back into it in order to complete Vex simulations taking on the Vex, Fallen or Cabal in what are basically mini strikes. These are fun “shoot everything” missions and the heroic versions of these are very challenging as they have a little Nightfall difficulty thrown in for good measure in terms of modifiers which so far have been ‘Inertia and Momentum’ which means you will only replenish health by moving fast enough, standing still stops you getting your health back. These are best played with a fire team to avoid frustration. The potential is here for some interesting events in the future if that is Bungie’s plan but it is just about the only thing worth visiting Mercury for gameplay wise.
Now once the story and adventure missions have been completed as well as at least one heroic adventure, Brother Vance will then offer players the Prophecy Verse weapons. These require certain new materials to be collected from public events, strikes and crucible matches in order to activate a tablet which Brother Vance can put together and using the Weapon Forge in the Lighthouse, forge you a new weapon. Now so far only four are possible and behind the forge there is a dial on the wall with glyph, which each verse has a corresponding glyph that lights up when completed. With 12 glyph s in total and should the four verses per week continue, it should take players three weeks to complete the dial which at this point I have no idea what will happen when you do but it is a fun secret to uncover even if the grind for materials is real and painful!
For the Crucible this expansion will add two new maps, three if on PlayStation 4 as part of their exclusivity deal and those two new strikes which again, are just story campaign missions pulled out to be strikes. The new Raid Lair so far is the best addition fans are enjoying, I have yet to do this but have seen it played through and though it simply adds another raid to the Leviathan area in the form of ‘Eater of Worlds’ lair and will perhaps other the most challenging aspect of this expansion to the game. But it just feels so empty in terms of what it does bring to the game for the asking price of £17 for this as a standalone buy or as part of the £35 pass that gives both expansions, the next one due in 2018. That is where Bungie have clearly not learned their lesson with expansions, the pricing which though no doubt set by Activision, is still asking a lot of money from Destiny players for again, very little in terms of new content and just three months since the base game released. Making it worse is how some of the new additions to the base game to add longevity have now been locked behind the DLC meaning that in just those three months, many players have a now out of date Destiny 2. This means in a nutshell, that in order for players to really keep their copy of Destiny 2 up to date, even if they have no interest in the story element to the expansion, they will have to pay another £17 to do just that, three months after buying the game at release day prices.
That is the main reason I am so disappointed on the whole with Curse of Osiris, because the asking price for the small amount of real new content is far too high and what players are really buying is an update to the base game. Yes there is a story campaign but it is three hours long and yes there are new gear items to find, a couple of new strikes and crucible maps with a new Raid but after I felt Bungie were on the right track, they have dropped the ball here and players seem to agree right now that this was not enough content to keep them happy till the next expansion, which will no doubt link to the post credit scene if you completed the main campaign. This is a lackluster Expansion at best and though I have this on PS4, I also have it on Xbox One and right now I cannot in good conscious throw down the asking price for what is being offered here making my time on the Xbox One Destiny 2 come to an end for now, just three months after launch and really enjoying it up to now but this has soured the milk a little too much.
Bungie need to come with something else over the next few months ahead of the next expansion to give players something to do to make this expansion worth investing in but as of right now, what it offers is tiny compared to the price and unless you are a die hard fan needing to keep their game up to date to play with friends, Curse of Osiris is a woeful end to a very promising launch for me which is something I did not expect to end 2017 saying.
*Update* Just before this review went LIVE on the site, Bungie has acknowledged their ‘mistake’ in locking certain activities behind the DLC and today’s maintenance will address that (12/12/17) with some activities only being locked out when the rotation beings in a DLC map/area for that week. Sadly this still feels like Bungie falling into bad habits and feel they need to do a lot better with new content and communicating with fans.