Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is an attempted step in the right direction, bringing back the Moon, a new armor system, and story-elements driven narratively by Eris Morn, but the big question is, can it win back former players? Let’s find out in this review for Destiny 2: Shadowkeep.
Editor’s Note: Before proceeding with reading our review, we want to indicate that this review will contain minor spoiler content and a review in progress. The spoilers will include elements of the story. Due to the nature of this content, we urge you to please navigate back to our homepage for the time being.
+Armor system 2.0 works rather well and should have been a part of the game sooner
+Eris Morn is a welcome face that drives the series forward
+The Nightmares add more suspense and mystery to the series
+Upgrades are no-longer a grindfest
-Content can be mildly overwhelming to newcomers
-Exotic(s) are locked behind the Season Pass
When I first was told about Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, I had skipped out on Bungie’s E3 reveal. I wasn’t excited about it, I was still burnt from how short Destiny 2: Forsaken had been. I’d felt I’d consumed all the story content Bungie had to offer in just a few short weeks, but I’d grown mistaken given the time Bungie had needed to really see it grow, to wrap up the stories that they would continue to deliver over time.
Unlike a traditional first-person-shooter, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that Destiny 2 doesn’t tell its story in a traditional manner that other games have done for quite some time. This time around, however, things have changed. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a much different beast than what we’d experienced before. In truth, this is the first true step towards an MMORPG that the franchise has made, and it’s one that focuses much more on the hardcore players than Destiny 2 and Destiny 2: Forsaken have done in the past.
The emphasis on group-based content ranging from Nightmare Hunts and open-worlds events are there in every aspect of what Destiny 2: Shadowkeep has to offer. The core game itself we experienced two years ago, even last week, is completely gone. The entire system has been overhauled from top to bottom, bringing many of the elements we loved from Destiny back to life in Destiny 2, giving veteran players a lot to look forward to as they adventure across the moon.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep comes to life with New Light
Due to how much of an overhaul that New Light is, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a fresh of breath air, a brand-new chance to enter Destiny 2 without feeling overwhelmed. the new free-to-play option is great, especially for those looking to jump in whenever they can and step into New Light without feeling as if you are being forced to purchase Destiny 2: Shadowkeep in order to enjoy the game.
The change is welcomed and it does more than just boost your characters up to a light level of 750. It unlocks all subclasses, all the subtrees in each subclass, and even gives you a chance to enjoy Destiny 2 to its fullest without feeling like you’ve taken an arrow to the knee from some sneaky Hunter.
Throw into the mix that the Armor 2.0 system is live, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep feels like a true Destiny 2 experience versus a half-assed one we’d begun to experience when Destiny 2 first launched two years ago. With the return of stats such as Intellect, Strength, and Discipline, which Destiny veterans will remember as stats that aided in grenade, melee, and super cool down rates.
Putting it bluntly, these changes should have come sooner than they did later, but this new approach to the title isn’t bad at all – it was necessary to make the game what it should have been from the start. As you gear up, raise those stats, you will find that your time-to-kill has changed. This is where the RPG elements begin to show and it works, it works rather well, and it makes the gear you’d never use from some of the NPCs on each planet, actually worth obtaining once again.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’s gear and mods make gear well worth the adventure
One of the issues I’ve had since the launch of Destiny 2 is gear. Gear didn’t feel worth it, it didn’t feel like there were variations worth obtaining, stats worth grinding for or mods worth working towards with Banshee-44 by doing his bounties and his gear.
Now, however, it’s all worth chasing. The armor, the weapons, and even the mods. Each one works different, aiming for specific stats will be important to your build, to how you play, and what mods you wish to use. Wanting to be a character that can pack a punch, using your ability to use class abilities to speed up the cooldown of the others, which in turn, can also cool down your supercharge.
Maxing out gear, however, isn’t the same as it was before. You aren’t going to find yourself just slamming as many items into a gear piece or weapon of your choosing in order to raise its light by the use of your farmed materials. That’s another place that has been improved upon, allowing players to save their glimmer, their farmable materials, legendary shards, and your enhancement cores, which you will need for other upgrades later.
One improvement doesn’t just make it all better, but it’s the wide array of improvements that have been made since the launch of New Light and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep have made it an overall better experience. Gearing is easily obtainable to those that look to gear up, level up, or even enjoy the core story of the game.
It’s all easily accessible, as previously stated, and it’s easy to do compared to before. Just keep in mind, that seasonal stuff, is locked to seasons, and that’s one of the only ways you can get it. Those of you looking to get the seasonal gear need to keep in mind that each season will include its own “season pass”, which will have their own unique gear pieces, and their very own exotics.
Don’t think that Bungie isn’t hard at work changing things up, improving upon the improvements they already made, which will see things evolve in the future. This also includes story content.
Every season will feature new story-based content
With each season lasting three months each, we’re going to see a lot of things change, and we’re going to see them change rather quickly. As each season closes out another will follow, which includes new content to enjoy, including story missions and or other elements of the game to enjoy.
Due to this newly devised format that Bungie has chosen, it’ll make it hard to review the story. However, it is worth noting that Bungie is known for this, this isn’t new, and they are making it a lot more unique than they did before. This time, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep digs deeper into lore we’d never-have-expected to see than before.
Eris Morn seems to be playing a significant role, reprising her place as the mystic we’d all known her as in Destiny, where she rightfully camped herself inside the tower just outside of the Vanguard in the room. When the Tower was destroyed, it was hard to figure out where she had gone, what had happened to her, or what she was up to.
Now, we know what is going on, we know she’s been looking into the Hive and her doing so took her to the Moon, which is where we find her at a location only known as the Scarlet Keep. Veteran players will feel right at home, they’ll know the moon inside out, minus a few much-needed changes that emphasizes upon the work that Guardians have done before. Due to the nature of this portion of the review, it’s important that we make it clear: The next portion contains spoilers and this is your final chance to return to our homepage.
The Nightmares on the Moon are entirely welcomed
Much like any enemy type in the game, the Nightmares are something new, something we’d never-before-seen in the story. Fans of Warframe may even be able to draw minor parallels between the two, namely Chains of Harrow and Shadowkeep. They’re both spectacular, the enemies are purely psychological and they are almost as trippy as any of the others we’ve experienced yet – just don’t expect them to shapeshift as much as you’d hope them to do.
There are moments where Destiny 2: Shadowkeep decides to slow itself down, become a psychological horror title, but only then to grab the dial and turn it from a five to an eleven. Eris Morn doesn’t fail to fulfill the needs we’ve had in regards to her storytelling approaches. She’s a powerful character and she does just as good this time as she did in Destiny Expansion I: The Dark Below.
She’s a likable character, one that continues to add more mystery to the series than anyone else, which drives Destiny 2: Shadowkeep forward in its current state. In its current state, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is absolutely amazing and it’s one of the few stories that Destiny has had to offer that kept us diving in for more with each and every session we have enjoyed so far.
The Nightmares are riveting, they keep us guessing, and our biggest hope is that they will lead into what “The Darkness” actually is or perhaps some insight into what Dominus Ghaul had managed to discover before his sudden and explosive end during The Red War.
But we will have to wait and see, Bungie is keeping tight-lipped about what we have yet to experience, what we can hope to experience, and what we will get to experience when the time comes. Regardless, their new storytelling approach is genius and it will keep us running back for more soon as the brand-new season releases. You can expect quite a few Vex, Nightmares, and Hive this season as the Black Garden is stirring once again.
Just take your time, enjoy the Vex Incursions and see what the Black Garden is up to, our only hope is that the Nightmares have something to do with the Vex, their technology, and something the Traveler may not have been expecting to happen.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is a star that’s only beginning to glow, but it’s a bright one – Conclusion
When I look at Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, I can’t say it isn’t a beautiful game, that its story isn’t fantastic, because it is. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, to be honest, shouldn’t be looked at as your standard game anymore. I say this, again, because it isn’t.
Bungie has opted for an episodic approach, each season is a new episode, which in anime terms, would mean Destiny 2 and Destiny 2: Forsaken were the prologues and now we’re finally experiencing the first episode of the very first season and our seasons are being broken into four separate acts. With subtle hints of a possible return of the Black Garden, we can only wonder if our truer enemy is the Vex or if something truly sinister is about to happen.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $34.99 | $59.99
Whatever the cause is, if Destiny 2 keeps on its current path, it’ll be one of the strongest entries yet, but only if it keeps down its current path. With where it’s headed, I can only quote Dinklebot at this point in time: “Heads up, Guardian.”
Our review is based upon a retail version that we purchased by our writer(s) for the review of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.
David “The 8 Bit Gamer in a 4K World” Murphy is B.A.T.G.R.’s behind the scenes man who helps get things up and going as well as keeping things in order. Don’t be surprised to know that the old man contributes rather heavily to editing, news, and information he digs up so that editorials, as well as articles, are done properly. He also likes Fallout… A lot. We’re not sure he’s not secretly the Vault Boy in disguise.