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Jul 10, 2024

Destiny 2: The Final Shape Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $49.99
We Recommend: $49.99
  • Developer: Bungie
  • Publisher: Bungie
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Free to Play
  • Released: Jun 04, 2024
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5
  • Reviewed: Windows

Destiny 2’s The Final Shape expansion brings a climactic end to the ten-year Light and Darkness saga, marking the final confrontation with The Witness, and for many, this was going to be an emotional end, good or bad. But the moment you step through the portal carved by The Witness into The Traveler, there is a sense of urgency and desperation. Can your Guardian handle it all? As the culmination of a decade-long journey, it carries the weight of many memorable moments and high expectations. The emotional stakes are high, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether The Final Shape delivers a fitting conclusion to this epic saga.

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From the get-go, the situation is treated with the emotional weight it deserves. Once you enter through that portal, everything feels so desperate. The Awoken Queen Mara Sov provides some assistance from a distance, while the Vanguard has no communication. Let’s not forget the status of Crow, who, in the previous season, was the first to jump through, is unknown. It is one of those rare times you hear the vulnerability in Mara’s voice; it is very out of character for the awoken queen, giving you that sense of desperation. The return of Cayde-6, voiced by Nathan Fillion, is a highlight, bringing a beloved character back into the fold. Zavala’s arc is also compelling as he grapples with his faith in The Traveler and with the Light itself. The campaign takes players through a series of emotional trials, culminating in an epic final encounter with The Witness. It’s the only time you’ll get to be in a lobby with 12 other guardians, fighting waves of enemies and one giant smokey boy. This climactic battle is a spectacle and one of the best campaign bosses in the series.

The gameplay in The Final Shape is finely tuned, offering a blend of familiar mechanics and new innovations. The introduction of the Prismatic subclass is a game-changer. This new class merges Light and Dark abilities, allowing you to cherry-pick your favorite abilities from each class. As someone who likes using Stasis but has some favorite abilities in others, this works out so well. Prismatic is a dream come true. The expansion also introduces a new faction, The Dread. These nasty, dark-wielding fellas serve The Witness, and they’ll use Stasis and Strand all over the place. They’ll provide challenging encounters that require strategic thinking. They will freeze and pull you when the Subjugators aren’t toying with you.

Bungie’s art team has outdone itself with The Final Shape. The Pale Heart inside The Traveler is a visual masterpiece showcasing some of the best art designs in the industry. The environments are richly detailed and beautifully rendered, creating a sense of immersion that is hard to match. Nostalgia plays a significant role as you revisit the old Tower, now aged and covered in foliage. The feeling of familiarity and the emotional weight of these locations add depth to your overall experience.

The Pale Heart’s open areas are filled with winding paths and diverse biomes, making exploration a rewarding experience. Add to that the constant battles happening in the Overthrow events, and you get some fun challenges, keeping the gameplay lively. The Overthrow events are where everything you do, from opening chests, collecting resources, to slaying enemies, contributes to an overall increasing score. Finish each wave, and you’ll mess with one of three final bosses; they’re different in each zone. However, it’s you vs the world; it is lonely out there as this is the only public space in Destiny 2 that doesn’t match you in a public lobby. The only way you’re seeing any other guardians is to create a fireteam.

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Prismatic, without question, is one of the most exciting parts of the expansion. As I mentioned earlier, it allows mixing Aspects, Fragments, grenades, class abilities and Supers into one sub-class. Currently, I’m running around with the Silence and Squall Super, Snare Bomb melee, Swarm Grenades, and various abilities and aspects. And this build gives me quite a bit of freedom to tune my Guardian to my exact playstyle. It’s such a great subclass.

The Pathfinder system in the Pale Heart, which opens after the campaign, uses the same unifying bounty system that the Vanguard, Crucible, and Gambit bounties have moved to. Marking individual goals and guiding players to complete them on the map provides a more organic way to farm experience and higher-level engrams than traditional bounties. At first, I was doubtful about its unlocking method, but they will point you in the right direction for the most part. Once you complete enough to make it to the end of the Pathfinder, you’ll unlock a high-level engram, and you can choose to reset this as many times as you’d like and keep grinding away. Micah-10 of the Six Coyotes is a new presence, providing you some comms support, and will ask for your aid in finding Lost Ghosts and bestowing new weapons as rewards. There are a few new Exotic quests and even new co-op-focused missions with new mechanics that require a lot of coordination, almost like a two-person co-op raid/dungeon of sorts.

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Destiny 2: The Final Shape is a triumph for the series, delivering a campaign that is both a worthy conclusion for long-time players and a compelling experience for newcomers. The new activities and mechanics add depth and variety, ensuring players remain engaged. While Overthrow may wear on you over time, it still offers a fun way to farm XP and Hive kills. This expansion proves that Destiny 2 still has a lot to offer, and the journey of your Guardian is far from over; I mean, there are a few more episodes left to release!

After ten years, you’d think I would feel it’s time to hand up the cape and move on, but this series is just too much fun, and this expansion has proven that. If Bungie continues to deliver on this level of quality, Destiny 2 will have a long and exciting future ahead, paving the way for a potential Destiny 3.

A Steam code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes