Destiny 2 – Beyond Light

Here we are again, Destiny 2 – Beyond Light.

Beyond light is the latest big expansion to the live service game, that I’ve put more hours into than any other game I can think of. But after Shadowkeep, I dropped-off really hard, and haven’t found myself wanting to get back into Destiny 2 at all.

Partially because moving to PC means I have to re-buy all of the DLC again, and partly because I got very very tired of the same old grind. I actually ignored the release of Beyond light late in 2020, purely because I just didn’t care. The thoughts of a new sub-class type were intriguing, and taking the power of the ever-elusive “Darkness” certainly had appeal.

Alas, it wasn’t enough. Especially when starting on Steam, even with the cross-progress elements, meant that I didn’t have all the content I’d paid for, and Beyond Light alone wasn’t going to make-up for that.

Then, I read somewhere that the Vault of Glass raid is coming back. And well…….that changes everything. More on that later, but for now, here’s a rundown of the Beyond Light campaign.

 

Story time

The last I remember, I finished some story and “met” The Darkness. Then it was largely left, and seasons came along, with some great story missions, but never getting back on that main track. Same old grind, season grind got tiring quick, and I dropped off.

Now, I might have missed some story beats throughout missed seasons, but I don’t think I missed anything for the “main” story. That’s where Beyond Light comes in.

A new enemy has arisen from the Fallen. Eramis, Kell of Darkness of the House of Salvation. Also known as the “Kell of Kells”.

So yeah, another big Fallen enemy with a big gun. The difference here is that she has abilities, like a guardian. But these abilities come from The Darkness. The literally opposite of The Light, used by the Guardians.

Angry Fallen + abilities = campaign storyline.

Beyond light isn’t running a deep narrative if I’m honest. It’s great speaking to Varkis again, and you spend some time with the previously elusive “Exo Stranger” from the original Destiny campaign. The intro clip for the Stranger is cool, and seeing her and allies use The Darkness abilities “Stasis”.

You largely run around the new locale Europa (a moon of Jupiter) and attune yourself to The Darkness. 3 bosses from the House of Salvation, some quests in between to acclimatise with “stasis” and some pretty standard, run-here, kill-this missions.

After about 4 hours, I’d finished the story, unlocked Stasis and now I’m stuck with the usual list of exotic quests, side quests, and end-game missions. Beyond Light didn’t really satiate that deep narrative need I had coming out of Shadowkeep. In fact, dialogue was largely weak “Darkness is inside all of us, but you have Darkness and Light swirling inside of you”. Ok, cool. Generic reason to give me both Light and Dark powers.

It was fine, but it didn’t do much for me to keep me hooked. 4 hours is short, but honestly, much longer and I might have gotten bored.

 

The Darkness

I think the most disappointing aspect of Beyond Light is the promise of using “The Darkness” and coming out with the new sub-class of Stasis.

To be clear, the Hunter abilities are cool. I love the area of effect freezing and damaging, the shuriken, the grenade that creates a wall. It’s great, and really nicely mixed-up the way I approach combat. I can’t wait to use it in Strikes and Raids with friends, to develop new dynamics between everyone and their abilities!

I use the term “disappointing” because I feel that ice/stasis abilities just don’t live-up to my own personal expectations. All these years, waiting for the impending arrival of The Darkness, Ice abilities just aren’t that exciting. After facing the fallen, seeing how “dark” they look, all that stuff from the Taken King onwards. It feels like that stuff was “dark”.

Beyond Light just doesn’t deliver a satisfying conclusion here. Not yet, anyway. I’m sure there’s plenty to come, or perhaps plenty I’ve missed in my off-time?

It’s a minor niggle, all things considered, but come on……even all the new weapons have ice-related names.

 

Playing on PC

Nothing to do with Beyond Light specifically, but worth mentioning regardless, is the transition to PC.

Playing Destiny on PC has been interesting. Where I usually opt for keyboard and mouse for a first person shooter. It just feels wrong and weird. Also, a lot of the default key-binds are a little awkward.

Hundreds of house with a controller in this game have basically meant that my muscle memory relating to what I see on screen, doesn’t compute without a controller. I’m sure with time it would, but it feels “wrong”.

Otherwise, it’s running great, feels as good as Destiny always has, and you very quickly feel like you’ve settled back into that old favourite jacket you wear every day.

Other than that, I only have a gripe that I’m buying content I’ve already bought. Now, if I’d gone from Xbox to Playstation, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, so the logic is fully there. But there’s something that really irks me, having enabled the cross-progression, it can see what gear I have, and what content it came from. An annoyance, and not a game-breaker. But when I’ve dropped so far off the game, some kind of acknowledgement for your continued patronage would be nice, I guess?

The environments look great as always, the skyboxes are fantastic. Beyond Light or Destiny 2 itself, look fantastic and of course, sound fantastic. Switching to PC has largely improved my experience of the game, with sharper visuals and a better framerate.

 

Moving on…

Ok, the story was erm…..minimal. But I need to see what else Beyond Light has to offer. I’ve got a season pass for this current season, and I have some quests to do.

Having to burn through gear to up my power-level is fine whilst there’s a consistent flow of stuff dropping. Once I hit that soft cap, I know I’m going to feel that grate against me inside. I don’t want to be grinding the same few strikes or crappy cruicible for hours on end.

But…..the Vault of Glass is returning. No doubt it’ll be slightly different, with all these new Vex units and Fallen units (I love some of these new enemies by the way!), but damn, Vault of Glass is the raid that really made Destiny an experience above all other games.

That means I’ve got to get to a minimum power level I guess? So I’ll give it a few more hours over the next week or so. See what other activities have come. Plus that will be new weapons and armour sets to collect. Although, I truly can’t be bothered to do it all again. The promise of a Vault of Glass raid should be enough to get me through the grind, but we’ll see!

 

Overall

Beyond Light is sure to have more to it than just the campaign, but when I’m barely holding interest as it is, it’s a tough sell to anyone that fell off the wagon a while ago.

If you want to experience the main story thread, and see where it goes. The price for entry is high! I’d suggest finding more reason than just that, to come back to it.

Playing with friends, and the boys in VasDown, makes some difference. I mean, it’s where we came from. But honestly, every time I open up Destiny 2, my first thought is “I could happily be playing something else”. The Vault of Glass is a powerful draw, let’s hope it’s not too much of a let down.

If you’re on the fence about coming back to Destiny 2 after some time off. Make sure you know it’s all still basically the same, and as far as I can tell, no cinematic brilliance awaits you. Easy boss fights, new abilities from the darkness and more strikes, do not make a great case for buying another big DLC. Especially if you’ve been buying season passes on top of expansions.

Find it on sale, or wait for them to be added to the “free-to-play” content list (not sure that will happen), but don’t waste your money if you’re stuck on the fence.

It’s nice to be back, in the same way that it’s nice to visit an place where you spent a lot of time in the past. It’s all the same still, and you only want to be there for a little bit before you leave again. Remember, you left for a reason. Life moved on, this place didn’t.

Quick edit: I’ve written and re-written this 3 times now to an extent. This isn’t strictly due to the content of Beyond Light, but my ongoing love/hate relationship with Destiny.

Initially I was a little too harsh, and wildly uninformed about a few bits. Secondly, I was too soft and took too much back for some reason.

I’m sure people agree or disagree with bits, but this is reasonably rounded.

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