Destiny 2 The Witch Queen is a masterpiece

Destiny 2 The Witch Queen is a masterpiece

The Destiny franchise has been through a massive journey in it’s last few years of existence. Over the past year, Bungie has shown that they can make a compelling story that keeps players coming back every week, a fun gameplay loop that allows for creative buildcrafting and a consistent quality that does not fluctuate in between content drops.

This year’s expansion, Destiny 2 The Witch Queen is the culmination of every good change Bungie has made in the past year, combined with a complete renewal of the campaign experience and even more compelling storytelling and creative gameplay.

Without a doubt, the Witch Queen Campaign is the best campaign Bungie has made since the golden age of Halo. The short missions with monotonous level grinding in between have been completely replaced by long missions with multiple encounters and bosses, a mission in this campaign feels like a level in Doom Eternal.

This is added onto with the addition of the legendary campaign, which feels difficult, but not so difficult it’s impossible. Destiny campaigns have always had high stakes, but those stakes are not backed up by the relatively easy gameplay. The best way to experience the campaign is in legendary and I recommend everyone who plays this to at least give it a try.

When it comes to the story, the campaign exceeds every expectation I had. Savathun The Witch Queen is the best villain Destiny has ever had, and the years of build up to her arrival were absolutely met. I would go as far to say that Savathun is one of the most compelling villains in gaming as a whole.

One of the only complaints I have towards the story is that it might be unfriendly to some new players, a lot of the most powerful moments in the campaign require some knowledge of Destiny lore to fully feel the impact. 

The campaign does a good job explaining some of the base lore required to understand the story but it could do better. Allowing you to pause a cutscene and read up on some of the lore, such as when a character mentions the worm gods or fundament you are given a notification to to pause the cutscene and see a small blurb explaining the context, could be better. Or simply adding some of the most important lore into Destiny 2, such as the Books of Sorrow or the lore cards about the various races.

The amazing story plus the difficult high stakes gameplay of the legendary campaign leads to a cohesive experience that will keep you engaged all the way until the last minute. Bungie was not lying when they said that this would be the definitive Destiny Campaign.

The world that this campaign mostly takes place in is Savathun’s throne world, being the most gorgeous location I have ever seen in a video game. The world map makes it seem small but that’s very misleading, the world is actually the most expansive in Destiny history.

 The world is very diverse, from the dark ruins of the miasma, to the lush, but abandoned swamps of the quagmire, to the gargantuan white fortresses of the fluorescent canal. And all the expansive caverns and secrets that lie within them. As well as the ominous pyramid that lies in the distance, showing the journey towards the raid.

The world is also masterful when it comes to environmental storytelling, the idea of Savathun’s rebirth in the light and how she leaves the darkness she pushed away in the dark swamps of her throne world, with the dormant pyramid  in the distance showing how the darkness is everprescent in her world, despite her efforts to run away from it.

Bungie’s environmental storytelling is truly astounding and Savathun’s throne world is yet another form of character building. Personally, the diversity of Savathun’s world and it’s beauty makes it my favorite location in the world of Destiny. It fixes the issue I saw with the Dreaming City which was that sometimes it didn’t feel real or lived in.

Savathun’s throne world is an amazing setting for the whole DLC and it’s the only Destiny location that I genuinely feel compelled to explore to find all the secrets, whether it’s hidden chest with weapons, or pieces of lore.

Now, the meat of Destiny has always been the post campaign, and despite Witch Queen’s focus on the campaign this is no different for this expansion. 

The post campaign includes a fully explorable throne world, with a vendor you can level to rank 30, a new six player activity, a new exotic quest, harder difficulty campaign missions as well as access to an array of new weapons and armor.

The weakest link here is the six player activity, perhaps it’s because it was released alongside the fantastic, Psiops  battlegrounds activity that came with Witch Queen’s accompanying season (Season of The Risen). Psiops is faster, more rewarding and more fun.

While you could say that you can just avoid Wellspring, many of the new weapons are locked behind the activity, weapons which are necessary to craft the new exotic glaives.

Now, glaives is the new weapon type added in Witch Queen, a melee weapon that can also launch a energy projectile. The glaive is so much fun to play with, going through a crowd of enemies and quickly stabbing them and shooting projectiles is an incredibly engaging form of combat. It’s a break from constantly shooting.

When you first get in the second mission of Witch Queen it might feel weak, especially in the Legendary Campaign when every enemy, especially the melee ones hit like a truck. But as soon as you level up and get your hands on some of the seasonal mods such as suppressing and unstoppable glaive, the glaive becomes one of the strongest weapon types in the game. My fear is when some of these mods go away in the next season that glaives will become underpowered.

Another amazing change Bungie made to the way we play was the rework of the void subclasses known as void 3.0. Void 3.0 is the beginning of a list of subclass reworks coming in year 5 of Destiny 2, this is to make sure that the guardian’s light powers are as strong and customizable as the previous expansion’s Stasis subclass which was the first of the Darkness subclasses.

Void 3.0 makes void not just stronger and more customizable but also more fitting with the fantasy of every class. Your sentinel titan feels even more now like captain America. You can throw your shield as a melee or bash enemies with it. You have a choice between your roaming shield super or your ward of dawn. The warlock feels even more now like that powerful wizard throwing around black holes. And the hunter Nightstalker truly feels like its namesake, constant invisibility, and supporting your team through weakening enemies.

There is so many build opportunities, to just give one example, with a new seasonal mod, the glaive weapon and the Nightstalker hunter class you can create a build were you become invisible after every kill. Making you feel like an assassin surprising your enemies with a quick melee kill and instantly going invisible, you can take out a room in seconds without even being seen.

Void 3.0 sets an amazing precedent for solar and ark 3.0 and the best part is that this change is free to all players allowing everyone to experiment with the new abilities.

Now to weapon crafting, with the Witch Queen Bungie has added the brand new weapon crafting system. By going to the enclave on Mars you can now forge your own weapons with perk rolls of your choice.

This system is off to a great start, to craft a weapon you first need to find it’s pattern which requires you to find rare versions of the weapon you want with red borders, usually 3-5 and extract the pattern from them. Then you need to level up your newly crafted weapon to implement the perks you want which require a heavy material cost.

This is a huge time investment but it makes sense given Destiny is a lot based shooter and if you could simply craft every weapon with the best perks easily then it could kill the core of the game. But Bungie didn’t do that, incorporating luck based elements and having high material costs and time investment requirements.

The only problem with weapon crafting is the lack of craftable weapons, Bungie should absolutely try to implement every weapon currently available into the game into the crafting system, and another minor change would be reducing the material cost for reshaping.

Now to the highlight of every Destiny expansion, the Vow of The Disciple raid. It would be criminal for me to spoil this raid for you. The Vow of The Disciple raid is one of the best raid experiences Bungie has ever produced and it’s in contest for being the best, up there with Last Wish and King’s fall. 

Everything from the encounter design, the art style, the lore and backstory and what’s hands down the best final boss in Destiny history makes Vow of The Disciple a worthwhile ending for the Witch Queen expansion as it lives up to the quality of everything else.

So in conclusion, whether you’re someone looking to go into Destiny for the first time or have been a player for a while already, the Witch Queen example is the best this game can offer and everyone who can play it should.