The first expansion for Destiny 2 has arrived and our most dedicated Destiny player has taken a trip through time and space.
Destiny 2 launched three months ago and we've been playing ever since. Almost daily. We rewarded the game with a lofty score (9/10) and it's a rating that has held up. The first 50-70 hours of Destiny 2 are fantastic even if they may be a little too skewed to a new audience rather than veterans. There's a ton of content, exciting locations, and fun weapons. What's been missing is a reason to continue to play beyond the first 70 hours and that's, unfortunately, a problem the first expansion fails to solve. The amount of content hasn't really been the problem and even if we're getting more, that key reason to continue on playing day in and day out is still missing.
Curse of Osiris actually has very little to do with Destiny 2 at its core. The expansion lives a life of its own with the exception of a couple of references to what took place in the main story, which gives it a disconnected feeling. We want a game world that is ever evolving and where it feels like our effort has impact. However, things do start out epic enough. Osiris, the legendary Warlock and former mentor of Ikora Rey, finds himself in The Vault of Glass that veterans will recognise from the first game. Things go wrong and Osiris disappears into a time portal. His mechanical helper Sagira remains on the other side and it is with her help we can locate and possibly save Osiris.
As we touched on earlier, Curse of Osiris feels like a side step; something that doesn't really tie into the bigger picture. There is nothing wrong with the new campaign and the missions, it's just they exist in a vacuum. You could argue that this is how previous expansions have worked too, but it has never felt this obvious. We've been waiting for years to explore a campaign with Osiris and this adventure doesn't do fans nor the character justice.
The campaign is made up of a handful of missions that are played out on the new destination, Mercury, and recycled locations from the main game. Mercury is simply gorgeous, but the actual space in which you play is painfully limited. There is a new public event, a "lost sector", and a couple of chests. That's it. Or wait a second, there's Infinite Forest, the location that Bungie put a lot of emphasis on prior to release. It's not randomly generated, but it was still said to offer a varied layout. This is not untrue, but it's implemented in a pointless way and it doesn't help that we're running through the same environments a dozen or so times during the campaign, strikes and adventures. Infinite Forest is more of a reminder of what could have been, a glorified tech demo we're made to pay for.
The new public event is fun, one of the better ones in fact, and both strikes (that are implemented in the campaign) are good. However, the story itself is a snooze fest that lacks excitement and reward. After two or three hours the majority of the content is completed and what remains is the usual grind to get all the gear and weapons. In Curse of Osiris something called "Lost Prophecies" are introduced, these allow you to craft special Vex-inspired weapons not found anywhere else. There is nothing wrong with the weapons themselves, they look cool (even if they're based on old recycled models) and a couple of them are really useful. It's the grind that's associated with getting them that causes the frustration.
In order to unlock one weapon (there are eleven in total) you're required to partake in activities such as strikes, multiplayer, or public events. Some of these "missions" task you with playing 50-60 public events... you get our point. What's the fun in that? It's one of the worst examples of unnecessary grind in a game we've seen in a long time and there's no way we're going to collect them all.
Speaking of weapons, it is disappointing to see that roughly half of the exotics and gear that comes with the expansion is recycled stuff from Destiny. Bungie made it a point to explain they were making a fresh start when they robbed us of all the things we had earned during three years of playing Destiny, but they seem to have no problem bringing things back and putting them in a paid expansion. To have to pay for the main game and the expansion in order to collect weapons we already unlocked once just rubs us the wrong way.
Unfortunately, that's not the only thing that's locked up with the expansion. The recommended level for the most difficult bits of the main game is raised. And so if you don't buy the expansion you can't play content you could previously, content you've technically paid for. This is, of course, all the more obvious if you're playing the PC version that saw release just six weeks ago or if you're hunting the Platinum trophy on PS4. Bungie is looking into how to solve this, but same as with selling us old weapons, this comes across as greedy.
There is one thing that somewhat saves the day, same as the case was with the first Destiny expansion, The Dark Below, and that's the new raid. Or rather, the raid lair as it's called. Even if it plays out in the same location as the previous one and is significantly shorter, it is still among the best things Bungie has ever produced, at least as far as Destiny goes. We don't want to spoil anything, but the final boss is simply incredible. There are also a couple of new and interesting exotics that come with the expansion.
Overall, Curse of Osiris is a mediocre and sloppy product, and it feels as if Bungie doesn't really care. For lack of a better term, it lacks soul, and there seems to be no ambition to evolve Destiny 2. Instead, we get (a little) more of the same; the absolute minimum required for this to be branded an expansion. The production values, however, are still great. Design, graphics and music are, as expected, nothing less than fantastic. Mercury bathing in sunlight is a joy to behold, and to travel back in time and see the planet at its peak was a magical moment. But for a game that's designed to lure you back again and again, it's not enough to have a shiny surface and a bombastic soundtrack.
The first Destiny evolved with time and improved. Bungie showed an understanding that players need to feel respected. Destiny 2 may not get worse with Curse of Osiris, but if this is an indication of where things are heading we're not sure we'll want to return for future expansions. It's the absolute minimum in terms of content, with a short campaign, two maps for multiplayer, and a handful of new weapons, and that feels like a slap in the face given the relatively high price point. Is Curse of Osiris worth playing then? No, not if you're asking us.
5 / 10
Great production values, Fantastic raid content, New fun strikes.
Far too short, Recycled locations and weapons, Infinite Forest is extremely boring, lacks a meaning in the great game world, Insane grind.