The brand new game mode coming to Destiny 2: Forsaken was playable at Gamescom and we took the opportunity to check it out in detail.
With a new expansion coming in just a few weeks there are of course loads and loads of things to discuss about Destiny 2, and we'll of course have real impressions from the expansion as a whole very soon, but right now we're focusing on Gambit and why this is changing the Destiny experience on a fundamental level.
For the first time in history (Destiny history that is) Bungie's loot-shooter gets a mode where PvP is mixed with PvE, called Gambit, and - spoiler alert - it is super fun. After running around the showfloors at Gamescom we finally got to sit down in comfy chairs to play Gambit, and while Bungie has introduced new modes in the past like Prison of Elders, Archons Forge, and Escalation Protocol, but this is something on a whole new level.
If you're not familiar with the new mode then here comes a quick rundown. Two teams of four get to greet each other in whichever obnoxious way you feel most appropriate (we did a quick, but quite effective, dance) and then you're teleported your own part of the map where you can't see each other. It's a point-based game mode and in order to succeed and score points you'll have to kill enemies and bosses while collecting the motes they drop when killed.
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Sounds easy enough, right? With those motes the real interesting part begins though, as you can sabotage the opposing team by sending them blockers while banking your motes. Blockers are basically enemies of different tiers for them to fight and as long as a blocker is active they can't score points. The thresholds are five points for a small blocker, 10 for a medium, and 15 for a large. The goal is to score 75 points to spawn a boss, called a Primeval, and the team that slays said boss first wins.
But wait, how is this PvE meets PvP? Well, for every 25 motes your team banks a portal opens up that lets you invade the other team, and one player can teleport each time to wreak havoc on the poor souls on the other side. This is really important for two main reasons, as if you manage to kill opposing guardians they lose all of the motes they're carrying at that moment, which can be devastating for the whole team. The other reason is that if the team you are invading has banked all their motes and spawned a Primeval then each kill gives the boss a chunk of health back.
Imagine this scenario: the enemy team has the lead, they have their Primeval down by half health by the time your boss spawns. Send over a sneaky guardian with a shotgun and let them take out the four enemy players and you've basically reset the bosses health and flipped the odds in your favor. This will indeed lead to some really clutch moments and spectacular games with some high risk, high reward moments.
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Whichever team is slaying more efficiently and makes good use of blockers will have the upper hand. This of course means that it all comes down to good teamwork, a great sense of coordination, and the ability to prioritise targets. We kept running around slaying mob enemies while one of my teammates was on guard duty, for example, as he was defending our playing field while remaining ready to go for a full frontal attack when we banked enough motes. When our Primeval spawned we met up at the center point of the map and threw everything we had right at its face, winning the game by 2-0.
The constant stress of banking motes faster then the enemy team while being on the lookout for invaders and slaying enemies is what makes Gambit so entertaining, as it's multitasking on a new level and is great to show off how strong Destiny 2 actually is in its core gameplay. The mix of PvP and PvE works like a charm and the level of strategic elements is something we haven't seen in Destiny before. The game mode will ship with four maps that can house different enemies on each, making for slightly different games with different combinations too.
Gambit feels like a game mode that will keep evolving together with Destiny 2 and knowing Bungie they'll definitely have some interesting plans for it going forward. It's PvP for PvEers and PvE for PvPers and we can't wait to get our hands on it in September when the Forsaken expansion releases. There's a whole lot more to talk about regarding Forsaken, like new supers, weapon slot changes, balancing and so forth, and we'll get to that soon, but for now we've realised that Gambit will test your team in different ways each game.