Destiny 2: Final Shape Review


After 10 years of storytelling, the overarching saga that was introduced in Destiny’s original launch has finally come to an end. With The Final Shape, Bungie is paying close attention to most of its themes and questions, setting the stage for a fresh direction in subsequent releases. Otherwise, this final chapter is incredibly satisfying, offering a gripping, truthful, and character-driven conclusion that perfectly reflects what has come before. From the narrative to the gameplay, this is not a part that welcomes newcomers. However, with every hour (or thousands of hours) the player invests in this adventure, the ending on offer becomes that much more powerful.

The Final Shape expansion transports Guardians to the mysterious interior of a expansive spherical Traveler, a liminal and surreal space halfway between reality and imagination. In ten years of forceful location design, this fresh place is the most unusual and artistically striking, regularly referencing places we have visited before and combining them with strange organic shapes such as giant hands and faces carved in the rock.

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The campaign is designed as a non-stop journey from point A to B, with landmarks that represent moments of anguish and catharsis for the most significant players in the history of the last decade. This is the most human and believable story the series has ever created.

Featuring a delightfully risky Fright faction and plenty of raid-like mechanics, missions feature a satisfying mix of intense action and gunplay while also requiring close observation. The story ends with a satisfying burst of joy and emotion, combining the completion of the raid and the final final action. Grand and epic storytelling requires a clever combination of bombast and poetic sensibility, and this is one of those times when the game hits the nail on the head.

The fresh prismatic subclasses – along with a host of other fresh abilities – make this expansion the most mechanically intricate the series has ever attempted. Creating structures and experimenting are vital for high-level gameplay. Despite some efforts at simplicity, the glut of currencies and interwoven progression systems have become painfully complicated even for experienced players. It’s challenging to even imagine how a novice could break through the curtain and gain momentum.

Nevertheless, Bungie deserves praise for trying to explain the game’s systems and provide tips on how to improve them. In addition to amazing fresh exotic items and legendary weapons (that feel exotic), players have a huge range of options at their disposal to modify and play the way they want. The sandbox is huge and there are lots of unique ways to play.

Some fresh systems, such as the fresh Pathfinder system, are fascinating ideas that nevertheless remain too prescriptive, often requiring playstyles that some players are not interested in trying. That said, many of the fresh public events, matchmade activities, and post-campaign missions are fun and thoughtfully designed to allow for extensive and enjoyable replays. Many of the current high-level activities, including the fresh raid and chasing some gear, are extremely complex and should present a significant mountain to climb for most end-players for weeks to come.

As if to remind players that the end of one story is only the beginning of another, The Final Shape wasted no time in launching a fresh episodic structure to replace seasons. The full scope and potential of this fresh implementation approach is beyond the scope of this review and will extend into the months ahead. However, just know that for those who make it through the end of the saga and are ready to continue playing, there’s a fun sequel waiting, with fresh activities and rewards like exotic class items waiting to be chased.

Over the years, Destiny 2 has grown into a huge and unwieldy beast, filled with cooperative and competitive opportunities, hundreds of named characters and organizations, and an often inaccessible language that can take a long time to learn to speak and play with. In The Final Shape, Bungie makes no apologies for the complexity, but in the end offers some intentional punctuation to mark the end point. Largely unencumbered by what has come before, future frontiers are now open to be explored.

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