The latest season of content has gone live in Destiny 2, and I’ve been grinding the playlist events hard to be able to bring you my thoughts about what’s on offer. With the return of the Cabal as a threat, which is somewhat surprising after the spanking that Ghaul got at the hands of the Traveller, it seems everyone’s favourite space rhinos have been rearming and reorganising. So, what does this new season bring to the table, and should you stump up the price of admission to join in?
First off is the story arc – the setup that these Cabal are bringing to the game. The new Empress of the Cabal, Caiatl, daughter of the deceased emperor Calus, seeks to forge an alliance with the Vanguard of the Tower against the Darkness. Now, as the meeting between her and Zavala and Osiris goes in what can only be called a frosty atmosphere, Caiatl demands that Zavala kneel to her, which goes about as well as you’d expect. If you want a laugh, and you are of adult age, check out Lance Reddick, the voice of Zavala, reading some community generated responses to Caiatl’s request. Be warned however, there is some very adult language. So, after watching this take place, we are thrown straight into the new activity for this season, Battlegrounds.
Battlegrounds are a new, three-player matchmade activity available for this season. Basically, the setup for each of the Battlegrounds (of which there are four available) is that a Cabal commander is trying to rise to prominence and join the War Council of Caiatl. With no War Council, the thinking is that Caiatl will not be able to do anything, so taking out these fledgling members at the earliest point is a good idea. What this translates into is a series of large scale fights with the Cabal, and as you kill them there are side objectives to achieve.
For instance, sometimes you have to kill bosses to get fragments of a code, or to pick up an unstable energy core to throw at shield generators which will destroy them. After fighting through various stages, you get to activate the Rite of Proving, which will summon the commander in question to the Battleground for a damn good thrashing. It appears that if a challenge is laid down, the Cabal are honour-bound to answer the challenge, and so the fight is on. After defeating the Cabal Council wannabe, there are chests to open, depending on where you are in the season.
As you go through the missions tied to the War Table in the new Hub area, the H.E.L.M., you gain a Hammer of Proving, which when charged will allow you to smash a second crate at the end of a Battleground run, giving more gear and letting you level up faster. These Battlegrounds are a new playlist on the Vanguard subscreen, and you can keep playing them one after the other, the same as you can with the Vanguard Strikes. There are also Battleground specific bounties that can be picked up, giving you extra progression through the levels of the Season. Raising your level gets you new gear, ranging from planetary resources all the way up to the Exotic engrams. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of the good gear is locked away behind the Season Pass paywall, and unless you have the Beyond Light Digital Deluxe Edition, you will need to buy a Pass to access all the gear.
The Season Pass does offer some good stuff for your hard-earned pennies, however. Straight away, you will be given the new Exotic Bow for this season – Ticuu’s Divination, which fires tracking projectiles. There’s a complete armour set, the Praefectus set, as well as a new exotic Weapon quest and much, much more. I have to say that the new weapon quest set onboard a deserted Cabal ship called the Glykon delivers an extremely spooky, atmospheric mission. There is a real feel of Dead Space about the mission, and there are some genuinely scary jump out of your skin moments. It’s a real departure from the usual Destiny, bombastic blasting away, and works really well.
The difficulty is judged just right as well, with some tricky platform sections as you find your way through sections with damaging walls and some intense combat sections. Whoever invented those exploding Screeb in close quarters is off my Christmas card list for ever, that’s for certain. In addition, there are a variety of extras with the Season Pass, ranging from bonus XP to help raise your level, right through to additional Exotic ship, Sparrow and Ghost Shell. The Season Pass costs 1000 Silver, the Destiny in-game currency, and that translates to about £8.39 – or less if you are a member of Game Pass, as Destiny 2 is a part of this amazing service.
Now, what else does the season bring? Well, in addition to the Battlegrounds, there are two returning Strikes from back in the day. Devil’s Lair sees you chasing the Fallen Servitor, Sepiks Prime, through a series of rooms and into a final confrontation. This is a strike that was part of Destiny 1, and has been reimagined for the new generation with extra enemies and difficulties. For instance, in the middle section where the big enemy used to be just a spider tank, there are now two Fallen Brigs that show up to reinforce it and make that section that little bit harder. Hiding at the back with a sniper rifle still works well, however, and I can’t be the only one who wishes Bungie would bring back Icebreaker.
The next new Strike is another from Destiny 1, Fallen S.A.B.E.R., seeing us chasing a Fallen raiding team through the Rasputin complex in the Cosmodrome. Again, it’s a reimagining rather than a remaster, and it is a lot trickier than it used to be. It’s nice to see these returning Strikes, although some would say that maybe new content, instead of recycled content, may be more to the liking of the Destiny audience?
So, with new missions, new content and activities, and new weapons and armour to grab, there’s a lot to go at in Destiny 2 – Season of the Chosen. New stuff, apart from weapons, does seem to be at something of a premium, but the reimagined Strikes are a good challenge, and the Exotic quest and spooky mission to get it is very enjoyable. Add to this the return of Lord Saladin and his Iron Banner, the Trial of Osiris for the terminally sweaty members of the Destiny community, and lots of levels and new Stasis challenges to complete, and I think that this is a pretty good offering. Battlegrounds alone is almost worth the price of admission alone, as it can be properly challenging, and is always a good fight.
If you decide to head into the new season, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Until then, Guardians, I’ll see you on the Battleground!