Destiny’s latest big expansion, the titular Shadowkeep, has just landed and apart from players initially being unable to play the game due to insane queue times, things have gone pretty well, with the additions of cross-saves, whereby saving your guardian on one platform, say for example on PC, will allow you to use that character on your Xbox One.
Also with the release of Shadowkeep comes the launch of New Light, where the Destiny 2 base game and DLC released before Shadowkeep have been made free to play, in order to further increase the player base. Players start with the same base light level as everyone else, that being light level 750. Sounds good, eh? But what do you get exactly? Well as I said before you get the base game plus lots of DLC – all the way up to Forsaken – but not the Shattered Throne dungeon or Last Wish raid. You’ll need to pay up for those, but you do get the Tangled Shore patrol space and Dreaming City, so at least you can partake in the Blind Well and all the other activities that take place.
As for Shadowkeep itself, I’ve played through the story with my Warlock and have hit the soft power cap of 900 Light, so I have been pretty hands on with the game. To be fair I’ve been waiting with interest for Shadowkeep to drop as it is the first expansion since Bungie split with Activision. After Forsaken did such a good job in making up for the previous DLC drops – the Osiris and Warmind expansions both fell a bit flat – there is much hype for this latest addition.
And while I’m pleased to say that Shadowkeep does deliver in terms of both story and things to do, it is not as “sparkly” new in terms of enemies and the like as Forsaken, with more of the beasts and baddies that are in place having been recycled from Destiny 1. The hive are a bit spikier and the buildings are covered in Fallen graffiti, and it has to be said that the Moon is more decrepit and crumbling and new areas have been added, but when it comes down to it things are not so much new as buffed up and rolled in a bit of glitter.
In order to talk about the story I am concerned about drifting into spoiler territory, and so I’ll attempt to give a brief outline but not go too deep, assuming those that are reading this have played a bit of Destiny 2 and know what’s what.
So, Eris Morn, everyone’s favourite three-eyed emo, has sensed something stirring on the moon and during her investigation she accidentally wakes the unknown evil, leaving her haunted by her dead fire team and leaving you with the herculean task of cleaning up after her.
Even though, as mentioned earlier, lots of the assets have been recycled, I really don’t mind that at all, and coming back to the Moon has been great. It was my favourite zone for patrols and so forth in Destiny 1 and seeing that now Bungie have added Lost Sectors and new regions to explore, I’m actually really pleased with the direction they have taken with Shadowkeep. Yes it’s recycled, and we can’t get away from that, but they have also taken the time to change how everything on the Moon looks and feels, making it atmospheric amid being given a real sense of being torn apart.
Once you have completed the story line you can then undertake the three nightmare hunts. These hunts themselves are essentially more difficult strikes based around hunting and killing nightmare versions of Destiny 1 and 2 bosses, the likes of The Fanatic, Phogoth and Omnigul. Thankfully you don’t need a fire team to run them as you are match-made into the activity and can now choose between different levels, starting at Adept and running through to the most Heroic.
Further to all this and there has also been activity surrounding the Vex Offensive on the Moon; the sky filled with arcs of lightning and waves of Vex poured forth. Luckily I had been given a mission to slaughter Vex on the Moon and kill some Vex Gatelords too. Once 3 waves had been completed it brought a Vex Overlord into the fray, which upon dying dropped a Vex-inspired sub machine gun.
Once the storyline has been completed though, and you have undertaken some tasks for Eris Morn and Ikora, you will be able to head into the Black Garden and involve yourself with an arena-based wave activity a little bit like the menagerie, but one that has you battling through the Black Garden instead. You’ll battle several waves of the robotic Vex, performing tasks along the way to tempt the final boss out to deal with you itself.
Another recent addition in Shadowkeep is the finishing move; simply pushing down on the right stick will see your character executing an enemy, providing they have received enough damage. With armour 2.0 you can also add a mod that grants a bonus to certain types of damage, find additional heavy ammo and also change the appearance of it using more than just shaders.
With Shadowkeep it is well worth our time to take a minute in order to look at Seasons, with the most recent one based around the Vex Offensive – the Season of The Undying. During the season players can take part in new activities, discover lore and undertake new exotic quests. When a season comes to an end, then a new one starts with new rewards and themes. With the season pass, players will be rewarded loot and other items as they rank up, however you don’t need the pass in order to benefit. With this season comes the seasonal artefact which can we use to gain additional in-game bonuses such as extra glimmer, upgrade modules and pieces of armour. There is no purchase necessary to benefit from the seasonal artefact, as like with the season itself there are different tiers of rewards for free and premium.
In summary then and fans of the base game of Destiny 2 will really enjoy the Shadowkeep expansion and all that comes with it. I found myself going back for more with my Hunter and spending more time just messing about doing public events, Vex Invasions and lost sectors. The Moon itself is hugely atmospheric and heading back there is like finding an old pair of comfortable slippers you’re really fond of. Perhaps that is not the effect Bungie were aiming for, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
That’s not to say I haven’t found fault with Shadowkeep on Xbox One, however I’ve been more than happy with a solid 8 hours or so out of the campaign and adventuring around the Moon. BUT without the Vex doing their thing the Moon is just that; the Moon from Destiny 1 with the same beasties and the same public events as you would see on other planets. In fact, it’s not until you get to undertake the new Scarlett Keep Strike that things are explained a little further storywise, and even then it is a case of blink and you might miss it.