REVIEWED ON PC, XBOX ONE AND PS4 / 11 DEC 2017
The almost entirely sparse and dull content of Curse of Osiris for Destiny 2 makes it one of the most disappointing Destiny additions to date. It includes a brief two- to three-hour campaign with a hollow story, a tiny public space with little to do, and two new multiplayer maps (three on PlayStation 4). Its only saving grace is the fantastic Raid Lair activity, which offers real challenges, unique puzzles, and high-level loot.
The unexciting campaign takes you inside the new Infinite Forest area of Mercury (when you’re not completing a fetch quest on one of the existing destinations) and extends itself by including the two new Strikes, called A Garden World and Tree of Probabilities, within the nine total missions. These Strikes are the best portion of the campaign, thanks to time-traveling jaunts through moments that present a glimpse of Mercury when it was a much more lush, vibrant, and inviting place to visit.
The two new bosses, though, waste a lot of potential. They’re mechanically interesting, but in the campaign they’re so weak that they’re a pushover for any experienced Fireteam. We were left scratching our heads after defeating them in only a handful of seconds and left wondering where the fight was. Thankfully, they are a tad more menacing when you face them in the Heroic Strike Playlist, but that first encounter is underwhelming. The simple scaling-up of enemies makes the fights more interesting because it lets them play out in their entirety.
That same anticlimactic issue is my main problem with the ending of the main campaign. (Minor spoiler warning here.) Once you finally encounter the boss you’ve been chasing the whole time, the encounter itself is ridiculously easy. You simply activate an orb, slam it, and then put a shot or two into his vulnerable area to defeat this supposedly godlike opponent. There was no challenge, and no time at all that I felt I was in danger. The entire campaign was all over in a comically short time span of two hours.
The story is just as disappointing as the gameplay. The finale introduces you to the enigmatic Osiris, who, according to Destiny lore, rebelled against the ideals of the city and caused massive unrest amongst the Guardians. However, (again, spoilers!) the being we encounter in the conclusion is a friendly gentleman who simply bids us a fond farewell and returns to from whence he came, closing the storyline of Osiris in an incredibly anti-climatic manner. It’s a huge disappointment to see this opportunity for drama wasted with a trite goodbye. So, we’re left with Mercury: a beautiful but boring destination with just one new public event, only one measly lost sector, and a few treasure chests. It is easily the smallest playable public space in Destiny 2, with the least going on. The Infinite Forest, a space that allows you to travel to simulations of the past, present, and future of Mercury, only opens up when you begin an Adventure, which is acquired from Brother Vance in the lighthouse upon campaign completion, but until then it remains closed and inaccessible. Yet another missed opportunity.
My initial impressions of the Infinite Forest are a mix of frustration and disappointment. Because the Vex deal with time travel, there are a plethora of opportunities to reference the Vault of Glass or revisit our past as other characters in the world. What we’re given instead is a completely forgettable story. While Bungie did attempt to address a few community complaints by adding incentives at the Tower vendors like Ornaments for your armor, it’s too little too late. Beyond the disappointingly flat campaign, a trio of surprisingly fun Adventures and a handful of new weaponry lay waiting for you to enjoy and acquire, respectively. The Adventures even give us a peek into the potential of the Infinite Forest’s seemingly randomized ending scenarios, though it’s unfortunate that they don’t use that strength in a more interesting way than what’s presented. The three missions, which are more like mini-Strikes, and their more difficult Heroic mode encounters (and accompanying reward chests) are a welcome improvement to the Adventure system.
After you complete the three Adventures you’re able to begin working on the Lost Prophecy verses. Each of the Prophecies rewards you with one of the new weapons obtained from Brother Osiris on Mercury, but they’re hidden behind a convoluted dismantling system that has you collect 10 Radiolarian Cultures, turn them in for a Concentrated version… and then consume it. The reward is worth it, even if it is through another of the many strange collection systems that Destiny is known for.
After that, however, it felt like I’d already reached the end of what Curse of Osiris has to offer. With the story behind me, I was left with the power level climb and little else. The arbitrary new level cap of 25 came and went with little reason for it to be there at all, and I was left sitting at power level 314 waiting for the Raid Lair to begin. Worse, some of what’s left to do just doesn’t work. I’ve jumped into the Public Event enough times to know that the cannons are broken and repeatedly send me and my crew to our deaths.
Then the fantastic Raid Lair opened, and became the one shining beacon within the entirety of Curse of Osiris. While I understand the desire for a new full-scale raid, I still appreciate the thoughtfulness of this shorter design. Its puzzles were fun to figure out with my Fireteam and its boss battle finally gave my veteran crew much more of a fight.
On the PvP side, the Prometheus Lens Glitch (which Bungie says will be fixed by December 12) has made it a fun playground for those who’ve acquired the new exotic via a drop or Xur. Prometheus Lens is a new weapon which amplifies damage if opponents are in close proximity to each other, but the week of release it’s basically an instant-death beam because of some skewed numbers. It’s a lot of fun to have a powerful weapon in PVP again, but not so much if you’re on the receiving end. The new PvP maps – Pacifica, Radiant Cliffs, and the PlayStation-exclusive Wormhaven – are well designed, offering many avenues for players to engage each other. The positioning of vertical platforms for each of them is a smart addition and make things much more interesting than on the initial batch of maps. On the other hand, Crucible – the lifeblood of Destiny 1’s multiplayer – is left in its current stale state, requiring reliance on the disliked team shooting to succeed. To put it simply, PvP in Destiny 2 is not nearly as much fun as it was in the original, and Curse of Osiris has done nothing to help the situation. It’s been dumbed down to the point that no weapon is allowed to feel special, and the optimal strategy remains standing next to a teammate and shooting at the bad guy. Previously, someone caught alone still had a chance against a team, but that excitement has been entirely eliminated. This results in fairly bland fights and fewer of the epic moments that Destiny has been known for.
What’s truly absurd, though, is that for anyone who opts out of this weak expansion, Bungie has actually made the version of Destiny 2 that they bought worse by locking them out of the Prestige Raids and the Prestige Nightfall. Considering that the hardcore community is already leaving Destiny 2 for other, more enticing games (as evidenced by the fact that it’s dropped off the Twitch Top 10 list even after a major DLC release) that’s an incredibly bad move.