Destiny 2 The Final Shape

Review: Destiny 2: The Final Shape

The Guardian's Journey to a Triumphant DLC.

Having been a part of the Destiny universe since the beginning, the release of Destiny 2: The Final Shape feels like a homecoming. Bungie’s latest DLC is not just another expansion; it’s a culmination of the journey we’ve all been on as Guardians over the past decade.

We’ve been through everything from the highs of epic raids and unforgettable story moments to the lows of frustrating content droughts. Now, with The Final Shape, it all comes full circle, affirming every step we’ve taken over a decade ago.

Destiny 2’s The Final Shape Is A Tearful Journey

As a Guardian who had been chosen all those years ago, The Final Shape is the ultimate showdown we’ve been working towards. We’re finally taking the fight to The Witness, the big bad we’ve heard about for ages, who embodies the very essence of Darkness. This time, we’re going deep into the Traveler itself, that massive, mysterious sphere at the heart of everything we’ve experienced. Our mission? To reunite the Vanguard, Ikora Rey, Commander Zavala, and, of course, the glorious return of Cayde-6, to end the war of Light and Darkness once and for all. Bungie has always cared about compelling narratives, and The Final Shape indicates that. This DLC is the result of years of storytelling, and it’s clear that the developers poured their hearts into it.

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The campaign is an emotional rollercoaster, pushing and pulling you into the gut-wrenching memories of the Guardian’s journey as the Witness tries to enforce its twisted sense of Salvation upon us – our deepest hopes and desires manipulated into a lie, a false promise. The Witness does everything in its power to sway you into believing that the only way out of our suffering is by succumbing to its precious Final Shape. Whether it’s watching Zavala continually struggle through the loss of his family, listening to Cayde and Crow talk about the late Amanda Holliday, or Ikora stating that she refuses to bury any more friends, it’s evident that grief is what initiates the Vanguard’s uncanny reunion. And yet, there is much space for moments of solace, reconciliation, and healing – a great reminder that there can be room for both light and dark in how we reflect on our past while looking toward our future. Every cutscene, every dialogue, and every mission is imbued with a sense of purpose that makes you feel just as profoundly as these characters do, moving closer and closer. It’s a testament to Bungie’s dedication to their craft and the players who have stuck around for so long.

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Best Supporting Characters

One of the standout aspects of The Final Shape for me is how support characters are highlighted impactfully. Outside the main campaign, these characters take center stage in various side missions, adding depth to the relationship between the Vanguard, the Guardian, and some unassuming alliances.

Crow is integral to infiltrating the Pale Heart and reuniting the Vanguard. Crow’s journey of self-discovery and redemption is something that continually fascinates me. Once known as Uldren Sov, his transformation into Crow and his heartfelt quest for forgiveness and purpose deeply resonate throughout the campaign. His internal struggle with his past actions and search for identity paves the way toward discovering the why behind Cayde-6’s mysterious return.

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Mara Sov, the Queen of the Awoken, is an influential figure whose strategic mind and deep understanding of cosmic forces are pivotal to these events. Her expertise comes to the forefront as she devises plans to counter the supernatural threats posed by the Witness and Savathûn, offering strategies and information to the Guardians. Mara’s vendetta against the Witness and her desire to protect the Awoken drive her actions, while her complex relationship with her brother, Crow, adds tension to her character as she grapples with her protective instincts and the consequences of her past decisions.

Mithrax, the leader of the House of Light, has been an ally to the Guardians and the Vanguard for some time. Mithrax’s journey and the well-being of his people, the House of Light, are deeply intertwined with the broader conflict. His collaboration with the Vanguard is driven by a desire to protect humanity and ensure his people’s survival and redemption. While in the depths of the Traveler, it’s made clear through operations with Mithrax that the past can have an exciting way of resurfacing, but there is always strength in knowing that we are not alone.

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Caiatl, the Cabal Empress, initially an adversary, becomes a staunch ally to the Vanguard. Recognizing the more significant threat the Witness poses, Caiatl commits the might of her Cabal forces to the joint effort. The alliance with Caiatl underscores an essential thematic element in Destiny 2 – former enemies uniting against a common foe. Caiatl’s honour-bound approach and respect for the Guardians, especially Zavala, facilitate a strong, albeit sometimes tense, partnership but ultimately remind the Vanguard of their strength and purpose.

It’s a joy to see characters I’ve personally grown to appreciate over the years get the spotlight they deserve, each given space to reflect on the past and how it has shaped them into who they are today. Their perspectives and contributions to the story make the world feel incredibly connected, giving us an epic Avengers-esque climax to the 10-year saga.

More Meaningful Activities

The campaign starts with Guardians diving straight into the Traveler, exploring its inner core, the Pale Heart. This place is shrouded in mystery but is the essence of the Traveler, and it serves as the critical battlefield where we’ll confront The Witness. New activities complementing the main questline are some of the best I’ve ever experienced in Destiny 2. They’re not just filler; they’re meaningful and challenging in the best way.

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Other than the side missions provided as you progress in the campaign, there are various open-world encounters to engage in the Pale Heart. “Overthrow” is a mission designed to challenge players both in terms of combat and understanding of the lore. It involves a confrontation with the forces of the Witness as we get closer to the events of the final mission. The primary objective is to infiltrate the innermost sanctum of the Pale Heart, where the Witness and its minions attempt to harness the Traveler’s Light for their nefarious purposes. Guardians must disable a series of dark conduits corrupting the Traveler’s essence. This involves both combat encounters, puzzle-solving, and even platforming elements. Alongside receiving significant rewards, you are also treated to some lore and heartfelt story sentiments from your comrades. This quickly became one of my favourite open-world encounters in Destiny 2 history.

Loot has always been a cornerstone of Destiny, and The Final Shape delivers some excellent gear. Weapons like the primary Strand sidearm, “The Call,” and the exotic Pulse Rifle, “Red Death (Reformed),” impacted my gameplay in exciting ways. Chasing down a god roll or unlocking new exotics is exhilarating. There’s also a unique route to gaining experience and loot through the new mechanic called “Pathfinder,” which has essentially replaced traditional bounties for the Pale Heart. Guardians are tasked with specific objectives (like bounties) to unlock nodes that connect various pathways that lead to a new piece of gear. It’s a great way to encourage exploration and intentionality in playing the game. I also found this very helpful because I tended to wander open spaces while losing track of time aimlessly, so this was a massive win in my books.

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Bungie has executed a near-perfect balance, ensuring that casual players and legacy Guardians find something to latch onto by providing helpful ways to understand exploration paired with satisfying rewards.

Prismatic Bound

Bungie has done an excellent job of catering to different playstyles, ensuring that every Guardian can find something that suits their preferences. This idea goes even further by introducing a new subclass called “Prismatic.”

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The Prismatic subclass introduces the concept of Elemental Fusion, allowing Guardians to blend different elemental abilities to create powerful synergies. Prismatic’s customization also allows Guardians to curate their mix of Light and Dark abilities, making the relationship between weapon perks and fireteam abilities more intuitive than ever. Guardians can tailor their abilities to suit various combat scenarios and team compositions. This flexibility enhances strategic depth and encourages experimentation. Players can coordinate with teammates to chain together powerful elemental attacks, amplify damage output, and control the battlefield more effectively. These combos add a layer of coordination and teamwork to encounters, fostering dynamic gameplay experiences.

Overall, the Prismatic subclass in The Final Shape expansion of Destiny 2 introduces a refreshing twist to subclass customization and gameplay, offering enhanced flexibility, synergistic combos, and adaptive subclass design. These elements combine to make Prismatic an exciting and dynamic addition to the game, promising new strategies and experiences for players to explore.

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Despite the overwhelmingly positive reception, Bungie faces potential challenges in maintaining this momentum. The Final Shape sets a high bar; future content must match or exceed these standards to keep the community engaged. With the announcement of seasonal content being released in “Episodes,” there are more stories to tell in the aftermath of The Witness, but the question remains: Is it enough? It has been a general pattern for players to fall into burnout due to the grindy nature of Destiny 2, so we can’t help but wonder if this time will yield the same results. While some remain hopeful, Bungie’s responsiveness to feedback and commitment to improvement will ultimately determine the long-term success of this DLC.

Verdict

As a Guardian who has been with the Destiny franchise since its inception, I believe The Final Shape is the payoff we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a crowning achievement that reflects the culmination of years of development and community engagement. The love and care that Bungie has put into this DLC are evident in every aspect. The positive sentiments from the community highlight Bungie’s success in delivering a DLC that not only meets but exceeds our expectations.

Looking ahead, I do not doubt that Bungie’s dedication to their craft and community will continue to drive the Destiny franchise to new heights. We can all celebrate in the joy of The Final Shape, knowing that our journey has been well worth the ride.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

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Destiny 2 The Final Shape
Review: Destiny 2: The Final Shape
Summary
Destiny 2: The Final Shape is a crowning achievement that reflects the culmination of years of development and community engagement.
Liked
An excellent campaign
12-person activity concludes the story
New supers per class
Tons of activities
Enhanced exploration mechanics
Didn't Like
Stays true to Destiny's grindy nature
Most difficult raid to date
Clunky matchmaking system
Steep learning curve for new players