Destiny 2: Lightfall: Initial impressions on the expansion’s story and mechanics
Destiny 2’s newest expansion, Lightfall, has been out less than a week now and reviews seem to be mixed. Some people seem to be enjoying the new look of the heavily synthwave-inspired color scheme and aesthetic of the campaign. Others seem slightly obsessed with the new “strand” ability. And some seem to lament some of the features and other things that were removed.
Me? What do I, long-time gamer and AppTrigger’s resident casual whose average article comment has someone putting the word review in quotes while condemning my opinion, think? I love it.
First off, I know it’s trite but as a child whose favorite movie growing up was “The Last Starfighter,” this story and look is my jam. In fact, while I normally don’t do a lot of microtransactions, I immediately saw that there was a ship that felt a lot like the SynthOwl and I had to have it. I mean, come on. Look at these two.
Plus, I love the story here. The Witch Queen was fine and good but it edgelordy. It was filled with darkness and ghosts; everything was brown and gray. Hell, they made moths evil. How dare they. I love moths. I remember the first time I saw a beautiful white moth fluttering in the game toward me I was like “I hope I can pet it!” And then it exploded against me like a grenade. How dare.
Lightfall is bright and interesting and introduces elements both old and new. While a lot of the enemies in Lightfall have been seen several times before, fighting them in a futuristic city with a ton of open space and a huge amount of verticality in the rooftop battlegrounds made the battles feel exciting.
This is, of course, helped along by the new Strand abilities. For this new ability, I’ve so far only experimented on it with my trusty Titan and I had so much fun. Originally, when I first read about it, I knew it was going to have a grappling hook-type ability so I figured that’s what the tall buildings were about but I was super happy to find out that this grappling hook doesn’t need to stick to anything. In fact, it can adhere to the air itself. And the physics are great so if you jump and then fire the strand a bit to the side, you can do a huge swing through the air and cut 90 degrees. Playing around with it allows you to do all types of fun tricks.
Sometimes, depending on how lucky you get with some of the strand moves, the strands will also crush a defeated enemy, turning them into a ball you can pick up. Picking it up and hitting enemies with it is like throwing a potent grenade.
And the L1+R1 ult (I’m playing on PS5) created two swords out of strands that looked like Finn’s leaf sword from Adventure Time and gave me a slew of cool sword attacks I could do.
Outside of the new moves though, the story itself is so much better than The Witch Queen. First off, let’s talk about the main baddie, The Witness. I love how intimidated I am by this thing. The Witness is one of my favorite types of sci-fi evils, filled with powers that cannot be explained. For example, in the intro cut scene to the game, The Witness lays complete waste to several guardians in one of the most horrifically easy ways I’ve ever seen and beyond resurrection by their ghosts. Check it out at 1:50.
The Witness also has such an incredible design. And speaking of designs, we got to also talk about the people of Neptune. You won’t see most of the people of Neptune (for a good reason that gets explained later in the game) but they are protected by the Cloud Striders and I enjoy them so much.
The Cloud Striders are 10 feet tall humanoids that are, for lack of a better term, superheroes. They surf through the sky on Silver Surfer-esque platforms that double as swords. They’re ridiculously strong and have a mental connection with their silver blades. For example, one Cloud Strider is knocked down on an enemy and before the enemy could do a downward strike, the board scoots under the slider and whisks him off to the side before the blow can connect. Their look is weird and kind of reminds me of something out of Jack Kirby’s New Gods but it’s neat. They’re powerful aliens that have had the confidence that comes from no one knowing about them and being incredibly powerful. Hence, they’re reluctant to ask for help, and watching them learn to do so is a fun story idea as opposed to the countless Destiny characters that constantly start a dialogue with “Guardian, I need your help.”
All in all, though, I had an absolute blast with this and I’m still making my way through. I’m not a big multiplayer fella so I didn’t see what the new abilities did to the PVP meta but I can only imagine it is an absolute nightmare in there right now with all these wanna-be Spider-men hoppin’ about.
Destiny 2: Lightfall is out now and I highly recommend jumping in there if you love the campaign mode as much as I do. Get to it, Guardian.