The newest yearly expansion for Destiny 2 has dropped and with it the newest raid. But this expansion does not exist within a vacuum, and with it there are plenty of flaws and issues. Not all of which are addressed. Without much further ado, let us begin.
Destiny 2 is a ‘living’ game. New activities have come out which, just as quickly, leave the game. But all in all, this isn’t too upsetting. Looking at the Season of Opulence (June 4th, 2019), the season itself only unlocked unique rewards such as triumphs and seals. But the activities and weapons stayed, allowing many players to use such activities.
One of the better guns in the game, for a while, was a gun from Season of Opulence, the Austringer. However, Bungie has instituted something called ‘Sunsetting.’ Those deep in MMO circles are probably aware of sunsetting, but for those unaware, sunsetting is when a weapon is either hard removed (no longer available in your inventory) or soft removed (can not be brought up to the highest power). Bungie has gone for the latter approach.
So, if you grinded to earn the pinnacle weapon and best gun in the game, the Mountaintop, it is now frozen at 1060 power. This, effectively, kills the gun in mid to late game content. With the new power level being 1260, using the Mountaintop, despite its obvious ability, will bring down your power too much to consider using.
This doesn’t just apply to unique guns, like pinnacles. It also has moved on to apply to any gun and armor piece released before Season of Dawn, which came out last December. In other words, rewards and quest items from most of the game are now irrelevant. This includes weapons and armor gained from the Campaigns of Forsaken(2018) and Shadowkeep(2019). Which, by the way, cost real money.
In other words, you have to pay real money for irrelevant content.
This is not the most healthy place for a DLC to drop. With most early game content, and even locations (4 locations were lost, including two free DLC locations, Mars and Mercury, the main vanilla quest, and the moons Titan and Io). To offset losing this much content and four planets, was added Europa and the Cosmodrome, only one of which is DLC specific.
Beyond Light- Gameplay Loop and Guns
Beyond Light’s main focus is on the icy moon of Europa, situated around the Gas Giant of Jupiter. The Fallen, an enemy faction, have discovered an ancient power on the moon from The Darkness, called Stasis. Our guardian has been sent to stop it.
The common loop is to see the vendor for the planet, Variks the Loyal (A Fallen who has switched sides), pick up some bounties, complete an Empire Hunt (A repeatable version of campaign missions), and level up Variks to get better rewards.
Which would be fine, if the rewards were… actually better.
Only one of the Empire Hunts, ‘The Warrior,’ drops a decent gun. There is little to no reason to do the others, as the loot is only fine. Honestly, the only reason ‘The Warrior’ is worth it is because every other decent machine gun has been sunset. Hard to be a bad gun when you’re the only legendary one left.
The bounty grinding is, again, lackluster. It features the Destiny Famous “Do 8 bounties for a pinnacle rewards” which is helpful, up until you reach 1260 power. After that, Pinnacles do nothing and there is very little reason to do them. But Variks is not alone on Europe.
Stasis and the Stranger – New abilities and Campaign
Beyond Light’s enemy, Eramis, has found the ancient power of Stasis, given to her by the Darkness. To fight fire with fire (Or, I suppose, Ice with Ice), the Exo Stranger, an enigmatic character who has not been seen in years, has arrived on Europa.
You see, the Exo Stranger is from another reality. And in that reality, the Darkness won. Guardians, our player character, found Stasis and was corrupted. We became evil, dark reflections of ourselves. So, the Exo Stranger fled, and found us.
She’s an expert on Darkness. Because, besides just seeing her own world go to hell, she studied it for years with her grandfather, Clovis Bray the 1st. Clovis was obsessed with the concept of immortality, and becoming the LUCA, The Last Universal Common Ancestor. He wanted to form a permanent legacy as the father of all Immortals. But to do so, he needed to study the Darkness. There he found a way to place a human mind in the body of an Exo, a robotic humanoid figure, using a mix of science, the darkness, and the blood of the Machine-Gods, the Vex.
Elsie Bray, or the Stranger, is helping us learn about her Grandfather’s evil, and master the power of Stasis.
Or, at least that’s the story. Most of that is background in the game, but overall I think that’s for the best. After defeating Eramis, our guardian unlocks Stasis, a unique new damage type which freezes. However, we have the bare bones. No unique perks or abilities, only the base skills. So, Elsie gives us a series of quests to increase our power, unlocking new abilities.
Now this is fulfilling.
I was nervous that Stasis would just be thrown at us. But the abilities, overpowered though they are, feel earned. I had to trudge through hell to get my Ice-Tornado grenade, of course it’ll be over powered. As opposed to Variks, these quests are rewarding… well rewarding rewards. These post-campaign abilities are nice and feel organic.
But of course, we need to talk about Stasis in PvP.
It is broken as hell.
Warlocks have the ability to freeze their enemies with their melee, an ability that can be regenerated almost instantly with the right guns. Hunters have a shuriken which can freeze multiple targets at once, and Titans… well Titans are shafted a bit.
This is not a very healthy sandbox. Because the abilities are, genuinely, too powerful. The freezing instantly knocks you down to 20% health, guaranteeing a kill. The new grenades can freeze the entire enemy team. Gunplay is limited. What’s the point of shooting you when I can instantly kill you with my melee?
This, obviously, was bound to happen. Stasis has completely ruined the PvP sandbox, but that’s to be expected. It is the first new element type in Destiny history, it is the first Darkness subclass and the first interactable element. Of course it was going to be broken, there is nothing like it in Destiny history. Most reviews will paint this as the worst thing to happen in Destiny. It isn’t. This sucks, right now, but it is brand spanking new and is bound to be balanced.
The Deep Stone Crypt
Destiny 2’s expansion, of course, came out with a raid. The endgame six person PvE activity was released with a power cap for the first 24 hours, and was released over a week after the DLC’s drop. It is also the second best raid in Destiny 2.
The Deep Stone Crypt is the facility Clovis Bray used to make Exos, and has been hinted about in the story for years. Exos dream of the Crypt, we have lore tabs telling us as much. Fan favorite, Cayde 6, an exo, leaves a tape about him trying to destroy it. The Crypt is legendary, and we finally have dived into her depths. Or, I guess, upside.
The DLC has two major locations. The Crypt, deep below the surface of Europa, and in an orbiting space station. Both have been given a pre-collapse clean, elegant aesthetic, and one of the most unique skyboxes in Destiny.
Unique in Destiny, the Crypt has the least amount of bosses in any raid (Though it has double the amount for a raid lair), with only two bosses. Both of which are interesting.
The Exo and the Scar- DSC Bosses
Atraks-1 is a Fallen Exo. She’s actually the first Fallen Exo, the only time Human and Eliksni technology has been combined to form something so strange. The Fallen, you see, worship machines. By becoming an Exo, Atraks has essentially become a Fallen God.
Our Guardian and their teammates must balance the Scanner buff. Once acquiring the buff from slaying a Vandal, a countdown will begin. You have until that countdown ends to find and kill the correct Atraks clone, one in Space and one in the Crypt. If you fail, the entire team wipes and must restart.
Once you kill your clone, she’ll drop a purple orb. Someone needs to carry it, or the whole team wipes. The orb handler is given the buff ‘Replicator’ and must run to the airlock, where an operator will open the door, and eject the orb out into space.
When all this is done, you can finally damage the boss. The go to day one weapons were, generally:
Anarchy-The Arc Grenade Launcher
Izanagi’s Burden-The Sniper Rifle
Xenopage-The heavy machine gun.
Of course, any gun that does a lot of damage can work. The goal is to one phase the boss (Only do the Scan/Replicant activity once) to avoid the risk of wiping and the final stand. In the Final Stand (Last 25% of Atraks’ health), all players should go to the Space Station, where each Atraks’ clone needs to be killed in the correct order (or the team wipes). After killing all of the clones, you finish off whatever health she has left and you’re done, congratulations! With one of two bosses… (For a more in depth guide, Datto or FalloutPlays on youtube have both released quality guides).
The next, and final, boss is Taniks, the Abomination. People familiar with Destiny will probably recognize Taniks. This semi-immortal Fallen has been killed a couple of times, each time he is repaired and replaces more of his body with machine parts. Now he has returned again, with a hover craft for legs.
Split into three teams of two and go to the different call out spots. You and your partner will need to kill ads and scanners. Scanners will have to make callouts telling their teammates where they need to deposit their nuclear charge (thus keeping them alive). The Suppressors, on the other hand, gain their buff from killing Vandals, and are in charge of suppressing Taniks. When Taniks begins to summon his orbital bombardment, hide underneath one of his drones, and shoot at his hover leg. This allows you to damage and stun him. Operators don’t shoot Taniks, but shoot the cages he makes around players.
The mix of balancing buffs, hiding from orbital bombardments and making sure you drop off your nuclear charge in time is a thrilling mix of terror and excitement. This whole encounter requires you and your teammates to have great communication and, most importantly, patience.
All in all, this is one of the best raids in Destiny. While it certainly has flaws, all raids do, it is an enjoyable experience. Difficult to learn, easy to master, the Taniks bossfight especially is interesting not just because of the encounter puzzles, but also due to the story focus behind it. This is not Scourge of the Past or Eater of Worlds where the boss is just some unfortunate wretch who is up against us, this is a legendary enemy, a famous guardian-slayer, returned as an Abomination of flesh and machine.
Beyond Light, in almost any other scenario, would be an incredible DLC. One of the best in Destiny history, in fact. But DLC does not exist in a vacuum. The lack of rewards and incentives would be ignored, if the old methods were still around. They just aren’t.
By itself, it is a wonderful mess of story and gameplay. Adding in sunsetting and the destruction of half the planets in the game, it feels like it just couldn’t do enough for the item sandbox.
Overall, Beyond Light is a mixed bag, but it contains far more good than ill. Destiny 2, Beyond Light, has earned an 8.5/10.