Destiny 2: Beyond Light First Impressions
Eyes up, Guardians. It's time to defend the last of humanity again.
Destiny 2's latest expansion, Beyond Light, dropped earlier today... or later today, depending on how lucky you were with actually logging in to play. I was one of the less fortunate, and couldn't get on my way to Europa until around 6pm Eastern, but after spending a solid 5 hours with the latest and greatest from Bungie, I thought I'd share a few quick thoughts in advance of my full review coming later this week. Please keep in mind these are early impressions which are subject to modification; a LOT has changed in the world of Destiny in just 24 short hours, and it'll take time to unpack it all, but I'll try to hit the highlights.
The Universe of Destiny is Now Much Smaller
Bungie has been preparing us for this for months, that so many locations we've come to know and love are going away. But seeing them gone, as if Io, Mars, Mercury and Titan simply never existed, was still a shock. The System Map is now entirely different, emphasizing more the importance of locations rather than relative size, too.
Yes, the Cosmodrome is Back
I know a lot of people like me who were really excited to hear that Bungie was bringing the Cosmodrome back for New Light, only to be disappointed to realize it was just one very small snippet of that beloved map, and not the real deal. Well, lament no more, the Cosmodrome is back, in full glory and looking better than ever.
It's not just the Cosmodrome that got a makeover; Destiny 2's engine was updated with some new, subtle lighting techniques that really make the entire game feel fresh, new and more vibrant.
As for the Cosmodrome, there's a new NPC contact there, named Shaw Han. He's not quite what I'd expect from someone given such an important post, but I also haven't spent much time with him. There's not a *ton* to do in the Cosmodrome... yet, unless you're a new player. If you are, it's now the stage for an entirely new experience for rookie Guardians, one I'll be exploring more in depth later this week.
Europa is Beautiful
I've loved the Destiny aesthetic pretty much from A-Z since it launched, but like every fan I've got my favorites and my... less desirable locations. Europa, thankfully, so far seems headed towards that favorite column. It's absolutely beautiful and lends itself to wide open, inspiring vistas, at least when the storms aren't raging. Weather plays a huge role in how you fight on Europa, as snow and ice storms can spring up at any minute and completely obliterate your field of view. It makes for a beautiful, but hostile, location.
Statis is Not (Yet) the Game-Changer We Were Promised
This one comes with a big "but" at the end, because I've barely scratched the surface of Beyond Light and have yet to actually claim Stasis as a sub-class I can command at will. So far I have only been allowed to dabble in its mysteries at select points in a few missions. I'm not going to include any media at this point so as to avoid possibly being misleading, but right now Stasis as a class feels a bit underwhelming, at least when playing as a Warlock.
And maybe it's supposed to be that way! I can't yet tell. The story so far seems set up to be one that slowly pulls us against the light, and so how Stasis plays out as a class can, and probably will, change wildly over the next 8-10 hours. That said, be prepared to not necessarily have your socks blown off the first time you get to try it out. The game does a decent job of introducing the class in the same way it did previous sub-classes in Destiny 1 and 2, but with a bit more control, and a good bit more lead time before they truly take off the reins.
That's it for now, I've got to get up early tomorrow and uncover the mysteries of Europa. I also need to find out what's going on with Gambit, as it seems to have fundamentally changed in ways that don't sound that great on the surface. So far, though, I'm having a lot of fun, even if it's not seeming, on its face, like the game-changer Bungie hinted at. That said, I'd be lying if I pretended the next 40 hours of game time were going to feel burdensome.