Today’s game is one I can’t seem to go a year without talking about in some from come these ends of year celebrations. I’m aware this is my person list and I’m free to put whatever the hell I want into it, but I am a weird sticker for my own rules when it comes to posts like these. And it pains me to break these rules when it happens.
Either way, this is a game I spent significant time with this year and I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight it and give it the attention it deserves.
#6: Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Mostly played on Xbox One X | Released 1st October | Developed by Bungie
I constantly waver back and forth as to whether I should allow myself to include Destiny and is ongoing expansions onto my game of the year list. Last year I made an “old games” list for the express purposes of being able to talk about Destiny and Overwatch on top of the ten other games I wanted to highlight.
Does the inclusion of Shadowkeep on this year’s list mean that I struggled to compile ten games of 2019 I felt strongly enough about to do the same? Possibly. But I’d be lying if I said that the new focus and direction Bungie are taking Destiny hasn’t been a positive move for the game. Since breaking away from Activion, Bungie have made the game feel fresher and like something different all over again in 2019, two years after its initial release.
Shadowkeep is the beginning of Destiny 2’s third year and also the point where the game leans even further into its MMO and live game elements that it helped create in the current FPS video game climate. Seasons, season passes and a total refocus of the game’s narrative style that shows Bungie are actually reading the room and taking inspiration from games like Fortnite and how they constantly change their game.
Right now, it constantly feels like there are at least half a dozen different storylines, tasks or questlines to undertake at any time, so much so that I actually feel like there is more going on in the game than I realistically have time to get done before some of it expires at the end of the season.
Which might have been a negative thing for me in the past, but now, after seeing the game go through so many growing pains, trying to find its feet and identity, this feels like the real final form the game was always meant to take. Bungie’s separation from Activision has been a wholly positive move in my opinion, and while the high budget cinematics of the old style of Destiny are far more infrequent, this new approach means they can make the most of the pretty extensive lore and cast of characters they’ve spent the past half decade building up.
Curse of Osiris was a somewhat disappointing expansion back when it came out. But now, with the current Season of the Dawn releasing, the planet, Osiris and lore built around them is all there, ready to go and kick us off into a new storyline for the season. Not just giving us a new activity and set of weapons to farm, but driving these character’s personal storylines forward for those of us weird enough to be invested in the lore of the game.
From a personal standpoint, I feel like Bungie’s implementation of the new season based content, how they end up paying the storyline off at the end of the season and the mechanics that are getting recycled from season to season is still a work in progress. But without getting into the weeds about this, I am very happy with where Destiny is at right now. But the new armour mechanics, finishers that add new customisation elements and the seasonal artifact that can further add to customisation all feel like something that can keep the game fresh for longer.
It’s still my go-to game to play when I want to relax and switch my brain off, and feels more accessible than ever before, going free to play and getting cross save between both consoles and PC (and Google Stadia I guess). If only I could convince more of my friends to play with me a couple of times a week.