In its current format; a new year of Destiny content is always a strong one. Not only are you getting the new annual “expansion”, you’re also getting the beginning of a new season of content. In essence you’re being given two lumps of stuff for the price of one to occupy yourself with. So after spending the previous two seasons of the game experiencing a slow but steady cooling period with the game, Beyond Light has managed to recapture my attention In the exact same way Shadowkeep did in 2019.
The world of Destiny has been busy these past 12 months. While it’s been a year since the last major expansion, Bungie’s new seasonal model approach to their game makes it so their story is always unfolding. While Shadowkeep introduced the idea of the mysterious “Darkness” finally returning in the form of enormous black pyramids, at this point the Darkness has truly arrived in the Solar system and have caused locations like Mercury, Io and Titan to simply vanish.
Of course, this is the narrative explanation for Bungie’s new vaulting approach to their older, less-used content in the game. Which, so far, as already shown merit given how much faster the game has been loading for me since the expansion dropped. There’s no doubt that with their commitment to this game, and not putting out a Destiny 3, Bungie were being bogged down by their ever-growing video game.
I’m actually shocked to see such an immediate benefit from their choice though. The loading times, especially of the tower social hub, was getting out of hand and to see it become so much more manageable right off the bat makes the removal of some planets seem like they were worth it already. Plus, as of right now, I’m not really missing any of my older weapons as I’m relishing the opportunity to just use what I have.
But I am still on the levelling loop as of right now. that might change once the dust has all settled and end game content is on my mind.
The story of Beyond Light continues down a path I feel like I have foreseen the game going for a while now, which I’ll get to in a little bit. It introduces us to a character called Eramis; a Fallen Kell who embraces the power of the Darkness, much in the same way the player’s guardians embrace the light of the Traveller. In a “fire to fight fire” approach, the players themselves gain access to a new Darkness subclass, making use of it to take down this new enemy.
I find it endlessly entertaining that a game that started off life as Destiny did (as in a muddled mess), has become one I’ve become especially invested in the lore of. This expansion brings back several characters last seen in Destiny 1, namely the robot armed Fallen Variks who acts as the vendor for the new location of Europa and the return of the “exo stranger” so played a role in the original story campaign for the first Destiny upon release. Giving her some context and her previous identity before becoming an exo.
Speaking of context, we get a whole bunch for the Fallen themselves too. Making a concerted effort to start calling them by their race’s own given name: The Eliksni. The race were once a host to the Traveller, which abandoned them when the Darkness showed up and came to our solar system instead. Characters in the story talk about this as though it were something they remember, although I feel like the timelines are getting a little mixed up if this were to be the case considering how long ago the “Golden Age” was.
Either way, it gets into why the Fallen followed the Traveller to Earth and why they’re this machine god worshipping cult. It also paves the way for the Fallen to become eventual allies in the future war against the Darkness. I said earlier I had a feeling about where the story was going. The introduction of the powers of Darkness implies a furthering of fracturing of alliances between the more zealot-like lightbearers of the tower and the more flexible characters like Drifter and Eris Morn.
Maybe we’re never going to get that far, but with the introduction of the Drifter a while back, I got the impression Bungie wanted to create a faction split, much akin to how most MMOs like World of Warcraft and The Old Republic functioned, making it so players would either chose to align with the Light or with the Darkness.
Outside of this, we just got the first introduction to our new seasonal activities with the Season of the Hunt. Signaled with the return of an amnesiac Uldren Sov, brought back to life by a ghost and is now a lightbearer like the player. Although, as is common with Guardians brought back from the dead, he has no memory of his actions during Forsaken, including murdering Cayde-6.
I get some real Kylo Ren vibes from him now, having this solemn edge lord demeanour to him. While also actually trying to do some good for the evils he, unknowingly, committed in the past. It even begins with him saving the legendary guardian and previous Warlock Vanguard Osiris after his ghost is killed. Leaving him mortal and powerless.
From here we learn of Xivu Arath, former Taken King Oryx’s youngest sister (Savathûn being the older one) and the God of War amongst the Hive. She is corrupting other races and making them “wrathborn”. Which is where the player comes in, charging a lure and going on hunts to take care of these enemies. I like this one because it’s mostly a single player activity, as opposed to the social ones many of the previous season events end up being.
It’s weird, the more I play of Destiny, the more I want to play it on my own. It’s become my brain switched off game while I’m watching Youtube videos or listening to Podcasts.
That being said, this expansion is eventually bringing back the original Destiny raid: The Vault of Glass. Which I’d be exited to revisit as I actually know the mechanics to it. It also brings back the Cosmodrome, which I’ll admit I have hardly looked around since the expansion dropped. I haven’t had much time to explore the season of the hunt stuff outside of a few snatched hours here and there.
First Impressions of Beyond Light are very positive from me. Right now, I feel like I have a ton to do in the game and I’m enjoying my time levelling, collecting new stuff and working through the numerous exotic quests at hand. Like I said at the top, the fact that it feels like we’re getting two lumps on content at once really helps with that.
I felt like this was a “make or break” expansion of Destiny for me. As of this moment, I feel like it’s gotten its claws back into me. Time will tell though if I fall off again, and if it happens even faster than it did the previous two years as seasons come and go. I might revisit this and talk about Destiny again as the season goes on, it’ll all a matter of if I hit a wall or not.