Destiny 2's latest expansion, Beyond Light, has arrived and has been available for a few weeks. In that time, I've been able to complete the new campaign and the missions that come after it, complete the Deep Stone Crypt raid, explore the icy moon of Europa, earn a few Exotic weapons, and test out the new Stasis subclasses that allow players to wield the Darkness for the first time.
For the most part, I feel that Beyond Light delivers the satisfying experience players were hoping that it would since Bungie originally teased it in the early summer. However, while the campaign is excellent, the raid is fantastic, and Europa is a beautiful location with lots of interesting areas to explore, barely any new loot has been added to the game beyond the new handful of Exotic weapons that you can earn. Since Destiny 2 is driven by its loot systems, this issue is quite significant.
That being said, I still have greatly enjoyed my time with what Beyond Light has had to offer overall. Also, if you're on the fence by the end of this review, keep in mind that it's available through Xbox Game Pass. This means that subscribers can check out the expansion for free, and newcomers can get access to the DLC in an affordable way so they can try it out without making a full purchase.
$40Bottom line: Beyond Light has an excellent campaign, raid, and worldspace, but the lacking quantities of loot hold it back from being truly perfect.
- Excellent story campaign
- Europa is a great environment
- Great raid
- New Stasis element is great
- Available on Xbox Game Pass
- Not enough new loot
- A lot of previous weapons and armor level-capped
Destiny 2: Beyond Light: What I like
The strongest aspect of Beyond Light is the campaign. Even though it's only about four hours long, I think it's one of the best stories ever told in a Destiny expansion.
Eramis, a Fallen Kell that wants to use the Darkness to get revenge on the Traveler and the Light for abandoning her people long ago, is incredibly well fleshed out thanks to some superb cutscenes and dialogue. Meanwhile, the fan-favorite Fallen character, Variks the Loyal, is a great juxtaposition against Eramis' idea of vengeance; he instead has a desire for his people to find peace over the course of the campaign. Overall, the two characters have a lot of chemistry and bounce off each other wonderfully, which is mainly thanks to some truly excellent voice acting.
The campaign's gameplay is great too, as things are more mission-focused this time around compared to the checklist-like nature of Shadowkeep. There are lots of missions to play after the campaign is over as well; these flesh out the story and lore surrounding Clovis Bray, the Exo Stranger, and the Darkness. The campaign also makes use of all of the spaces in Europa in particular, which I quite enjoyed since it helps you explore.
Speaking of Europa, it's easily one of my favorite patrol spaces in the entirety of Destiny 2. The harsh winter environment on the surface feels oppressive and brutal, which is something that can be attributed to the location's dynamic weather systems. Meanwhile, both beneath and above the ice, there are tons of interesting areas to explore, ranging from ancient Vex structures to urban Fallen highrises and abandoned facilities once staffed by the Braytech Exoscience corporation that created the Exo race.
Various quests available on Europa will take you through these areas and encourage you to look in every nook and cranny. Europa also has "Master Lost Sectors," which are special variants of traditional Lost Sectors that are filled with very dangerous enemies but also have a high chance to reward Exotic gear upon completion.
In addition to everything that the campaign and Europa have to offer, there's also the Deep Stone Crypt raid (catch our full guide if you need to learn the encounters), which is easily among the best of Destiny 2's raids alongside the likes of Last Wish and Garden of Salvation. The encounters are fun, cleverly-designed, and challenging, and the loot rewards are (mostly) great this time around. The Deep Stone Crypt is, overall, everything a Destiny player could want out of a raid experience. I was a little underwhelmed by the raid's music (a rarity for Destiny), but even then, it has some killer soundtracks mixed in with the stuff I didn't love.
Lastly, I'm a huge fan of how the new Stasis element feels to use in PvE content. The general theme of crowd control Stasis gives it a unique niche compared to all of the Light subclasses, and the fact that Stasis abilities do less damage overall compared to Light ones reflects that. I'm looking forward to trying out Stasis more in raids as I can already tell that the ability to throw up a wall of ice for protection or freeze foes to stop them from reaching a critical objective will be incredibly useful. I also like the Aspects and Fragments system, which allows you to tweak your Stasis abilities so that they have some bonus effects that suit your preferred type of playstyle.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light: What I don't like
The big problem I have with Beyond Light is that there's barely any new loot to earn aside from a small handful of new guns, two sets of armor, and some new Exotics. For an expansion that costs $40, you'd expect a lot more from Bungie. Even with the gear from the raid, the expansion overall doesn't have much to chase after. Destiny 2 is a looter shooter after all, and if there's not much loot to chase, well...
This issue is exacerbated by how Bungie sunsets most weapons and armor that released prior to Beyond Light by capping their maximum Power Level at 1,060, making them effectively unusable outside of old patrol spaces, playlist Strikes, and Crucible. Essentially, Bungie has significantly reduced the effectiveness of the arsenal we built up for three years and then failed to replace that lost arsenal with much new gear to hunt down.
Ultimately, this problem doesn't take away from how awesome the content in Beyond Light is, but it does leave me feeling bitter as a veteran player.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light: Bottom line — It's great, aside from the loot pool
At the end of the day, even with the loot issues I described above, I think Beyond Light is worth your time if you're willing to engage with everything it has to offer. Between the strong campaign, great raid, the uniqueness of Stasis, and the excellence of Europa itself, Beyond Light is easily one of Destiny 2's best expansions.
If the loot problem is keeping you from checking the DLC out, you could pick up the expansion free-of-charge if you happen to be a Game Pass subscriber, which I recommend doing. I also recommend checking out our list of the best Xbox One shooters if you're looking for a different FPS.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.