Destiny 2: Forsaken Xbox One review — Quality content undermined by poor storytelling

There's just so much to do.

Destiny 2: Forsaken is the latest expansion for the acclaimed shared-world shooter. Unlike the Curse of Osiris and Warmind expansions, Forsaken offers a lot more content and reduces grinding, even if its story is the weakest in the entire series. It's easy to overlook this flaw because between The Dreaming City and Tangled Shore, there are dozens of activities and secrets to discover like Ascendant Chests.

Destiny 2: Forsaken — story and characters

Even before Forsaken launched, the developer, Bungie, revealed that the expansion would focus on avenging Cayde-6. Cayde-6 had been a main character ever since Destiny was released back in 2014. While many gamers will mourn his death, Cayde-6 never seemed as important as Commander Zavala or Ikora Rey. He was mostly the comic relief.

The plot comes together in the end, but it's a confusing journey.

Forsaken begins with Cayde-6's defeat, but it's unclear why the antagonist, Uldren Sov, kills him. It seems like the player is supposed to know Uldren's detailed history — and his relationship to his missing sister Mara Sov — even before the adventure begins. While the plot comes together in the end, it's a confusing journey. Unfortunately, even the final scene disappoints.

Without giving too much away, the final twist makes players empathize with Uldren and his cause. He's not the selfish, power-hungry enemy he's made out to be in the beginning. What's even more tragic is that instead of giving players the choice of how to deal with Uldren at the very end, the decision is made for you.

Destiny 2: Forsaken — new locations

Luckily, almost everything else about Forsaken shines. The Tangled Shore may not be the best-looking new area, but it's filled with many layers. The Dreaming City is on another level, though. It's the most stunning location Bungie has ever created for Destiny. The best part is that it feels like another expansion because there is a greater foe named Riven to defeat after you've leveled up for the new Raid. You can even pick up missions — even simple patrols — by directly interacting with other humans. The slight changes combined with an intensely-beautiful locale elevate the entire game.

Destiny 2: Forsaken — multiplayer changes

Aside from new weapons like the bow, Gambit is the biggest addition to Destiny 2. It's a multiplayer mode where the goal is to kill a number of enemies on your side of the map, deposit motes, and invade the other side in order to hinder the other team's progress. While Gambit sounds a little complex, it's a lot of fun, especially if you have the right weapons.

Gambit is the biggest addition to Destiny 2.

Right now, sniper rifles seem to be overpowered. It's a little unbalanced, but Bungie will probably fix that in the coming weeks. Standard Crucible multiplayer matches also seem to be unbalanced. Currently, hand cannons and shotguns are overpowered so there isn't an incentive to use any other weapon. Hopefully Bungie will also address this concern in the coming weeks.

Destiny 2: Forsaken's questionable decisions

Forsaken introduces smaller in-game achievements called "Triumphs." While the majority of them are linked to completing a mission or getting a set number of kills, there is one in there that requires the purchase of a limited edition Destiny 2 copy. This is a bad practive because those who want to go for total completion will be tempted to get the game again. Bungie should remove this Triumph immediately.

There is one achievement that requires the purchase of the limited edition.

Exotic weapons were always hard to come by even when Destiny 2 launched, but now they seem to be almost impossible to find unless you buy an Exotic Engram from Xur. It's unclear why a lot of gamers are reporting that they haven't found a single one since downloading the expansion. Hopefully the developer will adjust the drop rates or provide more information on how they're earned.

Forsaken also seems to be the buggiest piece of content Bungie has ever released for Destiny. On many occasions you'll notice that your menu disappears, there are enemies stuck in physics-defying places, and certain weapons don't register upgrades until the client restarts. Bungie has released a number patches since Forsaken launched over a week ago. Hopefully the remaining problems will be ironed out soon. Multiplayer weapon balancing needs to be a priority, though.

Destiny 2: Forsaken Xbox One review final thoughts

Overall, Forsaken is a worthy expansion to Destiny 2, and the best supplemental content the developer has ever released in the franchise due to the amount of activities. Unfortunately, those looking for a taut story will be disappointed. In the future, Bungie should focus on how the narrative is presented in order to enhance a game's appeal.

When evaluating games, reviewers have to look at the complete package. Despite how grand Forsaken is, exemplary storytelling is a must nowadays. That's where Forsaken truly fails. Even though the expansion features the most diverse content, the poor storytelling brings down the score.

Pros:

  • Lots of new activities.
  • Easy to level up.
  • Massive new regions.
  • Loads of collectibles and secrets.

Cons:

  • Poor story.
  • Exotic Engrams are impossible to earn.
  • Crucible and Gambit need weapon balancing.
  • Expansion is too expensive.

Destiny 2: Forsaken went on sale for Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 on September 4, 2018. Pricing starts at $39.99.

Keep an eye on WindowsCentral.com/Gaming for all the latest in Xbox and Windows 10 gaming, accessories, news, and reviews!

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

7 Comments
  • I know it seems cliché but this game, and Bungie, just lost me. I feel like games have evolved so much in the past couple of years and not only did Bungie not evolve with the times, but they buried their heads in the sand and doubled down on their d baggery. I would even be willing to pump out more of my cash if I thought the game warranted it but I just don't even find it enjoyable anymore. The lack of content with the previous DLCs (which is required to play this one), the abysmal weapon/ammo system, the horribly balanced crucible, the lies, the downsizing of fireteams in crucible which fractured the community, the misleading, etc. etc. I will give them (another) benefit of the doubt for the inevitable Destiny 3 but they have to do a whole hell of a lot to win people like myself over again.
  • Agreed.
    This is Destiny 1.5
    With _still_ over priced expansions. They have been ruined by who they got in bed with.
    Shame on them
  • Forsaken is a ripoff at $40.00 at best it's a $20.00 expansion. It is just more of the same. Do not buy Forsaken, I think it was a waste of money.
  • Have to admit, for a second I was tempted, I love the gunplay and bought the $150 version at launch, but they are so busy catering to the hardest of the hardcore anyone else pretty much get's left in the dust. I'll stick with Warframe, new expansion coming soon (Fortuna) and surprise, it's free.
  • "Forsaken offers a lot more content and reduces grinding, even if its story is the weakest in the entire series."
    Seriously? Everything about this statement is wrong leading me to think yiu never played Destiny 1 or anything before Forsaken.
    Weakest story? D1 barely even had a story until Taken King. And even then it was confusing if you didnt search your grimoire cards. If you know what those are. Forsaken asna decent story and is easily the most well put together narrative in the Destiny universe. And to say it lessens the grind?? Are u joking? The point was to bring back the grind thats been missing from the entire D2 experience. The grind is serious now. Either yourbgrinding to hit 600 or complete one of many exotic quests. Or for planetary materials for infusion or lookingnfor the next triumph. Everything in this review is incorrect. Epic fail. Have you even played the game? Smh
  • Destiny's story was basic, but it was coherent. There's a greater threat that you as a Guardian must stop. That was it. Basic but it was told in a coherent manner from start to end. Forsaken's story has a lot of issues because it's told in a bizarre manner where motivations aren't explained. It jumps around and only comes together at the end. As far as Forsaken is concerned, it is less of a grind. Instead of playing for hours on end and participating in different activities, you can keep on earning Prime Engrams and complete bounties without even realizing it if you purchase them. The point is you're always leveling up, you don't have to repeat the same activity again and again to get that one item. I've just been exploring, finding chests, trying to learn Gambit maps and I'm already 530. I keep on getting Prime Engrams that are much higher level than my existing gear. Beforehand in Destiny 2, I felt like I hit a wall every Tuesday after I finished the quests, but with Forsaken I can keep on playing and leveling up. It rewards you for playing the game, and just having fun, rather than repeating the same Raid ten times for that weapon. As far as saying I haven't played the game, my gamertag is asher6465, you can take a look at the hundreds of hours yourself.
  • Have to agree. This is the best piece of Destiny content since Taken King. Story is far-and-away the most improved thing over Vanilla D2. The grind is back with random roles and meaningful pursuits. PvP is back with loadouts and weapon balancing that makes dozens and dozens of weapons competitive. Dynamic environments like the Dreaming city changing with the raid and other activities is awesome. Economy is greatly improved. Our Guardians feel powerful again. Can't say enough about how much Forsaken has done to rehabilitate a failing property in D2. All you really need to look at is Twitch. This weekend D2 had more viewers than.... FORTNITE. And that is WITH the Blackout beta going on as well. Forsaken is not perfect, but i have ALREADY gotten $40 worth of enjoyment out of it, and I haven't even done the new raid yet. Cheers to Bungie for listening to the community, and not "sticking their heads in the sand" as another user said in this thread. Bungie literally admitted openly to their failings in D2 Vanilla, and said that they have re-thought everything, and tried to take feedback and apply it. Bungie isn't out of the dog house yet, and only time will tell, but I have definitely moved the dog house itself back inside my house.