Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Xbox One review — Is this expansion worth buying?

A new threat emerges.

As you all know, Destiny 2 is a first-person shooter from Bungie. Despite receiving mediocre reviews, the original Destiny went on to become one of the best-selling titles on Xbox and PlayStation. Destiny 2, on the other hand, hasn't achieved that level of success despite being noticeably better.

Recently, Bungie split from Activision and decided to shape the game's future without an influential publisher's backing. Since then, we've seen a lot of features like cross-save and a free-to-play version roll out. However, Destiny 2's latest expansion, Shadowkeep, is by far its greatest departure. While it may not be that strong on a storytelling front, the tweaks to the way players level up have the greatest impact.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep setting and story

Shadowkeep takes players to the Moon where they have to contend with a new threat. Eris Morn is back and is as cryptic as ever. The plot is quite convoluted because it's hard to follow what's going on at any given time. This is somewhat of a surprise because you can easily play through all the Shadowkeep missions in a few hours. Surely, there's a better way to tell a story.

Towards the end, the plot somewhat comes together, but the expansion abruptly ends without providing a satisfying conclusion. In order to experience it all, you'll probably have to keep on playing each season. While I can appreciate the fact that Bungie wants an evolving narrative, which was communicated prior to launch, Shadowkeep starts at $35. The developer should've given fans a lengthy campaign with a proper conclusion.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep major changes

If you're playing the free-to-play version of Destiny 2, you'll have a hard time leveling up to Power Level 960. However, if you purchase Shadowkeep, you'll be granted a Seasonal Vex Artifact called the Gate Lord's Eye. Just by playing the game, you earn experience towards upgrading the Gate Lord's Eye, which increases your Power Level without the need for better gear.

However, due to the fact that you're a higher Power Level, even the most basic drops will be above the 900 soft cap. This means that you can become stronger just by playing the activities you like. This is by far the best addition Shadowkeep brings to Destiny 2. There's no reason to grind tedious activities – like the Crucible for example – just to acquire better standard gear.

Shadowkeep mostly features the same Moon map as the first Destiny. However, the addition of the Scarlet Keep provides a stunning contrast to the grey landscapes. This might be some of Bungie's best work in my opinion, because it pops in native 4K resolution on Xbox One X. Hopefully, the team will follow this design philosophy for the next expansion or inevitable sequel.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep new activities

If you love challenging experiences, you'll find two new tasks to sink your teeth into with Shadowkeep. While the new Raid is a daunting mission that requires several hours with a close-knit team, the Vex Offensive is a unique take on a traditional Horde mode. I absolutely love Gears of War 5 – and have played its iteration at great length – but the Vex Offensive is much more fun. The fact that you have six players working together gives it even more meaning. Hopefully, Bungie will add more large-scale modes like this in the future.

Related: Tips and tricks to help you conquer Destiny 2's Vex Offensive mode

Aside from hunting down Nightmares on the Moon, I think the Vex Offensive is by far the most rewarding activity that Shadowkeep brings to the table. So far, I've found all of my Exotic Engrams from playing it again and again. While many may consider it a bit repetitive, the generous loot drops keep you coming back for more.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep final thoughts

Overall, Shadowkeep is a good expansion, and if you don't really care about the narrative, you're going to have a lot of fun leveling up the Gate Lord's Eye or future Seasonal Artifacts. I absolutely love playing Destiny 2, and the addition of Seasonal Artifacts has me hooked. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a story as strong as the tale of revenge the base game began with, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Shadowkeep and characters like Eris Morn and Ikora Rey take themselves too seriously. The jovial tone that elevated Destiny 2 – with hilarious individuals like Asher and Failsafe – is missing from the latest expansion. Luckily, the cliffhanger ending somewhat redeems the experience because I want to unravel the truth behind the Vex. It's a shame I'll probably have to wait close to a year for the payoff.



The expansion was reviewed on an Xbox One X with a copy provided by the developer.

Asher Madan

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.