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Destiny 2: Warmind Xbox One review — Quality content undermined by unfair grind

Over the past few months, Destiny 2 has lost a lot of its players due to the restrictive nature of the previous "Curse of Osiris" expansion. Numerous activities were placed behind a paywall, and even beloved missions like Strikes weren't accessible to those who didn't own the new content.

While the developer eventually addressed these concerns, it seemed like it was a little too late. This was increasingly obvious on Xbox One because the players you were matched with varied widely in skill. This wasn't the case with the prequel or base game.

Story and characters

A few days ago, Destiny 2 received the long-awaited "Warmind" expansion. The developer Bungie promised to "make our favorite hobby better" by introducing new quests and other secrets. Warmind follows Ana Bray, a long-lost Guardian, as she searches for a connection to her past. The new campaign takes you to the polar ice caps of Mars in search of Rasputin. Rasputin is the artificial intelligence (AI) that was designed to protect our solar system from external threats and is considered to be one of the most powerful weapons ever created.

The new campaign takes you to the polar ice caps of Mars in search of Rasputin.

Golden Age war satellites begin crashing into the ice and reveal Rasputin's core. Unfortunately, this also seems to thaw an ancient Hive army that wants Rasputin gone. Saving the AI and working with it is the main objective in Warmind. The campaign culminates in an amazing boss fight against a titanic worm-god which is the highlight of the experience.

As grand as this adventure sounds, Bray is an unmemorable character and doesn't live up to the standard set by Failsafe or Sagira. The campaign is very short, much less interesting than Curse of Osiris, and is confusing. I imagine not many players will be able to follow the banal plot which makes In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale look like a masterpiece. Luckily, acquiring the new weapons and playing other adventures keeps you engaged even though the new Strikes are recycled campaign levels.

New locations and activities

The new Mars region is expansive and filled with secrets like nodes, data devices, hidden cashes, and numerous regional chests. Those who love acquiring collectibles will enjoy the new map wholeheartedly. Activities like the Escalation Protocol, which pits you against waves of Hive, is also a treat to play if you prefer Horde Mode-like gameplay.

The new Mars region is expansive and filled with secrets.

Aside from the intriguing new region, the Spire of Stars Raid Lair is Warmind's other redeeming feature. Spire of Stars has a lot of options when it comes to engaging enemies and there are many new challenging puzzles. Oddly enough, the new Raid Lair seems less difficult than the Heroic Strikes. It's a blast to experience and it's a shame that it doesn't support matchmaking yet. It was quite difficult to find high-level gamers to play with.

Multiplayer remains as strong as ever, but overall there seems to be less of a dependence on heavy weapons like rocket launchers and swords. This is definitely an improvement because now it's more about relying on your aiming skills than camping the ammunition spawn point.

New problems

The main issue with Warmind seems to be the fact that experienced players are very isolated. Unless you have a close group of friends who are all approaching Power Level 380, you'll discover that it's hard to find people to play with. This is mostly due to the fact that the grind is too much for the average player to handle. The built-in matchmaking system for activities like the rather-difficult Nightfall Strike takes roughly twenty minutes. Bungie's forums are another route if you don't mind sending a dozen messages hoping for a response.

The grind is too much for the average player to handle.

There are a number of other problems which seem to be associated with the recent update. For example, melee attacks are useless in Heroic Strikes and in general seem to be less effective across the board. Hopefully, next week's modifiers will be different. Additionally, it's still quite difficult to come across Exotic Engrams and the rewards for Heroic Strikes don't seem to be worth the effort. It's best to just wait for Xûr and buy the unique engram which guarantees an undiscovered weapon.

It doesn't even seem like you gain much experience by suffering through the Heroic Strikes as well. In my opinion, they are absolutely unplayable right now. You can sense the frustration even on game chat, where many gamers quit and you have to finish the mission either as a team of two or on your own. Both scenarios are impossible and unfair. Bungie needs to address this problem as soon as possible because there are serious balancing concerns.

Destiny 2: Warmind Xbox One review final thoughts

Overall, Warmind offers a lot of new content with some fantastic weapons, but the unbearable grind and Heroic Strike problems heavily detract from the game. The fact that the new campaign is lackluster and it's still hard to find Exotic Engrams doesn't help either. Additionally, Bungie failed to deliver on Masterwork Exotics because only a handful of items can be upgraded at this time.

If you analyze all of the content, and consider factors that influence enjoyment like accessibility, Warmind and the latest update are simply average. There are just too many issues to ignore, and the good sections are greatly overshadowed by the negatives, in particular, the underwhelming rewards and balance.

Pros:

  • Lots of new activities.
  • Massive new region.
  • Lots of collectibles and secrets.

Cons:

  • Farming Exotic Engrams is frustrating.
  • New campaign is banal.
  • Heroic Strikes need balancing.

Destiny 2: Warmind went on sale for Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 on May 8, 2018. It costs $19.99.

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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.

9 Comments
  • Dude, no mention that the 4 "new" strike missions, one is an old reused Strike reshuffled a bit, the other 2 are just campaign missions repurposed as strikes and the 4th completely new, original, unique Strike is PLAYSTATION EXCLUSIVE? PC and Xbox are paying the same price as PS4 players, yet we get 75% of strikes? 3/5 is too generous.
  • There are actually only 3 "new" strikes ('Strange Terrain', 'Will of the Thousands' and the PS4 exclusive 'The Insight Terminus'), so it's worse than you think! The 'recycling' thing doesn't really bother me that much, as it's been a 'thing' since Destiny 1 (although they at least got you to run the strikes backwards to 'fake' them being new). What bothers me more is that there is ZERO point in doing heroic strikes (when the rewards are actually 10 'light' LOWER than the minimum recommended level for doing them), and that 'Escalation Protocol' is simply too damned hard for anyone lower than 360, let alone 350, and you won't get to that level without raid gear at the moment (and if you're running raids, why bother with E.P.)? I've yet to see a single 'PUG' of 6-9 players even complete the first level in nearly a week of play on two systems. I've got 6 characters on two systems at the 345 soft cap, where they'll promptly stay unless I get REALLY lucky with the weekly milestones (especially now that there's no point in doing the Heroic Strikes, which were 'bread and butter' for getting higher level gear by grinding until now). Bungie basically made it easy to get to the soft cap within 3 hours, and then VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE for the average player to do any 'endgame' activities for the next 3 months (unless you're already with a dedicated raid group). And both sets of players will have drifted away long before that three months is up...
  • This is exactly right. I'm not sure why Bungie made it so difficult. It's going to take more like four months to reach Power Level 385 I think. It's incredibly disheartening. Until this is fixed I don't think I can go back and play it.
  • same pattern since the very first expansion of the original game. call it new content, but it's really just using the same map but having you run it backward
  • I was debating the final score. It was a difficult review. I felt that 2.5/5 wouldn't be fair because there is a lot of new content and even though the new Strikes are recycled, just like the base game I believe, the changes to multiplayer, the new Raid Lair, and numerous secrets on Mars is deserving of a slightly higher score. I'm just as frustrated as you are. I nearly threw my controller a number of times just playing the Heroic Strikes for review purposes.
  • Bungie promised to "make our favorite hobby better" no wonder it sucks, they just think of it as their hobby rather than taking it really seriously
  • I honestly thought they would make the game better, but now it's one of the worst, "grindy" titles out there. Like how Diablo III was close to launch before it got patched. Though, I don't think Diablo III was ever this bad. We at least got a lot of Legendary Weapon drops.
  • I bought Destiny 2 just to have it, but after the whole paywall fiasco it was clear they were literally trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
  • That surprised me too. You'd think they'd want more people for matchmaking.