The ‘vanilla’ edition of Destiny 2 is a solid game. It’s a game that, whilst removing a lot of functions of its predecessor, provides an enjoyable playground of beautifully crafted presentation and some of the finest core shooting gameplay you’re likely to find. However, it does fall short in some important areas that hamper the long-term enjoyment of the game and Bungie have been, for lack of a better word, under attack, from a discontented fan base because of it. The game’s first DLC expansion, Curse of Osiris has unfortunately come at an awkward time, where it was neither in a position to, or developed for the purpose of, calming any of that unrest.
It’s difficult to know where to start with Curse of Osiris. It’s an expansion with a million ideas that feels like it was pushed into the wilderness before any of them were fully realised. The narrative holds as a prime example; the story of Osiris, a fabled Warlock from the first game, who mysteriously vanished to what we now as the Infinite Forest, a Vex computer simulation of infinite timelines with the goal of measuring different permutations of the future, present and the past. It’s a mind-boggling concept that opens a world of possibilities, but is ultimately reduced to a vague and underwhelming short drive-by of a character we’d all truly love to know more about.
The Infinite Forest itself, despite being a stunning visual work, is essentially several pre-defined platforms of enemies leading to an exit, attempting to serve up the illusion of an unsystematic level design. It’s a shame the majority of these areas can simply be bypassed altogether by running past enemies and activating a gate, with only the rare occasions where you’re actually forced to engage with the content by killing a stronger enemy to unlock them. Then, the eight missions of the campaign eventually arrive at a somewhat scripted Boss that, like the previous missions, has a bafflingly low difficulty for what is meant to be a continuation of your Guardian’s journey. It’s easy to understand the reasons behind Curse of Osiris’ low-level requirement (namely accessibility), but the result is a linear shooting gallery that’s neither engaging or challenging in any real way.
Initially, the new Mercury patrol area looks fantastic. It allows us revisit the original Destiny’s Lighthouse area, albeit transformed into something almost unrecognisable, that overlooks the Infinite Forest gateway and a circular area surrounding a brand new public event, which is perhaps their best to date. However, once navigated it quickly becomes apparent how small and hollow this patrol area really is. You’ll find patches of enemies, with only 1 lost sector and only three adventures to run through. Making matters worse, you’ll be ferried away from the area altogether during some missions to replay vanilla content that has been mildly tweaked to pad out the DLC’s shortcomings.
Without a doubt, the biggest frustrations manifest from what could’ve been. For example, one of the adventures end in a large circular map where your tasked with defending a central area that is so expertly designed it could have been its own tower defence or horde mode, something the community has been asking for since Destiny’s arrival years ago. Then, the Infinite Forest, by mere definition presents a blank canvas of possibility, only to compacted into a repetitive corridor that invites you to run through it as fast as possible. Even outside of the DLC, Destiny 2 is full of grand concepts and untold potential in its content, but delivers it half-baked with only the promise of it one day being palatable.
With all that said Curse of Osiris does have its saving graces. Namely, Osiris’ ghost companion, Sagira, who guides you through missions entertainingly and a pre-Vex inhabited Mercury that’ll have you wishing it was the DLC’s true patrol area, such is its beauty. The end-game also gets a buff with the inclusion of the Lighthouse’s weapon forge. The forge requires you to collect materials by grinding through the game’s activities, then once collected you’ll receive a new Vex-modified weapon. It might not sound that exciting, but reasons to play Destiny 2’s content is much of what’s missing right now and the addition of incentive is certainly the step in right direction, as well as an enjoyable inclusion.
Once again, Bungie’s raids are Destiny’s centre piece. The Raid Lair, designed to be a shorter, more focused add-on to the main raid works particularly well. Another shining example of brilliant end game PvE Raid content that strikes a balance between puzzles and boss fights. Whilst you’ll only get to fight a single boss in this Lair, the design and mechanics leading through the encounter are challenging and engage team communication well. The decision to introduce these bite-sized raids seem a practical inclusion for future updates, at least until it’s time to build a new raid completely in Year 2.
It would have been nice to see some shuffling to modes on the Player vs Player portion of the game, although this DLC may have come to soon for those changes to be implemented. There’s three new maps; Pacifica, Radiant Cliffs and the PlayStation exclusive Wormhaven which are well designed, offering in some cases a more vertical and interesting combat ground. Amongst the litany of re-used exotics from the first game are some interesting new guns, including a Grenade Launcher that fires robotic spiders and a Trace Rifle, that for a brief period was so heavily broken that PvP resembled more of a night out at Quasar Laser Tag than a sci-fi looter shooter. So much so, that the gun has been completely nerfed until January where it’ll be reworked.
Curse of Osiris does well not to be Destiny’s worst DLC expansion to date, but it’s far from adequate – especially at a time when Bungie could really use a win. The majority of the expansion presents an ambitious and intriguing landscape that never quite hits the mark, with content that settles on mediocrity rather than excellence. There’s the return of some enjoyable end-game grind and an excellent Raid Lair, but now the real work begins if the game truly intends to move forward.