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Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris
Score: 50%
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bungie Software
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 9 (Online Only)
Genre: First Person Shooter/Online

Introduction:

Destiny 2 is both a cleaning of the slate and a fine shooter in its own right. Itís both an admission of guilt and a well-crafted apology. Much of what made Destiny a bad game was done away with, and as a result, we were left with an enjoyable fantasy shooter that, with the resources at its disposal, could go literally anywhere if it wanted to. Iím sad to say, from where Iím sitting, Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris looks an awful lot like crossed fingers behind the back. This is an insubstantial, soulless expansion that hearkens back to the original game in both design philosophy and business sense. It wants your money but doesnít want to earn it. Thereís promise here, in both its science-fiction premise and in its lovely environmental designs, but where it counts the most, none of it is delivered as it should be.

As it stands, Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris is content to rest on its laurels in every meaningful way. It has nothing to offer save a paltry bit of lore and a gameplay experience that distances itself quite a bit from almost everything that is good about Destiny 2. It is a bad expansion at a poor value, and thatís all you really need to know. But if you absolutely must have details, Iíve got them.


Ghosts and Guardians in the Shell:

Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris opens fairly strong, with the exiled Vanguard Warlock Osiris stumbling upon an ancient, terrifying secret on Mercury. Stuff goes down, and Osiris finds himself having to part ways with Sagira (his Ghost, voiced by yet another Firefly veteran, Morena Baccarin) and hurl himself headlong into the heart of this comprehensive, existential threat. The Travelerís reawakening at the end of the Red War has proven to be both a tremendous blessing and a potential curse for the Guardians who now live closer to it than ever. You see, shadows become more pronounced as the lightís intensity growsÖ

I didnít expect profundity from Curse of Osiris. I didnít expect it to have anything interesting to say about parallel universes, concurrent timelines, or fatalism. But I also didnít expect to be bored out of my mind; while Destiny 2ís story is by no means good, itís at least cohesive and, to a degree, entertaining. Not once was I given a reason to care about anything that was going on outside of "existence will end if you donít stop the bad guys." My apologies, Bungie, but youíve got to establish a universe worth defending, first.


Mercury Falling:

While I canít really say the same for the content housed within them, Iím impressed with the environments introduced in Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris. The key inclusion is the planet Mercury. Its surface is home to imagery that is pulled straight out of the Egyptian history books; I suppose it is in keeping with this expansionís namesake. But things get a bit trippy when you factor in the massive Vex presence. Even more so when you discover the Infinite Forest, a self-generating labyrinth that builds itself one node after another as you progress through it. The Infinite Forest is Destiny 2 trying its hand at procedural generation Ė with mixed results. While itís neat to see elements of modern dungeon-crawling incorporated into a first person shooter (and itís not at all the first time weíve seen this), it doesnít mean all that much when there is so vanishingly little to do in these spaces. And as attractive as Mercury is, itís just too small.

Iíd be okay with a small map if it were more densely populated with meaningful, substantive content. Curse of Osiris is peppered with chores. See, I really liked Destiny 2ís Adventures. Sure, they werenít all great, but they helped develop the gameís universe. Whether youíre venturing into the unknown constructs of the Infinite Forest or blazing trails on the Jovian moon of Io, the context for your actions is paper-thin, to the point where it feels inconsequential and dishwater dull. If you like chasing waypoints and shooting all the things, there are so many superior alternatives, itíll make your head spin. If, however, you need something brand new and feel like you need to pay more money than usual for it, Curse of Osiris has you covered.

The level cap has increased to 25; if you drill straight through the main story content, you should hit that cap the second you finish the final encounter. Additionally, if youíre averse to grinding and still want to see Destiny 2ís launch raid, youíll probably get enough new gear to breach the required Power threshold. But if you're miffed at the way that the Eververse and Bright Engrams are undermining certain elements of Destiny 2's progression systems, you likely won't feel any better about it now.

Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris does feature one novel concept that will probably return in future releases. The Raid Lair aims to hit a very particular sweet spot: all the complexity and challenge of a Raid, but with the comparative brevity of a Strike. Eater of Worlds is the first experiment with this kind of mission design, and as you can probably guess, itís set on Leviathan.

If you want some more Crucible arenas, this gives you a couple of new ones: Pacifica and Radiant Cliffs. They're attractive, but not enough to elevate Destiny 2's PvP destination past the dull status quo it has championed for three years now.


Conclusion:

If you recall in my review for Destiny 2, I advised that those interested in the gameís long-term prospects hold off on buying the Digital Deluxe Edition. Unless the next expansion delivers something on the level of The Taken King (with at least double its size and scope), you should definitely stick with the no-frills original release. On its own, Activision wants $19.99 for Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris. Thatís cute.

I honestly thought we were past the days of The Dark Below and House of Wolves. I thought some standards had been clearly established with Destiny 2, and that the objective moving forward was to deliver an improved experience more worthy of our time and money. For all I know, that may still be the intention, but Iím sure hard-pressed to believe it now.

Activision provided me with a copy of the game to review. The opinions I share are my own.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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