Los Angeles – Destiny 2 is ending its first year with a bang. Unveiled just a few weeks ago, Forsaken is a huge new expansion to the game that has come to help shape how we perceive online video games.
Adding two huge new locations as well as two new activities for players to experience after the story is finished, Forsaken has been designed to not only reshape the story of Destiny 2 but also the way in which you play it.
Here at E3 I was given the chance to play not just the first story mission but also get a taste of one of Destiny 2′s brand-new online multiplayer experiences called Gambit.
While it’s technically set after the events of the last expansion, Warmind, the game feels story-wise like a stand-alone event. Albeit one that its developers Bungie say will create repercussions that are felt throughout all of the game’s playable planets and areas.
It places you in our solar system’s asteroid belt, now known as The Reef, and sets you on a journey of revenge after the apparent murder of one of Destiny’s biggest and most-loved characters Cayde-6.
The death of Cayde-6 is something that will upset a lot of people, myself included. Voiced by actor Nathan Fillion he was arguably one of the strongest characters in the game and helped provide a comic brevity to the proceedings that stopped Destiny from ever taking itself too seriously. If he is gone, Bungie should start working on a replacement immediately.
It’s good that Bungie aren’t afraid to make these big decisions though, Destiny cannot become a safe place if it’s to keep players engaged, especially with the arrival of Anthem on the horizon.
While I only played a very small component of the first level, it’s clear that this expansion is one based around speed and spectacle. We were led at breakneck pace through the Prison of Elders (essentially a giant space prison) while a full-blown breakout was taking place.
It was, admittedly, the perfect place to try out the brand-new changes to the way that you can play Destiny. For starters there is a brand-new weapon type: Bow.
The bow is an incredibly slow-firing weapon that’s hard to aim and even harder to aim when there’s a building exploding around you. The trade-off though is enormous amounts of damage and in some cases, some really interesting perks.
The Exotic bow we tried fired three shots when aimed. If you got a precision kill with it then the next shot you fired guaranteed a lightning chain that hit every other enemy around it. It completely alters the way you approach encounters and to be honest I don’t think it could have worked had Bungie not implemented the other huge change to the way you play.
The weapon slots in Destiny 2 were originally Kinetic, Energy and Power. Along with these three, Bungie moved shotguns, sniper rifles and fusion rifles into the Power slot effectively limiting their ammo massively and turning them into weapons you would barely use.
This was, in my view, a terrible idea and indeed the community pretty much hated it as well. In Forsaken, these strict slots are gone, and while Bungie are still finalising the details what I saw felt like the solution I’d been waiting for. I had a pulse rifle for range as my primary, the bow or shotgun as my secondary and a giant rocket launcher as my heavy.
In addition to this tiny slice of story I also got a chance to play the brand-new multiplayer mode, Gambit.
Gambit places two teams of four in two separate arenas. Within your arena, you and your team must race to clear waves of enemies and in the process collect tokens called Motes. Motes are then deposited into a machine and once you’ve collected enough it’ll trigger the final boss.
If you can collect large quantities of Motes and are able to deposit them all at once you can actually trigger events that spawn powerful enemies in the opposing teams arena. At various points you’ll also even get the chance to send one person through to the other side where they can actually take on the opposing team and cause chaos.
It sounds complicated, but within five minutes of playing it becomes clear that Bungie has hit the nail on the head. The barrier for entry with Gambit is wonderfully low which means if you’re scared away by traditional multiplayer then this is a perfect way to start.
Yet thanks to the Mote system and the ability to troll the opposing team there’s potentially a real tactical side to this that will become even more enjoyable if you start playing it with people you know.
There’s a lot of promise here in Forsaken, something which Destiny desperately needs. Building on the good work that was done with Warmind it has the potential to bring much of the Destiny community back to the game.
The game feels really fun to just pick up and play, and for many that’s a crucial element that was missing up until at the very least, Warmind.
I’m not sure how I feel about the plot yet, I saw so little that it’s hard to make a judgement. The script seemed snappy enough and annoyingly Cayde was as funny as ever. If Bungie are to continue telling stories with Destiny then Cayde’s contribution to the game will need to be replaced.
HuffPost UK has travelled to the E3 video games conference with the help of Activision. Our journalism remains entirely independent.