Destiny 2: Lightfall Falls Short of its Epic Moment

A Missed Opportunity to Reach the Heights of Infinity War

The much-anticipated Destiny 2 expansion, Lightfall, draws immediate comparisons to the epicness of Avengers: Infinity War. The opening moments of Lightfall are bombastic and reminiscent of the relentless momentum of the Marvel film’s first act. The Traveler, the source of our heroes’ god-like abilities, is under siege from the Witness, a mythical villain representing the root of the Darkness that Guardians have battled for nearly a decade. However, despite the high stakes, Lightfall fails to deliver on that moment.

The lack of consequences is where Lightfall falls short. While the expansion sets up a two-part conclusion to Destiny 2’s Light and Darkness saga, it doesn’t bring about significant changes to the game’s universe. Unlike the Infinity Saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where devastating consequences shaped the narrative, Lightfall fails to deliver the same impact. The story takes players on a journey through the new location of Neomuna, creating a sense of momentum, but ultimately leaves the Destiny universe functioning much the same as before.

High Stakes, Little Impact

Lightfall’s narrative leaves much to be desired in terms of meaningful change. The introduction of the Veil, a fundamental driving force behind the story, raises questions without providing satisfactory answers. The lack of explanation and the assumption that all characters are already aware of the Veil undermines the narrative’s impact. Furthermore, Lightfall doesn’t follow up on the sense of loss felt at the end of the previous season. Instead, it loops back to familiar territory, failing to bring about the transformative shift promised.

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The lack of consequences is evident in the comparison to Infinity War. The Marvel film’s devastating ending, where half of the beloved characters are snapped away, came with lasting consequences that extended into Endgame. In Lightfall, characters act as if the world has shifted, but players are left feeling disconnected from these supposed changes.

It’s important to remember that Destiny 2 is a live service game, prioritizing a consistent and replayable gameplay experience over a narrative arc. While there are ways for the narrative to introduce weight and consequence, the inherent limitations of the live service structure hinder Lightfall’s storytelling.

Struggling with Pacing and Narrative Threads

Pacing issues further detract from Lightfall’s impact. The campaign features well-crafted action sequences, engaging character moments, and impressive strikes and Lost Sectors. However, the uneven pacing during encounters leads to a sense of emptiness upon completion.

The introduction of the Strand subclass, touted as a unique and powerful tool for Guardians, doesn’t live up to its potential. The narrative fails to effectively connect the struggles faced by our Guardians with the overarching threats posed by Calus and the Witness. Players are torn between two plights that lack motivation and fail to provide satisfying resolutions.

Encouraging Improvements and a Brighter Future

Despite the shortcomings of Lightfall’s narrative, it’s important to acknowledge the significant improvements made to Destiny 2 as a game. The expansion introduces a build crafting system that allows for deeper customization and improved accessibility. The Guardian Ranks provide a smoother onboarding experience for new players, a much-requested addition. From a gameplay perspective, Destiny 2 has never been better.

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Season of Defiance, launched alongside Lightfall, offers a compelling tale and one of Bungie’s best seasonal activities. Quality-of-life improvements address fundamental issues with loot chasing, inventory management, and currency accumulation. These updates enhance the overall gameplay experience.

While Lightfall may disappoint in its narrative execution, there is hope that the upcoming Root of Nightmares raid will provide a meaningful conclusion. It remains to be seen if the delayed resolution will retroactively improve Lightfall and the overall Destiny 2 saga.

Destiny 2: Lightfall is available now as an add-on for the base game.

A titan wielding a grenade launcher in Destiny 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A guardian standing with Caitl in Destiny 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Nimbus jumping in Destiny 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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