SPOILER WARNING: This review will touch on various, long running plot points in the Destiny universe. Aspects of Shadowkeep’s campaign will be spoiled.
Bungie’s latest expansion for Destiny 2 in Shadowkeep is out now and before we get into the end-game we wanted to take some time to discuss the campaign/story side of the expansion.
As has been teased for months, the destination for this expansion is The Moon. Veteran players who cut their teeth in the original Destiny will be somewhat familiar with the location but from what we’re told, it’s very different.
So, let’s discuss whether Shadowkeep is worth the price of entry.
Before a shot is fired we are treated to a cutscene featuring Eris Morn who discovers something in the depths of the Moon, something that scares the pants off of her.
The opening mission of Shadowkeep drops you into the thick of a battle on The Moon following a disturbance the previous day. We encounter Hive enemies and push forward toward The Scarlet Keep, an ominous structure rising out of the Moon’s surface .
After killing a few enemies we reach the Keep and from there we descend into the Moon’s core.
It’s at this point that Bungie shows it’s hand. The “disturbance” was caused by a giant Pyramid-shaped ship in the bowels of Earth’s satellite. The obvious implication is that this ship belongs to the Darkness, the race that was responsible for The Collapse in the Destiny lore.
The way this is done is superb. Your Ghost speaks about feeling as if something is reaching into it, suppressing your Light and then you round a corner to discover a massive Pyramid like those seen in the cutscene at the end of the Red War campaign.
From here you discover your first Nightmare – Crota.
Nightmare’s are the enemies Guardians have slain throughout Destiny. As a plot point this works well and it helps stave off that feeling that Bungie is simply reskinning and repurposing old content. Hell, even though that IS what they are doing it’s done so well you won’t even care.
Become the Nightmare
After being rescued by Eris, we are tasked with finding a link between the Hive and the Pyramid we discovered.
Eris, becomes haunted by Nightmares of her former fireteam that descended into the Dark Below and failed to defeat Crota. As the story progresses, Eris’ mental state gets worse and worse.
Despite her declining health, we soon learn that the Daughter of Crota, Hashladûn, resides in The Scarlet Keep and she wants blood, specifically our blood.
While this mission is fun, the mission directly after which involves the Hive Cryptograph is perhaps the most fun we’ve had in Destiny 2 in a long time.
Once that Cryptograph is acquired the real grind begins.
Eris tells you that in order to understand what is going on you must go into the Pyramid. In order to do that you will need protection.
You will need to hunt down Nightmares and take their essence in order to create Dreambane armour. Each piece of essence has different requirements you have to fulfill in order to cleanse it such as killing 100 Hive or killing six Nightmares somewhere other than the Moon.
This is a bit of busy work but you can complete all of the steps in little over an hour.
Once your armour is forged, it is time to face your ultimate enemy.
The final mission in the Shadowkeep campaign is incredible.
With your Dreambane armour you are able to get closer to the Pyramid and all the while your Ghost is slowly becoming, something else.
You enter the Pyramid and dark, cavernous halls are dimly illuminated so you know which way to go. Nightmares of Guardians that were abandoned by the Light are scattered along the way and as you descend deeper, foes appear.
One moment you’re in the dark and the next you are standing on Ghaul’s ship fighting him once more. Then you are back in the silent Pyramid.
You encounter The Fanatic once more before fighting Crota one final time.
The only thing we won’t spoil here is the final cutscene. There is no big final battle (unless you count killing Crota as the final boss) to end things off but rather a harrowing cut scene that sets the tone for the next few seasons in Destiny 2.
With grinding for extra gear through Crucible, Gambit, Strikes and patrols, the Shadowkeep campaign took me just over 10 hours to complete going at a casual pace.
The story that is being told by way of cutscenes is good but collectable lore, weapons and armour help to fill that out a bit more by providing context and thoughts from various characters.
But what strikes us immediately is how Bungie has done more in this short expansion than it ever did with Curse of Osiris or Warmind.
There is voice acting, there are fun activities, there are secrets to be discovered, there are new ways to play the game and above all, it’s fun.
For returning players, Shadowkeep is a must buy. There is no way around it. The story ties up a lot of loose ends presented in the Red War and builds off of things introduced in Forsaken and the Season of Opulence. More than that there is actually something happening in terms of the lore and you’ll want to be here for it.
For new players, things are different.
Destiny 2 is now three years old and in those three years a wealth of content has been released. While more content is not a bad thing, it can be confusing.
For this reason I recommend playing Destiny: New Light, for free and completing the Red War, Curse of Osiris and Warmind campaigns. If you after completing those free campaigns are looking for more Destiny, but improved in a number of ways, then Shadowkeep is worth your money.
While not as great as Forsaken, this expansion is smaller so keep that in mind.
We are currently running through the end-game of Shadowkeep and are pushing to hit 890 Power. While we won’t be participating in the race to complete Garden of Salvation first, we will be giving it a go next week and discussing the end-game grind at length.
For now, go help defend the Moon, our salvation depends on it, Guardian.