Awful story-telling, terrible mission design, wasted potential, numerous items locked behind loot boxes..it’s definitely Destiny 2 DLC.
Destiny 2‘s Curse of Osiris DLC should have been in the main game. Heck, it should have been a free update. This “DLC” or “expansion” or whatever Bungie wants to call it is simply bad. If you’re being nice to Bungie, who delivered an extremely underwhelming sequel with a non-existent end-game, you could say it’s just more Destiny for the Destiny fans. I’m not in a mood to be nice. You could also say that the latest patch added a bunch of quality of life changes like armour ornaments for existing sets and whatnot. Those are all in the patch. I’m concerned with the DLC you have to pay money for in this review.
So the story this time is Osiris, legendary exiled Warlock who’s disappeared while investigating the Vex’s Infinite Forest. You go to Mercury to explore this Forest and discover an entity called Panoptes that has created a dark future where the Vex have won. It’s your job to prevent this dark future. Ikora thinks you’re her friend. Nolan North is still incredibly annoying as the Ghost. You’ve been here before.
"Heck, even the so-called post-campaign “Adventures” are simply “The Vex are conducting a simulation using so-and-so race, go disrupt their fun”. It’s like nothing you do matters."
Honestly, the story can be summed up as follows: Vex. Ikora. Osiris. Brother Vance. Simulation. Infinite Forest. Well of Echoes. Simulation. Guardian. Osiris. Ikora. Sagira. Simulation. Simulation. Algorithm. Rinse, wash and repeat. How did Panoptes manage to create this dark future where the Vex would rule? Was that really their grand plan that’s been in the works for years? Why is Osiris so infamous and what did he do that got him kicked out of the Tower? Tell me something about Osiris other than how he’s famous or an egomaniac. The moments in the final boss battle simply hint at what Osiris is capable of but ultimately deliver nothing to expand on his character. What was the “curse” of Osiris? Apparently being shoehorned into this terrible DLC.
What are Ikora’s Hidden? I mean, I know who the Hidden are but you’ve done nothing to outline them in the past game and expansions aside from the Grimoire. Could you at least explain what they are here and offer a refresher? What happened to Brother Vance? Why is he such a pompous, fanboying doofus? How does he not remember me? But wait, the Vault of Glass is something I went through, as was my battle with Oryx. There are so many questions but the story in Curse of Osiris is just “The thing we needed isn’t here, oh wait, it might be there. Go there.” Again. And again. And again. Except now I have to listen to the new Ghost Sagira (voiced by Morena Baccarin, who does a pretty decent job) repeating the same instructions again and again.
Heck, even the so-called post-campaign “Adventures” are simply “The Vex are conducting a simulation using so-and-so race, go disrupt their fun”. It’s like nothing you do matters. In fact, once the campaign is finished, Osiris simply goes back into the Infinite Forest to study it because the Vex will probably develop some other horrifying threat for the future. But hey, Guardian, you did good. You’re swell. See ya in another four to five months for that extra $20. Don’t forget to buy some Bright Engrams in the meantime (don’t worry though – if there’s anything Bungie has kept faithfully stocked with tons of new items, it’s the Eververse store).
"There’s next to no new mechanics involved throughout it all…unless you count jumping on platforms and dunking charges to be “new”."
When Destiny 2‘s campaign was done and dusted, many players cried foul because there was plenty to do in the game. There was just no incentive to do it. Curse of Osiris has the worst of both worlds – not only is there next to no reason to do the PvE content but there’s very little of it as well. Aside from three new Adventures, there’s one new Lost Sector. Count it – ONE. The new largest-ever-Public Event is just that – large. All that space feels wasted and unnecessary, the additional mechanics tacked on to feel important. The fact that your reward can be two Tokens and a Rare item is simply a bitter reminder of what Bungie considers to be a “rewarding” experience. Mercury as a new zone is pitifully small. It’s one big circle that you can endlessly loop around with boring Patrols, boring high value targets and a desert aesthetic that will wear on you very quickly.
Three of the new story missions take place in pre-existing zones, one of them being the Pyramidion Strike. There’s next to no new mechanics involved throughout it all…unless you count jumping on platforms and dunking charges to be “new”. The “new” areas where the other story missions take place occupy the same tired layouts of the new Infinite Forest. This is basically a long path of randomly arranged yet hand-crafted level segments with various enemy races which have been “simulated” and stand in your way. There’s not much else distinct about it. If you played through the Black Garden and Terminus in Destiny 1, then the aesthetic in the Infinite Forest is just a mash-up of those two concepts.
It doesn’t matter how hand-crafted all of this is though – it’s still the same boring aesthetic as you walk a singular path from point A to point B. Furthermore, there is no reason to fight most enemies. A gate is glowing red? Find a “Daemon” and kill it. Voila, progress forward. I’d say Curse of Osiris has less driving force in its levels than Oni with slightly more environmental interaction but I’m not depressed enough to go back and check.
"Destiny has so much interesting lore and a developer who is seemingly entirely disinterested in doing anything with it."
You can throw vehicle sections, banter and breath-taking sky-boxes at me all you’d like but if there’s no substance to any of it, it’s just boring. When it’s the same boring gameplay with next to no challenge featuring the same idiotic AI, the same boring abilities and the same lack of depth that’s been the death knell of Destiny 2, it is just an incredible waste of time and effort.
Also, newsflash to Bungie – I already played a DLC that tried to experiment with randomly arranged spaces and bungled it badly. It was called The Division’s Underground and at least that has been given new, fun modifiers and end-game relevance with recent updates. The Infinite Forest simply feels like a gimmick, a waste of what could have been something truly special.
After all, this is a Vex simulation machine, right? Why not simulate so many of Destiny‘s past conflicts? At the very least surprise me with something that’s not the same Vex architecture again and again. If I actually gave a damn and wanted Bungie to try something, imagine all the amazing things they could have recreated. The Battle of Twilight Gap. The Crota’s End raid with Eris and her fireteam. Anything from the Books of Sorrow. Destiny has so much interesting lore and a developer who is seemingly entirely disinterested in doing anything with it.
It’s a shame because there are some decent moments to be had during the experience. The fight with Panoptes is epic and very interesting. Even if it isn’t all that challenging, Panoptes’ design comes across as a combination of Templar, Cyclops and Metal Overlord from Sonic Heroes which is awesome. Suffice to say, this fight blows Ghaul’s straight out of the water and does showcase Panoptes as some kind of threat even if Osiris does most of the work and your main job is clearing out adds en route to the linear “shoot the giant eye” mechanic. Too bad Panoptes is the only “new” enemy type here.
"Also, the Heroic Strike playlist – something which shipped with the first Destiny and was missing in the sequel – also requires the DLC. How much more slimy can you get?"
Some of the banter that Ghost had with me after finally regaining his free will (trust me, it’s not important) was kind of fun though the mute nature of my character didn’t help. That one boss fight against a Cabal Valus that featured laser tripwires was neat and I did get some kind of challenge out of The Runner Adventure which featured, strangely enough, another Cabal Valus running away when the going got tough. The Hive tower defense-esque Adventure is more wasted potential but at least it was something different on top of all the running through the Infinite Forest.
In fact, the Infinite Forest as a whole is closed off to you unless you’re playing a story mission or Adventure. Enjoyed a particular story mission? Well too bad, because you can’t replay it (you just have to hope that it’s part of Ikora’s weekly “Meditations”). The “new” Strikes are simply Heroic, co-op versions of two story missions, right down to the bosses and enemies. The fact that you have to pass through the same boring Infinite Forest to get to them is a shame. The story missions are so blatantly reused (or the other way around, whichever it is) that it’s comedic. Also, Heroic Strikes have no modifiers nor can you choose the Strikes you want.
By the way, speaking of closed off, you can no longer play the Prestige Leviathan raid unless you own the expansion. On some level, I can understand Trials of the Nine and the Nightfall being locked since they could use DLC content in the future. But the Prestige Leviathan raid that’s been there since the launch of the game and seen no changes? Purely because the Power level has been raised? Also, the Heroic Strike playlist – something which shipped with the first Destiny and was missing in the sequel – also requires the DLC. How much more slimy can you get?
Once you complete the campaign and Adventures, you can partake in Heroic Adventures. These are the same Adventures but with modifiers. I haven’t partaken in them since you need to be Power level 300 and I was no mood to revisit the horrifyingly dull Infinite Forest again, much less keep grinding for moderately better drops. Completing one unlocks access to the weapon forge for the various Vex-themed weapons. Again, though I haven’t unlocked any just yet, my understanding is that they’re just about collecting a “Lost Prophecy”, gathering some material and then depositing in the forge for a weapon. If so, that’s just incredibly sad, especially when Destiny 1 had such memorable quests for weapons like No Time to Explain, Black Spindle, Sleeper Simulant, Gjallarhorn and whatnot.
"Other than that, the majority of Exotics have been recycled from Destiny 1 with the Jade Rabbit, The Stag, Ophidian Aspect and what have you. Decide for yourself whether that’s a good thing."
When people say Destiny has a lot of potential, it’s probably because of the presentation. The Infinite Forest is simply phenomenal with its architecture, the small ripple that occurs throughout the time gates as you pass through and that funky Vex line graph aesthetic which still looks cool. I’d be remiss not to mention locations like past Mercury which looks absolutely gorgeous and is a nice vibrant departure from everything else in this DLC. It’s a shame you only see it for like two missions (would it have been so bad to include a Patrol Zone here?).
The music has some awesome beats here and there especially when it imbibes more Egyptian vibes (though I could use less percussion during some moments). Some of the new weapons are kind of fun – the Prometheus Lens absolutely ruins Crucible balance but it’s fun. Good things have been heard about guns like Crimson and The Colony, though the former is basically just Red Death as a handcannon (and no, I’ve gotten neither of them just yet). Other than that, the majority of Exotics have been recycled from Destiny 1 with the Jade Rabbit, The Stag, Ophidian Aspect and what have you. Decide for yourself whether that’s a good thing.
The three new Crucible maps are…fine. Pacifica reminds me a bit of a Halo map but I don’t particularly feel any kind of attachment. These are typical Destiny 2 Crucible maps (one is even exclusive to a single platform for the foreseeable future). What more can you really say, especially given how one-note the meta is, the entire reliance on team-shooting, the slow recharge rate on abilities and Supers, and the lack of any real excitement?
I haven’t played the raid lair, which is set to go live on December 8th, 10 AM PST nor do I intend to. Destiny 2‘s Curse of Osiris DLC shouldn’t have to lean so heavily on one piece of content to justify its existence. This is a review of the DLC in its current form that your average solo or duo players will get to experience.
"If you found Destiny 2 to be underwhelming, Curse of Osiris won’t change your mind and might even make you angrier."
And in its current form, especially given the absolute paucity of content, it’s impossible to recommend to even the most hardcore of Destiny fans unless they have money to burn. Even then, there are a number of better games, DLC and free updates to better invest your time and money in. The Division’s Update 1.8, Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Hollow Knight, Night in the Woods, Nioh, Nier: Automata, The Evil Within 2, Warframe on its own even without Plains of Eidolon, Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath – there are a number of games that will give you much better value and entertainment for their asking prices than Curse of Osiris ever could.
Maybe the raid lair will end up being good. Maybe it won’t. At this point, Bungie has made it impossible to care with its lazy reuse of content, terrible narrative, idiotic new Public Event, boring story missions, lack of compelling activities in its new zone, locking out content to non-DLC owners, the list goes on.
If you found Destiny 2 to be underwhelming, Curse of Osiris won’t change your mind and might even make you angrier. If you need to buy it just to have some new Destiny content in your life, then by all means. However, saying it’s slightly better than House of Wolves or The Dark Below isn’t high praise. Bungie should have a higher standard in this day and age. It should be doing more than stuffing the Eververse store with tons of microtransaction-tied, loot box content. It could have done more since it’s had over three years to get to this point…but alas, it didn’t.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Art design and visuals continue to look good, especially past Mercury. Decent albeit stupidly simple final boss fight. Some weapons are kind of neat. Music is still good. At least two the Adventures are sort of interesting.
New social space and Patrol Zone are insultingly barebones. Infinite Forest is little more than an interactive loading screen for missions. Recycled areas for missions with barely anything new or compelling. Horrendous story-telling and plot devices that ferry you around for no rhyme or reason. Pathetic pay-off to some of the most intriguing lore in Destiny history. Shameful rewards for a giant wasteful Public Event. Prestige content and Heroic Strikes locked for non-DLC owners. Braindead AI.
Soon to be mentioned in a "not working as intended" faux apology, Destiny 2's Curse of Osiris DLC is just bad. It offers nothing of substance and wastes all of its good ideas while asking you to pay $20. Skip it if you value your sanity, raid lair or no raid lair.