Destiny has enjoyed something of a rough ride in the four years since the first game’s release.

The franchise has been a standard bearer for the concept of “games as a service” – titles that offer regularly refreshed challenges and updated content in order to keep people playing regularly (and paying regularly) for a long period of time – and at times developer Bungie and publisher Activision have struggled to find the right balance.

Should you cater for the reddit-dwelling hardcore fans who want to play for several hours every day, or the casual gamer who’s only got time for a few hours a week? Every time Bungie seems to find the sweet spot, something seemingly changes – or some needless misstep is made – that upsets the apple cart again.

Destiny 2 delighted everybody at launch, garnering great reviews, but soon after it became clear that Bungie’s attempts to cater to the casual crowd had left the rest of us with nothing worthwhile to do after a few weeks. Throw in a very lacklustre first DLC in the form of The Curse of Osiris, and the game looked to be in jeopardy.

Since then, Bungie seems to have made a concerted effort to win back players, delivering a decent (if rather unspectacular) second DLC, a major reworking of Destiny 2’s nuts and bolts and now Forsaken, a major expansion DLC that adds a ton of new stuff to do. We’ve spent a few weeks with Forsaken, and here’s how it’s faring.

It’s payback time

Destiny’s storytelling often feels undercooked, and its lore opaque. While Bungie has created a rich, detailed and unique sci-fi setting for its series, it’s struggled to populate it with interesting characters and a clear sense of history and lore.

Destiny 2’s plotline was a step up from anything in the first game merely by virtue of having a coherent, understandable story, but Forsaken takes things further with its Western-themed revenge plot, in which the player goes rogue to take out the murderers of their friend and mentor: Prince Uldren of the Awoken and eight twisted Fallen Barons that serve him.

We’re not talking The Last of Us levels of storytelling here, but there’s more emotional and moral weight in the story missions and associated cutscenes than anything previously seen in Destiny. We won’t spoil the plot, but it begins with a prison break of one sort and ends with another of an entirely spookier kind, and sees our Guardian wrestle with more sinister motives than previously seen.

While there’s nothing massively novel about the story missions’ gameplay – they fall into line with Destiny 2’s missions, basically – the fights against the Barons are enjoyable, and we can see them being fun to replay in Heroic mode later. In total, we think the story missions should take most players around eight hours to complete. That might only sound like an average amount for a major DLC, but don’t worry, because there’s much more to Forsaken besides…

Nuts and bolts

Destiny has always been a loot-driven game, and Forsaken adds dozens of new weapons and armour pieces to the mix, including an entirely new type (bows, which feel great to use) and several new (and old, but new to Destiny 2) exotic pieces – many tied to lengthy, multi-step quests.

It also gives the Hunter, Titan and Warlock classes three new subclasses and super powers each, while Destiny 2 as a whole has been given a number of sandbox changes that shorten PVP time-to-kill, increase weapon strength and generally help players enjoy the power fantasy that the game promised but never quite delivered.

So, even if you don’t buy Forsaken itself, the Destiny 2 it’s coming with should be a different (and better, we think) experience than it was before.

Destiny 2: Forsaken verdict

While Forsaken has brought with it a couple of contentious issues – mainly to do with the way the game’s economy has changed – for the most part it has vastly improved Destiny 2. Its quality-of-life upgrades are substantial, and its new subclasses superb. From the involving story campaign to the diverting Gambit mode, the excellent post-story content and fiendishly taxing Last Wish raid, it’s almost all positive.

Forsaken has revitalised vanilla Destiny 2 and brought the series to its healthiest place since The Taken King expansion came out back in 2015. If you own Destiny 2, you should probably own Forsaken.

Stuff says... 

Destiny 2: Forsaken review

A welcome update that overhauls Destiny 2 and knocks it into a much healthier shape
Good Stuff 
Adds loads of activities
Decent story
Gambit is great
Improves general quality of life
Bad Stuff 
Tough grind
Nothing to win over Destiny haters