Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris feels like the first game in all the wrong ways

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 The Infinite Forest gate

 

When Destiny 2 launched back in September, it was nothing short of astounding. From the intense campaign missions filled with grand set-pieces to the white-knuckle competitive and cooperative multiplayer, it felt like what the first game had aspired to be back in 2014. With more interesting open-world activities, it also seemed poised to become a hobby-grade shooter that players could return to for weeks and months on end, and its first expansion Curse of Osiris promised to further flesh out the experience with new content across all three modes. Thus far, it’s hard to argue with that in an objective sense – that content is technically there.

Unfortunately,  it’s presented in such an apathetic and lackluster way that it threatens to sour the entire Destiny 2 experience.

Set primarily on the planet Mercury, Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris sees the Traveler’s loyal Guardians set off in a search for Osiris, a legendary character who has been spoken of only vaguely in the game’s lore thus far. It’s only through his knowledge and wisdom that they can hope to put a stop to the Vex’s nefarious plans on the planet, which center around a simulated region known as the “Infinite Forest.” Using the power of this simulation, the Vex threaten to change the future and will stop at nothing to conquer the universe. It’s impossible to distinguish from any other Destiny 2 story thread, and it lacks the impact of the original campaign.


Who are you, again?

▲ Oh, Brother (Vance)

 

It also doesn’t make a lick of sense, and that’s saying something considering the cryptic and scatterbrained writing seen in other Destiny plotlines, but it’s the characters in Curse of Osiris that truly ruin any sense of wonder or excitement it could have offered. Osiris isn’t actually mysterious – he’s just boring, offering almost nothing of value to the story. On the other hand, his follower “Brother Vance” is more entertaining, speaking of Osiris like Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist character in Apocalypse Now. But what could have been an interesting tale of hero worship and cultish behavior is instead pushed aside to support Destiny 2’s gameplay systems. Brother Vance becomes the vendor on Mercury, and Osiris is all but forgotten once the short campaign is completed.

It all bears a stark resemblance to the original Destiny at launch, right down to the misplaced sense of grandiosity that the characters use when speaking of its decidedly un-grand location. Curse of Osiris takes place almost entirely within the Infinite Forest section of Mercury – the planet itself is only about the size of The Tower – with a short aside to Earth, for some reason. Though the simulated world often changes shape, which can lead to some interesting platforming puzzles, it’s entirely homogeneous, and there’s almost no incentive to go explore it once the missions and extra Adventures are complete. The two “new” strikes are also just slightly remixed versions of the included campaign missions, which certainly aren’t interesting enough to warrant playing again. They feel like a cynical afterthought in contrast to the fantastic strikes that launched with the game back in September.


Through the gate

 Teleporting to a similar area!

 

What might be the worst offender, however, is the progression system, which feels like it’s intentionally keeping players from becoming powerful. In Destiny 2 at launch, the game featured a sort of “soft cap” for leveling up – reach power level 265, and you’d find that standard gear drops would no longer offer better statistics than the gear you currently had in your inventory. Only through completing the raid and certain milestones such as Nightfall strikes and Crucible matches could you raise your power level any higher. This same system is in place for Curse of Osiris, but Bungie has chosen to put the soft cap at 300, meaning that players who had already maxed out their character will immediately have to resort to completing certain milestones in order to become more powerful.

If you’ve spent any amount of effort in Destiny 2 to date, the game feels like it’s punishing you by forcing you to wait until the weekly milestone reset each Tuesday in order to gain better equipment. If Bungie truly wants Destiny 2 to be a game players return to each day, they have to offer them rewards for doing so. Repeating the same strikes over and over again isn’t the best way to spend your time.

There are a few new activities to complete in Curse of Osiris, one of which can be completed every week. In addition to the standard strikes and the weekly Nightfall strike, there is a new “Heroic” difficulty option for all strikes. This offers only a moderately more challenging cooperative experience – you’re not timed as you are in the Nightfall strikes – and enemies hit slightly harder. Completing three of these over the course of a week will reward you with another piece of powerful gear, but it’s an affair that will take no more than 90 minutes of your time.

 


Lost opportunity

▲  Cast a Vex

 

After you’ve managed to complete a Heroic Adventure on Mercury, which is exponentially more difficult than the Heroic strikes, you’ll also have the option to complete several “Lost Prophecy” quests. These task you with gathering various resources through strikes and public events in order to unlock mysterious tablets, which in turn unlock a new piece of gear. The weapons you can acquire through these challenges are worth using, but like the rest of the drops you’ll find in the game, they won’t bump up your power level if you’re already at the soft cap. The addition of new re-rollable “Masterwork” weapons should help players to customize their loadout slightly more, but it still doesn’t help to alleviate the stagnation that has plagued the game and its predecessor for the last three years.

Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris could have been an extension of this year’s game if it had more time to cook. With a lengthier campaign and more meaningful options for character progression, the expansion would have kept me glued to my console for weeks, just as Destiny 2 did back in September. But with so little content and a $20 asking price, it comes across as slightly insulting. Perhaps the second expansion will make things right, but for now, Curse of Osiris isn’t worth your time.

Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance. 

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