Three months after it debuted, Destiny 2’s rock-solid launch has somewhat fizzled out. It’s campaign has most likely been completed three times over by fans looking to fine-tune a trio of Guardians across all of the classes, its Crucible multiplayer is divisive to say the least and communication regarding the endgame has been lacking from Bungie, as the sequel finds itself slipping back into old habits.
There’s one other trend that Destiny 2 is in danger of falling headfirst into: DLC expansions that offer very little substance to keep players around. In many ways, Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris feels like a repeat of Destiny 1’s The Dark Below. A hype-train detailing the return of an enigmatic figure from the lore of the franchise that amounts to not much at all, a story that lasts a scant handful of hours and new gear to collect are mirrored in this slice of DLC, resulting in an expansion that quickly fizzles out after a single playthrough.
It’s a pity, because Curse of Osiris is mechanically and visually a fantastic setup for a hard right hook that ends up feeling more like a love tap. The new playable world of Mercury is a mesmerising zone of searing mystery under the red-hot sun until you realise its main hub is roughly the size of the Farm social space, while the Infinite Forest quickly becomes a tedious gauntlet of slightly-random simulations that you need to shot your way through.
Bungie may have made a claim that the Infinite Forest will be different every time you play it, but a platform being moved to the left or the Hive substituting for the Fallen doesn’t really help sell that claim. Worse yet, a chance to truly expand on the lore of Destiny 1 feels like a wasted opportunity. For years, the name of Osiris was whispered in reverence, a heretical figure whose teachings resulted in him being exiled from Earth and banished to Mercury where he continued to pursue the Vex across all of time and space.
Osiris was built up as Destiny’s greatest champion of the Light, a former Vanguard warrior and a rebel with a cause. There are signs of that character in his self-named expansion, but they’re fleeting and quickly replaced by a character whose machinations within the timestream have resulted in a friendly old chap at the end of the tale. Kind of anti-climatic really.
Mercury itself doesn’t fare much better. It’s small, packs in a single Lost Sector and one new Public Event. Given its size it is understandable that it only has so much to offer across the various time eras that Vex load into it, but it hardly feels worth exploring in its present state. If there’s one thing that Destiny 1 managed to do with its expansions, it was to make certain that the events you played through had an impact on the rest of its universe.
House of Wolves introduced Fallen raiding parties who you could battle for a chance to find chests filled with rare loot, while the Taken King would spawn dangerous armies in your location if you loitered too long around any planet. Curse of Osiris doesn’t have that impact, as its main endgame revolves around a grind for exotic new weapons instead as you engage in heroic versions of its three adventures available.
Strike-wise, Curse of Osiris fares a little bit better. A Garden World and Tree of Probabilities help Guardians feel legendary thanks to their lush vistas and seemingly overwhelming odds, although the boss fights appear to be over before they begin. They’re filled with interesting mechanics, but any fireteam that’s prepared for the fight ahead will soon find that a battle to save time itself from the Vex wasn’t exactly that epic.
If you were looking for a change in PVP, you’re also out of luck. The first hefty patch of Destiny 2 doesn’t change up the formula for the Crucible, which still remains a more team-based experience that focuses on easily-accessible squad tactics instead of those defining moments of glory when a single Guardian had a brief chance to turn the tide of battle. Love it or hate it, the Destiny 2 Crucible is here to stay in its current format.
With all of that being said, it does feel like a shame to not take notice of just how beautifully designed this small section of Destiny 2 really is. Were Mercury larger, it’d easily rival Nessus or the European Dead Zone in terms of design, instead of being a tiny sandbox under the sun. The visuals still pop, the battle still feels amazingly legendary in scope and the audio design is a grade above many a contemporary in the field.
The problem is, is that Destiny 2 finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place currently. It needs to keep its fanbase interested and invested for the ride ahead towards the inevitable September expansion, but it also can’t afford to show its hand too early. Are better features in the works for Destiny 2? If The Taken King and Rise of Iron are signs of what Bungie can do in a year when it comes to adding new content, then I don’t doubt it.
It’s the ride between now and then that’s the concern. Even with the promise of another substantial patch, Raid Lairs and upcoming fixes, Curse of Osiris can’t help but feel like a case of style over substance.
Last Updated: May 14, 2018