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Destiny 2: The Final Shape Review

Where to begin, where to begin. 

After 10 years of playing Destiny, being confronted with sitting down at my keyboard to “Review” The Final Shape, the penultimate, era-ending expansion, is quite a daunting task. After the rocky start in 2014, Destiny grew into my comfort food, my hang-out joint and the bane of my life. And in 2024 with the “Light and Dark Saga” coming to a close, what the hell do I do now!? 

Review wise, I feel I should be clear. This chunk of writing is only going to be applicable for Destiny players who have had some time away from the game in recent years. As if you have been up to date with the expansions and the seasons, you will have already bought The Final Shape and toppled The Witness. And for those at the other end of the spectrum, who have never ventured into Bungies MMO shooter, I will be of no help. Frankly, don’t bother trying D2. You have missed the boat. Too much has happened, Bungies content vaulting is unfair to blueberries and even now, the systems are too complex. I suggest you will fall into frustration before you can find the joy.

Eyes Up, Guardians!

So, speaking to the “lapsed Guardians” out there, is now a good time to come back? Hell yes, it is! The war between Light and Dark, between The Traveller and The Witness , ends here! And every moment of this expansion is tuned with fun gameplay and importantly, special moments to show Bungies true reverence for its fans.

Bungie have done what I honestly thought they never could. Take 10 years of missions, characters and environments and make them mean something. Everything in The Final Shape is fan service. Revisiting important locations, like where “my” Guardian was first resurrected by Ghost. All those years ago on the outskirts of the cosmodrome. To weapons, not seen since Destiny 1 being reworked and smoothly bought back into service. Or the return of important characters, like Cayde-6 (with my man-crush Nathan Fillion back in the voice booth) playing a key role in completing the fight with The Darkness. It has it all!

So, to make this digestible I will attack the two main elements of the expansion. The Campaign, then the post Witness activities and the new season content, now called “Echoes”.

The Campaign for The Final Shape has Guardians, and later the Vanguard, entering The Traveller and fighting The Witness. I won’t go anywhere near the story or character arcs the campaign touches on as there are some great story beats. But I will touch on the missions and environments. The Traveller has created a world inside itself, constructed from all the planets and environments in ‘Sol’ I have experienced over the last 10 years. An eclectic mix of EDZ features, like Devrim’s church tower bleeding into Nessus fluro, into the black glass of the Dreaming City and so on. The environments are everything from lush green forests to desolate wastelands, all full of little ‘bits and bobs’ which only fans will recognise. 

Loving winks and a nods to long term Guardians. 

The Campaigns of Destiny 2s expansions have usually been pretty good, that said the last expansion “Lightfall” was generally met with lukewarm feelings. I liked it for the most part from a gameplay slant, but the story was I will admit, nonsensical. The Final Shape however is stellar from start to finish and far more tuned to be played like a traditional campaign. Not gonna lie, I even got some Halo vides. When I first arrived inside the Traveller with my Guardian, met up with Cayde-6 and soaked in the gorgeous world, I have to admit, I was a tad emotional.

For 10 years we Guardians had been building to this. But this isn’t just some cheap feels in the early cutscenes. As the missions progressed, it was clear Bungies combat sand-box design was also turned up to 11 for this auspicious gaming event. I so appreciate the love and care Bungie have put in to The Final Shape to acknowledge the last 10 years of my Guardians career. And when it all comes to a head and the massive fight with The Witness crescendos it hits as one would hope. But the quiet moments following the fall of The Witness were even more impactful for me personally. The respect to the literal thousands of hours I have spent it this world was honoured, and I was extremely grateful.

The power fantasy that Destiny 2 is built on has peaked in this expansion. Guardians have always been gods with superpowers. But now with a new power to draw on, with almost unlimited combinations and build crafting now possible. The new Prismatic Sub-class allows for the mix and matching of different ‘old’ sub-class powers into one. Frankly it’s something that players have been screaming for for the years.

I recall fighting up a snowy cliff path, full of switch backs. Using cover and the new Prismatic Sub-Class and thinking how clever Bungie are at this game design stuff. I was having 30 seconds of fun over and over and over…like O.G Halo. Then as I crested the top, I was looking down on the enemies, hunkered down in front of a door I needed to get through, but I now had the high ground! Prismatic powers were unleashed and solar grenades, strand melees and devour were all unleashed….they never stood a chance. 

These new power combinations are also supplemented by refreshed weapons, perks and frame types. There are even weapon perks once reserved for Exotics, that are now in Legendary weapons. A particular favourite is an auto rifle that can heal teammates when fired from the hip, or a sidearm in the kinetic/strand slot, which fire rockets and just feel nice (chefs kiss) to shoot. Of note, this rocket sidearm was the most used weapon in the Day One Raid a few days after launch. A great gun!

So, The Final Shape Campaign is a stand-out, but after the dust settles, what do we do?

Well, this is a tad complicated. Life goes on, I guess. The Witness is felled but its influence continues and The Vex serve no master but themselves. So, there is fighting to go on with, but I must admit I’m torn. Part of me feels that my Guardian and I have done our fight. And even with the clever refinements to many game systems and the introduction of a huge new area inside the traveller to explore. I don’t know if I want to keep on this treadmill.

Who am I kidding!? There is no game out there which is even close to Destiny.  No game that is my gaming comfort food, that lets me have shared experiences with my friends and family in a virtual space. That when we are not playing it, we can talk about it. And the new Raid is something I am still yet to face… yep, I have convinced myself, I’m not hanging up my Gurdian Spurs yet!

Which is good, as Bungie have started a new version of Seasons, called “Echoes”. This season it is all about the Vex and them finding splinters of The Witness and The Traveller which shattered off during the final big fight and have embedded themselves in the surface of Nessus. The Echoes have to be investigated and Vex activity disrupted. Unfortunately, nothing too revolutionary here and after the heights of the Campaign the seasonal activities seem to be a tad dull. Good guns though, one of my all-time favs, the Saint-14 Scout is back…Ooooo I love that gun.

I started off with “Where to begin, where to begin”, but over 1000 words later, I feel like I have just scratched the surface. I think the important thing I have been trying to say is that ALL lapsed Guardians should at least come for the Campaign and the new environments inside the traveller. 

The Final Shape has been crafted as a love letter to us, The Guardians. What you do after felling The Witness is up to you. Stay…Go…I can see the point of view either way. But if you have ever been engrossed in the Destiny Light and Dark saga over the last 10 years, do yourself the favour of seeing it through to the end. You will not be sorry.


This is what Richard said when he closed his PS4 Destiny review 10 years ago:

A case for the defence.

I didn’t have lofty expectations and wasn’t paying much attention until I played the Alpha, but while not delivering a game some people wanted Destiny has delivered a long term experience for those that do. The last time a developer offered me a persistent character across a series of games was the ill-fated Too Human, I’m expecting Destiny to deliver on that promise over the next few years. There will be other titles that grab our attention, there always are, but this game has legs even if a few people haven’t quite seen them yet, legs that are ready for a marathon.