When Bungie referenced sequence like Doom and Halo within the run-up to The Witch Queen’s launch, I used to be sceptical. Most of Future 2’s enlargement campaigns have been weak—hampered by Bungie’s want to repurpose missions for repeatable actions like Past Gentle’s Empire Hunts, which served to offer gamers one thing to do earlier than the later, extra fleshed out seasons arrived. It meant that a number of the largest moments of every marketing campaign—together with Past Gentle’s remaining boss—adhered to the inflexible template of their related exercise.
However every of The Witch Queen’s eight marketing campaign missions really feel like they have been handcrafted for this story. And that is as a result of they have been. This time the story itself is repeatable, which implies the missions are free to face on their very own. This would possibly seem to be an educational distinction, but it surely makes a world of distinction and provides Bungie the liberty to really shock and delight. And given the character of the story The Witch Queen is telling, it continuously delivers as properly. This is not only a good shooter: because of the final 12 months of labor telling Savathun’s story, the plot even has some emotional weight behind it. And the twists and revelations set a captivating course for the subsequent 12 months of seasonal tales.
The marketing campaign simply justifies the worth of admission: it is a few of Bungie’s greatest work (within the Future universe, at the least). And Legendary issue elevates it additional, incomes these comparisons to Doom, et al.
At any time when anybody asks why I’ve put as many hours as I’ve into Future 2, my glib response is that it feels good to shoot the weapons. That is true—Bungie’s knack for creating satisfying weapons is without doubt one of the studio’s best strengths—but it surely’s additionally not the entire story. The explanation I’ve spent a lot time with the sport is as a result of it has the programs and construct range to reward that funding. The weapons could really feel good, however they’re additionally a list of choices tailor-made to resolve the issues the sport can current.
The issue with that is that, exterior of high-level content material like raids, Nightfalls and the occasional Unique mission, the sport not often challenges gamers to meaningfully have interaction with these choices. The Legendary marketing campaign, then, represents a optimistic step in how Bungie approaches issue—taking classes from dungeons, however throwing in a contest modifier that caps your energy to make sure you cannot simply outlevel the issue.
Three missions into my try to solo the Legendary issue marketing campaign, I realised that Bungie wasn’t messing round. The primary two missions had been dispatched with relative ease by simply enjoying it protected: sticking to cowl and utilizing a scout rifle to have interaction at vary. The enemies hit onerous, however with the correct mods, a cautious playstyle, and the Warlock’s trusty Properly of Radiance tremendous, I used to be making my means by fairly unscathed. It was working. Till it wasn’t.
The third mission, The Ghosts, ends with a boss combat that represents the primary large issue spike of the marketing campaign. There is no cowl, only a central area with a hall working across the exterior. You may break line of sight, however stand nonetheless too lengthy and enemies will flank and encompass you. And that is to say nothing of the boss—a reprise of the Scorn Ravager discovered on the finish of final 12 months’s Presage mission (itself a reprise of The Hangman from the Forsaken marketing campaign). His heavy slam assaults will one-shot you when you’re not paying consideration.
Immediately my construct fell aside. ADS’ing to line up an ideal headshot was a demise sentence. Even Properly of Radiance could not stand up to the strain, probably as a result of my behavior of underinvesting in armour with the resilience stat.
However that is what I would like from Future 2: a marketing campaign that justifies the extent of buildcrafting the sport provides. In working to beat that boss, I transitioned to a construct that favoured charging into packs of enemies, utilizing the Warlock’s Devour perk to revive well being on kills. Gjallarhorn’s Wolf Pack rounds cleared provides whereas additionally doing strong boss injury. Null Composure’s reservoir burst took down clusters of enemies, shortly refreshing my well being. A photo voltaic injury resist mod shook off the worst of the boss’s flame wave assault.
Experimentation is welcome thanks to a couple different adjustments to the construction of marketing campaign missions. Earlier than probably the most tough encounters, rally flag factors fill your ammo and tremendous, so when you wipe, you may change your loadout and be immediately refreshed to full energy. And once you full these encounters, you get mid-mission loot chests, rewarding each weapons and—most significantly—improve modules that allow you to infuse your gear. This implies which you can simply dig a extra helpful gun out of your vault and improve it to the ability degree of the present mission, since you’re being given precisely the assets wanted to do this.
All through the marketing campaign I encountered loads of these moments, the place I used to be compelled to cease and think about the instruments I would want to beat the problem I would been given. The brand new Lucent Hive are one other nice instance. Like Guardians, they’re empowered with the Gentle—they will even use our final talents. They are a goal you need to prioritise, however they will additionally respawn after they’re killed. To cease that from occurring, it’s a must to stroll as much as their corpse and crush their Ghost—which is dangerous if you have not first taken out their allies. And so that you’re compelled to clear the sphere whereas dodging a number of the most dangerous assaults in your enemy’s arsenal, till you are positive you will have sufficient area to have the ability to end the job.
Not like the opposite instances Future has made me think about buildcraft and techniques—normally with my fireteam as we put together to sort out a dungeon or Grandmaster Dusk—this was by myself, in part of the sport that is not locked behind an influence grind. That I can immediately soar into a brand new enlargement and be challenged from the off provides The Witch Queen a really totally different really feel to its predecessors. Cleverly, although, it would additionally bear repeat makes an attempt with mates, because the problem will increase the extra folks you convey into the mission, with restricted res tokens to make sure you cannot brute power your means by.
It is good that the common issue mode is there as standard, and both means The Witch Queen marketing campaign continues to be an unbelievable step-up from earlier expansions. However on Legendary, the marketing campaign showcases the very best of what Future 2 may be as a full live-service RPG—and with rewards that make it really value the additional problem. As a veteran participant, I am hoping that is simply the beginning of how Bungie is considering Future 2’s issue.