Raids were the pinnacle of endgame content in the original Destiny, and that hasn't changed for Destiny 2 at all. After an extremely successful first week since its launch, Bungie has now released - as of publishing - the very first end raid for its highly anticipated sequel MMO shooter.
The Leviathan Raid takes you and five of your friends/teammates/clanmates and pits you against the hardest mission available in this massive, near-endlessly replayable game. As we found out just before the raid was available to be played, the required minimum power level to access it is 260, though the recommended range is 260-280.
I went in at just over the minimum power level at a total of 267 for my specific character, never having done a raid in the first game. Though I poured over 30 hours into the first, I never really delved into the endgame content. In fact, you can read our review to see how Destiny 2 has changed my entire opinion surrounding the series.
Upon entering the raid, the most immediate feature is the environment. We won't spoil anything here as this is solely my impressions from Leviathan, but the locations you visit are certainly unlike anything else in the game. It lends a strange, exotic feel to the entire mission. The raid's content is notable for being deep, unrelenting, and of course, long.
Our first encounter took place in a large room that had us facing a seemingly endless onslaught of Cabal - new and old types from the Phalanx to the Councilor and more. At one point, we were given the choice of basically picking a point to defend, giving a nice level of choice in how we wanted to apply our strategy.
After at least more than 10 minutes of defending against wave after wave, we successfully repelled all enemies with only two deaths thus far. The first thing I noticed that proved how challenging the raid is how we each had only a limited amount of revive tokens that could be used to revive a teammate. Of course, losing everyone would cause a game over and force us to start over from a checkpoint.
From there, we were granted a brief moment of respite complete with new, glorious loot. After quickly pouring through the description of some of the unfamiliar items, we realized that the raid brought it with new ways to gain reputation, as well as perhaps a brand new faction itself. Going into the second room, we were faced with a huge spike in both difficulty and strategy.
We, hilariously, went crazy through pools of toxic waste that quickly drain your health. This caused us to grab shining orbs that were a godsend, granting Psionic Protection from the toxic pools. It took a few moments to realize that we had different plates that forced us to divide our forces and defend. We quickly regretted wasting the orbs in our panic, as the game quickly taught us the true purpose of them through our several subsequent game overs.
While it felt like an insane spike - far more than I imagined it would be - it was a perfect example of proving that Destiny 2 does a good job of teaching you that death is not only imminent, but key to figuring out the strategy, especially since there are no current guides or videos to watch for assistance.
Teamwork and communication is absolutely at the core of what Leviathan is all about. Analyzing, theorizing, and testing together was the only way to proceed through this section of the raid, due to its forced nature of switching in-and-out (not including a burger, sadly) with teammates to complete the objective.
The platforming elements that were prominently featured in the Destiny 2 singleplayer campaign is carried over to here, both utilized for the strategic portion of rooms as well as for simple eye-candy. This is true about the entire mission, as it takes everything that was already over-the-top about Destiny 2, from its environments to its difficulty to its smart enemies, and cranks it up even higher.
In only the second room, we kept failing over and over until the time limit ran out and we were forced back to the very start. It was a certainly a long trek back through what we already finished to where we were in the second room. We had more luck on our second attempt at the raid, finally figuring out the pattern and structure of the second room that time.
Unfortunately, by the time we figured it out and moved on, it was mostly too late, as we quickly ran out of time once again. Despite this second failure, I couldn't help but find myself enjoying the entire time as we faced unknown enemies and strange new lands in an intense but exciting adventure.
Having played other MMO's like Final Fantasy XIV and Star Wars: The Old Republic, it is still safe to say that it's unlike any other endgame content I've played before. The level of action is more insane than ever, leaving plenty of chances for you to go back, explore its challenges, and beat it over and over.
It had me interested in what was around the next corner, concerned how we would advance through each room, and standing up from my seat every time my health got low or ammo was sparse. Though we were unable to win against the Leviathan Raid after two tries, it has me even more hyped to go back and try it once again and progress even further than before. It is safe to say Destiny 2's first raid has exceeded the community's hype and my personal expectations for what endgame content can and should be.