Fans and critics alike, myself included, were incredibly frustrated when Destiny 2‘s first expansion, Curse of Osiris, released. With the base game feeling like a big step backward from the original Destiny post-Rise of Iron, plenty of people were hoping an expansion would bring changes and new areas that would last for months. Instead, we were treated to Mercury, a map with one fast travel point that’s about the size of a larger EDZ region, a lackluster story that did almost nothing to develop Destiny lore, about a quarter of a new raid, and heartache.
When I sat down to review Destiny 2 Warmind, I figured that surely after the outcry over how content-thin Curse of Osiris was that Bungie would have given us a meaty helping of lore, ground, and guns to explore. With how low of a bar Curse of Osiris set it’s not hard for Warmind to outshine that mess, but Bungie still managed to put together a content-sparse package that is insulting to fans.
Destiny 2 Warmind Review: A Plot That Almost Goes Somewhere
Destiny‘s lore has always hovered at around “almost interesting” in my eyes. For the most part in Destiny 2 and its expansions, just when I think some exciting fact is going to be uncovered, or something is actually going to happen, it doesn’t. The base game had a serviceable enough plot, but the super short campaign featured in Curse of Osiris and Warmind doesn’t allow enough time for a story of any complexity.
Warmind’s micro-campaign lasts around three-and-a-half to four hours. That included some trips to The Tower to decode engrams and some general messing about. Warmind takes you to Mars, where you coincidentally meet Ana Bray, scion of House Bray. House Bray were among the founders of the Clovis Bray corporation which created the Warmind Rasputin and other Golden Age technology.
Ana needs your help to reach Rasputin in a Clovis Bray installation on Mars, so she can recover her past and try to utilize Rasputin to help protect humanity. Sounds interesting right? Well, none of that really goes anywhere; it’s all filler in between fighting the Hive. Yes, there are no new enemies here (well, except for a Hive Sniper), and you end up fighting the same old Hive, Cabal, Taken, and Fallen. I want to take special note that one of the missions is set in the EDZ, because what Destiny 2 definitely needed was more EDZ filler content.
The grand majority of the enemies you face in Destiny 2 Warmind are Hive, but wait — this time they’re a bit different! These Hive had little icicles covering them. That’s practically a whole new race in Bungie’s eyes. Aside from the new Hive sniper (that acts pretty much like everyone else’s snipers) and a boss, it’s the same old same old.
What little plot there is with Rasputin and Ana Bray is inconsequential, and the whole thing is over and swept under the rug before we really learn anything about either of them. This is unfortunate because Rasputin has been a mystery ever since the beginning of the original Destiny when you meet a fragment of him in the cosmodrome. The ending is almost majorly unsatisfying and gives the whole thing a feeling of false urgency.
Destiny 2 Warmind Review: Better Than Mercury
At least Mars isn’t as bad as Mercury when it comes to size and design. Mars has two whole fast travel points, and once you finish the short campaign — which is a little longer than a feature-length film — you can start the grind. There’s some collectible stuff in the form of 45 Lost Memory Fragments which will net you some okay gear if you collect them. You can also complete data retrieval quests for Ana Bray, and hit the new Escalation Protocol event.
Escalation Protocol is sort of like a horde mode. When activated you’ll face waves of enemies that culminate in bosses. It’s a series of seven waves of challenges you can repeat and probably the one bright point in this DLC (other than it not being Curse of Osiris). Weirdly, you can only do this event with three players max, so hope you don’t want to use a full fireteam.
As for the rest of what Warmind brings, there are three new strikes. Two are just revamped missions from the Warmind campaign though, so don’t get too excited. The third, the only original one, is a PS4 exclusive. There’s also a new “raid lair,” Spire of Stars, with the Destiny’s community’s plea for a new full-length raid going unanswered. Like Eater of Worlds, Spire of Stars just continues the Leviathan adventures. The one positive is that the Cabal leader, Calus, gets more lore and time devoted to him than several vital characters in the series, so I guess I’ll take that lore any way I can.
Destiny 2 Warmind: Why Have New Raids and Proper Matchmaking When You Can Just Fudge it?
The recommended power level for Spire of Stars is 370, which means that you’re gonna have to grind your heart out before you’re ready to get there. After the campaign, I was at around 340 light, and it seems like the game has gotten a bit stingier with giving powerful gear to boost you up. I guess this is in part to stretch the little morsel of content Bungie has given us while they figure out exactly what to do with the game.
I’m a solo player, mostly because I have to get in playing when I can and can’t rely on friends to be available around my eccentric schedule. Warmind didn’t bring any in-game matchmaking to raids or fireteams, though you still get matched with players for strikes. The lack of in-game social or matchmaking tools is one of the most significant failures of this game and is one of the reasons that when I get to the endgame content I usually quit playing altogether.
Sure, there are out-of-game tools for pairing with other players for raids, Trials of the Nine, and other post-game multiplayer activities, but this isn’t the mid-1990s, and I don’t have to sit around on WON.net waiting for someone to play Homeworld with me anymore. I shouldn’t have to go on a Destiny 2 version of Craigslist Romantic Encounters to try and find five other people to play content that I paid for.
Destiny 2 Warmind Review: What is There to Look Forward to?
I’ve tried to stay off this particularly vitriolic salt wagon, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a high production game repeatedly miss the mark in the way that Destiny 2 has. With how utterly terrible Curse of Osiris was received, you’d have thought that Bungie would have tried to hit it out of the park on this one. Instead, this has the same low-effort feel with a slightly more interesting background.
For $20 you can get Destiny 2: Warmind or you can get something that’s actually worthwhile to play. There’s little here to convince Destiny 2‘s detractors to jump back in, and those who have stuck by the game will likely be similarly disappointed by the lack of content offered by this expansion. The story in Warmind does nothing to enthrall or excite, it’s short, and the post-game activities are shallow and overly reliant upon mindless grinding.
I feel like releasing this expansion was a mistake on Bungie’s part. After stringing fans along with disappointment after disappointment, there recently seemed like there was a light at the end of the tunnel and Bungie was starting to listen to what its community wanted. However, Warmind is a big let-down that threatens to wipe out any sort of enthusiasm for the game that might be left. After all, if this is what you have to look forward to, why keep playing?