Hands on with Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris

Last week Activision invited select members of the press out to Bungie?s HQ to get some hands-on time with the upcoming first expansion to Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris. Those that followed the lore of the first game and into the second will know that Osiris is one of the most famous Warlock Guardians ever to exist. He disagreed with many of the philosophies of The Speaker, especially in relation to The Traveller, and eventually disbanded from The Tower to seek out and study the Vex.

A lengthy cinema scene starts off the narrative, showing Osiris warping around through time and space taking care of the Vex army. Something goes wrong and he?s surrounded with nowhere to run. In a desperate move he warps his Ghost out of harm?s way, but she?s disabled. As we begin Destiny 2, Ikora orders you to seek out Osiris with little to go on except that he was last seen on Mercury.

And so your adventure continues into a new playable space, but one that we?ve seen before in snippets via multiplayer PvP and the Trial of Osiris from the original game. In my day at Bungie I was able to play through the entire expansion?s campaign, as well as partake in two Strikes and slay some adversaries on the new PvP maps included in the expansion. I?m not able to elaborate on the Strikes or the Crucible at this juncture, but I can discuss my time with the campaign, although I won?t go too far into detail to maintain story surprises.

The very first mission you take on is called The Gateway. You land on Mercury in search of Osiris. Ikora guides you and soon Brother Vance pipes in to chat with Ikora. Much banter ensues as you navigate your way around Vex Warp Gates and the brown and yellow haze of Mercury?s landscape. This being a planet overtaken by the Vex, you can expect to encounter plenty of familiar enemies. Just remember to aim for the juice boxes.

The early areas of the level are fairly disjointed, with many launch pads whisking you across deep chasms and the usual Vex technology jutting out of walls. There?s a constant dust storm and plenty of bloom lighting from the close proximity of the sun to give the area a sort of desert feel to it. In fact, the entire presentation of Mercury gives off a very distinct Egyptian vibe. This includes the architecture of the exotic buildings all the way down to the new musical score. Although you won?t come across any actual pyramids, you will notice some doors and entire hallways in the shapes of triangles, which I assume is entirely intentional.

After battling your way through countless Vex machines, including Descendant ones (we haven?t seen them since the Vault of Glass raid in the first game) you?ll eventually make your way to the Lighthouse. Something very strange has been going on, with you having to fight Vex from different time periods. What could they be up to? Inside resides Brother Vance, who is desperate to take a look at the Ghost you have in your possession. No, not your Ghost, but Osiris?s Ghost ? Sagira. Now that you?ve protected the Lighthouse from the enemy incursion, you must take Sagira to a Temple of Osiris on Earth to revive her. And thus begins several missions going back and forth between Earth and Mercury to unravel the mysteries surrounding Osiris.

Destiny 2 - Episode I: Curse of Osiris - First Mission Gameplay | PS4

In terms of campaign length, this expansion seems somewhat similar to Rise of Iron. To give some context, I was able to complete it in about 2.5 hours. Keep in mind that we had limited time and it was in my best interest to speed through as quickly as I could so I could see the story to its conclusion. It might have taken an additional hour or so if I really took my time to explore. Sadly, we weren?t allowed to participate in any post-game activities, so I?m not sure how much more content is available afterward. I can say that the entire Osiris story arc is pretty satisfying and I really enjoyed learning more about him and exploring the new areas on Mercury.

However, I can?t help but feel the expansion is a bit on the light side for content. Without getting too specific, I was most disappointed with the Strikes as they are recycled from the story missions themselves. In previous installments these special missions were new and separate, but here it feels like the developers took a shortcut and copy and pasted them into the Strike Playlist. Sure, the story beats and dialog are different from the main campaign, but the gameplay is the same and that?s unfortunate. It has been commonplace to see Strikes take place in areas of maps that we had already visited, but normally they throw in new enemies, change up encounters, and feature special bosses. These just felt identical to the story missions I had just beaten and left a bad taste in my mouth.

I also can?t help but be mildly let down with the overall presentation of this expansion. Mercury just isn?t that exciting of a planet to explore. It features a boring color scheme and the architecture only looks mildly different from what we?ve seen before. All of the Vex technology is so integrated that it feels like any other level from any other planet. I guess I?m yearning for something completely new and never before seen in a Destiny game before, and this definitely doesn?t deliver that. When are we going to get some new and innovative environments to explore? The first game had vastly different planets, from the stark black and white of the Moon to the steaming pools of Venus. When I play Destiny 2 it seems like some of the destinations, like Nessus and IO, could easily be mistaken for areas we?ve seen before. Mercury is no different. Hopefully we go to a frozen realm in the next expansion to change things up a bit.

I don?t want to sound too down on Curse of Osiris, because at its core it?s still a really fun experience. I had a great time with the story missions and as of this writing we still don?t know anything about the ?Raid content? that is supposed to make an appearance in this expansion. Could we see the return of the Vault of Glass? Here?s hoping!

The big takeaway from my limited time with the new content is that if you?re already a fan of Destiny 2, this will surely give you more things to do, more levels to gain and a higher power level cap to chase. Basically, it will most likely satisfy those players already invested in the experience. If you don?t particularly enjoy Destiny 2, then this expansion will do nothing to sway your opinion. We?ll have more information as the game approaches its December 5 release date and a full review shortly after launch, once we?ve had time to soak up some post-game activities. Only a few weeks to go!

Activision provided travel and access to the Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris preview event.