Destiny 2 – Expansion I: The Curse of Osiris review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bungie
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

If you go back and read my glowing review of Destiny 2 from September, you’ll notice that I really enjoyed my time with the game and was loving a lot of the improvements made over the original. What I didn’t expect to happen, and what never really happened at all with the first title, was that I would drop off from playing it so quickly. You see I have a group of friends that I’ve played Destiny with every Tuesday night for the past several years.

However, for some reason Destiny 2 just didn’t have the same longevity magic as the first one did and so, although I had a blast playing through all of the content numerous times, I was more ready than ever for the first expansion to arrive and revive my interest in playing the game on a weekly basis once again. I wasn’t sure if The Curse of Osiris would deliver the goods, but for the most part I can say I’m having a fun time with it so far, but again, I’m already getting the feeling that I’ve seen most of the content and have little regularly check in. I have some theories as to why that is, which I’ll discuss later on in this review, but for now let’s get down to the good stuff.

As the title of the game suggests, the main thrust of the campaign this time around centers on a guy named Osiris. If you’ve been following Destiny lore over the past few years you’ll know he is the most powerful Warlock Guardian and taught Ikora everything she knows. He was banished from the Tower due to differing ideologies, especially when it came to matters of The Traveller. He’s been hanging around Mercury and has been playing around with time travel and his battles with the Vex have gone sideways. It’s up to you to try and find him and help him defeat a Panoptes ? a Vex machine bent on changing events to take over the galaxy.

I have to admit I really enjoy the story presented in the expansion. The time travel aspects are pretty cool and seeing some of the classic Vex villains return from the Vault of Glass is a nice throwback. Having a new voice for your ghost via Sagira (Osiris’s Ghost) is a nice change of pace and learning some of the history and background between Ikora and Osiris is welcomed as well. Most of the new missions (of which there are a total of six) take place on Mercury. The area of exploration is extremely limited and much smaller than any other destination we’ve seen so far.

The planet itself is unremarkable, other than some of the very Egyptian iconography sprinkled about. However, some of the missions allow for time travel, and the Stargate-like structure as well as the different time periods are really gorgeous, which golden flowing blades of grass and a beautiful skybox to look at. That being said, overall Mercury seemed kind of bland. It looks a lot like other planets we’ve visited in the past and the color scheme is just a lot of browns and yellows. Perhaps this is a direct result of the planet being right next to the sun, but I really do wish we’d visit some completely new and unique destinations that look like nothing we’ve seen before. As it stands, Mercury is very reminiscent of Nessus and Venus with Vex architecture and buildings everywhere and the entire place just had a very ?been there done that? vibe to it.

Beyond the six missions, of which one is a rehash of one of the Strikes you play in the main game (The Pyramidion), there are also three Adventures to tackle. These all take place inside the Infinite Forest, a sort of holodeck created by the Vex to run simulations. Here you encounter various rooms filled with different enemies and must make your way to the boss. These Adventures turned out be a little disappointing because all three have almost the same dialog, with just slight changes depending on the enemy encounters. However, the boss rooms were unique and fun and I did enjoy each one of them. There’s also a Lost Sector to explore, although it’s nothing to extravagant and a bit disappointing there was only one on the entire planet.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of The Curse of Osiris is the Strikes. Unlike prior games and expansions, the Strikes here are simply retreads of story missions the player has already played. In the past Strikes would often take place in and around areas that had previously been explored, but the dialog, mission, and bosses would be different. Here they are nearly identical to the main missions already completed in the expansion, and to make matters worse your Ghost keeps on talking on and on about how he feels he’s been here before and this seems familiar. No doubt! I had just completed these missions like an hour ago! I am really let down that these Strikes aren’t original and it really cheapens the feel of the game. I can’t help but feel slighted because a precedent had been set with earlier games and it seems like they really phoned these in.

One positive thing I can say about the Strikes is that the developers have added back in Heroic Strike playlists. This is a great feature for those who want to play Strikes at higher power levels and don’t want to do the Nightfall Strikes, which have been ruined with timers. Not a single one of my friends likes Nightfalls now that they have a time limit associated with them, but according to Bungie the community loves them. I guess we’re just in the minority.

Not available at the time of the review, but coming soon is something called a Raid Lair. This is going to be a shorter version of a normal Raid, but take place and borrow aspects from the existing Leviathan Raid. Some might be disappointed that an all new Raid isn’t present for the first expansion, especially since the first expansions for the original Destiny (The Dark Below) included a brand new Raid. If you’re into PvP, then you’ll be glad to see two new Crucible maps (three if you’re playing on PlayStation 4).

If we compare this expansion with the first expansion for the original Destiny, then we can see that the actual content drop is very similar. We get six new campaign missions here, versus only three in the first one. But, that one had a brand new Raid and 2 new Strikes (not regurgitated campaign levels), so that sort of evens out a bit. Both versions receive three Crucible Maps (PS4) and both add in new activities and increase the max power level. Throw in three Adventures and the Raid Lair in the new one and perhaps it comes out slightly on top in the content department.

However, as I stated earlier, the game doesn’t really address the problem of keeping me coming back week after week. I think much of the reason for my quick drop-off is that some of the basic underlying mechanics of the first game were stripped away for the sequel. Things like leveling up weapons and armor to unlock perks and bounties to pursue giving me specific goals to reach (yes I know they sort of have this on each planet, but it doesn’t feel as fulfilling) used to keep me coming back for that grind. I realize some hate grinding, but I feel like always having something being leveled up or having a progression bar really adds to the fun in games. I also greatly miss the Prison of Elders, which was a co-op horde mode of sorts that the first game introduced and I really and truly hope comes back soon in some form with one of the expansions. Basically I think the developers took out some basic ingredients that made the first Destiny so addicting and streamlined everything to be more casual and easier to obtain and this has made the end game feel empty by comparison. This isn’t a fault of this expansion, but I would have loved to see some of these issues addressed here.

So, despite what may seem like an overly negative review, I have to admit I’ve had a great time playing through The Curse of Osiris multiple times with different characters. At the end of the day you’ll have to decide if $20 is worth the amount of content offered here. For some it will be a no-brainer ? as in my opinion there’s definitely enough game to be had to justify the cost. Plus, the underlying gameplay is still ace and it’s a ton of fun to play with friends. On the other hand, if you weren’t that impressed with the main game, there’s not anything here that will change your mind. In fact, some are turned off by the fact that some of the end-game content, like hard mode Raid, now requires you to have a power level that’s beyond what you can achieve in the base game. In other words, they’ve raised the minimum requirement to play content that was originally available in vanilla Destiny 2 so high that you have to buy the expansion to access it again. This is a very questionable practice and I can easily see some gamers throwing in the towel in disgust. If you’ve enjoyed the base game, I heartily recommend purchasing the expansion. It’s worth the price of admission, but don’t expect anything revolutionary.

Note: Activision provided us with a Destiny 2 – Expansion I: The Curse of Osiris PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B-