Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go, Warmind is better than Curse of Osiris. Though with that being said, it’s hardly stiff competition now, is it? Despite being better, it’s important to note that Warmind is only marginally better than Destiny 2’s first DLC. The story is more coherent for starters and much more interesting. Bungie proved with Destiny 2 that they were listening to fan feedback, but since release of the core game, problems with their blunt attitude have slowly surfaced. Despite its clear issues, Destiny was an alluring game. It took Bungie some time to find their footing, arguably with the release of The Taken King, but they got there in the end. Many would say that fan feedback played a large role in that, though, I cant wholeheartedly agree.
You see, with its lack of meaningful content and the absence of a solid story, something continued to pull me back, day after day, week after week. I’m the unlucky asshole that constantly received No Land Beyond or Dragon’s Breath when all of my team mates were bagging the Gjallarhorn. Furthermore, when I eventually got my hands on the Gjallarhorn, Xur was selling it (for the second time) the following week. Safe to say, Destiny’s RNG abused the hell out of me, but still I continued to login and play. Destiny 2 has never had that same hold over me. It’s more accessible, it’s more rewarding and it’s undeniably better structured, but still, I cant bring myself to say that I have enjoyed it as much as its immediate predecessor.
Bungie went so far as to pretty much entirely disregard Destiny during the promotion of Destiny 2, somewhat using it as a verbal punching bag to highlight their mistakes. Mistakes we were promised would not be repeated. Curse of Osiris pretty much showcased how ignorant Bungie can be. After playing this new DLC on multiple accounts, I can safely said that Warmind is no different. What’s especially irritating about Destiny as a whole, is that it’s got so much potential. This franchise has the potential to truly stand out on a scale that no other FPS can. Unfortunately, Bungie chooses to take the lazy route instead of evolving what really matters. Warmind not only emphasizes that, but arrogantly goes on to brazenly highlight more of the same content that’s been criticized over and over again for the last few years.
Warmind’s premise largely centers around Ana Bray, a stern yet mysterious guardian that has long been out of touch in place of seeking out answers about her past. Much like Osiris, we don’t get to see nearly enough of her throughout the entirety of the add-on campaign. Ana leads you and your companion Ghost to the polar ice caps of Mars, following the fall of several Golden Age warsats that have been pounding and thawing the ice. Beneath the depths lies the core of the Warmind, Rasputin, as well an ancient (Worm-God worshiping) Hive threat that’s determined to destroy it. It falls to you to once again prove your worth as a guardian and destroy this “new” threat before it’s too late, amounting to little more than much of what we’ve seen for the last few years.
Warmind brings the level cap up to 30 as well as increasing the power cap to 385, which collectively gates you from making swift progress. This typically means that you wont be able to tackle mission after mission, but will instead need to do some level grinding beforehand. Forgivable in the grand scheme of things. What’s not forgivable is the new Hive threat, or the variation of enemies on the whole. Yes, this Hive does look a little different to the standard Hive, but it’s still the ?#@*%! Hive. We’ve been killing these things since vanilla Destiny and most of its DLC. Four years later and here we are, killing them once again via a cheap reskin without any real modification to their AI or behavior to truly set them apart. That’s the bulk of it, make of that what you will.
Now, I prefer the Hive over the rest of the enemy factions, so I had more fun here than I did with Curse of Osiris. That, however, is the where the limit of my appreciation ends. The first sub-boss that we encounter in the campaign is the Ogre. The second sub-boss just so happens to be a Taken Witch (followed closely by a Taken Cabal commander). The third sub-boss is a bog-standard Cabal commander. See a theme here? What’s worse is that none of them behave differently to what we’ve already seen. Four years and we’re expected to be content with The Fallen, The Hive, The Vex, The Cabal and The Taken? Like I said, it’s lazy and arrogant. This sort of behavior was present with Destiny before Bungie eventually refueled hope with The Taken King.
I fully suspect we’ll be seeing an expansion of that caliber nearer the end of this year, alongside all of the “we’ve been listening to our fans” bullshit that Bungie uses to great effect. Warmind’s campaign only lasts for a handful of hours, which is a shame really because the theme and setting deserved so much more. Much like Curse of Osiris, all of these interesting elements have been present since the first game, but stuffed into Destiny 2 as nothing more than a brief novelty. It’s unforgivable and an insult to the overall lore, Destiny’s strong suit. I cant even commend the locations, which serve as nothing more than what I can only describe as reused assets from the first game’s Mars location. Hell, even the mission structure is bland and basic.
Missions amount to the same formula that many of us have grown tired of; go here and search for this, go there and defend that, visit this place and activate this. Design choices from Rise of Iron are also sprinkled in, such as the new Valkyrie weapon. The Valkyrie weapon is gifted early on in the campaign and serves as a mighty spear that can be ground-pounded or thrown for mass damage. Though, regardless as to what you’re doing, it all just feels like more of the same. This is great for die-hard Destiny fans, but for those that were hoping for more innovation and depth, well, you’re shit out of luck. Leading up to the launch of Destiny 2, both Bungie and Activision promised a strong lineup of DLC. If Curse of Osiris and Warmind are anything to go by, I fear for the longevity of the series.
The conclusion of the campaign sees guardians going head to head against Xol, the aforementioned Worm-God. Imagine my shock when I saw that this battle was over before I my coffee cooled down. Curse of Osiris pulled a similar stunt during the fight against Panoptes. It’s just a small build-up to something that players expect to be grand, only to be disappointed by the fact that it’s over and done before we can process it. Credit given where credit’s due, Xol is an interesting enemy that comes with a unique design, but it’s not given anywhere near enough stage time to justify its power or capability. The same can be said about the new Strike missions, which unsurprisingly take us to the same locations from the campaign and have us chasing our tails until the end-game.
The filler activities don’t do much to excite either. There’s even a The Taken King-esque collectible run thrown in for good measure, which sees guardians locating several “Lost Memory Fragments” in return for rewards. Warmind also introduces (once again, The Taken King-esque) an activity known as Escalation Protocol that’s akin to the Court of Oryx – a wave based mode that grants unique rewards for your efforts, week by week. All in all, this is pretty much standard stuff. Warmind is a compilation of reskinned enemies and recycled design choices, save a few fresh additions that don’t collectively make the content worth the investment of both time and money. New PvP Crucible maps are on hand as well as that all important new gear, but nothing that particularly stands out.
Finally, that leads us to the new raid lair and the new patrol area. Thankfully, Hellas Basin is a step up from Curse of Osiris’ offering. It still looks very much Destiny’s Mars, but it’s marginally interesting and engaging nevertheless. The new raid lair doesn’t go live until later in the week, which we’ll cover in another post. Titled “The Spire of Stars”, this new lair is said to be a short experience that offers raid-level rewards, minus the time restraints. I’ll reserve judgement for now, but I cant say that I’m expecting a great deal of content. To this day, the Vault of Glass remains the most interesting and intriguing raid, something Bungie sadly hasn’t met with follow-up raids. Will The Spire of Stars take that mantle? Doubtful. Perhaps we’ll see something more accommodating later in the year.
Alongside the release of Warmind, Bungie also released update 1.2.0 and introduced season three. Update 1.2.0 brings a heap of changes to the fields of play, including sandbox changes, weapon balancing and tweaks to activities. Bungie has a comprehensive post about all of this via their official site. Drawing back to my point about Warmind being better than Curse of Osiris, I feel the need to point out that that wasn’t a compliment. Warmind may be fractionally better, but Curse of Osiris was far from tough to beat. Sure, Warmind retains solid gameplay, decent visuals and great voice acting, but that means diddly-squat when the parameters of this DLC remains recycled and short from the onset. Can I recommend a purchase? No. Most definitely not.
Believe it or not, I love Destiny. It’s because of this that I feel the need to be blunt and critical. It’s also worth pointing out that this expansion was in development before Bungie initiated damage-control, so to speak. I have every hope that the following expansion (of The Taken King scale) will be Bungie’s first real drop since then to entice back stray fans such as myself. Unfortunately, we’ve had to endure not one, but two mediocre servings beforehand. Much like Destiny prior to its first full expansion, Destiny 2 has had time to burn, time to allow Bungie to realize their shortcomings. We wont truly see how committed Bungie are to addressing content concerns until later this year, but I do hold hope that they’ll nail it then. This, however, just doesn’t cut it.
Destiny 2: Warmind is better than Curse of Osiris, but only marginally better. We’re still fighting the same reskinned enemies within recycled locations, day in and day out. The same can be said about the design choices here, being that new activities are akin to the activities found in The Taken King and vanilla Destiny. Despite its interesting and compelling premise, Warmind is lazy, rushed and underwhelming.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.