Finally playing all the campaigns prior to Shadowkeep! I figured I should right down my reactions to it, since I always love to read reactions to my favorite shows and such. Unfortunately, I only got the idea part way into my second expansion, Warmind, so this one is unfortunately not quite my live reactions. If anyone enjoys this, I'll do it for all 4 campaigns.
Wow! Just starting in media res with Cayde's death, huh? Always been a sucker for that technique. Right of the bat, this mission is just fun. Fun character interactions, an awesome soundtrack, and a very frenetic atmosphere. The destroyed prison, the infighting of the prisoners, and– probably because this is all ridiculously under light-level by now– the complete ease with which I can demolish the opposition makes it feel both like complete chaos, and a situation completely under our control. It feels like just another routine day of badass guardians doing their thing.
And then Cayde does his little stunt. He really does like showing off doesn't he? This was a nice fight scene, and a very titan headbutt. Though, really, popping goldy in the middle of a bunch of enemiess is a pretty noob mistake. he should've played more crucible! Would've had that habit drilled out of him real fast.
And now the tone changes! The creepy trails, dim light, and ominously opened containment units– it's like I'm back in Halo 1, discovering flood for the first time. Except I know the enemy the coming is actually a lot more annoying than terrifying… sigh… scorn. Now the light-level difference is very much working against the atmosphere– it's hard to be terrified of enemies that die if I so much glare too fiercely at them.
OMG, our guardian can talk???
High Plain Blues
I honestly didn't know this section of the tangled shore existed. I i guess I was just expecting us to load in just outside of the Spider's home like always, lol. It was fun to see how completely desolate the shore seemed to be, only to find secret passages and dive into this hidden unground world. Even knowing what was waiting on the other side didn't really make the reveal any less powerful, it was just that effective at setting the tone of everything.
Now we're off to see the spider! This was a very nice change of pace from the standard destiny formula of "stand in circle, enemies spawn". I felt a lot more mobile chasing down each individual grouping of scorn as they spawned. combined with the ai pushing with us, it felt like we were being proactive, being the aggressors– which is how we should feel, considering our reason for being here
Aaaaaand now mandatory bounties. Of course. I understand that story wise it makes sense to prove our worth to the Spider, but this kind of just killed the momentum for me.
… Only for the next mission to pick it up without pause again! This mission had the same frantic energy about it that I've been loving about the campaign before. The barons get some cameos to our guardian. My only complaint about it is that, in the end, it doesn't feel like we did anything. We're here to kill the barons, and they just all escape after showing up once. It's not that they outwitted us, or brute-forced past us, they just… escaped, without our character ever seeming to have tried anything to stop them.
Okay, these narrated intros are pretty cool, ngl
Overall… I don't actually have much to say about the actual killing of the barons. Some of the missions, like the tank, were certainly cool and all, but running them all from the map felt kind of disjointed. This part just felt rushed, like they didn't actually have any plans for the barons, so we just kill them off. I didn't hate this part, but it didn't do anything for me either.
Nothing Left to Say:
Again, a quick and energetic climb up to the tower helped set the mood.
Oh look. The Fanatic. Yay. He's such an awesome boss, that's why everyone grinds the hollowed lair so much, right? … no? I think you all know how I felt about this fight.
Oof, kinda feel sorry for Uldren. I mean, don't get me wrong, I haven't touched on his previous cutscenes much (mostly because I don't remember exactly when they all played) but beng driven insane by a hallucination of your sister is rough. But getting eaten by a meatball? That's a whole different level of nope.
Fun boss fight. Nothing super special about fighting it, but solid and engaging mechanics.
And now the big question… did we pull the trigger? To me? Nope. Not because I don't believe that he doesn't deserve it– driven insane or not, he's an active menace– but it feels more like Petra's right to do so.
Discovering the Dreaming City: Man, this place is beautiful. Like, downright amazing. Normally I get annoyed at long walking portions in games, but it was nice to just stroll through a part of the dreaming city I would usually have no reason to be in. Not much to say about the mission itself besides "haha, falling guillotine go brr on boss".
Wow, Mara's voice is really deep.
Ace of spades quest:
Simple and too the point. Finding all the caches without internet guides probably would've been a hassle, but it was nice finding Cayde's old stuff, reading his letters. The final mission was just amazing. Can we access this part of Titan normally? Because the setting was amazing. Hearing his final voice recordings to everyone was funny… well, until it got sad. Rest in peace, Cayde.
side note– I really like ace of spades. I'm not usually a hand cannon person, especially as I play on controller, but it just feels more reliable than any cannon I've tried since Luna's howl. And it has a wayyy cooler reload animation than luna's.
I really like this story overall, and partially understand why forsaken is regarded so highly. Great music, solid directing, good artistic design– it's hard for me to immediately point out an indisputable flaw. It was certainly an improvement, to me, over Shadowkeep.
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