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Destiny 2 Lightfall Review - Strand Is Seriously Awesome

Anthony Lowry Posted:
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At its core, Destiny 2 Lightfall is pretty good. It’s a fun, solid experience that keeps you busy with plenty of things to do compared with previous expansions, but it’s not without its flaws. In my review-in-progress, I covered everything I could in week one of Lightfall’s release: From the campaign, to the story, to the mods overhaul, to loadouts. In this review, we’ll talk about everything the expansion has to offer, in a spoiler-free, complete rundown.

As of this writing, I’ve put about 70 hours into Lightfall. I have completed Root of Nightmares, a few Legend Lost Sectors and Nightfalls, and most of everything the game has to offer at this point in time.

While I had my complaints about the campaign - specifically the story and narrative direction - things really picked up afterwards. Multiple exotic quests opened up, revealing a much more enjoyable part of the story, as well as very fun instanced content across the board. For the first time since starting the expansion, I was able to make sense of what was going on in the story, and actually enjoy it, too! The exotic weapons introduced this season are all decent to very good, with Verglas Curve being the perfect fit for Stasis builds, and Final Warning quite literally being the auto-lock pistol from Titanfall

Strand was introduced pretty well in the campaign, and I’m still playing it most of the time. In terms of power level, it is definitely one of the best specs in Destiny 2, especially for Hunter. More importantly, it’s just plain ol’ fun. The skills feel good to use, most of the Fragments are decent to incredible, (Looking at you, Thread of Generation), and the “free” feeling of moving in the air and divebombing from high with neatly tacked-on crowd control makes me feel like I’m playing a Spider-Man game within Destiny 2

There have been quite a few instances of me soloing Legend Lost Sectors, one of the more difficult pieces of content, (which were made even more difficult in this expansion) and trivializing the bosses, wondering if I actually chose the correct difficulty after all. 

With all of that said, there is something weird with how they decided to go about “increasing” the difficulty. Enemies feel, and are, quite a bit more bullet spongy, but they don’t actually feel like they’re doing much more than they always have. I don’t mind things being harder, and I don’t mind enemies having more health. I fear that the line might go too much in the latter direction, however. It isn’t nearly as bad as, say, The Division, but I would rather enemies behave a bit more differently before upping the HP any further. 

I also think the accuracy of said enemies could be toned down a bit when moving, especially aerial movement. Currently, it feels pretty damn bad to use something like Grapple or Silence and Squall, just to have 5000 laser beams completely annihilate you. I don’t want enemies to be stormtroopers, but dialing it back just a tiny bit on their otherwise pinpoint accuracy would make a world of difference.

Regarding open-world activities, you have your standard public events. They kind of feel like they spawn less frequently on Neptune than on other planets, but regardless, they are the same public events that Destiny 2 is known for. Run around, do an objective or two, or do a semi-hidden thing for a heroic version of the event, which usually spawns a boss and gives more rewards. 

Terminal Overload is a large-scale public event on Neptune, where you go through a series of objectives, doing various tasks, such as killing a boss, capturing a point, etc. This is central to getting more currency to obtain your Strand Fragments but is also very good for leveling your reputation for even more rewards. If you’re looking for a spot to just jam and grind as long as you want, then this is it.

As for other game modes, Gambit did not receive any updates, which is a shame. Crucible got one new map, but that’s it. Defiant Battlegrounds are the seasonal activity for Season of Defiance, and they’re fairly enjoyable, although not groundbreakingly different. 

Root of Nightmares

Speaking of raids, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Root of Nightmares.

Now, I had a pretty fun time with the raid, but I’m also used to my world progging taking days, if not weeks. It’s definitely a mechanic-heavy raid, even a bit more so than previous raids, but I’m not terribly concerned with how “easy” it may or may not have been as I am with how Bungie handles DPS phases.

In Destiny 2 raids, many boss fights involve your fireteam figuring out a mechanic/puzzle or two, then when you succeed, you get an opportunity to damage the boss as hard as you can for a period of time. This is repeated until you hit the enrage, which can be time or cycle based. 

Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares Raid Lightfall Expansion

My issue isn’t necessarily the phases themselves, but how same-y they’ve been structured. More often than not, you have your heavy-hitting weapons of choice, you all stand together with a Solar Warlock super (or previously, a Void Titan super), stack up your buffs and debuffs, and go to town. My issue is how little variation there is with that exact thing. 

Root of Nightmares in particular highlights this problem because of how much damage mitigation might be needed as well, especially in newer groups. I would like it if they made damage phases more interesting, but I also understand it’s hard to do without making certain builds even more mandatory. I can’t just say “split the raid team into two” because the number of “needed” Solar Warlocks would go up to two instead of one. 

Garden of Salvation had a neat idea with having to move a bit during the damage phase so you don’t die to a barrier behind you. I don’t really know what the solution is, and it’s ultimately not a massive deal, nor is it detrimental to the raid experience or the expansion. It’s just a thing we’ve been used to for so long and it’d be cool if it were switched up a little.


The expansion is almost everything I could have asked for, but delivered in a bit of an underwhelming way. I was glad to see all that I had hoped for, but I wasn’t eagerly anticipating anything. The biggest high point for me is Strand, but the initial story was such a letdown that it actively took away from an otherwise enjoyable campaign playthrough.

Destiny 2 Lightfall Neptune

The quality of life is fantastic, and I would love to see a bit more, like some slightly easier-to-navigate menus, and a way to go through gear a bit more fluidly (That doesn’t involve Destiny Item Manager, praise be). I question the decision to backload so much of the story and lore but praise how well it was all put together. I am a little bit worried about the longevity of this season for the more frequent grinders, but I am very impressed by the sheer amount of good weapons and gear there is this time around. 

I strongly dislike the lack of love for Crucible and especially Gambit, with only one new map between the two. I question how the difficulty is increasing to the point where Master difficulty may not even be worth it now. I am excited to run the raid again this week, and next week, and the week after, because it’s just that damn fun. I also am very hopeful that we’ll see even more good changes to systems and mechanics in the future. For veteran players, you get more of what you already love, and for newer players, you get quite a bit to work on, in any order you want, wherever you want. 

As a fan of Destiny 2, I am enjoying Lightfall. It definitely had a bumpy start, especially if you’re a big story buff, but almost everything after the campaign has been solid. I wouldn’t say anything blew me away, but nothing has been horrible either. They stuck to the tried and true formula that has worked for them for quite a while now, and while I hoped for a bigger spectacle around some characters, Neptune itself, or even the raid, I am wanting to play more and do more.

7.0 Good
  • Excellent mod system overhaul, loadouts, and overall quality of life
  • Campaign gameplay is good, leaving a good impression of Strand and what all you can do with it
  • Strand is a new standard on sub-class design and how powerful they can and should feel going forward
  • More challenging Legend and Master content
  • Seriously, Strand is awesome
  • Story is very lackluster and has moderate narrative issues
  • Little to no updates to Gambit or Crucible
  • Raid may not be the most challenging for experienced players
  • Rather tedious gameplay loop for Neptune open world content


Anthony Lowry

Anthony is an avid MMO gamer since childhood, with experience in all different kinds of games. From FFXIV as a Red Mage specialist, to Lost Ark as a Gunlancer, you can always find them (probably) getting way too greedy with mechanics and wondering how they wiped the group