The first expansion to Destiny, The Dark Below needed to do a lot to fix the game’s damaged reputation. What should have been a smash hit from an amazing studio was instead marred by a repetitive, bland and barren PvE tied in with a ludicrous and poor loot system, and unrewarding PVP that was only the tip of the iceberg of the problems the game wrought. So when expansion one arrived delivering nothing but a lazy rehash of content, with minor tweaks that do nothing to hide the glaring problems that the base game arrived with, gamers everywhere recoiled in disappointment. So when later expansions arrived and fixed the problems, Destiny went from a punchline to one of the most honest, enjoyable smash hits of its generation. Soon, a sequel was announced.
The first expansion to Destiny 2, The Curse of Osiris needed to do a lot to fix the game’s damaged reputation. What should have been a smash hit from an amazing studio was instead marred by a repetitive, bland and barren PvE tied in with a ludicrous and poor loot system, and unrewarding PVP that was only the tip of the iceberg of the problems the game wrought. So when Expansion one arrived delivering nothing but a lazy rehash of content, with minor tweaks that do nothing to hide the glaring problems that the base game arrived with, gamers everywhere recoiled in disappointment. Now the player base is suffering from a confusing case of deja vu.
Curse of Osiris needed to be great to fix the ever growing problem that Destiny 2 was finding itself in. While having an amazing opening chapter, the game soon found itself with the same problems of a limited scope, bad looting and terrible reliance on RNG. So with Bungie’s seemingly honest deep look and planned action to fix things, Curse of Osiris needed to be a smash hit, but that isn’t the case.
Curse of Osiris opens with the player having, with the aid of his ghost, rescued the much speculated character Osiris from the Vex mind on Mercury. Through a short campaign you are tasked with finding Osiris and saving the universe from the Vex threat by delving into the infinite garden and the past and future of Mercury. Sadly, what’s on paper and what the game delivers soon diverges at a rapid pace. The story campaign is either based on other planets or is a single-player version of the two new Mercury based strikes added into the game. This could have been a good addition to the game, adding these in as either an Adventure or part of the Red Legion campaign, but as a true expansion Curse of Osiris feels cheap, lazy and lackluster.
The new addition of Heroic Adventures is another miss. In the base game these short mini-quests added a lot to building the world and adding content post game, but what we are left with in Curse is anything but that. The 3 Adventures on Mercury add up to a poor platforming section, a poor pursuit section, and an infuriating defense game mode that while advertised as solo friendly is almost unplayable alone. To top it all off the actual meat of the adventure, which in the base game could last 10-20 minutes, is a trip to the Infinite forest followed by a 5-7 minute combat section in one of the three Mercury time zones. The Adventures themselves ,rather than being a much needed new addition to endgame, come across as another lazy tacked on addition to the game and outside of the first one or two missions don’t really add anything new or interesting.
The Infinite Forest itself is one of the worst culprits of Curse of Osiris’s overall feeling of dissatisfaction. It’s a procedurally generated section of interlocking combat zones featuring random enemies that must be completed before any mission, adventure or strike in Curse. It soon becomes apparent that this bare expanse is just more cheap filler to artificially increase the mission time with little work. Unlike something in Warframe, which uses procedurally generated zones to help mitigate the feeling of repetition and does so very well, the Infinite Forest just comes across as a boring chunk of cheaply rushed filler content that is a depressingly large percentage of the games time.
After the main story, the sparsity of Mercury becomes fully apparent. The main payroll zone of Mercury is a tiny circle of brown sand; It’s small enough to allow no real exploration and artificially made to feel bigger than it is by removing the ability to use your sparrows, which makes the zone feel slow and arduous to travel around in. The only kind of endgame quest (something every planet had in the base game) comes in the form of the Verse weapon system, a selection of quests that require you to grind out materials from chests and strikes in order to create 12 weapons with fixed stats and weapon bonus pool. There are no cool story driven missions here. Instead there are only “Do 20 public events and hope.” The weapon rewards are cool, but the lack of customization hurts it too much (a system D2 brought with it from the base game).
The one real shining star of the gameplay is both the two strikes and the raid layer. The idea of the Raid layer, a single raid zone with 2, and soon 3, different paths with new loot and bosses is… actually a good idea allowing for a quick turn around of new raid content. This means we won’t have a year or more of the same raid like in the two expansions for the original game. The new “Eater of Worlds” layer is one of the finest yet added, and Argos the Vex might be one of the best raid encounters since the vault of glass and a worthy addition to the franchise. It’s just a shame it had to be bundled with the rest of this expansion.
Destiny has always had one of the most welcoming and loyal fan bases of any game franchise, while other game communities have traditionally treated newcomers with disdain. The players who saw what the game could be and stuck around during the turbulent first year of the first game have always been open and friendly to new players. The community always had a sense of humor and let Bungie know just what changes were still needed in a way that was actually helpful and constructive most of the time. It was a community that loved the game and wanted to see it get bigger and bigger. This.. has changed.
Now, it’s still a welcoming place for veteran players and newcomers alike, but the best advice that is usually given to new players is to keep their money and play another game instead. The community that stuck by the game through thick and thin seems to be at the end of its rope. With Destiny 2 already leaving a bad taste in the mouth, the outright failure of Curse of Osiris has left a player base apathetic and losing all hope and trust they once had in the team at Bungie. Add this to the still terrible in-game communication system, especially on PS4/XB1, and it means a community that is a little worn out at this point.
As usual, if one department had to hit the proverbial ‘sports win’ analogy, it was the hard-working team behind the games audio and graphic design. Like the base game, Curse of Osiris looks and sounds amazing. Mercury and it’s 3 timelines switch effortlessly from a desert light show of muted browns and neon lights to the lush color of the past to the hopeless and oppressive dark future, which is a wasteland lit only by the lights and the dark ruin of our Sun. To back this up, the score is still as bombastic and impressive as ever.
The DLC is short… very short. The main campaign can be destroyed in a sitting and is extended with solo versions of the strikes that come across as a way of massively cutting back on the original story content or having to develop new rooms and corridors for the player to fight down. Aside from an admittedly fun final boss battle and top class Raid layer, there is little else of real worth to mention.
The biggest problem with value is the games over-reliance on the predatory loot box system as the sole reward system for damn near every cosmetic outside of shaders. While the player can get 5 just from leveling from 20 to 25, the slow pace of grinding them leads to the constant nagging idea of just spending money on to buy more. No Raid awards new ships or skins, no strike drops emotes, the soul and core way gain these important cosmetic items starts and ends with the Eververse store. New content adds quests that remind the player to check the store to get one reward; if they want more it will cost them, and even then, aside from the rare few that pop up every week for a currency only accessible via the same loot boxes, they are completely random and time sensitive. If you want that cool emote before it’s gone, cough up some cash and hope/pray that this faux gambling will reward you instead of in-game activities, difficult challenges, or even mindless grinding. The system feels galling and insulting, even compared with free-to-play systems in similar games.
At the altar of the Microtransaction, a list of achievements and challenges with unique items and rewards and possibly one of the best systems added to a game to promote longevity was sacrificed for the Activision bottom line. The Curse of Osiris, much like the base game, feels like a deeply carved up experience that takes away the feeling of accomplishment and the special moment of THAT item dropping to funnel players again into its god-awful casino slot machine. Who needs challenge and fun when you can just pull the lever.
The Christmas Event, The Dawning, is the icing on this cake while adding Mayhem PVP back into the game (for now), and the only other additions are all to be found in loot boxes. Players can earn 2 of these loot boxes a week via 2 milestone quests (repeating these quests on alternative characters will not reward a loot box). Aside from the 2 milestone quests, players can earn a ‘gift’ once per day, which draws from a different item pool than the regular ones and had only 20% of the items available. If you want the emotes, ships, armor or ghosts then you have to pay or pray the 2-6 you will get over the course of the event will be what you want.
The kicker? To make sure players cannot even use the sparse amount of free gifts to buy the selection of gear sold by the Loot Box vendor, shaders earned via the free gift do not stack with the exact same items gained from the paid loot box further exhausting the already limited space players have. The reason for this you ask? So that the free shaders could be dismantled for only in-game currency and not the premium bright dust. Bungie and Activision are so scared of you not paying for this apparent bonus content that they are willing to annoy players by filling their bank space versus giving 7 Bright Dust per shader (the chest armor costs 1300 BD).
Bungie stated these microtransactions were added in order to fund these mini events throughout the game’s life, but it seems when they arrive, to get any real joy out of them, you have to pay even more.
I have gone over this in the other categories but Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris might just be one of the laziest and self-satisfied DLC expansions to a major AAA game in a long time. This makes Mass Effect 1’s DLC look like Blood And Wine. This feels like a mid-expansion patch in any other game and not a good one at that. Nearly all of the new exotics are rehashes from the first game with only one gun (The Colony) feeling at all new and interesting. Aside from the new Masterwork system, every addition is just things that were removed from the game in the jump from Destiny: The Rise of Iron to Destiny 2.
Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris feels like rushed DLC that was never expected to fix what the glaring problems with the base game. Rather than attempt anything, the lazy additions come off as what would in any other game be added in a free content patch, a skeletal selection of missions and events that are both minuscule in scope and forgettable at the same time. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris has unseated Crota as the worst destiny expansion, even without the greater problems with the game. If a DLC with this much content had landed midway through The Rise of Iron it would have been seen as a failure but added to Destiny 2 and Bungie’s growing list of problems it is compacted into a bland, flash of an expansion that just compounds and in many places amplifies the negative feelings sown by the base game.
Curse of Osiris manages little aside from making the player look back more fondly of their time spent with The Dark Below. A step back from a step back, Bungie has taken every single lesson learned in its 3 years of the first Destiny and utterly forget them all one by one. Destiny 2: The Curse of Osiris feels like the emperor’s new clothes of an expansion.Related: Activision Blizzard, Bungie, Curse of Osiris, Destiny 2, Expansion, MMORPG, Review