Destiny 2: The Final Shape – Bungie at its Best for a Masterful Conclusion

REVIEW – A lot can happen in ten years. Three console generations come and go, two presidents, and countless new acquaintances… In the world of video games, ten years mean even more. The medium itself is only fifty or sixty years old. Few franchises, and even fewer games, can boast of lasting and thriving for such a long period. Yet, in 2013, Bungie promised this with Destiny.


Destiny is a game that combined MMO elements with the first-person looter-shooter popularized by Borderlands, all as a live service, for better or worse. Two games, seven expansions, four DLCs, and twenty-three seasons later, with many ups and downs, the sci-fi fantasy adventure has reached the end of its first saga. Many questions remain unanswered, and many uncertainties need to be dispelled, not to mention the recent uncertainty about the game’s future. With this final Destiny 2 expansion, it’s time for Bungie to show once again what it’s made of.



Is this the endgame?


In recent years, the trend has somewhat reversed, but overall, Destiny’s main stories have been considered relatively weak. Sometimes almost laughable, other times just incomprehensible and confusing, with the golden rule: “we don’t answer any questions, we only raise new ones.” Many players praise the game’s excellent “lore” (the background stories and world-building), but only the most dedicated delve into it, which is understandable.

The challenge is simple: the Witness, the antagonist who has been pulling the strings from the beginning, has invaded the Heart of the Traveler, the benevolent cosmic deity of civilizations, with the goal of executing the Final Shape, or the eternal pause of the universe. Your character, along with the Vanguard trio (essentially your bosses), must do everything within the Heart to save the Traveler and resist the temptation to join the big bad in his plan of cosmic calcification.

This time, the attempt is largely confirmed. We witness our allies interacting with each other like never before, all of them plagued by doubts that have been hovering over them for years, allowing for a very personal story about the meaning of life. The presentation is also finally worth the effort, with impressive large cinematic sequences, allies helping us on the ground, and especially a masterfully executed final showdown that maximizes the live service aspect of the game.

The campaign opened with the usual raid (available three days after the expansion’s release), and the first completion of the raid unlocked the eighth and final mission, the first 12-player activity, where all of humanity’s allies launch a final assault on the Witness’s monolith in a moment of rarely seen community euphoria and excitement. So much so that the servers struggled a bit at the time.

Some answers will probably not satisfy everyone, and it is clear that this final campaign will speak much more to the oldest fans, but even less familiar players will find their place and enjoy the personal battles of Zavala, Ikora, Cayde, and Crow, as well as whether the Witness will be defeated or not, and the various consequences and ramifications of this possible defeat.



The Traveler and its heart problems


In the past ten years, the Guardians have seen a lot. Post-apocalyptic worlds, high-tech sci-fi, swamps, and a touch of high fantasy, in sunshine, snow, and space alike.

The Pale Heart, the new expansion’s destination, marks many firsts for the game: it is the only destination in a single-player instance (as opposed to the other planets which are in shared instances where we see other players), the first “straight-line” destination (where the previous ones were organized around three main zones connected to each other), giving a real sense of progression in the campaign as we get closer and closer to our goal.

Visually, Bungie sets the bar extremely high. The Heart alternates between lush, paradisiacal environments and nightmare landscapes, corrupted by colorful and absurd excrescences (and really many hands). The whole place is peppered with familiar locations, reinterpreted, fused, or corrupted by the Witness. How dare he!

The campaign consists of seven excellent missions, interspersed with cinematics. Each mission is a mix of intense combat and puzzles to solve – often both at the same time (kill a certain enemy to pick up a certain item to activate a mechanism to bring down the boss’s shield). Solving these puzzles while raining bullets and our colorful powers on the enemies is always thrilling, a constant element we never tire of. Moreover, the Final Shape also introduces a whole new enemy race that, combined with the aliens we have been used to fighting for so many years, really shakes things up (especially those @%# enemies who wield the Threadweaver and throw you around the battlefield).



After the campaign, the Heart offers a ton of activities


First, more missions continue the story, with the latest exotic weapons at the end, but there is also plenty to do in the open world. The main activity, “Turnabout,” involves a series of varied mini-objectives before a boss fight with lots of loot at the end.

The Kystes are special missions with unique mechanics that we discover after the campaign in a special quest, and several puzzles, more or less complex, are scattered across the map for rewards.

Then there is the eternal raid, pushing the limits of coordination and communication between six players, already a cult for the community as it took a long time to be completed for the first time (20 hours!). In short, we are spoiled for choice in this new destination, which is probably the most accomplished in the game to date.



Magnum opus


We cannot overlook the soundtrack of this expansion. The music has always been one of the few consistently top-notch points in Destiny, and the Final Shape confirms this constancy. We are facing the magnum opus of Bungie’s composers, masterfully mixing the most memorable leitmotifs of the saga throughout the OST. This excellence makes the unceremonious dismissal of Michael Salvatori, a veteran musician of the industry and the studio, who was among those who lost their jobs during the wave of layoffs that hit the studio last November, even more bitter. He and Michael Sechrist, Rotem Moav, Skye Lewin, Josh Mosser, and Pieter Schlosser grace us with one final, incredibly memorable soundtrack.



Cheat code activated


As with several recent expansions, the Final Shape offers a new set of abilities. Actually, it’s more a new way of managing abilities. With the new Prismatic doctrine, you can mix abilities from several elements into a single subclass. A first in the game’s history. And yes, at the beginning, when you have an Abyssal grenade, a Solar melee attack, and a Stasis Super, you feel like you’ve broken the game. But that’s not all. Playing with Prismatic also grants you access to a “mini-super,” Transcendence, which unlocks a special, much stronger grenade, increases your weapon damage, and speeds up your ability regeneration for a certain period, creating a true visual and destructive tornado.

Even if Destiny concludes its first saga today, Bungie has no plans to abandon the game. The seasonal model, although revamped to allow for more substantial but less frequent episodes, continues, with three episodes already planned and a further sequel, codenamed “Frontiers.” Expansion? Reorganization? The studio is probably still working on a definitive answer, so it’s hard for us to predict.

Either way, if the quality of the Final Shape is the new standard for Destiny (and knowing the studio’s history, this is far from certain), the game still has a bright future ahead.





The Final Shape is everything a Destiny fan could have dreamed of. A memorable destination with plenty to do, a very good campaign, an emotional story, a raid already cult, and thrilling new abilities. Bungie almost miraculously manages to provide a satisfying conclusion to its first saga, and we can only hope that this level of quality, which the studio has historically struggled to maintain over the long term, will continue for the future.

-Gergely Herpai “BadSector”-


+ Impressive visual implementation
+ Emotional story and characters
+ Innovative new capabilities


– New players may find it difficult to log in
– Some answers will not satisfy everyone
– The final campaign is more for old fans

Publisher: Bungie

Developer: Bungie

Style: Looter-shooter, MMOFPS

Release: June 4, 2023.

Destiny 2: The Final Shape

Gameplay - 9.2
Graphics - 8.8
Story - 8.8
Music/Audio - 9.4
Ambience - 9.2



Destiny 2: The Final Shape is a fitting conclusion to a decade-long story, with stunning visuals and an emotional narrative. Bungie successfully delivers the saga’s finale, appreciated by both old and new fans alike. This is an excellent conclusion to 10 years of world-building, promising a bright future if the quality can be maintained.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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