How many science fiction and fantasy heroes embrace Darkness to fight for good? from Bungie Destiny franchise may use overly simple terms like “Light” and “Darkness” to describe abstract cosmic powers, but it’s hardly the binary parallel between good and evil that it seems.
2020s Destiny 2: Beyond Light The expansion exploits the gray areas between the two in drastic ways, having the Guardian player use the icy magic of Stasis fueled by darkness. However the witch queen is often praised as the best story arc in the series, beyond the light takes bigger – and more interesting – risks that make you rethink the fundamental dynamics of the many cosmic forces at play.
Heroes in Stasis
Practically until beyond the light, the Destiny universe simply had good vibes and even better gameplay. First-person shooter combat is fast and fun, easy to learn but as hard to master as you want. But for years, virtually every mission has looked the same: Run as fast as you can to the objective marker and wield the Light to destroy everything in sight. You didn’t even need to follow the story if you only cared about the routine.
beyond the light it takes some bold narrative risks that force you to pay attention – and it lays the groundwork for some of the best stories in the franchise.
As part of the ongoing war between Light and Darkness, a faction of Fallen aliens discover how to wield Stasis, an ancient ice magic rooted in Darkness. This magic is as powerful as Solar, Arc, and Void powers rooted in Light, so for an alien general to claim its power for his lieutenants is a huge threat. So you venture to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa to defeat them.
There is no time to explain
“I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain,” is a frequent quote from the original Destiny this is forever etched into my brain. In the first story campaign, the time-traveling droid called “The Exo Stranger” recruits you to destroy the Vex robots corrupting a strange place called The Black Garden. And when you try to learn more about her, she drops that line. But “no time to explain” became an ironic motif for the franchise: for so long, the continuous Destiny the story would introduce all sorts of new characters and ideas, leaving plot threads dangling.
The Exo Stranger is cool as hell, but it took Bungie six years to do anything with it. She takes center stage beyond the light to wrap up major parts of the game’s narrative. Like the Fallen Kell Eramis, the Exo Stranger also communes with the Darkness to wield Stasis, and she takes you along for the ride through an ongoing story campaign that sees you gradually unlock these incredible powers.
From a game mechanics point of view, Stasis has completely revamped how destiny 2The magic classes work. Rather than preselecting a bunch of skills all together, you can pick specific skills and enhance them with a bunch of different “Aspects”. In the two years since beyond the lightall classes and subclasses followed the exact same rework, so building builds are more robust than ever.
But even at the story level, this is all a big problem, and the fallout is still playing out in destiny 2 as the Big Bad leader of the dark, The Witness, is set to attack Earth in the next lightfall. Several key characters, like Commander Zavala, remain deeply skeptical of anything related to the Darkness, while others, like the Exo Stranger, see its value. Even the seasonal content of the beyond the light it was focused on compromising our preconceived notions of good and evil.
After months of tensions and conflicts during the Season of the Chosen, the alien Cabal Empress Caiatl has made an alliance with humanity. Then, in Season of the Splicer, the fallen light-loving leader Mithrax sought refuge for his people in the last city of mankind. These days, walking around destiny 2Social hubs feel surreal because you see innocent aliens that look exactly like the ones you’ve killed thousands of times.
beyond the light really focuses on that moral gray area that makes us question why the Guardian does what it does. Destiny 2: Lightfall – set to release on February 28, 2023 – is about to shake things up by introducing Strand, yet another subclass based on Darkness. But it also feels like the endgame for this ongoing struggle between Light and Dark. If the title is any indication, it could be bad news for Light. Perhaps it ends with the destruction of both?
So whether you’re a new or returning player, consider picking up Destiny 2: Beyond Light while it’s free on PlayStation Plus until March 6th.