Forward of this week’s Lightfall launch, Future 2 was on a roll. Season of the Seraph delivered on each entrance, together with a terrific ultimate mission and concluding cutscene displaying the sequence’ notorious white orb known as the Traveler lastly getting off its ass. The pre-release advertising and marketing marketing campaign for Lightfall was firing on all cylinders, getting followers hyped for an epic showdown on the beforehand unexplored planet of Neptune. Then the brand new growth launched on Tuesday, opening with a dramatic area battle above Earth and breaking the sport’s all-time concurrent participant document on Steam within the course of. But it surely has been downhill since.
In my preliminary 5 hours with Lightfall, I’ve explored the patrol zone across the neon-fueled metropolis of Neomuna, dipped into the Season of Defiance quest chain, and neared the top of the primary story marketing campaign centered round defending a robust artifact from Calus’ Shadow Legion. On paper, it’s the whole lot I need, however in motion Neomuna seems empty, the story is underexplained and tonally complicated, and Strand, Future 2’s latest set of Guardian area magic, feels underwhelming.
Lightfall guarantees the invention of a brand new world stuffed with technological wonders and long-standing mysteries. Future 2’s Vanguard, area cops defending a post-apocalyptic futuristic model of our photo voltaic system from alien invasions on each entrance, uncover a long-lost human colony on Neptune, dwelling to each an influence known as The Veil and cyborg protectors known as Cloud Striders. After calling their dwelling The Final Metropolis for eight years, Future’s characters notice they’re not alone within the photo voltaic system in any case.
What ought to be a significant consequential epiphany is brief lived, nevertheless. After a short scene and a few quick dialogue between the grizzled Warlock Osiris, a wizened Cloud Strider named Rohan, and his rookie apprentice Nimbus, it’s again to mowing down Cabal with acquainted weapons and chasing extra unexplained macguffins. The seasonal Unique, Verglas Curve, is a tasty Stasis bow that allows you to swap between excessive harm head pictures and multi arrow spreads that spawn protecting ice boundaries. The remainder of the brand new loot feels extra sparse. A number of hours in I nonetheless discover myself principally sticking with my previous gear.
Strand, a new set of subclass abilities denoted by glowing green threads, is found loitering on the streets of Neomuna like an afterthought. So far I’m finding it less impactful than Stasis and less powerful to play with than the recent 3.0 overhauls of Solar, Void, and Arc. The all-new grappling hook is excellent, when you’re not waiting on the minute-plus cooldown.
And rather than ratcheting up the tensions as The Witness and his military of darkish pyramids nook Earth and The Traveler, previous characters retreat into caricature whereas new ones greet armageddon with goofy one-liners. “Let’s go do some hero stuff,” Nimbus says as their metropolis turns into a battlezone. Neomuna itself is totally devoid of life. It seems the populace Nimbus is sworn with defending have all uploaded themselves into the metaverse. No, severely.
Lightfall’s missions have left me equally chilly. Whereas the Legendary issue mode returns, the encounters don’t really feel as memorable or attention-grabbing. After some time, Neomuna’s teal and magenta infused metropolis streets and rooftops all start to mix collectively. With steady waves of enemies standing in for extra tightly wound fight arenas, the form and tempo of every large battle feels much less distinct and extra diffuse. Little or no of it’s peppered with attention-grabbing new bits of lore about Neptune or The Veil, or characters grappling with the stakes of their newfound predicament, both. Largely, Osiris simply barks about not losing time. Over 1,000 alien corpses later, I nonetheless really feel no nearer to uncovering what The Witness is as much as then once I began.
As a longtime Future participant, it’s an extremely bizarre place to be. Normally, the primary week of a brand new growth is a honeymoon interval. Overjoyed with the mere prospect of extra content material to run via, flaws are straightforward to miss and the inherent energy of Bungie’s artwork path and fight makes the whole lot really feel not less than a bit bit enjoyable or rewarding. Perhaps I’ll start to really feel that approach the extra I dig into Neomuna, discover its post-campaign quests, and get into the circulation of the seasonal thriller. Maybe I simply have to re-adjust my expectations coming down from the excessive level that was The Witch Queen. I definitely hope so. Lightfall’s premise and aesthetic maintain a ton of promise, and a brand new raid is simply across the nook.