Every few months I fall into the same trap.

I get lured in by the Bungie’s promises, read up on what they’re introducing with the newest Destiny 2 expansion and log back in to Destiny 2 to play.

Like clockwork, this lasts a few days, a week at most before I get bored and move on to something else.

Did the same thing happen with Shadowkeep? Find out in the review!

What is Destiny 2: Shadowkeep?

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is the latest in a long, long line of Destiny 2 expansions. Destiny 2 (if you’ve still not heard or played) is a first person loot shooter, like Borderlands 3.

It’s a bit more hand’s off and much more multiplayer focused than Gearbox’s cash cow but the basic gist is the same; go on quests, kill stuff and hope for better guns to drop.

If you’re interested in Shadowkeep, chances are you’re pretty invested in Destiny 2 already, so I’ll just skip the basics.

Shadowkeep is more of the same for Destiny 2 (or even Destiny). It takes place on the moon, retreading most of the same areas, fighting the same old enemies.

I’m hesitant to label it a retread, but there’s no other way around it. The gist is this; Eris Morn has found a hidden pyramid on the moon that’s connected somehow with the coming Darkness ( a vague omnipotent threat that’s hinted as coming to Earth in Destiny 2’s original ending).

The way Destiny 2 does this is intriguing; they’ve taken the Hive (think alien space zombies with magic) and made them the centerpiece of the expansion.

90% of the enemies you’ll fight are Hive in the expansion, great if you love them (I do), bad if you don’t. Even as somebody who loves their design and background, it does get boring.

You’re up against the same enemy types as before, playing in most of the same locations as before (if you’ve played Destiny) and it does gives you a recurring feeling of deja vu.

Bosses you’ve beaten over the years come back as Nightmares (basically ghosts)…but the fights are pretty much as you remembered. Hell, most of them are even in the same locations. I didn’t expect much from Shadowkeep, but I still was letdown massively by needing to keep facing bosses I’d killed throughout the game’s campaign.

Deja Vu all over.

Speaking of campaign, the whole thing feels like busywork. Progression objectives are laughable vague and/or meant to take a while to complete. The main premise is you’re building pieces of armor with a special mod that can withstand venturing in to the newly discovered pyramid but you’ll soon catch on its just

The regurgitated locations (tweaked and expanded as they may be in Shadowkeep) feel too familiar to be scary or foreboding, which sadly is exactly what the game tries to be. It’s not full-on horror, but there’s definitely a much more noticeable tinge of it in Shadowkeep than in any other expansions.

Ghosts (spirits, not the ones players have) are everywhere in Shadowkeep. Red and black shadowy figures that creepily hover in places you’d least expect. They slowly dissipate as you approach but their eerie nature persist throughout Shadowkeep’s campaign…and even after.

I LOVE that and wish that Bungie had actually done more with them.

Erin Morn is plagued by the spirits of her fallen Fireteam; I’d expected the same for me. After all, how many people has your avatar let die over the course of the games and expansions?

Cayde-6 at least should’ve showed up as a malevolent spirit, considering what happened in Forsaken (the previous expansion).

What we get instead is a barebones, half-assed story that barely advances the overall plot. Shadowkeep feels more like the setup to a story rather than an expansion all of its own.

It’s certainly interesting to see how the Darkness will impact the Guardians and all but story-wise there’s not much meat to it, just the setups to payoffs that will only come probably in Destiny 3 when the Darkness does finally reach the Solar System.

For returning Guardians.

Coming back to Destiny 2 after a hiatus is like getting hit with cold water when you’re only used to bathing in warm water. It’s a system shock.

Bungie’s tweaked the gameplay systems yet again in Shadowkeep, which means you’ll need to readjust your characters and their gear. Older mods are now decommissioned with new mods taking their place. A ton of the resources are no longer used, with new ones replacing them.

Sometimes it feels irresponsibly dense, as if Bungie hasn’t thought about all the lapsed gamers who are coming back for the new stuff that DON’T know about the tweaks Destiny 2 has undergone since they left.

As you’d expect with a new expansion, the Light level (now called Power) has been raised yet again. There’s a soft cap of 900 now that you can reach by just playing the game, but to get more powerful gear, you’re of course going to have to play the Nightfall Strikes, Weekly Challenges and other advanced endgame activities. It’s definitely familiar territory if you’ve reach the endgame of any Destiny game.

Despite all the tweaks and improvements, Raids are still an activity geared towards the hardcore. It’s sad, as despite being in a Clan, I’ve still to experience any of them (save for Leviathan). I’ve long accepted my fate, but it’s still weird to see so many tweaks to nearly all aspects of Destiny 2 but none to make Raids more accommodating to single players.

The new Season Pass also rubs me the wrong way. I’ve always felt that the Season Pass for Forsaken was a gyp

The bottom line.

Shadowkeep disappoints both as an expansion and a continuation of the whole plot. While it’s definitely not the weakest expansion for Destiny 2 (Osiris nabs that honor), it’s certainly not up to the bar established by Forsaken.

That’s partly due to the retreads; you’re facing the same enemies in most of the same locations. It’s also a fault of its barebones story that’s more interested in setting up future encounters and events than fleshing out the present.

Gated content behind the Season Pass hinders matters too, as you’re barred from taking part in pretty significant content.

Shadowkeep’s horror element does give it a different feel from other expansions but Bungie’s not taken full advantage of it, making the horror aspects feel half-baked instead.

At the end of the day, you’ll still want to get the expansion. Why? The reason’s because it sets up a ton of events for the future of Destiny. It all starts here.

TLDR:

Deja vu with too much reused content. Still worth a play though.

The Good:
– Horror elements.
– Revamped gameplay systems.
– New Strikes.

The Bad:
– Too much content repeats.
– Light on story.
– HEAVY on grinding.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.