Destiny 2: The Final Shape review – Triumphant


A story 10 years in the making began wrapping up last week and at the weekend, Bungie did what few thought it could. Not only did the developer present a compelling story players could invest in, it capped that story off in the way it was meant to end.

Not just that, but the destination, the weapons, the gear and activities presented to players in The Final Shape reveal that even when we didn’t think it was, Bungie was listening.

If you want the short version. The Final Shape will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will change your life. For the longer, spoiler-filled version, continue forth Guardian.

Gettin’ the band back together

2023’s Lightfall was poorly received but it did put the end of Destiny’s Light versus Darkness saga into motion.

Despite the best efforts of players, the big bad of the saga, the Witness, merged Light and Darkness in pursuit of calcifying the universe into a final shape, devoid of chaos and unpredictability. The end of Lightfall saw the Witness enter the Traveller and the last year has been spent preparing to following the big bad for one final showdown.

The expansion kicks off with you the player, Zavala and Ikora navigating the entrance to the Traveller. In the purple-pink vibrance we catch glimpses of areas we’ve visited before. The final encounter with Oryx in King’s Fall, the Exodus Black from Nessus disintegrating into nothing and familiar architecture from the EDZ and the Cosmodrome. We also have our first encounter with the Dread, a new enemy faction formed from the memories of civilisations conquered by the Witness.

After this short traversal and brief combat that introduces the player to new mechanics and and a new set of powers, we enter the Pale Heart.

At first, this destination resembles the Last City which players have visited for a decade now. As one explores the giant Ghost shells, prismatic Triangle in the sky, and ominous clouds in the distance signal that this is somewhere else. Much like the entrance, the area is made up of the memories of those who have passed through the Pale Heart.

We’re not in Kansas anymore…

Shortly after entering what we learn to be the old Tower from Destiny, players are given access to Prismatic. This new sub-class combines every sub-class in Destiny 2 giving players access to the best bits of Solar, Arc, Void, Stasis and Strand. Players have access to Prismatic from this mission and unlock Fragments and Aspects to improve the sub-class within the Campaign itself. It’s a departure from how players unlocked Strand and Stasis which were only unlocked post-campaign and it helps you feel like you’re in a new place, even with the familiar sites littered across the landscape. Players will also need to use Prismatic to defeat certain enemies so getting to grips with the sub-class early is a requirement.

We then find Cayde-6, voiced by Nathan Fillion who reprised his role for this expansion. We later learn how Cayde has come to be in the Pale Heart. As it turns out, during Season of the Wish, Crow indirectly wished to a Riven to make things right with Cayde. This allowed Crow to pave the way into the Pale Heart and make things right with Cayde.

After learning that we entered the Pale Heart with Ikora and Zavala. Cayde recommends we find them before confronting the Witness but first he needs to find Crow. The bromance that buds between Crow and Cayde – keeping in mind that Crow killed Cayde as Uldren Sov before becoming a Guardian – is one of the best parts of the story.

Two bros, chillin’ in an ice-tube.

We enter a cave where we are taunted by the Witness. We also find Crow listening to whispers coming from a shrouded statue that we first discovered in Shadowkeep. And this becomes a key moment in the story as we learn later on.

After finding Crow we set off in search of Ikora who is both enamoured and untrustworthy of what she sees. She believes that the Witness is tempting her and she isn’t wrong. Throughout The Final Shape the Witness attempts to goad the player into joining them. They offer unlimited power and the chance to be a god, so long as we join their cause.

When we meet up with Zavala, he is being tormented by visions of his past. The family he lost, the loss of Amanda all weigh on him and for a good while The Final Shape becomes a game of whether Zavala will be tempted or not. The performance of Keith David is fantastic and he is a fitting replacement for the late Lance Reddick.

Ultimately, Zavala succumbs to temptation and communes with the Darkness unearthing the weapon we would need to defeat the Witness.

We learned in Season of the Deep in 2023 that the Witness is actually an amalgamation of an ancient civilisation that discovered the Traveller. Displeased with the Traveller’s gifts without direction or purpose, this civilisation sought to merge Light and Darkness to produce the Final Shape and bring meaning and purpose to the universe. After the Traveller abandoned this civilisation, they merged to form the Witness.

Only, not everybody wanted to become part of the Witness and so dissidents were amalgamated as well.

Within the Traveller, these dissidents are portrayed as the veiled statues we’ve seen for years now only now we’re able to speak to them. Zavala learns that, because the Witness is simply a being and not a god, it can be unmade and so begins a mad rush to the Monolith we’ve been fighting our way towards since the start of the campaign.

If friend, why not friend shaped?

With that knowledge in our belt, we proceed to face the Witness and get absolutely trounced.

It’s a fitting end to the campaign and it set the stage for the rest of the week in Destiny 2. Rather than launching the first Episode, Echoes, Bungie gave players quests and activities to complete within the Pale Heart. Essentially this was busy work in the form of preparing for the raid, Salvation’s Edge which launched on Friday. It was fun though and the rewards of Exotics weapons such as Ergo Sum and Still Hunt were great lures to get players to engage with the game after the campaign.

Wounds run deep

Post campaign the Pale Heart becomes a patrol space only you won’t find other players exploring the area unless you’re in a Fireteam. It’s a great feeling and helps to sell the idea that you are the last hope of the universe.

Give Bungie a hand.

The core activity in the Pale Heart is Overthrow which tasks players with reaching a certain score threshold. Dispatching enemies or completing activities marked on the map push the score up. Reach the required Score and Overthrow goes to the next stage. There are four stages in total and completing all four stages gives you a shot at rewards including the aforementioned Ergo Sum.

Players could also rescue Ghosts lost in the Pale Heart to unlock weapon drops/focussing and it was all with the idea that we were preparing to enter the Raid and dispatch the Witness.

Unfortunately, Contest Mode Raid’s in Destiny are above our skill level so we chose instead to watch the 18 hour long slog online. During the Raid there is more lore and exposition but as we haven’t experienced that yet, we won’t comment on it.

Once Salvation’s Edge had been completed, a final mission for Destiny 2 became available. As Bungie promised, the end of the Witness wouldn’t be restricted to the Raid and all players would have a chance to kick the Witness into oblivion.

The 12-player activity, Excision, sees players confronting the Witness one final time. Abilities are flung around, enemies put up a monumental fight and then, in one final hurrah, Ghost acts as a conduit for the Traveller’s light. In a startling moment, 12 players concentrate the Light onto the Witness, destroying him, and the Final Shape, forever.

What follows is the only part of the expansion we won’t spoil because it’s something we feel those invested in Destiny need to experience without spoilers.


Following the defeat of the Witness, so-called Echoes emerge from the Traveller, landing in different parts of the solar system. These Echoes are the tool Bungie will use to tell the next part of the Destiny story but we won’t go into that now.

The Final Shape was a monumental achievement from every angle. While there were launch issues, those were cleared up quickly and we didn’t encounter too much of an issue on launch day although we had tempered our expectations. The story telling here was spectacular, the designs of the environments, the weapons and even the new Dread enemy faction are all phenomenal and mark a clear departure from the design language we’ve seen until now.

This story pushed boundaries we weren’t expecting from Bungie. Cayde, despite being a selling point of this expansion, isn’t back in Destiny 2 for good. The Vanguard’s future is an unknown quantity and where Guardians will go next isn’t sure.

Megamind got smoked.

What we do know is that the Witness was but one threat from the Darkness or as it shall now be officially known, the Winnower so we suspect that the Light versus Darkness saga is yet to be complete.

This praise is, however, coming from a player who has invested literal years into Destiny 2. My commitment to this game is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and so, for me the story of The Final Shape is made up of the beats that were introduced years ago. Our first encounter with the Veiled Statue on the Moon and its unnerving whispers, the way Lakshmi-2’s hatred of others in Season of the Splicer made us realise that allying with our enemies against a common enemy may be the better choice, the interactions with Asha, all of these small events combine to help answer questions we’ve had for ages. Even Lightfall’s poorly executed story helps to prop up what Bungie did in The Final Shape.

There is no denying however, that the execution of The Final Shape was excellent and there is little, if anything to critique. Our experience was amazing and while we’re not sure that we’ll continue investing Destiny the way we have been, the last decade was a meaningful and rewarding experience. If Bungie repeats that, well, we’ll definitely be back. Not that we’re going anywhere.

The Final Shape is a must play for anybody who played Destiny but fell off for whatever reason. Granted, you may have to buy other expansions and watch videos to catch up with the story but it will be worth it. Bungie’s Light versus Darkness saga was an epic and cements the developer as one of the best in the business. We may never see something this ambitious executed this well ever again and for that, Bungie gets our highest praise.


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