Destiny 2: The Final Shape Review (PS5)


10 years ago, we booted up the beta for Destiny on PS4. It was an exciting time, as the possibilities of multiplayer on console were rapidly expanding into the territory of live service, a term that didn’t hold quite the same implications as it does now. There were bold claims of half a billion dollar budgets and decade spanning plans, and to top it off, the ex-Halo devs actually had a tight first-person shooter on its hands. But now we’re on the other end of those promises with Destiny 2: The Final Shape, the concluding entry to the meandering Light and Darkness saga. And y’know what? The b*stards really did it.

The Final Shape is a confident encapsulation of everything Destiny had hoped to be. Whether that is the refined first-person combat, the insane build potential that its new subclass introduces, or the narrative threads which shine a light on characters that have been there for the start. Long time Destiny fans will be grinning ear to ear as fan-favourite characters return, old locations are revisited in new lights, and the narrative set up from the preceding The Witch Queen and Lightfall expansions all come together in what is best described as Destiny’s Avengers: Endgame.

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Destiny has always had one foot steeped in its past — it’s what makes its rich lore so interesting. For the last decade we’ve listened to tales of light-bearing legends and horrifying villains. And while we’ve entered that legendary status ourselves as we’ve slain countless alien foes, it’s never felt like we’ve truly stood alongside the likes of Commander Zavala, Lord Shaxx, Ikora Rey, or the multitude of revered Guardians we’ve encountered across the years.

The Final Shape changes that. Built up across this trilogy of expansions, The Final Shape’s storyline finally puts us at the forefront of some truly legendary deeds. Venturing into The Traveller itself, we’re making one last push to take out The Witness, the calamitous being behind the great collapse, and the embodiment of The Darkness that we’ve been fighting from the very start. Right away you can feel the stakes, even as we make our trepid trek into The Pale Heart, this expansion’s new setting.

This is a far more focused narrative experience, whether that be through the game’s excellent CGI cutscenes, or the linear map design, which sees us constantly pushing towards The Witness’s monolith. You’ll even get a warning if you try to deviate from the campaign, with Bungie claiming it was designed to be played from start to finish. With this approach, The Final Shape is easily the most engaging campaign that Bungie has released with a serious collection of brilliant moments for long-time fans.

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Nostalgia baiting is a major issue in all forms of art, but call backs to locations, characters, and even musical cues are never derogatory or cheap in The Final Shape. It all feels like a well earned trip down memory lane, where you finally get to share the battlefield with some of the game’s most iconic characters. Whether you are digging into the wavering faith of Commander Zavala, the strife between the returning Cayde-6 and The Crow, or maybe even coming across Savathun once more.

Every step of the way there is something there for returning fans, all of which culminates in a final confrontation that concludes the entire saga in an explosive bout that brings just about everyone from Destiny’s past together. If like us you’ve been there from the start, it’s a genuinely emotional experience. After all the peaks and troughs of Destiny’s run, this feels like a victory lap.

For those more interested in the shooting of aliens rather than the why of said shooting, then The Final Shape has got you covered there too. Prismatic is the new subclass introduced with this expansion, which allows you to take aspects, fragments, and abilities from each of the five subclasses that you’ve acquired over the years. If you want to mix Stasis shurikens with a Strand grapple and a Solar golden gun then you can do just that. Prismatic feels like it’s almost breaking the game with how powerful a build you can craft up. It is the best feeling power-fantasy shooter that we’ve ever played – something that has been the case for years, but is now elevated thanks to Prismatic.

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We’re sure that fans will still like to specialise in specific subclasses, but Prismatic is Bungie opening up the toy chest and letting us go wild. Playing through the legendary campaign, we conjured up so many goosebump-inducing moments purely through the kineticism of the first-person shooting, movement and abilities. Bungie has always been a master of the first-person shooter, but it’s really showing off here.

To top it all off The Final Shape goes wild with its environmental design. Destiny has always put a lot of effort into crafting up epic vistas from the icy planes of Europa to the rust-infused Cosmodrome. The Final Shape’s setting doesn’t evoke the same sense of place that we often find in Destiny, but that’s because The Pale Heart is all about calling back to locations from the game’s past and adding a dark twist to them. Every new area is fused with oddities, whether those be giant Ghosts moulded into the environment or hands and arms replacing traditional building structures. You can tell that Bungie had a lot of fun designing this space, and it’s definitely the most out there the team has gone.

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As you look onto the Traveller having beaten the campaign, a big question hovers above: what’s next for Destiny? It’s all been building to this yet we still have another year of content lined up. Ditching the quarterly seasons, Year 10 for Destiny will tell three singular tales across which it now calls ‘Episodes’. These will focus on the Vex, Fallen, and Hive, and already it sounds like a exciting year for fans. We don’t expect to be hitting The Witness levels of threat anytime soon, but we’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what’s truly next for the franchise across the next year and beyond.


Destiny 2: The Final Shape feels like a promise fulfilled. We can’t help but think back to all of the late night sessions exploring iconic corners of this vibrant sci-fi universe, and digging into all manners of lore to help make sense of it all. And now, despite it’s ups and downs, we have a gratifying end to the decade spanning Light and Darkness saga, that evokes all those memories in one big celebration. Destiny 2: The Final Shape is the hope and dream of every other live service game out there. It’s a testament to Bungie’s unwavering commitment to a riveting saga that defied all odds, and did exactly what it set out to do. This one is for the fans.

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