Review: Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris

Destiny 2 is in a state of crisis. After a successful launch, the game and its developer, Bungie, have been engulfed in controversy. The game’s lack of endgame content, heavy use of microtransactions, and XP controversy have hampered Destiny 2’s prospects and hurt Bungie’s image. It’s this that makes the timing of Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris so conspicuous. Arriving two months after the console launch, and six weeks after the PC launch, Curse of Osiris promises to add a slew of new content to the vanilla game. At $20, though, does Curse of Osiris bring enough to the table or should this expansion be forgotten?

Curse of Osiris begins after the events of Destiny 2. The mysterious Warlock Osiris has vanished, and a new Vex threat has surfaced on Mercury. Pushed by Ikora Rey to investigate, you and your Ghost set your sights on the planet closest to the Sun in the hopes of saving Osiris and defeating this new threat. The Vex have always been the most interesting of Destiny’s five alien species. Unlike the others, we don’t know what motivates them to convert planets and who their allegiance belongs too. Likewise, the character of Osiris has been hyped up over the past three years through the Grimoire and Brother Vance, which means that there should be an interesting story here. Unfortunately, there isn’t. In fact, Curse of Osiris’ storytelling is a regression back to Vanilla Destiny.

Curse of Osiris’ plot can be beaten in two hours and is filled with so much repetition and so little exposition. Osiris, who is the character this DLC is about, only shows up in the flesh for a minute at the very end. The main villain is just an ominous robot who shows up and then is defeated through a quick-time event. To understand how lazy this story is, look no further than the ‘Deep Storage’ mission, which is just a re-purposed ‘Pyramidion’ strike. The campaign does hold one bright spot; Sagira, Osiris’ ghost. Voiced by Morena Baccarn (Firefly, Gotham), Sagira briefly becomes your companion during a large portion of the campaign and is a real delight. Charming and well-written, it’s disappointing when she does finally leave. Nolan North’s performance as Ghost has declined in quality over the years, and it would have been great if players got the option to choose who they wanted as their companion.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of the content Curse of Osiris provides isn’t top quality. Mercury doesn’t offer the space or sense of wonder other areas provide to make it a worthwhile social space or area to explore. The Lighthouse, the new social space, is way smaller than it was in the original Destiny, and it only contains one vendor to interact with. Meanwhile, the open area of Mercury is just a tiny circle, so tiny in fact that Sparrows are disabled to give the illusion it’s bigger than it really is. On Mercury, you’ll find one public event, three adventures, and one Lost Sector. For a planet that has been teased since the initial release of Destiny, it’s appearance in Destiny 2 is underwhelming.

On paper, The Infinite Forest sounds like a fascinating concept. Bringing in procedurally-generated dungeons would be an exciting way to invigorate the endgame like with Bloodborne’s Chalice dungeons. Sadly, even this concept is ruined thanks to asinine levels of repetition. All the Infinite Forest is is just a linear set of platforms populated with generic enemies players have been fighting for the past three years. The sad thing is, there’s not much of a challenge here. It’s possible just to skip the enemies and head towards the door. On occasion you do need to kill an enemy to unlock the door, you can accomplish it by just hanging near the last platform and shooting them from afar.

To add insult to injury, you can’t even play in the Infinite Forest whenever you want. After beating the three adventures, players can only access the Infinite Forest through additional Adventures acquired through Brother Vance, which you can only get once per week. For being a key feature of this DLC, players aren’t allotted a lot of time with the Infinite Forest.

Curse of Osiris does include two new strikes, but both are pulled directly from the campaign with no changes. Crucible doesn’t fare much better with only two new maps on Xbox One and PC, and three on PS4. Unfortunately, as of publication, Crucible is wholly broken thanks to the Prometheus Lens, a new trace rifle that is completely unbalanced. Bungie says they’re working on a fix, but a solution has yet to materialize nearly a week after launch.

Without a doubt, the best new addition Curse of Osiris brings to Destiny 2 is the Raid Lair. Filled with challenging puzzles and boss fights, Raid Lairs provide the thrill that the rest of the expansion is sorely missing. While it would have been nice to get a new Raid or endgame activity like in previous expansions, the Raid Lairs are interesting enough to keep players hooked momentarily.

Once upon a time, Bungie justified microtransactions by saying that all future, non-major expansions would be free. They held that promise throughout the lifespan of The Taken King and Rise of Iron, but have since broken it. Not only do we have to pay for expansions again, but most of the loot that could previously be earned during Destiny’s lifecycle is also all locked behind microtransactions. Every ship, sparrow, cool shader, ornament, and emote can’t be obtained by completing challenges in-game, but only by opening Loot Boxes. Considering that Bungie was just caught handicapping XP gains to encourage real-money purchases, this move feels entirely wrong.

However, probably the most disgusting offense this expansion imposes on players is that vanilla players are now locked out of key content they had access to just weeks ago. The Prestige Leviathan raid now requires a Power Level that can only be attained by purchasing the DLC. This is especially terrible for PC owners who have only had six weeks to enjoy this content. Considering ‘Dark Below’ did not lock vanilla Destiny players out of the ‘Vault of Glass’ hard mode, there’s no excuse for what’s going on here.

For all that can be said about Curse of Osiris’ disappointing content, it can’t be denied that Mercury is a beautiful place to visit. The Vex architecture that litters the landscape is as fascinating to take in as ever, and the brief glimpses at Mercury before its transformation are astounding. If only we had more space and time to play around in these fascinating playgrounds.

Closing Comments:

In the same year we got great expansions like The Frozen Wilds for Horizon Zero Dawn, Defiant Honor for Nioh and In The Name of the Tsar for Battlefield 1, it’s amazing how dull Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris is. Filled with half-baked ideas, repetitive mission design and the smallest explorable area yet, Curse of Osiris feels as empty and meaningless as The Dark Below. The expansion’s campaign fails to push the overall narrative forward and does little with its interesting setup, the Crucible is a mess until Bungie patches it, and the Infinite Forest feels like it needed more time in the oven. Add in some extremely-questionable business practices and you have the most disappointing expansion to hit the Destiny franchise. Though the expansion is as beautiful as ever, and the gunplay as solid as before, Curse of Osiris fails to provide Destiny 2 or Bungie with a new lease on life.