‘Destiny 2: Lightfall’ Is Destiny at Its Best—Most of the Time
Strand is honestly so good and so fun to use, it sort of makes the older subclasses feel a bit lacking by comparison. Even if you swap out the Grapple for one of the other two grenade options—one spawns little creatures called threadlings, my babies, and the other is a crowd-control option that catches enemies in a glowy green web—you’re still going to be having such a good time you might forget the other classes even exist for a while. Granted that’s sort of been the case for any new subclass Destiny 2 has introduced in the past, but this one feels different, because you’re not just given a few tweaked mechanics, you’re given a host of brand-new mechanics and a new way to traverse the worlds of Destiny 2.
Cloudy With a Chance of Darkness
Let’s talk about Rohan and Nimbus, the Cloudstriders, the protectors of Neomuna. There are always two of them, and they only live for 10 years, a consequence of the heavy nano-augmentation they undergo when they volunteer to become Cloudstriders. We spend the most time with Nimbus, the younger counterpart to grim and grizzled Rohan, and every minute of it is a blast.
Destiny 2 has no shortage of grizzled, stoic men and haunted, traumatized women. Nimbus is a breath of fresh air, because they’re none of these things. They’re bright, bubbly, and nonbinary. They’re endearing and enthusiastic, with a sense of youthful (and delightfully immature) humor that we just don’t get enough of in Destiny 2. Voiced by series newcomer Marin Miller, Nimbus is the beating heart of the Lightfall campaign.
Too often we only get the narrowest slices of story development for Destiny 2’s supporting cast. But that’s one of the things Lightfall excels at. We get a lot of time with Nimbus. Over the course of the campaign, we start to realize that Nimbus’ exuberance isn’t just some defense mechanism or immaturity. It’s a choice.
In the face of cosmic horrors, Nimbus protects that youthful enthusiasm from the easy cynicism that comes with grief and loss. They have 10 years to live, and they’re going to live every last one to the fullest. It’s a nuanced and compassionate performance, and even when things get more serious and grounded in the post-campaign story, it’s still refreshing. I can’t wait to see more Nimbus in the seasons to come.
A Few Loose Ends
Despite everything I loved about Lightfall, finishing up the campaign felt like a relief. By the end, it felt like I’d done the same missions a few times over. Go protect the thing, get to the thing before the bad guy. The most interesting elements of Lightfall are unfortunately not the things we spend the most time exploring.
What is the Veil (beyond a justification to send us to Neptune?) How did Neomuna get there? What’s the deal with Strand? What does the Witness really want? Spending time with Nimbus and exploring the new Strand powers was super fun, but every time I finished a mission I felt myself looking off at the horizon where the real fight was happening, wishing I was there instead.
Thankfully, after you finish the campaign in Lightfall you do get to go participate in that bigger fight, and that’s what the Season of Defiance is built around. Queen Mara of the Space Elves (oops, I mean the Awoken) needs your help to free prisoners from the (probably well-manicured) hands of the Witness, and these missions are a blast. They’re exciting, challenging, kind of spooky. Awesome. It’s like if you had to play through the Dreaming City before you ever touched the storyline for Forsaken. No matter how good the Season of Defiance and Lightfall stories are, there’s an urgency gap between them which makes for some awkward pacing.