This overview in progress of Future 2’s The Witch Queen enlargement relies on ~35 hours of taking part in, which incorporates finishing the primary story and many of the facet content material. Nevertheless, the brand new raid and any endgame content material which will observe doesn’t debut till March 5, after which we’ll launch a closing, up to date overview and rating.
The rationale I’ve caught with Future for greater than seven years, by means of each its highest highs and lowest lows, has all the pieces to do with its extremely robust basis. Even when issues like a poorly informed story or an absence of content material have held it again, firing magical area weapons and throwing flaming hammers at aliens simply feels good! And whereas the previous few expansions had been sufficient however flawed iterations that stored my urge for food fed, The Witch Queen looks like a breakthrough that lastly realizes the long-running looter shooter’s biggest potential. This newest replace offers not solely Future’s first really phenomenal story alongside a marketing campaign that’s each difficult and memorable, but in addition a weapon crafting system that’s a godsend for hardcore devotees like myself, new light-wielding enemies that fully evolve the move of fight, and new takes on some previous talents to refreshingly shake up the meta. There’s little doubt about it – Future 2: The Witch Queen is the most effective Future’s ever been.
Future has at all times struggled to stability its wealthy lore between action-packed campaigns and cutscenes, which at occasions border on the nonsensical, and the merchandise descriptions and “grimoire” lore entries the place lots of its world’s most vital particulars are squirreled away. Even in the event you’ve been following the story for an extended whereas, it will be comprehensible in case you have virtually no thought what’s truly happening more often than not. However Bungie has spent the final a number of years altering that, introducing significant story developments and characters that really feel extra three-dimensional than they’ve prior to now. Nowhere is that extra obvious than in The Witch Queen which, for the very first time, doesn’t simply inform a satisfactory story however an actively compelling one.
Future 2: The Witch Queen Screenshots
The star of the present is The Witch Queen herself – Savathûn, the Hive God of Deception – who has succeeded in claiming the almighty energy of The Mild for herself and her Hive brood. However her story is far more than the same old monster of the week fanfare the place we drive a tank by means of her face and emote on her corpse in wonderful style. As an alternative, we get to know her life and motivations, understanding her to be greater than a purely evil entity out to destroy us – and because the occasions unfold, we’re handled to a number of, jaw-dropping twists and turns that make the rollercoaster journey far more satisfying. There are nonetheless a ton of references to characters and lore that make the plot more durable to observe in the event you haven’t been meticulously maintaining with Future’s wild escapades over the previous yr particularly, however that’s virtually unavoidable at this level and doesn’t cease this story from being entertaining even in the event you’re taking part in catchup.
The marketing campaign isn’t very lengthy (I used to be in a position to get by means of it in a 24-hour interval on the toughest problem), but it surely’s distinctive, tough, and extra ingenious than any Future marketing campaign earlier than it – to the purpose the place it’s truly not even shut. The most important addition is the Develop into Legend mode, which will increase fight problem and provides difficult mechanics like restricted revives for teammates. For individuals who would moderately not simply blow by means of the marketing campaign instantly, Develop into Legend serves as a frightening, rewarding journey that makes Savathûn and her ilk really feel like a pressure to be reckoned with and makes victory ultimately that a lot sweeter, particularly because the loot you get out of it’s completely definitely worth the bother.
The marketing campaign additionally consists of the notable addition of puzzle mechanics to ranges and boss fights which were virtually solely gated behind raids and Future’s endgame content material up till this level. Now, as a substitute of simply standing on a plate or scanning an artifact earlier than taking pictures a boss to loss of life, you may need to recollect a set of symbols and combat your approach by means of the halls of a palace looking for the door with an identical set earlier than the boss will be broken. These interactions by no means method something as complicated as correct raid mechanics, however as a substitute really feel like an ideal entry stage for extra informal gamers or these on the lookout for a much less sweat-inducing expertise. They make all of the distinction too, as a result of finishing the marketing campaign is not a matter of mindlessly operating and gunning for a handful of hours earlier than credit roll. Now it’s a must to take care of platforming and peculiar occult magic whereas dodging hearth from some extraordinarily impolite baddies.
Talking of baddies, one of many new challenges you’ll face is the fearsome, badass Mild-bearing Hive: immortal monsters with most of the similar talents your personal character possesses. In reality, they’ll even be endlessly revived by their Ghost to combat you many times, which is actually terrifying. In fight, these Hive Guardians can wield the Mild to slam you with devastating supers, lots of which may kill you in a single hit. Victory towards these formidable foes requires good gunplay, endurance, and most significantly, that you simply bear in mind to shortly run and crush the enemy Ghost earlier than it may well revive them. A difficult new enemy kind that forces you to consider the way you method an encounter like that is precisely what Future has wanted to spruce up fight . Knocking them out then smashing their Ghosts in my hand has been the spotlight of my time with The Witch Queen.
When you’re performed with the marketing campaign, there’s an entire new space to discover in Savathûn’s Throne World, a pocket dimension that’s a magical, otherworldly illustration of her thoughts. The Patrol Zone is pretty much like issues we’ve already seen earlier than in Future, but it surely does have my new favourite character: Fynch, a Hive Ghost who betrays his personal that can assist you save the day. This sassy little conscientious objector serves as your information by means of a lot of The Witch Queen’s motion and is totally brimming with memorable one-liners in top-of-the-line voice performances Future has loved. It makes exploring the Hive God’s thoughts much more satisfying, even whenever you’re operating the same old chores like Patrols and Misplaced Sectors.
Of all the brand new frontiers The Witch Queen affords although, none are so engaging because the long-awaited weapon crafting characteristic, which is a joyous windfall for RPG nerds like myself. Now, as a substitute of relentlessly grinding the identical actions again and again in hopes of getting that excellent weapon with all the fitting perks you had been on the lookout for, you may merely craft it to your precise specs. There are a number of caveats, although. First, doing so is each bit as needlessly complicated as you would possibly anticipate from Future, forcing you to juggle a bunch of latest, confusingly named currencies in a course of so hilariously dense you’ll get whiplash coming at it straight from the fast-paced battlefield. And second, constructing your excellent weapon requires (look ahead to it) an entire lot of grinding! That’s proper – the brand new system that permits you to keep away from the grind for the right weapon is changed by a distinct grind to stage up a mediocre weapon till it’s highly effective sufficient to be crafted into its closing type. The excellent news is now you at the very least at all times know there might be a definitive and predictable finish to the grind as a substitute of taking part in endlessly hoping RNG might be variety to you, however killing hundreds of enemies and finishing dozens of actions simply to stage up a single weapon continues to be fairly a climb.
The weapon crafting system additionally impacts nearly each side of the way you’ll play Future going ahead, in that now you’ll possible be utilizing less-than-ideal weapons as a way to stage up ones you’d wish to superb tune by way of crafting. And since one of many methods you acquire the assets needed for crafting is by utilizing randomly dropped (and often unhealthy) weapons till you replenish a progress bar, my loadout was often a weird mish-mash of weapons of their awkward puberty stage earlier than they develop into helpful for the endgame. That injects a little bit of amusing selection into the day-to-day grind, but in addition means you’re not often utilizing weapons you totally take pleasure in for more often than not you’re working your approach by means of the enlargement.
One completely welcome addition in The Witch Queen is a brand new weapon archetype known as the glaive, which is a polearm that can be utilized to dam incoming hearth, assault enemies in melee vary, and hearth projectiles to hit others from a distance. It’s been a number of years since Future received a correct new weapon kind and this one shakes issues up in an enormous approach as the primary melee/ranged hybrid possibility. To this point the experiment is a glowing success! Glaives are loads of enjoyable to make use of, play a significant position within the Future weapons ecosystem, and don’t really feel overpowered in the mean time (till somebody inevitably devises a totally damaged construct to take advantage of them, as is custom at this level).
The opposite main sandbox change is Void 3.0, an overhaul of one of many 4 energy sorts guardians can select from. After Stasis talents had been launched with Past Mild in 2020, the legacy talents of Void, Arc, and Photo voltaic have all felt out of stability by comparability – and at occasions even fully unviable. Void 3.0 is an try to repair that partially by bringing one of many different capability teams into parity with Stasis. The brand new customization choices fully modified the way in which I considered my Void talents and have the much-needed profit of creating it so my guardian doesn’t play identically to each different guardian at my facet. Now two characters utilizing the identical subclass may be outfitted with two completely totally different tremendous talents, grenades, and perks that basically change how they function, which mixes issues up for the higher in PvE and PvP alike.
The draw back is that it’s solely a partial repair, as the 2 different subclasses (Arc and Photo voltaic) stay very a lot within the mud. Seeing them within the wild has been a rarity within the days following The Witch Queen’s launch. Bungie has stated it plans to carry the opposite subclasses into parity over the subsequent yr or so, however within the meantime the meta stays very a lot imbalanced in a approach that daunts you from utilizing half of the talents on supply.
And that’s a development that arises fairly often when taking part in The Witch Queen. Whereas nearly each inch of the content material added does all the pieces proper, its shortcomings are as a substitute outlined by what isn’t there. That’s embodied completely by the entire lack of additives each to Future’s PvP modes and the PvE/PvP hybrid mode Gambit. When you step out of the wonderful marketing campaign and new content material round it, which you’ll virtually definitely have to do throughout the grind to the endgame, you’ll discover that completely nothing has been added to Crucible – no new sport modes and never a single map. This isn’t a brand new development both as Bungie has largely left their PvP choices rotting on the vine, even eradicating a whopping eleven maps from their playlists with out changing them and happening virtually two years with out including a brand new one. Equally, Gambit has had its maps lowered to simply 4, and solely minor adjustments have been made to it over time regardless of it being simply probably the most unenjoyable mode Future has.
We used to anticipate Crucible maps and the occasional sport mode to be added with every main content material launch, however The Witch Queen is yet one more enlargement that largely ignores the problems. It’s getting more durable to miss that when Crucible and Gambit are stood up as such giant cornerstones of what gamers are anticipated to do.
One other factor that’s lacking from The Witch Queen is any type of improved introduction for brand spanking new gamers, which is very painful contemplating that this enlargement makes an already convoluted world much more complicated with weapon crafting and Void 3.0. If you happen to don’t already know how one can play Future 2, the chances of you figuring it out with no very variety and really affected person pal are infinitesimally small. I’d like everybody to benefit from the really superior stuff The Witch Queen has to supply, however whereas its certain to excite current Future followers, it’s additionally laborious to suggest it to the uninitiated in its present state.
I’ll be taking part in The Witch Queen every single day main as much as the raid on March 5 and can undoubtedly have extra to say as soon as I’ve seen all the pieces this already incredible enlargement has to supply. Search for our closing overview as soon as I’ve had an opportunity to overcome what is bound to be The Witch Queen’s most daunting problem, even after a marketing campaign stuffed with them.