When Destiny 2 came out in September, it felt like an extension of the original Destiny; one that showed developer Bungie figured out how to bring its original concept to life. As we said in our review, Destiny 2 was Destiny as it should have been, made with the benefit of the lessons Bungie had learned from three years of expansions, community interactions, and updates. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step forward. By contrast, Curse of Osiris, the first expansion for Destiny 2, feels a big step back.
Curse of Osiris is a blast from Destiny‘s past, dredging up some of the worst problems from the game’s early days. It’s short, small, and repetitive — the kind of content that would feel right at home in the first year of the original Destiny. Despite Bungie’s use of epic musical hooks, celebrity voice actors, and well-produced cutscenes, the actual experience of playing the latest addition to Destiny 2 is ho-hum at best.
For players who might have fallen out of Destiny 2 in the three months since it was released, Curse of Osiris offers little reason jump back in.
The world’s most boring time travel
Curse of Osiris concerns the Vex, one of Destiny‘s groups of alien enemies. As Destiny 2‘s enemies and characters go, the Vex, a hivemind race of robots, are some probably the most interesting. They assimilate entire worlds (and peoples) to turn them into additional robots, they’re inscrutable and unknowable, and they’ve mastered time travel.
Fighting these time-traveling robots is Osiris, a legendary Guardian hero, who was exiled in disgrace, partially for being too much of a doomsayer about time-traveling robots. Most of the expansion’s story and content take place on Mercury, a planet the Vex completely overhauled, and a place in the solar system Destiny has only lightly tread so far.
A powerful but disgraced hero fighting robots who can manipulate time inside a giant Matrix sounds like a recipe for a phenomenal sci-fi adventure. But Curse of Osiris does exceedingly little with its premise. It doesn’t take advantage of its time travel-themed plot to introduce new gameplay ideas or aesthetically interesting areas. For all the lip service paid to what a big deal Osiris is, he spends most of the expansion out of sight — we never see first-hand what makes him special.
Curse of Osiris is a blast from Destiny‘s past.
Players spend much of the expansion in the “Infinite Forest,” a new Destiny 2 locale that, as the characters in the game describe it, is “a planet-sized probability engine.” It’s a giant Matrix-like supercomputer where the Vex can simulate multiple realities. It sounds fascinating, but, as the centerpiece of Curse of Osiris, the Infinite Forest fails to live up to the promise of the idea. Despite all the possibilities a massive reality simulator suggests and the solar system of ideas from which Bungie could pull, the Forest is just a series of concrete and gold platforms with bad guys dumped on top of them. Shoot your way through one platform to open access to the next platform. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
The overwrought repetition recalls a time when Destiny was simpler and more frustrating. Every step through the Infinite Forest is functionally identical to the one before it. Sure, this is a shooter, and shooting a bunch of enemies in a series of hallways is what shooters do. The trouble is that you’ll revisit the Infinite Forest over and over again during the Curse of Osiris campaign, and the experience is always the same but for a few very slight variations. You’ll return to it and repeat the process a few more times if you play the expansion’s new “adventure” sidequests.
The expansion’s two new strikes? They’re verbatim copies of two story missions you completed on your own, reworked to accommodate two more players. Those missions had their moments the first time through, but replaying them over and over shows how thin they really are.
The Infinite Forest feels like a massive missed opportunity.
Destiny 2 does a fair amount to change up its missions, requiring players to hold positions, cross series of platforms, or jump into vehicles. It might not have revolutionized the shooter, but it’s much more fulfilling than the original’s earliest, most repetitious days. Curse of Osiris returns to those early Destiny days when much of the experience consisted of playing the same small chunks of content over and over, adding tedium to what might be decent levels under other circumstances.
The Infinite Forest specifically feels like a massive missed opportunity. Its name suggests boundless possibilities, and Bungie could have filled the place with literally anything. Apparently, though, the most interesting thing the Vex could think to simulate was the space equivalent of an empty parking lot, and the same exact firefights you can already find all over the solar system.
The bad old days
Despite these problems, Curse of Osiris does scratch that content itch felt by many dedicated Destiny 2 players. You can replay the three Adventure missions on Mercury again and again, completing tougher “Heroic” versions for better rewards. There are a host of new guns for players to find and add to their collections. Some, such as the crop of “Prophecy Tablets” that require you to wander the solar system completing older activities, will keep you pretty busy.
The new open area on Mercury has some cool ideas, like its periodic, involved public event, though it is pretty small, and, thus, does not have too many activities to keep you there. A few new maps in the multiplayer arena known as the Crucible bring more variety there as well. In aggregate, the additions are fine, and help to make Destiny 2 feel a little fuller when you venture back into it.
Upon close examination, though, there isn’t a lot there. Most of Curse of Osiris consists on reusing chunks of content with very small tweaks. The new missions, both in the story elsewhere, tend to be variations on the theme of replaying the same big chunk of the Infinite Forest. The cool suggestions of a strange, infinite simulation to explore, a new character to meet, and time travel shenanigans to prevent never really make it into what you experience in the game.Our Take
The world of Destiny 2 suffers every time its great ideas fail to deliver on their promise. We’ll see if things are improved in days and weeks to come by new additions like the new “Raid Lair” mode, which launches Friday. For now, Curse of Osiris feels shallow, an add-on comprising reused content and busywork. Curse of Osiris takes Destiny 2 back in time to the early days of Destiny, when players were stuck with a much weaker game.
Is there a better alternative?
Destiny 2 is itself a solid multiplayer title, so if you’re desperate for more to do in Bungie’s shared-world shooter, you’re stuck grabbing Curse of Osiris. If you’re open to buying a new game instead, there are lots of great shooters on the market right now, from Overwatch or LawBreakers to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. If you weren’t sold on Destiny 2 before, Curse of Osiris won’t tip the scales.
How long will it last?
Repeating content is built into Destiny 2, but we finished the main story of Curse of Osiris in an afternoon. The adding content into areas Destiny 2 players keep returning to, like the Crucible or the Strike playlist, and hunting down all the expansions unique guns should keep players busy for a while.
Should you buy it?
For dedicated Destiny 2 fans, Curse of Osiris offers enough new stuff that at least it’ll freshen up most of the minor aspects of the game with things like new guns to chase and new events to pursue. But if you’re in the market for inventive shooter gameplay or a great story, look elsewhere.
Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a review code provided by the publisher.