Skip to main content

‘Destiny 2: Warmind’ review

‘Warmind’ is a decent excuse to take a quick dip back into 'Destiny 2'

Destiny 2: Warmind review
‘Destiny 2: Warmind’
MSRP $19.99
“Destiny 2: Warmind is a step up from its last expansion, but still suffers feels repetitive.”
  • Lots of new secrets and weapons
  • More variety
  • Improved weapon progression
  • New competitive ranking improve long-term play
  • Feels much deeper than "Curse of Osiris."
  • Story feels thin
  • Strikes feel recycled
  • Not enough new enemies
  • Endgame grind can be tedious

Developer Bungie’s plan for its Destiny series was always to create a “forever game,” a massively multiplayer online shooter with content that keeps players gunning down aliens across the universe in perpetuity. With the release of Destiny 2’s second expansion, Warmind, that dream seems to have left players doomed to play a never-ending loop of first-person shooting.

Warmind is the second of two small, $20 add-ons covered in Destiny 2‘s initial post-release “Expansion Pass,” which offered players additional Destiny stories throughout the game’s first year. It is an improvement over D2’s claustrophobically small first expansion, Curse of Osiris, but Warmind can’t help but make a Destiny 2 player wonder if we’ve seen all the tricks up Bungie’s sleeve. It’s nice to have a new place to explore and new guns to find, but reskinned enemies, lackluster storytelling, and repetitive content are starting to wear out their welcome.

Destiny 2 remains a polished, tight shooter that can be a lot of fun with friends, but Warmind begs the question; “Is this it?”

Oh no, another Hive god

It should be noted that, relative to Curse of Osiris, everything about Warmind is an improvement, starting with its story. Both expansions revolve around characters who have shown up in Destiny lore, for those who have bothered to read it.

This one is about Ana Bray, a Guardian character who, back before the “Collapse” that ruined Earth and brought evil aliens to the solar system, was a member of a brilliant, super-rich family of industrialists attempting to spread humanity to the cosmos. Players have seen the logo of their company, Clovis Bray, stenciled on buildings and discussed in lore for the last few years, and now Warmind gives you a face to go with the name.

Following the events of Destiny 2’s primary campaign, Ana discovers a giant science facility on Mars that houses the core of Rasputin, an extremely powerful artificial intelligence that was once in charge of the defense of the entire solar system. Again, for the Destiny 2 faithful, Rasputin is a familiar name. Players have crossed paths with before, and it has never been clear whether the “Warmind” computer is fully friend or foe.

Warmind begs the question; “Is this it?”

Of course, the unthawing of the glacier also unearths a new faction of the zombie-esque alien faction called the Hive, so now you have to stop them from destroying the solar system.

It all sounds like a potent mix for a fan-friendly story, but the Destiny games have never been particularly concerned with telling a cogent tale in a cogent way, and all the interesting ideas of Warmind pretty much vanish in a hail of bullets.

Destiny 2: Warmind review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Despite laying out so many tasty tidbits for those devoted to the series’ lore, Warmind presents all the ingredients, then chooses to ignore them. For the most part, Ana’s desire to find out about her past and Rasputin’s self-awareness and possible agenda are glossed over: They are a loose glue that holds together Warmind’s many shootouts.

Somewhere new to explore

Warmind does, however, provide good excuses to direct players to explore new locations and scour for new stuff. The icy version of Mars in Warmind is a great deal more interesting than the small, repetitive slice of Mercury in Curse of Osiris. Once you’ve completed the story, Warmind opens up, offering some fun quests that will send you off exploring, spurred on by the promise of every Destiny 2 fan’s favorite treasure, new and very fancy guns.

There seem to be secrets scattered everywhere, which is good — Destiny is at its best when it’s surprising players and sending them off to find weird things – but most of these quests boil down to lengthy, grindy quests. For example, spread across the planet are 45 “nodes” — floating diamond-shaped treasure chests that players can only open after completing activities and gathering the right items. Your mileage will vary based on how much you like completing goals like shooting 100 enemies in the head or completing five Heroic Strikes.

The single biggest content addition on Mars, besides the story and new guns, is the “Escalation Protocol,” a button anybody can push that kicks off a horde mode-like public battle against wave after wave of frozen Hive bad guys.

Fun quests that will send you exploring, in search of Destiny 2 fan’s favorite treasure: new and very fancy guns.

It’s tough, which is good because it gives veteran players room to improve, and serves as a nice change of pace from the public events Destiny 2 has scattered around its many planets to date.

The high points of Warmind, the things that will keep players checking in for at least a couple of weeks, are its little quality of life improvements. Exotic weapons, the best of the best, have been tweaked to feel more special and powerful, adding “Masterwork” upgrades to make them more powerful in unique ways.

The game’s competitive arena, the Crucible has been split up into two versions, Quickplay and Competitive, both of which rank you in different ways to provide either a more casual or more stringent experience. Scoring additions to Nightfall Strikes, some of the most difficult missions in the game, come with new rewards that provide a new target for long-term, returning players. All told, these changes make Destiny 2 work a little better, and should make the game more rewarding over time.

Repeating the repetition

Those improvements are all small potatoes, though. For everything it does well, Warmind falls into the trap that Destiny 2 and Curse of Osiris built for it: Everything in Destiny 2 is made to be endlessly replayable, and the result is that most of the game feels very repetitive. Like Curse of Osiris, Warmind recycles story missions you’ll play alone as “Strikes,” repeatable co-op challenge missions you’ll run with other players. It adds new public events, but they are very similar to the ones players have been working through week after week since last September. Its enemies are largely the same old aliens — there is one new hive enemy type, a sniper — but with a fresh coat of ice that shatters when they die.

Destiny 2: Warmind review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bungie continues to tweak and improve the experience, but progress is slow. While more timed events like the holiday “Dawning” event, Iron Banner, and Faction Rallies give you a reason to log in, Warmind shows a struggle on Bungie’s part to really keep Destiny 2 fresh enough to warrant hanging around.

Our Take

Destiny 2 remains a highly polished shooter that can be fun to pick up with friends, and Warmind will keep fans busy for few days, maybe even weeks. Moreover, the “Raid Lair” — a high-level mission for dedicated players — may inject even new, interesting challenges into the expansion the weekend after launch. Warmind gives you a solid reason to jump back into Destiny 2 for a bit, but most of us will probably put the game down again before too long.

Is there a better alternative?

Destiny 2 is still a solid shooter, and fans who have been hanging around this long will find Warmind an improvement over the last expansion. There is no shortage of multiplayer shooters out there — ranging from Overwatch to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite to Call of Duty. For the casual shooter/MMO experience, though, Destiny 2 is still really the only game in town.

How long will it last?

The story campaign for “Warmind” will run players about three hours, making it easy to tackle in an afternoon, but seeking out the expansion’s secrets and grinding up to play its Raid Lair portion will keep you playing at least 10-20 hours over a few of the game’s weekly resets.

Should you buy it?

For Destiny 2 fans, Warmind is a good addition to an enjoyable game that doesn’t break the mold, but makes some incremental improvements that make it a worthwhile purchase. For everyone else, there’s little in the expansion that’s going to excite or hold attention if Destiny 2 wasn’t already doing that, making it an easy skip.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Hornshaw
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Phil Hornshaw is an author, freelance writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of The Space Hero's…
How to get Hero Tokens in Spider-Man 2
Miles Morales and Peter Parker stand together in Spider-Man 2.

Is there any doubt that Peter Parker and Miles Morales are heroes by the time Spider-Man 2 takes place? As goofy as it sounds, you will still need to prove your hero status by earning what are known as Hero Tokens. Just like City Tokens, these are more conceptual objects than actual tokens, but are still required for some of the higher-level upgrades and unlocks for your tools in the game. Still, not every heroic action is deemed worthy of getting you Hero Tokens. If you want to know all the activities to collect as many as you can in Spider-Man 2, we've narrowed down your search.
How to get Hero Tokens

There are plenty of options for you to get Hero Tokens, but the most efficient are the Mysteriums. Also known as Mysterium dev diaries, these unlock after you meet Mysterio in the story and then they start to populate the map. There are only 10 of these, and they each consist of time trials that rank you based on time. Earning a gold will get you two Hero Tokens, while silver and bronze award you just one. So long as you're a skilled player and can get a gold time in one or two attempts, this is easily the fastest method to get these tokens. For one, you obviously have to go fast here, but when you get a gold, you also get the rewards for the two ranks below, so each Mysterium is really worth four tokens if you can master it.

Read more
How to get tech parts in Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man attacks enemies in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

Amid all the different tokens, memories, and photo-ops you need to collect in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, the one material that is both the most common and most necessary is Tech Parts. With the exception of your abilities, which only require skill points you earn by leveling up, essentially everything you can unlock or upgrade in the game will cost Tech Parts alongside one other material. You might think you will never run low early on when you start getting them in batches of over 100 at a time, but once you start unlocking all the slick new suits and styles and gadgets you want to upgrade, you'll realize just how desperate you are to get more. Your spider-sense can't help you with this one, so here are the best ways you can get Tech Parts in Spider-Man 2.
Best ways to get Tech Parts

Tech Parts are the most basic upgrade component in Spider-Man 2, and the city is full of them. But you're better off using these methods to get them rather than others.

Read more
The best skills in Spider-Man 2
Miles checking his phone in spider-man 2.

Now that Peter and Miles are sharing the spotlight as dual Spider-Men in Marvel's Spider-Man 2, you probably expect each to come with their own skill trees. You wouldn't be wrong for thinking that, but it isn't just two sets of abilities you need to juggle -- it's three. Not only do Peter and Miles each have their own bespoke skill trees to upgrade their specific abilities and powers, such as Miles' Venom abilities and Peter's Symbiote ones, but there is a shared tree that grants both Spider-Men new attacks and moves. This gives you more skills to choose than ever, but not necessarily more skill points to spend on them. Unlike Hero or City Tokens and Tech Parts, you only get new skill points when you level up. Here are the best skills on these new skill webs that you should unlock in Spider-Man 2.
The best shared skills
For the most part, all three skill trees are linear. However, unlike the Suit Tech upgrades, the points where there are branches are not mutually exclusive. If you've got the skill points to spend, you can fill out an entire branch without having to pick and choose between abilities.

Web Whip
We can't really blame enemies for packing ranged weapons when the alternative would be to duke it out face-to-face with a superhero, but it doesn't make them any less annoying when you have to interrupt your combo to dodge a shot from far off. By hitting triangle and R1, you can snag that pesky gun and throw it back at your attacker to even the playing field.
Bounce Up
It isn't super realistic, but you can't deny how fun air combos are in Spider-Man 2. If you want to really juggle your prey for as long as possible, adding the Bounce Up skill lets you slam an enemy down with triangle and bounce them back up into the air to reset your air combo.
KO Recharge
Abilities take a long time to come back, but there are a few skills that can speed things up. The best of the bunch is KO Recharge, which restores some of your abilities for every KO, finisher, or stealth takedown you pull off. There are other ability recharging skills you could invest in, but you will always be KOing enemies, so this is the most reliable.
Web Line Double Takedown
Speaking of stealth takedowns, the only downside to stealth is that it can be a little tedious webbing up criminals one at a time. This is especially true when multiple goons are hanging out near each other and will notice if you try and snag their buddies. This move only works when you're on a web line, but does let you stealth takedown two enemies at once rather than just one.
The best Peter Parker skills

Read more