Destiny 2: The Final Shape review – Witness finality

Destiny 2: The Final Shape is a massive event for the Destiny universe. Because of this, GamingTrend gave its two biggest Destiny 2 fanatics the nod to cover as much ground as possible and offer some diverse perspectives on this monumental expansion. Similar to our Destiny 2: Lightfall review last year, Nicholas Aguilera and Noah Rigsby have worked side-by-side to review Destiny 2: The Final Shape.


When I downloaded the pre-release alpha build of Destiny that came with my pre-order copy of the game approximately 10 years ago, I had no idea of the transformative experience I was in for. Back then, if I told myself I was in for nine years, eight months, and 26 days of excitement and disappointment, exhilaration and deflation, good stories and bad stories – I would’ve potentially had second thoughts about committing myself to Bungie’s next groundbreaking franchise. In spite of that, it is only after playing through Destiny 2: The Final Shape that I can definitively say how glad I am that I stuck with this series for the long haul. The Final Shape is without a doubt a soaring, triumphant, and bittersweet ending to one of the most engaging and unique shooters to exist.

The Final Shape is the final expansion in Destiny’s 10-year Light and Darkness Saga. Though the Destiny franchise has not ended as a result of this story, it symbolizes the end of an era for one of gaming’s biggest gambles. Aside from traditional MMO’s like World of Warcraft and EverQuest, no company had ever truly attempted to make and maintain a live service game. When Bungie announced the first Destiny and claimed they had a minimum 10-year long story planned for the game, most people doubted them, myself included. Back then, it seemed impossible to maintain players’ interest for such a long time – the number of games that managed to pull off a similar feat can, to this day, be counted on two hands. But here we are now, at the end of this long journey, and love or hate Destiny, anyone can admit that Bungie proved the doubtful wrong.

Destiny 2: The Final Shape | Launch Trailer

Destiny 2’s overarching story needed a home run in the wake of 2023’s narratively dismal Lightfall expansion. The story picks up right where Season of the Wish’s final mission leaves off: Crow has opened the entrance to the Traveler for the arrival of a small group of Vanguard Lightbearers. Within the opening minutes, Zavala (now voiced by the infinitely talented Keith David after Lance Reddick’s untimely passing), Ikora, and you, The Guardian, touch down in The Pale Heart to meet Crow and a Traveler-resurrected, light-filled Cayde-6. Together, the core Vanguard must pave the way to the monolith of The Witness to prevent them from petrifying the universe into their terrible Final Shape. 

Bungie absolutely delivered with the story of The Final Shape. Without going into spoiler territory, I can safely say that things definitely come to a close here. Major storylines are wrapped up, many questions are answered, and there is plenty of big-time emotional payoff. I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or two at the very end. Whereas Lightfall’s story was arguably the worst part of the expansion, The Final Shape’s story is essentially its biggest selling point. Hardcore, casual, and even lapsed fans of Destiny 2 would be wise to play this campaign: it’s just that good.

The story takes place entirely within The Pale Heart of the Traveler, a brand new destination set within the god-like Traveler itself. The first half of the location is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden; beautiful flowing waterfalls, sprawling green prairies, giant curving trees, and gorgeous scenic vistas. Peppered throughout the landscape are memories of The Guardian’s journey over the past 10 years. Giant Ghost shells, streets of The Last City, parts of the EDZ and the Cosmodrome, and even the Tower from the original Destiny populate The Pale Heart and serve as the majority of the activity/combat spaces. The path from the entrance to the Witness’ monolith is entirely linear as well, with a few open areas for public events, patrols, and sparrow-riding.

However, the farther one travels the more corrupt and perverse the environment becomes. Whereas the entrance to the Traveler looks like heaven, the path to the monolith looks more like hell. Pyramid architecture, grotesque, crystalized items and creatures, and a plethora of twisted hands litter the rotting landscape the further one gets from the entrance. In fact, these environmental differences create a lot of parallels to The Divine Comedy; it is clear that Dante’s Inferno was a major point of inspiration for this expansion. The Vanguard is searching for redemption in the face of impossible odds and must brave layers of horrors beyond comprehension in order to complete their quest. The Witness serves as a Satan-like antagonist, tormenting The Guardian and the Vanguard (especially Zavala) throughout their journey by bringing up past battles, sins, and traumas in an attempt to thwart their progress or inspire treachery. Contrarily, Cayde-6 plays a role similar to Virgil, acting as a spiritual guide across The Pale Heart, offering guidance and inspiring courage.

Cayde really is the glue of the narrative here – his personality has matured from the Red War era of Destiny. Though still cracking jokes, he is clearly cognizant of the gravity of the situation. He is the perfect sherpa for such an important arc in the Destiny universe, and I’m so glad we get to spend more time with him. Nathan Fillion also reprised his role as the former Hunter Vanguard, which is an added bonus.

I definitely still believe that you “just had to be there” in order to fully appreciate the story and environments of The Final Shape. I would not recommend any new players dive into Destiny 2 with this expansion – they will just be too lost. With almost 10 years of story, characters, events, and lore to keep up with, alongside game system changes, an ever-growing loot economy, and straight up missing content from the first years of Destiny 2 via the Destiny Content Vault (DCV), it just is not smart to start playing Destiny 2 now. Though it is unfortunate that this restricts this expansion to current and returning players, I think it makes sense for a franchise as storied as Destiny to expect people to go into the final chapter with some prior exposure.

Campaign missions are very enjoyable this time around, featuring some of the most engaging mission design since The Witch Queen. Each mission is focused heavily on story and introduces a mechanic that stays with you for the majority of the level, such as the Light/Darkness motes from the Prophecy dungeon or the Aegis shield from Vault of Glass. Though these are recycled mechanics, they add an extra layer to campaign missions that are already. There are definitely more bosses this time around as well, with some boss encounters leading straight into others with little reprieve. The campaign moves at a breakneck pace as well, shuttling players from mission to mission with almost no down time. This helps make the main quest feel more urgent – like you really are racing against the clock to stop the witness. And as always, the Legendary difficulty is the ideal way to experience the campaign. It is no different here than the last two times we’ve had Legendary campaigns: a fun challenge that offers plenty of tough encounters and worthwhile rewards.

The main selling point of The Final Shape is without a doubt Prismatic, the new subclass. In its most basic form, Prismatic is a curated amalgamation of the three existing Light subclasses and the two existing Darkness subclasses. Want to use a void Shield Throw with an arc Pulse Grenade as a Titan? Go right ahead. Healing Grenade with a Needlestorm super as a Warlock? Be my guest. Golden Gun with Withering Blade as a Hunter? No one’s stopping you. Bungie are truly letting players go wild with this new subclass. There are limits, such as Titans not being able to use a super like Burning Maul due to how overpowered some combinations would be.

Did I mention Prismatic comes with a new super meter-type ability as well? Each class is able to go Transcendent after dealing enough damage with Light, Darkness, or Kinetic abilities and weapons. When Transcendent, abilities recharge faster, incoming damage is slightly reduced, and you gain access to a Transcendent Grenade. These special grenades combine Light and Darkness effects to devastating results, like say Suspend and Chain Lightning at the same time. Transcendence is not quite as powerful as a super, but it comes pretty close. The community has dubbed it “diet super”, which is a fitting description.

Speaking of supers, three new ones also shipped with this expansion. An arc Hunter super, a solar Warlock super, and a void Titan super are all obtainable via the campaign, and they are a blast to use. Each one serves a unique purpose that stands apart from the existing supers in the game, and all are extremely powerful. The Titan super, Twilight Arsenal, has been my go-to for Prismatic, as it is the second and far stronger ranged Titan super to be added to the game. I sincerely hope we get more supers similar to these in the future, because these new ones kick butt.

Like all Destiny 2 expansions, The Final Shape launched with a raid. The latest raid is named Salvation’s Edge, and though I have not played through it myself, it has proved to be quite the difficult task for players up to the challenge. From what I can tell, this raid is very puzzle-heavy, requiring players to think on their feet more than ever. 

In a Destiny series first, after the World’s First fireteam completed Salvation’s Edge, a 12-player activity went live. This activity, called Excision, is my favorite piece of Destiny content to date. It serves as an ending to the Light and Darkness Saga, and what an ending it is. I will not say anything more about the mission to avoid spoiling anything – just be sure to bring tissues. 

The last major addition in The Final Shape is the introduction of the Dread, a (mostly) brand new enemy faction; the first Destiny 2 has seen since Forsaken back in 2018. The Dread are the Witness’ own private army, created out of hate to wreak havoc on The Pale Heart and the forces of Light. These guys are a genuine terror to fight against. Each enemy type (there are six total, including the previously added Tormentors) offers something brand new to combat. Between the exploding worms that shoot out of the Husks after they die, or the disorienting screams unleashed by the flying Grims, or the stasis and strand powers used by the Attendants and Weavers, you will certainly have your hands full. As if this expansion didn’t already breathe enough life into the Destiny formula, the addition of the Dread is one of the best things to happen to Destiny in a long, long time.

The Final Shape added a ton more to Destiny 2, including a boatload of new exotic weapons and armor, exotic class items capable of utilizing traits from two existing exotics, extremely capable legendary weapons and armor that sometimes feel exotic themselves, a new public event, side missions, and so, so much more. There is also one new Strike, which is super different thanks to the treasure-hunter/explorer fantasy it leans into, but I do miss the days of multiple Strikes with each expansion. If I had to have one complaint about The Final Shape, it would be the lack of at least one more Strike.

The new Episode, Echoes – the replacement to the seasonal model of old – also launched one week after the expansion. However, I will discuss it in a separate article.

After 10 years, Destiny finally feels fresh again. This is without a doubt the best expansion in the Destiny franchise, and for good reason. A stunning new location, familiar but simultaneously brand new subclass, insane new gear, and downright breathless main story make this one of the most memorable first-person shooter experiences available today. I’m grateful for Destiny 2 for a lot of reasons; but I am most grateful that this series will not be ending anytime soon.


Destiny 2 has and will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve met lifelong friends, made unforgettable memories, and journeyed an epic saga filled with highs and lows. Bungie was tasked with the tall order of delivering an impactful and meaningful conclusion to their 10-year long epic, but also making The Final Shape serve as a springboard for whatever comes next, whether it’s their episodic content or next major arc. To say the team was successful is an understatement as Bungie’s latest expansion is jam packed with everything that makes Destiny unique and special.

Nicholas covered all the incredible new additions and content that dropped in The Final Shape. The delays and resources allotted to the team are felt as nothing in this expansion missed its target. Everything from the narrative to the raid to the sandbox all excelled beyond my wildest expectations. The emotional connection we have with these characters, this world, and everything between shines as I shed many tears at multiple sections as everything we’ve been working toward finally came true.

I’ve been playing Destiny for a long time like so many others and it’s inspiring to see Bungie deliver when they go all in on a “make or break” expansion. While The Final Shape serves as a satisfying ending to this storied saga, I’m excited the team feels there are still stories to be told and adventures to be had. To facing the future when it comes!


Noah is the resident weeb who spends most of his time gaming and watching anime. His goal is to expand his skills while meeting new people. You have probably seen him feeding the other team kills in Overwatch Comp or speculating Star Wars and One Piece. Follow him on twitter @RigsbyNoah.



Destiny 2

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Destiny 2 is back, baby. The Final Shape’s exhilarating and heart wrenching main story quest, beautiful and twisted new destination, terrifying new enemy faction, and plethora of insanely powerful gear solidify this as the new peak of the Destiny experience.

Nicholas Aguilera and Noah Rigsby

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