2018.10.10Destiny 2: Forsaken

Destiny 2: Forsaken has been an action-packed and tear-jerking addition to the Destiny franchise.

The trailer:

Here's the harder nerd stuff: As a Hunter, I couldn't be more upset they killed off Cayde-6. As a fan of the game, I couldn't be more upset they killed off Cayde-6. After running the length of the main scenario and tracking down the people responsible (yes, this is spoiler-free), you're left with the pursuit of Cayde-6's prized weapon: The Ace of Spades (clearly shown in the video).

This is the annoying part: the pursuit of the weapon became a drawn out series of carrot-and-stick events that became a major inconvenience. Destiny 2 has something for everybody -- but not everybody is going to want to play at everything the game has to offer. Personally, I don't really enjoy PVP matches. I'm a casual player -- I play in the evenings for a little while after kiddo goes to bed, probably like most other dads who want a little virtual pew-pew-pew in their lives. PVP puts me up against pizza and Red Bull-fueled college kids who play for hours and hours and hours every day. I routinely get beaten pretty badly in those matches (I got my backside handed to me by one guy whose power score was 600! I didn't know that was even a thing!). But to progress in quests like the Ace of Spades, I play them not because I want to. I'm sure my gameplay improves the more I play them, and I appreciate that, but it gets kinda hard to appreciate incremental improvement when you're spending most of the match respawning. I stink at PVP and I own that.

The biggest note about Forsaken, though, has to be the task at the close of the pursuit of the weapon. It's tantamount to an extended good-bye from an old friend.

There was one thing in that whole task that has made me think there's a chance we'll see a Cayde-7. And, honestly, I hope we do. I'd been a little suspicious about what was going on with the Cayde character -- how it was that he was so central to the plot, yet was relegated to a small space in the hangar for the past year or more. Contrast with Zavala, who has the equivalent of an entire pier all to himself. For me, what made Cayde-6 special was the humor. Fillion infused Cayde-6 with tremendous humor, and it was something that made me want to play and keeping playing the Destiny franchise.

Why is Cayde-6 gone? Did the players tire of his wit? I looked to the Internet for answers. Turns out Fillion didn't do any of the voice work for Forsaken1. But, bigger than that, Bungie reports they wanted to create a storyline that would hit players directly in the feels2.

Well, it worked.

In Bungie's first smash hit, Halo, you played as Master Chief, a character who was completely ambiguous on purpose so that the player had no preconceived notions about what s/he looked like. The effort was designed so that players could have no trouble inserting themselves into the role. The trouble with that, I find, is that I had no connection with it. Master Chief offered a suit for us to wear, but not much beyond that. The Destiny franchise is very different, because from the start we had a character we could like and identify with -- a guy (an Exo, not a person) with a great sense of humor and a weirdness that made you constantly question whether the guy was an idiot or a genius. (I'm still collecting expired ramen coupons, thinking they may be worth something someday.) Cayde-6 was no suit for the player to wear. Cayde-6 was interactive, and... alive.

My concern now is what the future holds. Destiny without Cayde-n is just another kill-kill-kill game. I can get those anywhere. Cayde-6 brought the franchise to life. One of the commenters on the PlayStation blog felt much the same: "Cayde-6 is my favorite, as a hunter… he was my mentor through the last several years across each game." Truth.

Ballsy move to take Cayde-6 "off the board" (Bungie's words). At this point, I have Cayde-6's gun, ship, and emptiness. I want my mentor back.

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