Destiny 2: Warmind (DLC) Review

Ned Jordan
In Short
Warmind is an improvement over Curse of Osiris, but Destiny 2 gamers will have to wait a little longer for an expansion to really get excited about.

It took about twice as long for Destiny 2's second DLC expansion, Warmind, to follow its first, Curse of Osiris, as the first took to follow the release of the original game. Not surprisingly, the extra time that Bungie had to put into Warmind makes it feel like there's more to it than Curse of Osiris. It's not so much a major expansion as an extended content drop, though ' Destiny 2 gamers will probably need to wait for the Forsaken expansion for more expansive new content.

Warmind adds a new destination to Destiny 2's map, Mars. Now Mars may not sound all that new to Destiny veterans who remember that destination as being in an eternal rivalry with the Moon for the title of the most mundane of Destiny's locations, but this is a new Mars location set at the edge of its polar ice cap. Hellas Basin was home to the Clovis Bay research center during the Golden Age, and one of its biggest projects during that time was the development of the Warmind Rasputin. The new zone is a mix of red desert wastes, ice caves, and abandoned tech facilities which give it far more character than the Mars of the original Destiny. There are plenty of places where you'll want to pause a minute to enjoy the view. Size-wise it's equivalent to the smaller of Destiny 2's originals zones, but larger than Curse of Osiris' Mercury. At least on Mars you can use your Sparrow.

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Warmind comes with a five-mission story mode that introduces you to Ana Bray, a hunter who in her former life before her reawakening was a scientist at Clovis Bay who worked to develop Rasputin's AI, and who will be the person who will be collecting your Mars tokens once you complete the expansion's campaign. Five missions don't give the game much time to deliver a robust story, and although there's a bit more to it than the Curse of Osiris story, to get the most out of it you'll need to take the time to scan objects and read through terminal entries. There are some interesting and compelling gameplay moments in the campaign, such as a battle with a massive worm right out of Dune and a battle you'll wage with Valkyrie spears, a devastating and fun to use energy weapon that packs quite a wallop, but a chunk of it will have you doing the usual grind of mowing through Hive and Cabal and facing off against familiar bosses. You'll have no trouble making your way through the campaign if you've raised your power to the previous maximum after Curse of Osiris, but if not, then you may need to spend a little time grinding to get your gear upgraded. You'll easily blow through the remaining levels to the new level cap of 30 during the campaign without even knowing it if you're not paying attention, but character levels are kind of an afterthought in Destiny 2 anyway.

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Once you complete the campaign you'll have a new destination to explore, complete with lost sectors, chests, and public events. Warmind adds a new event type called Escalation Protocol, which is a wave-based horde mode. It's fun in a chaotic sort of way and a nice addition to the game. Exploration-wise you can collect Resonate Stems from completing activities which can be combined to unlock a corresponding Sleeper Node, and you can also try to track down the 45 hidden memory caches to get your hands on an exotic sword and Sparrow. Mars may not be the biggest zone in Destiny 2, but it gives you enough to do to keep you coming back more than Mercury did after you completed Curse of Osiris.

Warmind also adds two new strikes to the game, but like Curse of Osiris they're repurposed story missions. The original strikes featured some great locations and it's been disappointing to see the first two DLC expansions fail to follow-up on that precedent. Two new Mars-based maps are also added to the Crucible and are made available to all, so the population playing these maps is not limited to those who have purchased the Warmind expansion. A new raid, Spire of Stars, also comes with the expansion. It's an enjoyable enough experience, but it would have been better if it was tied to the story in Warmind rather than being a one-off.

I wasn't as disappointed with Warmind as I was with Curse of Osiris. There's more to Mars than Mercury and Warmind's campaign didn't force you to retread the same path over and over again in the way that Curse of Osiris' Infinite Forest did. I wish there was more to the story, though, and that the campaign ran for twice as long as it did. New enemy types would also help the expansion to feel more like an expansion than an extension. The Hive have been reskinned to make a new faction, but all of their troop types are basically the same as they have always been. Warmind is an incremental improvement over Curse of Osiris, so those looking for an expansion that really adds something significant to Destiny 2 will have to pin their hopes on Forsaken which launches in September.

Final Rating: 65%

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Transmitted: 12/7/2023 10:09:19 AM