Let’s face it, Osiris’ involvement in Destiny 2 has usually led to negative reception. One need only take a look at Destiny 2‘s Curse of Osiris DLC as an example of how things got out of hand. That brings us to the Season of Dawn, the continuation of our in-game journey. Unfortunately, the “curse of Osiris” still looms. I’ll explain further in our official review.
Note: For more information, check out our Destiny 2: Season of Dawn guides and features hub.
Destiny 2: Season of Dawn – The story so far
I’ve usually prefaced reviews by sharing the plot of the game or expansion. In Destiny 2: Season of Dawn, however, I feel that we’re more or less looking at what we could’ve had — a continuation of the story presented in Shadowkeep and the Season of the Undying. Yes, Shadowkeep did leave you wanting more as mentioned several months ago. Logically, you’d have to give players their due.
Rather than continuing the plot thread involving the Darkness, Pyramid ships, and Eris’ dabbling, we ended up with Osiris seeking our help once more. Osiris is hardly one of Destiny 2‘s most likable characters, although his presence would’ve been more tolerable during the previous season given the focus on the Vex and the Undying Mind.
As usual, Bungie left a storyline yarn that’s dangling despite players waiting to see what’s next. So, for the next four months, we’ll have to contend with Osiris’ ineptitude as he tries to control the flow of time. Now, we’re facing off against a supposed Cabal incursion where the Red Legion attempts to reverse their mistakes. Likewise, we’ll have to revive Saint-14. It’s like a game of throwing ideas at a wall and hoping that something sticks.
Sundials and Obelisks
The sudden jump from one gaping plot hole to another that will, likely, become another gaping plot hole can be jarring. But, it can be partially forgivable if the content was interesting. Sadly, what Destiny 2: Season of Dawn provides is lacking.
First, you’ve got the Sundial activity, a six-player run that has matchmaking where you kill numerous Cabal. Everything takes place on Mercury. Even though you’re told that there are branching timelines, they’re practically the same locations and recycled assets that you’ve seen since Curse of Osiris. The run-of-the-mill mechanics won’t wow you at all as the bosses have similar patterns (punch a psion to break the shield and do DPS).
The other main content in Destiny 2: Season of Dawn are the various Obelisks. These are found on four planets. Each has its rewards and perks that you can level-up and grind for. Still, the progression is the same as before:
- Turn in Polarized Fractalines from bounties (aka. tokens).
- Pick up additional “kill X mob with Y weapon” bounties for more Polarized Fractaline resources. You’re likely killing them in the same spots you’ve seen these past three years.
- Turn in more Polarized Fractalines to gain Obelisk rank-ups and grab more perks.
There’s one slightly interesting tidbit, though, and that’s the inclusion of Timelost Weapons. You pick up Timelost Weapon bounties with random rolls and random objectives. They’re interesting at first, especially if you’re looking to grind for god-rolled weapons. However, if you already have decent equivalents of that item type or the ones for that slot, then it becomes an exercise in futility.
Another Curse of Osiris
Like Curse of Osiris in 2017, Destiny 2: Season of Dawn also suffers from a lack of content. Given the content “drip feed” that we’ve seen since Black Armory, this comes as no surprise. Think of it in the same vein as Joker’s Wild or the Season of the Drifter. The difference is that barely anything seems worth your while. Or, rather, you’re doing the same activities as before.
For instance, if you wanted to level up to hit the new base power cap of 970, there are no new pinnacle activities to do. The Sundial and Obelisks don’t provide them (the former only gives powerful/tier 2 rewards once you fill up the progress bar).
Instead, you’ll find yourself re-running the Garden of Salvation raid, Master Nightmare Hunts, the Pit of Heresy dungeon, or you’d go for the 100K score in a Nightfall. These are the high-end activities we’ve done in Shadowkeep and the Season of the Undying, so the power climb becomes egregiously repetitious in Season of Dawn.
The first holiday event, The Dawning, is also live. Even then, it’s led to issues. In the past, Eververse event cosmetics could be obtained via bright dust, silver, prismatic facets, and holiday engrams whenever you leveled up. Say goodbye to the last two because all we have now are silver and bright dust purchases.
Similar to the worries that people had when The Dawning was around during Curse of Osiris, we’re once again seeing a very stingy provision of event rewards. It’s as though nothing was learned from the previous years.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in Destiny 2: Season of Dawn is the fact that we’re playing a DLC that still has the problems that many have criticized months ago when Shadowkeep launched.
If the artifact mods system wasn’t to your liking and you felt that it limited your choices on which weapons to bring, well, prepare for the Season of Dawn to continue with that trend. Now, instead of relying too much on hand cannons and submachine guns, you’ll focus more on scout rifles or pulse rifles for their champion mods via the Lantern of Osiris artifact.
What about the other seasonal mods system? In Season of Dawn, you can socket mods that provide you with stacks of “Charge of Light.” In turn, other socketed Light Charge mods may consume these to provide various effects such as healing, damage mitigation, ability energy, and more.
The downside is that you won’t be able to use these on your older armor pieces or the ones obtained in non-Season of Dawn activities. Remember those level 10, fully-masterworked armor pieces with god-rolled stats that you earned during Destiny 2‘s Season of the Undying? You can’t put Light Charge mods in those. You’ll need to find specific armors such as the Righteous Set or generic ones such as the Vigil of Heroes set that’ll let you use those perks.
In the past, gear was hardly outdated thanks to the infusion system. If they did become outdated, it was due to overhauls that happened once in a blue moon. This time, we’re seeing that happen within a three-month timeframe. This is one of the most surprising facets of Destiny 2. It’s also one of the least player-friendly concepts in a looter-shooter.
It’s highly possible that these mechanics weren’t changed in time for Season of Dawn‘s release. But, you would at least expect something positive from Bungie given all the “we’re listening” replies to player feedback. If the original plan was to let Guardians “play the way they want to,” then concepts that severely limit player choice need to be reworked.
Saving Private Saint-14
If there’s one saving grace in Destiny 2: Season of Dawn, it’s Saint-14’s. The character’s return has some epic moments. The legendary Titan has been long dead, but you’ll be able to save him by completing a lengthy quest chain. Still, this was also botched since progress is time-gated. Additional steps are made available each week. Funnily enough, even though you’ve already watched a cinematic showing Saint-14’s revival, you can’t interact with him in any hub until next week.
From the lack of a brand new raid (or even a darned Vanguard strike) to exotic quests that won’t go live until next year, Destiny 2: Season of Dawn makes you wonder if there’s anything to look forward to during the holidays. Maybe a secret exotic that randomly pops up would lead to a welcome surprise. But, for now, it looks like it’ll be as disappointing as Xur’s usual weekly appearance.
If you summarize Destiny 2: Season of Dawn in one word, it’ll be “underwhelming.” For the add-on’s pricing point, you’ll find a few things worth doing in-game. However, compared to prior Destiny 2 expansions and DLC, Season of Dawn is severely lacking. We can consider it the “Season of Yawn.”
Maybe Osiris or Bungie would end up composing a detailed apology. Then again, Sagira would simply say that won’t happen. For the sake of clarity, here’s the content drop calendar for Destiny 2: Season of Dawn which runs from December 2019 to March 2020: