A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Team-based play encourages cooperation, communication, and socialization, but combat glorifies frenetic gun-based action.
Positive Role Models
Player avatars -- guardians -- are heroes fighting to save humanity. But many characters seem eager to do battle and appear to have fun in the heat of combat, striking poses in celebration.
Ease of Play
The controls are tight and intuitive, and should be familiar to anyone experienced with shooters. Difficulty depends largely on character level and who (if anyone) you are playing with. If things get too tough, players can grind on easier activities to earn more powerful gear that will improve their power.
Violence & Scariness
Players use sci-fi pistols, rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, swords, and staffs to fight aliens, robots, and -- in competitive multiplayer -- other player-controlled humans. Enemies scream in pain, disappear from battlefield once defeated. Aliens occasionally bleed black, player's character sometimes bleeds red. Noninteractive narrative scenes show additional violence, including important characters being shot, wounded. There's a sense of horror on the moon, with red spirits floating around, bones littering caves, screams heard in the darkness.
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The word "a--hole" is heard in dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
Players can spend real money within the game to purchase customization content. This is the latest installment in the Destiny franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is an online science fiction-themed first-person shooter available for download for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It's an expansion to Destiny 2, though the original game isn't required in order to play. Players take on the role of a guardian of the human race, fighting aggressive aliens and robots using sci-fi guns and melee weapons. Some aliens emit black fluid when shot, and the player's character occasionally bleeds red blood. Enemies scream in pain and disappear once defeated. The new setting, the moon, carries a sense of horror, thanks to bones, screams, and floating red ghosts. Mild profanity is occasionally heard in voiced dialogue. Online cooperative play encourages people to communicate and work as a team, especially when playing raid missions, and some activities are considerably easier when playing with others. Parents should also be aware that players can spend real-world money within the game to purchase customization content for their avatars.
Is It Any Good?
The second major expansion to Bungie's online sci-fi shooter is a mixed bag. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is praiseworthy for allowing new players to jump in without needing to purchase the original game. And it smartly keeps core elements that worked -- namely, the fantastic shooting and traversal mechanics -- while making bold moves to evolve the series. For example, weapon modifications are much more substantial, allowing players to essentially boost their favorite guns beyond their Power limits. And the range of activities that bestow useful rewards is now so diverse that players can pick and choose what they want to do according to their tastes and play styles while continuing to grow their characters, rather than be forced into quests and missions they're not interested in.
But for all the right moves Shadowkeep makes, some players are bound to be disappointed by how small it feels. The campaign missions can be completed in a single evening by a dedicated player, and the ending isn't satisfying. More quests are slated to be doled out following the expansion's release, expanding the story and lore, but that will do little to soothe players who expect more instant gratification. And while the evolution of the game's growth and quest systems are bound to be welcomed by those who have always enjoyed Destiny's complicated schemes, they'll likely do little to win over those who tend to get annoyed trying to work out what they need to do next. For all its changes, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep still feels an awful lot like the Destiny players have known for years. Whether that's a good thing will depend on the player.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.