A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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What's it about?
DESTINY 2: SHADOWKEEP brings back Eris Morn, a former guardian who has stumbled upon a fresh Hive menace on the moon, a destination that hasn't been seen since the original Destiny. She has accidentally awoken the Nightmares, powerful foes that mimic classic villains of Destiny quests past that pose a new threat to the few remaining humans left in the solar system. She enlists the player's assistance to destroy these enemies before they can begin wreaking havoc. In addition to the new campaign missions, this expansion also raises the player's maximum Power level to 960 via a variety of powerful new weapons and pieces of armor. Weapons can be further enhanced to exceed their Power limits. New finishing moves allow players to fell weakened enemies by rushing toward them to initiate cinematic, class-specific takedowns. Players also have access to new strikes and an original raid -- The Garden of Salvation, set in the Black Garden -- as well as a new season pass, which confers valuable reward loot with each new rank. Additional unannounced content is set to be rolled out slowly following the expansion's release.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep encourages people to get together and play with friends, but how does playing with others affect when and the amount of time you spend playing games?
Do you think we should spend time and money searching the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life? If we discovered aliens, what would that mean for humanity?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $34.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bungie
- Release date: October 1, 2019
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Language, Violence
- Last updated: December 13, 2020
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