Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Aimed to celebrate the vaunted developer’s 30th anniversary, Bungie’s Destiny 2: 30th Anniversary Pack tastefully leans into that nostalgic feeling for better days… and it works. Even though I have been especially critical of Bungie’s decisions in the past, from botched releases to partnering with enemy megacorp #1, Bungie’s given me plenty of reasons to be skeptical of their choices. However, Bungie has also consistently wowed me with their connection to their gamers… feedback is taken wholeheartedly by Bungie, reviewed, iterated upon, and then they actually implement the changes based on said feedback. That is huge in this industry as too often gamers are taken advantage of and it’s nice to see that, though there may be internal struggles going on, there’s still a consumer-friendly (read: gamer-friendly) relationship with its fanbase.
Weird as it may seem to say given my position on them being more consumer-friendly than other studios of their size and pedigree, the 30th Anniversary Pack for Destiny 2 is well worth the $25 USD ($30 CAD for those on the team up in the Canadian north) that it costs on Steam. Sure, you’re essentially paying for cosmetics and a single 3-person dungeon run, which might seem anti-consumer but the way that Bungie approached their 30th anniversary is why I’m so enamored with them.
Gallerhjorn, the exceptionally sharp-looking armor set (serious props here because I really, really don’t like Destiny’s aesthetic design language at all), a run through Xur’s Loot Cave, as well as a number of other in-game rewards and events all tie in to an experience that isn’t just celebrating Bungie – It’s celebrating gamers. From the wicked fun gameshow-like dungeon to the plethora of Easter Eggs, to the introduction of a handful of weapons from a number of Bungie’s beloved classics (Halo being front and center there) and that is actually what prompted me to give Destiny 2 a spin again as it had been a while since I last played (Editor’s Note (PY): You and me both…).
By “a while” I mean, the last time I played Destiny 2 would have been the second week in September, 2017… a week after it released. I went in to Destiny 2 hoping against hope that Bungie had learned lessoned and implemented changes to prevent another Destiny 1-launch style experience. While better… I felt just as betrayed as I did when Destiny 1 initially released, so I put the franchise down and didn’t expect to get back into it. Then I saw the Anniversary Pack and just… perhaps it came at just the right time; right around the holidays when seasonal depression is at it’s heaviest, so I was looking for something comfortable and was utterly floored when it was this pack that I landed on.
As I said, I thought I was done with the franchise, but seeing Gallerhjorn and the various “Bungie Day Events” just hit me at the right time. So here we are- 35 or so hours later and I’m legitimately shocked. Not only did I find myself enjoying the entire experience, but there was a certain newness to the nostalgia that I felt- it was exciting because it was uncharted territory, but it was comfortable because of the nostalgia (or, if you look at it in a different way… because Bungie’s respect, appreciation, and devotion come through on nearly every aspect of the Anniversary Pack) that was so perfectly timed. I think the best way to put is that it’s like being able to experience something you’ve already experienced, but experience it again for the first time.
Though we traditionally score our reviews, given the aim and design of the 30th Anniversary Pack, it’s difficult to come up with an individual score, in part because it’s not a true DLC / Expansion; it is, instead, an elaborate celebration within Destiny 2 that shows Bungie listens, cares, and may even truly appreciate the people that rose them (Bungie) to the celebrated status that they enjoy today. Though they have their internal struggles, some of which there is no excuse for, it is important to recognize that they are, and continue to be, a world-class development studio in a world where consumer-friendly integrity is fleeting at best.
While I could slap an arbitrary score on the Anniversary Pack (it’d be a solid 8), I think it’s more important to note that rather than a score, I wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up the Destiny 2: Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack – it is worth the time and if you take it slow enough your first go around, you’ll see who it is that Bungie is truly celebrating here.Here’s to another 30 years