Now that Season 14 of Destiny 2, Season of the Splicer, has officially started, it's a great opportunity to look back at the previous Season of the Chosen to appreciate what made it one of the best Seasons in recent memory.
The overarching story of Season of the Chosen was, for myself at least, one of the biggest highlights of the Season. Right from the start a long teased character from the lore, Caiatl, daughter of Calus and Empress of the Cabal, was introduced and she immediately became a worthy antagonist. Caiatl exuded raw strength and military prowess but was still able to recognize Zavala as a fellow commander and addressed him with the respect such a standing deserves. Caiatl even began to admire Zavala and his fellow Guardians over the course of the Season.
Caiatl isn't here to just conquer for the thrill of it, the Cabal have been ravaged by the Darkness and Caital is desperate to form some kind of alliance with humanity in order to bring peace to her people. In previous Season’s this character backstory would have likely been relegated to lore entries but in the current Season, this important context to Caital’s character is given its own voice log that can be listened to from the H.E.L.M. The desperation, fear, and determination in Caital’s voice would have been completely lost if only given in written form.
The storyline of Crow, one of the best new (old?) characters introduced into the franchise, has continued into Season of the Chosen from Season of the Hunt. This is one of the first times that a direct narrative thread has continued across Seasons, apart from the ever-approaching Darkness, which serves to drastically elevate the investment in this particular storyline. Crow’s internal struggle between who he was as Uldren and who he wants to be as a Guardian of the City is some strong stuff and has seen universal praise amongst the community. The discussions that Crow has with Osiris about wanting to reveal himself to Zavala but fearing the possible repercussions draws genuine sympathy from the player, something only strong writing can accomplish.
A surprising part of Season of the Chosen is how well Bungie has woven the main storyline together over the course of the Season. The new social space, the H.E.L.M, the weekly ‘Challenger’s Proving’ storyline, as well as the ‘Proving Grounds’ Strike all directly tie into how the Guardians of the last city, with Zavala, Osiris and Saladin leading them, are constantly pushing back against the Cabal across the system. Especially with the Challenger’s Proving questline each week almost feels like you are waiting for the next episode of a T.V show to find out what happens next to your favorite characters. Normally Destiny has big story moments at the beginning and end of a Season but with Season of the Chosen, there is a clear path each week for what you need to do to continue the story of Zavala vs. Caital.
Activities and Missions
The activities available in Season of the Chosen is where the Season faltered a small amount. While the ‘Battlegrounds’ activity was filled with a ton of enemies and genuinely felt like an all out war between the Cabal and the Guardians of the Last City, the actual activity itself was extremely straightforward and overly long. This made the grind for unlocking Hammer Charges to focus Umbral engrams a real chore.
The new Strike ‘Proving Grounds’, while fun to see used as a way to conclude the main storyline of the Season, was nothing special. Finally being able to enter the Cabal tank and seeing the tops of the trees move overhead as the tank rampaged across Nessus was something to behold though. The main downside of this Strike is that, like Battlegrounds, was extremely straightforward with hardly any challenging mechanics to speak of. It absolutely isn't the worst Strike in Destiny 2 but also doesn't reach the upper ranks with The Pyramidion and The Corrupted.
Where Season of the Chosen did knock it out of the park though was the ‘Presage’ mission available midway through the Season. This mission was dropped without any kind of warning and immediately saw universal praise amongst the community. In this mission, the player is tasked with investigating a Guardian communication signal coming from a derelict Cabal ship. The player must navigate the ship, solve puzzles and piece together the location of the lost Guardian, all while fighting for their life against the Scorn.
There are moments in this mission that evoke genuine fear, especially at lower light levels, which is a first for the series. The atmosphere in Presage is simply top notch and something that Bungie is surely going to struggle to beat. To top it all off, completing this mission rewards the player with the ‘Dead Man’s Tale’ Exotic.
Rating: 8/10 (Presage bumps this up a point or so).
Destiny 2 would be nothing without good loot and thankfully Season of the Chosen delivers in this regard.
The return of Umbral engrams was a great addition to the Season although it's a shame that they returned as a lesser version of their Season of Arrivals counterpart. The need to possibly play five runs of Battlegrounds to gain five Hammer Charges to focus a single Umbral engram was just simply too much and hopefully Bungie has finetuned this a little bit for Season of the Splicer.
Chosen did see the addition of some fantastic weapons and perks into the loot pool though. Weapons such as Extraordinary Rendition and Code Duello, as well as returning favourites such The Palindrome and Shadow Price really made players WANT to grind away at certain activities.
Perks such as Lasting Impression have actually made Rocket Launchers fairly viable for Boss DPS and personally, perks like Frenzy and One for All are now among my favourite perks in the game.
Overall, Season of the Chosen is one of the best Seasons that Destiny 2 has had recently and has joined the upper echelon of Season of Opulence and Season of the Forge. Its combination of story to experience, activities to play and loot to chase have made it a Season that Bungie should be trying to emulate for future releases.
Overall Rating 8.5/10