Before every season of Destiny 2, Bungie promises new activities, patches, and new Exotic weapons to chase. The anticipation for these events is huge, with the community rallying around every new release. But while Season of Dawn’s latest Exotic quest has great lore and fun dialogue, it only takes 30 minutes or less to complete, which is far below average.
And that breakdown between storytelling and gameplay during the Devil’s Ruin Exotic quest perfectly summarizes the issues with Destiny 2’s current season.
What is the Devil’s Ruin quest?
The Devil’s Ruin is a sidearm that fires a laser as well as bullets. And the quest to get it is about as short as can be. I start an activity, I pick up the quest, I talk to Saint-14 in the Tower, I find 10 robots on an old Crucible map, and I get the gun. Start to finish it takes a half-hour.
The quest’s gameplay is bland, but the mission dialogue and story saves it.
For the back half of the quest, I listen to legendary heroes Osiris and Saint-14 banter with each other like old men after centuries of friendship.
“Get off this line, Osiris, I’m trying to show the Guardian something very important,” says Saint-14. “Make me,” says Osiris, which causes Saint to burst into laughter and offer another veiled threat. The quest shows a playful side to the overly-serious Osiris, and fleshes out Saint-14’s competitive, but joyful, nature.
Eventually, Crucible handler Lord Shaxx appears, and the jokes get a bit more meta, even ending with Shaxx’s terrible singing. The dialogue revels in the silly characters that make up Destiny’s rogue gallery. But it also allows the community to see inside these relationships.
But where’s the fun?
Destiny 2’s story has never been able to carry the game alone. The problem with the Devil’s Ruin quest is a lack of anything new, gameplay-wise, and a quest time so short it doesn’t feel like I’ve earned anything.
The quest sends me into an activity I’ve already played hours of, the Sundial. And I’ve been playing on the Twilight Gap Crucible map since the original Destiny five years ago. Aside from wandering around Twilight Gap looking for robots, the quest is a retread of the same activity I’ve been doing for the last month. But this time I got an Exotic out of it.
But for its gameplay failings, the Devil’s Ruin quest succeeds in its story — as is the case for much of this season. The rescue of Saint-14 from December is one of my favorite missions in the Destiny franchise. That quest makes it feel like you are fighting an impossible battle to save a legendary hero. And the gameplay of the mission complements that.
You’re battling through time, fighting alone until you stand with Saint-14 against impossible odds. There are boss mechanics, and Saint-14 offers his Bubble Shield to aid you in combat. This melding of story and gameplay makes it unlike Destiny’s other missions, and that’s what makes it memorable. Devil’s Ruin doesn’t offer any of that excitement during its 30 minute run time.
Between the Saint mission and the dialogue inside Devil’s Ruin, it feels like Bungie is finally finding great ways to tell the series’ story inside the game, rather than in a lore book. But one of those quests offers a great time playing the game, and the other doesn’t.
And that’s the biggest frustration with where Destiny is at the moment. The game’s story is so good this season, but it’s paired with gameplay that’s not worth logging in for. A future expansion that adds fresh, exciting gameplay elements to the game, while also maintaining this level of storytelling, could be some of the best content in Destiny 2. But with Shadowkeep only three months old, fans are likely stuck with experiences like the Devil’s Ruin quest for another nine months.