Last night, I spent a good part of an hour filming the final boss of fall of lightthe latest expansion for Fate, hiding under a staircase, munching on their health until victory. “This is beyond my wildest imaginings,” shouted Calus, a hulking monster capable of starting interstellar wars but not sneaking under a staircase. I had given the boss a few heartfelt tries before giving up and asking for help on the dark web.
There is nothing wrong with that. Every video game has cheesy stats, ways to subvert what designers ask of players. (It’s a video game who had a loot caveafter all.) Some of my favorite experiences, especially Souls games, are notorious for demanding near-perfection from players, only to be immediately undermined by players doing something as simple as trick an enemy into stepping on a ledge and quickly dying.
But it got me thinking, as it seems to happen every few years: how did I end up here again?
Fate, if you can believe it, is almost 10 years old. The 2014 launch of the original Fate marked the start of what would become, after a bumpy start, a historic mashup of shooters and MMOs. It’s a towering achievement that has caused many companies to waste money chasing it. It also, sadly, marked the beginning of the end of my love affair with the studio, when it became clear which developer I had fallen in love with, the one behind legendary single-player missions like Halo“The Silent Cartographer” and Halo 2“Metropolis” had new ambitions.
Many people like Fate, and I’m happy for them. I am also bitter, clearly, but happy. Mostly. The launch of fall of light last week coincided with his most concurrent players on Steam. Fate doesn’t need to change for me, because the people playing it are clearly in love with it. They seem to complain about everything Bungie does? But they still love it, and the mark of making a good game is whether angry people will come back.
The funniest part, of course, is that people who aren’t angry but just disappointed come back too.
I have, time and time again, tried to tell myself this, and I never learned my lesson. I wrote about this all the way back in 2014when i beat Fateof the first campaign and tried to make sense of it.
“In one world, we have the traditional way I approach games. It’s me against the world, a solo journey,” a much younger version of me said in 2014. weird to play a game that looks like it’s for you, but it’s not. It’s an illusion. It looks like Halo, it plays like Halo, but, oh my god, it definitely isn’t. Halo Your ingrained Halo skills can be transferred, but any idea that it’s designed to be played by yourself is quickly brushed aside.
But with a Thanos-like Fatality, a combination of FOMO and old Bungie nostalgia takes over, and I’m uploading the latest Fate expansion, and see if everything finally clicks into place.
The guns are fantastic. The enemy design is top notch. It’s so nice to move – I’m always impressed with how solid the first person floating platform is! Heck, they even added a grappling hook this time, my personal kryptonite. You put a grappling hook in a video game, and whatever the best use of my time is, I’ll play it. To make the situation even crueler, it’s not just a grappling hook, it’s a GOOD grapple.
Which brings us back to the stairs. I don’t have a chest of exotic weapons acquired over nearly a decade of investing. I don’t understand how all currencies work. And I can’t tell you why plumes of smoke filled with skulls are coming out of an evil maniac everyone calls The Witness. I know the frustration will mount. I know I’m going to curse, for the billionth time, the inability to matchmaking with other people in campaign mode, because inevitably it will become clear a combination of lack of experience with the nuances of the game and the simple fact that the combat encounters are meant to be played with other people will prove too.
On my own, I managed to do futz through the vast majority of fall of light, and above all had a good time. It was an even better moment when the designers took off the kid gloves and let me swing around like a sci-fi Spider-Man. I wish the story had more sequences like that! But that’s not the case, and that’s where I usually find myself in my largely solo experiences with Fate. “But this” and “but that” and “I wish this” and “I wish that”. Fate it’s what Fate is, and while I’m sure the community has all sorts of valid complaints that Bungie will and won’t address, what always crystallizes when revisiting the game is my inability to let old Bungie go.
Do I think the difficulty spike with Calus, the final boss, is pretty clunky? Yeah! So I felt bad when I searched for “cheese strat calus destiny 2” and found this video and immediately put it to use? Surely not. Life is too short for such excuses. Calus is a punk, and I have his ass.
Part of the reason I pushed back in Fate was a comment from my colleague, Ricardo Contreras, where it is now possible to jump into the game on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, spend a few hours with him and discover meaningful story content And continue on the weapon/armor treadmill intrinsic to games like this. I found it appealing, and that’s why I dove headfirst into a game I haven’t really played since 2015, it’s excellent The king taken.
We’ll see if it works. For now, I’m in the same place I’ve always been, wondering if I should take a picture of myself with a screenshot of Fate and write “don’t trust his lies” underneath, a reminder to a future version of myself tempted by Bungie’s latest fruit.
But damn, Halo was SO Good man. We never know.