Seasonal endings have tended to be anti-climactic in Destiny 2. That was not the case with Season of the Seraph, which just added a new season finale mission that’s the best the loot shooter’s had since it pivoted from DLC expansions to quarterly updates. The mission itself is cinematic and challenging, while the ending cutscene has players racing to unravel its major implications for Lightfall.
With two weeks before that expansion goes live, on Tuesday Bungie added a new story mission called Abhorrent Imperative, available to all players whether they’re caught up on their seasonal quest log or not. “Return to Seraph Station to prevent the Warsat network from firing on the Traveler,” the description reads. It caps your power level at 1350, meaning all players will be on equal footing, and the Legendary Difficulty means enemies are heavily shielded and more aggressive. I got my ass kicked way more than I was expecting and had a blast the whole time.
Spoiler Warning: You should go play Abhorrent Imperative before reading further. Ideally you’d also complete all of the Seraph story missions leading up to it, but that can be a chore and life is short. At the very least you should watch the cutscene for yourself.
The mission has you infiltrate the Seraph space station mid-bombardment as Eramis attempts to use its Warsats to blow up the Traveller. A platforming section with Earth in the background eventually gives way to two showdowns, first with Eramis and later with an agent of Hive war god Xivu Arath. In-between you get to watch a newly rebuilt Rasputin’s heavy frame mechs obliterate the legion of enemies in your path. The final encounter ends up being a three-stage battle that almost feels like an old-school Destiny boss in how it requires you to learn and adapt to which enemies spawn where rather than trying to brute-force your way through the encounter.
Your reward for sticking it out is a cutscene that’s not as novel as Destiny 2’s 2020 attempt at a Fortnite-style live event, but has a much bigger payoff. The Traveller, which has hung above Earth’s Last City dating back to 2014, retreats into space just as Rasputin manages to self-destruct, blowing up the Warsats before they can fire. Eramis wonders why it didn’t leave. Cosmic bad guy The Witness says it was because it had nowhere else to run. Meanwhile, a pre-recorded message from Rasputin reveals that a powerful artifact is hidden on Neptune. Most importantly, the cutscene ends with The Traveller in the exact same position over Earth as it appears on the original Destiny promo art over eight years ago. See? The 10-year plan was not a lie.
For anyone utterly overwhelmed by Destiny 2’s zig-zagging space opera, the big reveals were that Eramis is working directly for The Witness, The Traveller is on the move but didn’t completely abandon humanity, and the power to prevent the second collapse resides on Neptune, the new main location for Lightfall. Rasputin says he didn’t know this before now because it was deleted from his memory banks, setting up some intrigue about who wanted to keep it hidden, and why. Eramis is at a crossroads, still an agent of The Witness but wrong in her assumption that The Traveller would abandon humanity as it once did her civilization. And with The Witness closing in, you can finally start to feel the game building toward a showdown, in 2024’s The Final Shape, of everything that’s happened in Destiny up until this point.
It’s a very different feeling from how some other recent seasons ended. Destiny 2 has fallen into a rut of late in which a new update kicks off several weeks of new story missions, followed by a long pause, and culminating in a small mission and bits of dialogue that rarely feel like a payoff for the months of grinding, let alone like they’re slowly building toward something bigger. That was definitely the case last year right before The Witch Queen arrived. Hopefully Season of the Seraph’s excellent finale is a good omen for what players can expect from the rest of Lightfall beginning February 28.