Destiny 2’s Quaria Is An Underwhelming Boss Fight But A Great Mission

Destiny 2’s Quaria Is An Underwhelming Boss Fight But A Great Mission
Screenshot: Bungie

Season of the Splicer’s long-awaited showdown with the Vex mind Quaria finally happened yesterday and it’s splitting the Destiny 2 community apart. Some players were satisfied with the fight mechanics and visual spectacle while others were disappointed that a character built up for so long in the game’s lore went down so easily. Neither side is entirely wrong.

Players have spent the last several weeks going inside Destiny’s equivalent of the Matrix to prevent an alien artificial intelligence corrupted by a dark god from taking over humanity’s last outpost. Yesterday, a mission finally went live to confront the creature at the heart of the conflict, a floating robot gargoyle thing called Quaria. Name-checked going back to Destiny’s 2015 Taken King expansion, hardcore players have been anticipating the face-to-face meeting for some time. Bungie was never going to satisfy everyone with the encounter, and a raid boss Quaria certainly is not, but I think the seasonal build-up, dedicated mission, and final boss fight do a surprisingly good job of delivering a memorable Destiny moment within the confines of the games-as-a-service seasonal model.

Expunge: Delphi is effectively a remix of the three previous Expunge missions, and their corrupted variants, that players have been running all season, but it’s familiar without feeling like a rehash. Platforming sections which ran a bit too long in the normal Expunge missions are punctuated by smaller fights with champions and Vex portals that immediately segue you into a new section. Instead of repeating the same puzzle in different forms three or four times you get a small sampling of each where none is given enough time to overstay its welcome. It’s kind of like a final exam where only the best questions get asked.

Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku

Even better are the messages Quaria sends you as soon as the mission begins. Cryptic texts have been popping up right below the HUD radar mini-map in each of the Expunge missions, but here they’re aimed directly at the player. “I see you,” the first one begins. “This realm has only one master.” In a game built on as much repetition as Destiny, small touches like this go a long way, especially in a season where the player themselves has so often been ignored or treated like a boring bystander in important moments.

Season of the Splicer is far and away one of Destiny’s most visually stunning chapters to date, and the actual fight against Quaria is pure spectacle. The Vex Hydra has two sets of rotating shields instead of just one (one of which is corrupted since Quaria’s a Taken), and floats above a neon red coliseum with smaller arenas floating on either side. Killing the two mini-bosses on these side stages triggers Quaria’s final phase in which it actually spreads its arms and starts launching massive firewalls at you (you’re fighting in the Matrix, afterall).

The whole mission, including the fight, can be done in roughly 15 minutes solo, or even less time if you’re part of a full fireteam. But it’s a refreshingly fun and super cool-looking 15 minutes.

Others have been less impressed. Reddit and Twitter are currently full of players complaining about everything from the fact that the mission doesn’t wipe your progress when you die to Quaria not having enough health. It’s rare that you see players begging for bosses to be bigger bullet sponges, but Destiny brings out the weird in all types of people.

Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku

A bigger criticism is how Quaria has been hyped up over the last few months and years just to be vanquished in a couple of minutes. At the same time, other players have pointed out that Destiny lore is full of big bads and it’s clearly not feasible that all of them be given dramatic, big-budget send-offs. Still, I’m sympathetic to the charges that Quaria deserves more, and I’m hopeful, like a lot of other players, that Season of the Splicer still has another shoe to drop.

I’m also completely onboard with finally getting to see more of the villainous faces that have been lurking off screen for so long. Rather than waiting for each to get a raid or dungeon, a big seasonal mission feels like the perfect opportunity to showcase more of Destiny’s longstanding rogues’ gallery.

Read More: Destiny’s Books of Sorrow Changed Its Lore For Good

And I’m actually happy the fight wasn’t super tough. I’ve spent dozens of hours playing Season of the Splicer. My seasonal artefact is maxed out. My battle pass is at level 105. And I finally have a few weapon god rolls I really like. What was the point of all that grinding if not to rip through one of Destiny 2’s big bosses without breaking a sweat? There are plenty of other places for players to stretch themselves, like Grandmaster Nightfall strikes. And if we’re being honest here, I don’t think Destiny 2 currently handles difficulty and challenge with all the nuance and subtlety of a Felwinter’s shotgun.

Expunge: Delphi might not be one of Destiny 2’s top five most memorable moments, but it’s still the best seasonal story mission the game’s gotten in a while. Hopefully it eventually gets turned into a full-blown strike mission.

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