Last night I dove head first into the Haunted Forest activity associated with the Festival of the Lost event. There is absolutely no hyperbole intended… but this might literally be the best content they have created for Destiny 2. The only unfortunate part is that it is associated with a limited time event, and it isn’t available for that much longer. When they first talked about the Infinite Forest I pictured this mode where you go through a random series of changing and shifting segments until you face a boss at the end… that then gives you a chance at loot. Basically I pictured it working a lot like the Court of Oryx or Archon’s Forge events in Destiny 1… and then was completely disappointed when it released and was ultimately nothing like that. What we got felt super repetitive and didn’t have any real hook to make you want to keep roaming around in there.
The Haunted Forest is 100% recycled content, but re-purposed in such a way as we are descending into the nightmare visions created by the Vex that we saw bits and pieces of during Curse of Osiris. Firstly instead of a washed out digital landscape, we have dark and brooding levels with very sparse lighting allowing for monsters to seemingly jump out from the Darkness. Additionally there is effectively the stand in for Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head in the form of a giant Hive Knight that is indestructible and chases after places hitting you with a giant axe and doing nonsense amounts of damage. Each time you dip into the Haunted Forest you are trying to kill a certain percentage of the projections of the various enemy factions within Destiny 2. When your bar hits 100% you get transported to fight a Nightmare, or a version of one of the Ultra boss monsters that exist in other areas of the game. Upon defeating the monster a timer starts that gives you a certain amount of time before the Haunted Forest collapses upon itself, and effectively you are trying to see how many times you can get to the Nightmare boss and defeat them before you run out of time.
There is a reward chest at the end after defeating your final Nightmare that rewards a currency specific to the Festival of the Lost called Fragmented Souls. These are then used to purchase the paper masks and if you can manage to save up 120 of them… a item level 600 Auto Rifle called the Horror Story. It is the last item that I am grinding for. In previous iterations of Festival of the Lost the masks were purely cosmetic, but this time around they have a purpose and can be leveled up through doing content. So while they add no item level, they do have a bunch of perks that tweak your gameplay in the Haunted Forest. For example I went with Vampiric Touch that increases damage to challenging enemies and triggers Health Regen on precision kills. There were three other options and each one was effected by a different type of kill, and I’ve managed to get a single upgrade so far that increases the drop of Heavy ammo, which speeds up the killing of Nightmares.
It also seems like you have the chance of getting Legendary drops from the various mobs inside of the matrix. Can we talk about how much better it feels to have engrams decrypt immediately showing you if you got something useful in the process? I managed to pick up Go Figure a really bad ass Pulse Rifle, and mine rolled with range boost which makes it silly to effectively snipe things with pulse shots from across the map. It also has High Caliber rounds and High Impact Reserves making it stagger like crazy. I am super in love with this weapon so far and I thought it looked coolest in the white and black color scheme that I ended up choosing. So far… I am greatly enjoying my time back in Destiny 2, because things feel “better” in ways that I am not exactly sure how to quantify. Time will tell if I feel the same once this event is over, but for the moment… I am grinding Fragmented Souls for that Auto Rifle.