Killing hordes of the same aliens over and over again feels a lot livelier thanks to Destiny 2’s new random finishers.
Finishers seemed like a fun but mostly superfluous idea back when Bungie added them to the game with the release of the Shadowkeep expansion in October. The option to perform a finisher kicks in once a player gets an enemy weak, at which point instead of killing them with a melee attack or another shot to the head, the player can initiate a special animation to do something cool while sending the enemy flying into the beyond. The only problem was that there weren’t that many finishers to choose from, and even when you found one you liked, doing it over and over again got boring real fast.
In response to numerous pleas from the community, Bungie decided to spice things up with Season of Dawn. Now instead of equipping one particular finisher and using it over and over again, the game automatically selects one of your finishers at random to use on a critically wounded enemy. It’ll either select from all of the ones in your inventory or a smaller subset of ones you favorite. It’s quickly become one of the best additions in the new season.
Instead of just being an additional distraction, finishers now feel like a mini-combo system in their own right: a Clock Cleaner here followed up by a Flash Kick there and then a Fist of Fury to the mini-boss who’s finally near death. It feels like Destiny has been building up to this point for some time. The game’s base melee attack is satisfying, but it’s the same every time. Swords let you go into a third-person view and complete three-hit quick swing combos almost as if you were in a hack ’n slash action game. With an arsenal of rotating finishers at your disposal, Destiny 2 now occasionally even feels like a fighting game. Blood and guts might not squirt out of a Cabal’s head when I punch through its head, but it still makes me as giddy as the first time I managed to successfully input a fatality in Mortal Kombat.
Currently, the only drawback to finisher roulette is that the moves are hard to come by. A lot of the fun of Destiny 2 revolves around making yourself look cool by dressing up in bedazzled space armor and showing off neat toys like rare ghost shells, Sparrows, and emotes. But most of the best-looking ones require spending some amount of money in the game’s Eververse shop, and finishers are some of the more expensive features available at $8 each. There still aren’t a ton of finishers in the game yet either, so they don’t tend to drop often from the Bright engrams that players can earn just by playing. At the start of Season of Dawn, I bought five engrams and didn’t get any.
This season Bungie is making most of the new cosmetics purchasable for Dust which can be earned in-game, but that doesn’t include all of the finishers, and it also means players have to wait until the week they pop up in the store’s rotation to get them. Back when finishers felt like an afterthought, it was easier to ignore the store, but now I find myself spending money more freely. I guess it was only a matter of time until Destiny 2 found some form of customization I’d be willing to shell out for.