Destiny 2 Osiris Mercury
Concept art depicting Mercury as it is in Destiny 2. Bungie

Destiny 2's first expansion is a lot like those that came before it. The Curse of Osiris offers some interesting ideas and gives players a good enough reason to return to Bungie's huge online shooter, but it's light on significant new content.

Only The Taken King, released a year on from the original Destiny, felt like a substantial expansion worthy of the label. Everything else, from House of Wolves to Rise of Iron, has been okay at best.

Osiris introduces a new area - Mercury - new multiplayer maps, a strike and a host of legendary and exotic items, and also arrives with a raise in the level and power caps.

There's also a campaign, and that's what I want to talk about.

Players, as galaxy-saving Guardians, are dispatched to Mercury by Ikora Rey to find out what happened to Osiris, a legendary Guardian and her mentor.

When players find him, he's attempting to stop a plan hatched by the Vex, a cybernetic alien race.

The Vex have created an enormous simulation called the Infinite Forest. Accessible from Mercury, this "reality engine" is being used to explore every conceivable outcome of every conceivable decision the Vex could make, with the hope of finding one true path to conquering our solar system.

For players this means hopping between different timelines, taking on enemies in order to move from one small area to the next. At the start, players walk through Mercury as it once was: colourful and lush. At the end they see a future in which the planet and our sun are dead, and the Vex reign.

Between the two scenes are some fairly rote first-person shooter challenges, but the concept behind it all struck me as one that could have been put to better use than it is in this expansion.

Imagine if the concept of the Infinite Forest had been central to the original Destiny 2 release. If it was a key element of an entirely different story, that served as the basis for an exploration of the galaxy Bungie has created for this hit series.

Destiny 2 Osiris Mercury
Mercury as it once was. Bungie

Players could have seen Earth and the wider solar system during the Golden Age heralded by the arrival of a mysterious floating orb called The Traveller, which had hung dormant over Earth's last city until the final moments of the game's actual campaign.

Each Destiny game has taken place many years after this Golden Age, at a time when humanity is almost defeated, planets are left in ruin and numerous alien races vie for supremacy.

Understanding that Golden Age is important to understanding everything about what the present world of Destiny is, but it's only ever explained to us. The Infinite Forest could have shown players this age of promise and hope as it was, in its full glory, and let them experience it first hand.

Bungie could also have shown players potential futures should they fail, realities in which key characters like Ikora Rey, Cayde-6 and my beloved Lord Shaxx died. These characters could have been richer for this kind of exploration of their connections to the world and other characters in it.

The Infinite Forest could offered players an ideal way to experience the complex and deep lore of Destiny that so often feels impenetrable, in a way that would connect with more than just the most ardent, lore-hungry players.

Destiny 2 Osiris Mercury
Mercury as it would be if the Vex succeed. Bungie