If you are familiar with the world of Destiny, then you know that every iconic weapon has a story attached. It is one of the ways Bungie's space opera action MMO has helped players feel like they're a part of the world. It is also where the art team creates some truly unique weapon designs. And if you want to greatly appreciate those weapons, their lore and their artwork, then Destiny The Exotic Collection Volume 1 might be something to look into.
The first thing that impressed me with Destiny The Exotic Collection Volume 1 is how well everything is laid out. Destiny 2 has been around since 2017, and a lot has changed in five years. The book illustrates this by having all of the weapon entries separated into chapters based on different eras of the game. It all begins with The Red War, Destiny 2's original starting campaign, and it ends in Season of the Lost. Each chapter even begins with a brief summary of the events of that part of the story alongside artwork used to promote each season. Basically every single exotic weapon in the game up to the release of 2022's The Witch Queen expansion is in this book's 180 pages.
As for artwork found within the book, it is very high quality. These are not game assets printed on to paper but highly detailed illustrations of each weapon. You can see the very flames on each section of the Borealis, feel the texture of the grip on the Rat King, get a better view of the wooden finish and ammo straps on the Dead Man's Tale, and appreciate the chaotic electronic monstrosity that is the Lament.
There are even a few weapons that actually get multiple pages to themselves. Some of these entries include early weapons like the Mida Multi-Tool and my personal favorite Merciless. But a few of these entries are for the more visually complex weapons such as the Ruinous Effigy, Sunshot, Sleeper Simulant, and One Thousand Voices.
In other words, if you are an art designer or just love the aesthetics of Destiny's guns, then Destiny The Exotic Collection Volume 1 is more than worth the asking price.
Unfortunately, there isn't much else to the book. There are no illustrations of any of the weapons' Ornamentations or early versions of the weapon's concept art. Furthermore, there is no commentary from the art team about how they conceptualized each weapon. The only text that accompanies each entry is the weapon's respective lore entry. While this is nice for giving thematic context to something like Cayde-6's Ace of Spades, it does feel like a missed opportunity. This is because each lore entry is available for all players of Destiny 2, regardless if they actually own the weapon or not.
But Destiny The Exotic Collection Volume 1 does take on a different role in the context of the current state of Destiny 2: commemoration and preservation. With the exception of content from Beyond Light and Shadowkeep, there is no way to earn these weapons in Destiny 2 as originally intended. Grinding out endgame resources with Raids and Dungeons do not count. As such, being able to look at these weapons in such detail is not unlike seeing them in a museum exhibit. For those who were there they know the importance; for those who didn't there's a certain mystique.
If you want a greater appreciation for the artistic craft that goes into Bungie's weapons, there is something to enjoy with Destiny The Exotic Collection Volume 1. The artwork is great, and the formatting of the book is solid. But if you were hoping for a more behind-the-scenes look at the work that went into these weapons, you will come away disappointed.
TechRaptor received a review copy of Destiny: The Exotic Collection, Volume One from the publisher.