I genuinely like Destiny 2, and that’s a really refreshing thing to say. Destiny was a game that, despite my best intentions, I couldn’t get behind. My friends and I played the Destiny beta, creating the quintessential three-class fire team. I got goosebumps the first time I threw a big ball of void at a clustered group of mobs. Working with my fire team to take out a massive boss was exciting and new. Unfortunately, the thrill didn’t last. For me, the first Destiny was just so… forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoy the hour or two spent adventuring with a friend. I’d potentially gain some weapon upgrades and explore new areas. But, when I was finished, I would struggle to remember what exactly I had accomplished, or why. Not Destiny 2, though.
Something about it all just feels better. The graphics are incredible, benefitting from not having to be released on both last gen and current gen systems. The story is actually present now. Yeah yeah, I’m aware of grimoire cards from the first game, but they were a pisspoor excuse for storytelling. I’m reminded of Final Fantasy XIII’s lore dumps that we had to go wade through the menus to find. I’ve seen player’s complain that there’s too many weapon and equipment drops, but that seems like a non-issue. Don’t need a weapon? Boom, grind it up for gunsmithing parts. Everything is just a little bit tighter, with more care and thought shining through to the final product.
The class system has been upgraded; three class types, three subclasses for each, and one of the latter being completely new to the Destiny-verse. Additionally, each subclass has two attunements acting as buffs to further tweak your guardian into your spec of choice. A personal favorite is speccing into Warlock’s Stormcaller subclass and wiping mobs with chain lightning like Emperor Palpatine. The best part is a player can spec back into any subclass they’ve unlocked at any time with no penalty.
“There was always just enough distance between missions to feel
like I was going somewhere new without taking too long.”
One seemingly minor tweak that really hit home for me was the absence of the Sparrow, Destiny’s single-seater hoverbike. Lacking the primary mode of transportation from the first game, you’re forced to hoof it until level twenty. Out of all the narrative choices the game makes in regards to players, this was the most impactful for me. It could have been handled poorly, with sprints to quest locations taking just long enough to be frustrating. But I found the mission structure and placement to be well thought out and methodical. There is always just enough distance between missions to feel like you’re getting somewhere new without taking too long. And when the Sparrow is granted to you, it’s like a whole new level of freedom. I can understand long-time fans being irked, but fast travel is available very early on.
The missions themselves tend to be pretty formulaic, with minor differences in strategy based on enemies present. They often boil down to “Go to place A, Secure thing B by Eliminating Enemy C”. Sometimes the game will mix it up by having you traverse the landscape or collecting arc charges before the final confrontation. Ultimately though, the game is a sequel to a best-selling FPS, and shooting is the default interaction. And Destiny 2 does shooting well. Combat is smoother, enemies are more reactive to your actions, and comparable weapons are available on every planet.
It’d be disingenuous of me to say the game is a completely positive experience for me, though. The ghost’s generic, hackneyed delivery of information quickly got under my skin. Tons of people found Peter Dinklage’s acting in the first game off-putting and stilted. It was so bad that it was patched out of the game and replaced by voice actor Nolan North. I’m a fan of both of these actors, but to me there’s no difference and they’re both equally terrible. Don’t even get me started on Failsafe, Destiny 2’s comic relief ripped straight from the Borderlands writer’s room floor.
…And why so many enemy factions? In Destiny 1, it was difficult enough to keep up with all the enemy types being thrown around. Vex, Fallen, Foot Clan, Hive, Unversed, Cabal, Taken? Why do I care? I’m being facetious, of course, but my point still stands. The Taken is especially noticeable, their implementation being little more than a recycling of models from other enemy factions. I can’t be mad at Bungie for maximizing the use of their assets. Of course the universe is going to be populated with myriads of different species with different ideologies and agendas. I just wish they took the time to make the enemies present more interesting. Instead they’re repurposing bullet-sponges with few differentiating mechanics between them.
“Playing in the Crucible is optional, but when all’s said
and done, higher level characters will have an advantage.”
The Crucible, Destiny 2’s PvP arena, is another facet that can’t be ignored. Fairly early on, every guardian will get a quest to play two matches in the Crucible. You don’t have to win, just play. A player’s overall strength in PvE is Power Level, the games new name for Light Level for story reasons. A player’s Power Level doesn’t affect PvP, but their character level does. As an example, we have a level five character versus a level twenty. While the damage will scale, the twenty will have access to powers and attunements that the five simply doesn’t. Playing in the Crucible is optional, but when all’s said and done, higher level characters will have an advantage.
But these are all nitpicks; minor bumps in the road that couldn’t mar an otherwise enjoyable experience. At the end of the day, I can safely say I’ve enjoyed my time with Destiny 2. It’s presentation has been vastly improved with the additional cutscenes that really drive the narrative. The planets you visit are all varied and unique, teeming with enemies and events to keep your fire team busy. The combat is largely the same as Destiny, but with the tweaks that come from years of methodical refinement. It instills a faster and more dynamic flow to the fighting. All in all, I’m excited to get back to my fire team and see what Destiny 2 has to offer.
Did you enjoy this article?
CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR GAMING COMMUNITY TO MAKE YOUR OWN PROFILE AND ENJOY FEATURES LIKE, LIVE STREAMING, MESSAGE FORUMS, TOURNAMENT BRACKETS, AND AN ONLINE COMMUNITY MADE ONLY FOR GAMERS!