Destiny 2 Review – A Trick of Light

Bigger, more epic and still very stubbornly Destiny, just how much better is Destiny 2?

Posted By | On 11th, Sep. 2017 Under Article, Reviews


Destiny has always been a highly polarizing game. Having played through hundreds of hours of the first game, there were definitely some highs and lows. From its introduction to the current day, Destiny has undergone numerous transformations, from the weapon and subclass nerfs to the evolution of raid mechanics and the Light level system. It’s safe to say that Bungie’s shared world shooter has simultaneously been feeding off of and draining players, at least with regards to time and energy. It’s easy to forget how bland and boring the base game was sans the awesome gun mechanics, but at the time, it seemed like Destiny wanted to be many things to many people.

Destiny 2 follows in that same vein. It offers a cinematic single-player campaign with epic set-pieces and characters that you interact with. There’s an open world with dungeons that can be looted, bosses out in the wild to fight, side-missions and Public Events to randomly engage in with people. It has a PvP component that is split into, essentially, casual and serious playlists.

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"Why does there have to be sad violin music or an SMG bestowed to the player called “Sorrow”? Let it not be said that subtlety is Bungie’s strong suit."

There’s lore in specific items, cosmetics for those who like to dress up and dance or stare at prettier ships, Exotics, co-op Strikes with more complex mechanics, bounties, Exotic quests and the upcoming raids. To say that Destiny 2 is trying to do everything for everyone is an understatement and while there are several things it improves on from the original, it’s also stubbornly stuck to its old ways.

By now, you know the story and this review will be going incredibly in-depth so if you don’t want plot spoilers, especially relating to the ending and final boss fight, back out now. You have been warned.

The Red Legion led by Ghaul, who’s basically taken over the entire Cabal Empire, attack the Tower. Ghaul is seeking to steal the Traveller from Guardians and using a complex device, he actually cages the Light from reaching our heroes. When the opening mission starts, you’re wandering through a burning Tower, meeting the likes of Cayde, Ikora and Zavala (and other player Guardians in a neat touch) as you attempt to evacuate civilians and hold off the Red Legion. Rather than really “working” alongside the Vanguard to neutralize the threat, each interaction feels more like a snazzy introduction to them. Which is hilarious later because you never fight alongside them again, whether it’s retaking the Last City or visiting the new planets.

Anyway, Ghaul steals the Light, beats the crap out of the mute protagonist and essentially sends them off his ship to the cold hard Earth. In terms of pacing, mechanics and sheer presentation, the opening mission is great. The next mission is even more interesting because it sees our Guardian powerless, struggling to find the Ghost and escape the City for refuge. Why does there have to be sad violin music or an SMG bestowed to the player called “Sorrow”? Let it not be said that subtlety is Bungie’s strong suit. At least the cutscenes look good though and there are plenty of them.

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"Many of the story missions are punctuated with some truly oddball writing. Some of it ranges from decent and at times even pleasant (like some of Devrim Kay’s lines) to downright insufferable."

Guided by the vision of a hawk, players will meet Suraya Hawthorne, an exile who’s lived on the outskirts of the City for years. Hawthorne has built up a small community called The Farm and invites you back to gather your bearings. From there, you venture into the Blackened Forest searching for a shard of the Traveller that then re-grants your powers. Though Destiny 2 was marketed as this journey to become more powerful again and rise up from the ashes of defeat, here you are just getting your powers back within half an hour. While I could somewhat understand the need to move the story along, forget the fact that the shard deems no one else worthy of using its Light (aside from other players of course), this aspect couldn’t have been dwelt on a bit longer?

This brings up one of the bigger problems of Destiny 2‘s story-telling. The player re-establishes contact with Zavala on Titan, which gives context to helping out Hawthorne and setting up a communications beacon on Earth. There’s context to establishing a frontline on Titan which has been infested by the Hive and teeming with the Fallen along with some other dark presence (yes, I indeed read the Reddits). But you’re just rushing from one place to another so quickly. After the two story missions on Titan, it’s off to Nessus to find Cayde who’s trapped in a Vex time loop. Why? Well, he wants to use a Vex teleporter to get up close to Ghaul and kill him. Then we head to Io to meet Ikora and help her get her groove back. Oh and you do some reporting on Red Legion activity and meet the Taken once again while you’re there.

The hasty pacing is all the more apparent when you begin a story mission with Ikora being all down-trodden about having lost the Light and being afraid of death. Once the mission concludes? She’s ready and willing to help and it’s cool if she dies as long as it’s for a greater cause. What a turn-around. Oh and by the way, before you can begin your siege on the Tower, the game tells you to stop, complete some side quests to level up and then continue thus completely halting the plot in its tracks.

Many of the story missions are punctuated with some truly oddball writing. Some of it ranges from decent and at times even pleasant (like some of Devrim Kay’s lines) to downright insufferable. None of this is more apparent then dealing with the Ghost, your floating companion who provides all the banter and conversation between you and other characters. It’s funny how he starts from being close to death and depressed and then descends into outright clown show humour. Did you ever want to hear the Ghost go “Shwoop?” Well, now is your chance.

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"Suffice to say, my faith in this overall new plot that will span multiple DLC packs is as tenuous as Marty O’ Donnell’s for the first Destiny."

Much of the writing seems to be an attempt at humour or wit. Look at Failsafe who goes back and forth between joyous borderline sociopathy to grumpy borderline apathy. Humour is injected into situations that don’t even need it like Sloane thanking you for making the shaking on Titan stop because it was upsetting her stomach. Amanda even has some lines and tries to be all…something. It’s a testament to Destiny 2‘s writing quality that none of the characters really feel relatable. Heck, some of them are extremely hard to like.

It’s a shame when you think about it because there is a central theme of Guardians losing their Light and being human, having to deal with things like illness, hunger and ultimately death. But so much of it is glossed over for the sake of being clever or witty or just reinforcing an archetype. Ikora is sad about losing her Light? Let’s make her oscillate between anger and morbidity, hammering the same points home, again and again. Let’s have the Ghost repeat things again and again, throwing in some terrible humour whenever possible.

Let’s have Cayde-6 be a joker pretty much all the time. Thankfully, at least Nathan Fillion is capable of pulling that part off without becoming completely annoying. For the most part. Let’s have Asher Mir be a friggin’ nerd who no one understands and who’s scientific leanings are oh so LAME against the faith that Guardians – or at least Ikora – have in the Light. Suffice to say, my faith in this overall new plot that will span multiple DLC packs is as tenuous as Marty O’ Donnell’s for the first Destiny.

Even when the game tries to get serious, it only occasionally works. Hearing the nerdy Asher Mir suddenly stop during a Strike and talk about how he had two Hunters on his Fireteam until he didn’t and ending it with a quick, “So” is a good example. Cayde-6 thanking you for your help is another. Devrim Kay’s lines skirt the border between serious and witty a lot better than most of the characters and he carries off the swagger of a war-torn, sophisticated soldier with welcome understatement.

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"Furthermore, many of the aspects of the previous game are glossed over or simply inane. Why can the Taken suddenly crown a new king, even if it is one of Oryx’s siblings (who doesn’t directly appear so don’t get your hopes up)?"

While Bungie made a good decision in trying to incorporate lore into Destiny 2 rather than restricting it to Grimoire, you’re not going to come across amazing stories like Kabr, Eriana-3, Dredgen Yor and Thorn, Shin Malphor and The Last Word, the Battle of Twilight Gap and so on. Or at the very least, I didn’t while playing. Exotic weapons like Graviton Lance, gear pieces like Sunbracers and even Exotic ships will have lore tabs to them. Do they add all that much to the game? That will depend on how much you can piece together. I didn’t find them even half as enthralling as the Grimoire lore from Destiny.

Furthermore, many of the aspects of the previous game are glossed over or simply inane. Why can the Taken suddenly crown a new king, even if it is one of Oryx’s siblings (who doesn’t directly appear so don’t get your hopes up)? What is the Warmind Rasputin and how did his network become fragmented? And so on and so forth. A lot of it is never really answered sadly.

All that aside, Destiny 2‘s main campaign is definitely several steps above the first game. The art direction, while limited by the Xbox One version’s resolution and a 30 FPS frame rate, is simply stunning. Landing on Titan and seeing the crashing waves, wrecked ships and traversing an industrial oil rig that’s seething with hive infestation, mixing several types of coloured lighting, dynamic shadows and effects is great. The Solarium in particular is a neon-induced wreck, part relic of a better time, part warzone with tons of technology, shattered video screens and the occasional Hive shrine.

Nessus features some stunning Vex architecture with man-cannons and an entire underground complex with ancient structures and lava flowing below. The Pyramidion is probably my favourite area in the game but we’ll get to that when discussing Strikes. When you talk about the music, it may not strike an immediate chord like the first game’s score did. However, it grows on you and fits the mood more often than not. I was especially happy to see heavy rock tunes in certain areas to break up the monotony of the symphonic pieces. In terms of presentation, Bungie has clearly been putting in the hours for Destiny 2.

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"Regardless, if you’re still wondering about the Darkness, the Exo Stranger, that weird thing in the Black Garden and so on, Destiny 2 offers no answers."

The mission structure of the campaign has also been significantly improved. Despite the overtly fast pace and at times insufferable over-exposition from the side characters, Destiny 2 has some great variety in its missions. From travelling to the very depths of Titan to foil the Hive before escaping in a truck, crushing all enemies in your wake, to rushing through the Cabal’s superweapon to disable it and begin the assault on Earth, the campaign definitely has a lot to enjoy gameplay-wise. Even if some story missions like infiltrating a Red Legion Carrier with Thumos felt a bit uneven, starting with a thrilling tank sequence and ending in a straightforward boss fight with the bad guy’s ship being stolen, the campaign is definitely miles above Destiny.

What was that ending though? For those who don’t want to know, Ghaul isn’t just trying to steal the Traveller’s power – which he can apparently do with his machine or whatever. He wants to commune with it and be chosen. His characterization is actually kind of interesting. I appreciated the backstory with his advisor, his conversations with the Speaker – who’s still pretty much useless in what he says (aside from the part about speaking for the Traveller but the Traveller never actually speaking to him) – and just his general desire to be recognized by a higher power.

That being said, it culminates in a fairly predictable boss fight. Once Ghaul seemingly dies and becomes a huge spirit cloud of sorts, the Traveller suddenly wakes up, kills him and saves the day. This kind of deus ex machina ending miffs me because it just opens up the plot dilemma of “Well, if the Traveller could just wake up and fix everything, why didn’t he do it sooner?” There is this whole theory about the Traveller not wanting to attract the attention of some dark force on the outer rim of the universe and thus staying quiet. Regardless, if you’re still wondering about the Darkness, the Exo Stranger, that weird thing in the Black Garden and so on, Destiny 2 offers no answers.

When you’re done with the campaign, you have a pretty hefty swathe of PvE content to roll through. Adventures are like side-missions with the usual “kill stuff, go here, collect this, activate this” and so on that feel better paced and meatier than the previous game. This varies from Adventure to Adventure though and the rewards may not nearly be as worthwhile the longer you get into the game. Plus, when they’re simply a gateway to spending more time listening to some of the infuriating dialogue, they can be damn near off-putting at times.

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"Battling a giant Servitor a la Sepiks Prime is neat as is trying to kill drill crew members while avoiding being burned inside of the drill’s sphere."

World Quests are much larger versions of Adventures, essentially acting as quest-lines with a few missions to complete. For as much hype as the World Quests got, they’re little more than a stream of Adventures patched together. Even the stories they tell are pretty trite – embarking on this big World Quest for Failsafe which involves a bit of platforming, killing some enemies and picking up objects, defending a few points and killing some boss seems all well and good.

However, the actual outcome is not all that compelling (which is to determine if her original Captain is actually alive or not). At least the World Quest on Titan where you try to retrieve a reactor or something, which involves chasing a Fallen Captain all across the moon, is sort of unique. But it’s more or less the same busywork. The good part about these World Quests is that they segue into some Exotic quests for guns like MIDA Multi-Tool, the Rat King and whatnot.

It’s even more of a reason to revisit those areas which is a good thing since they hold Lost Sectors. These are the aforementioned dungeons which contain some light platforming, enemies and a boss. I’m not sure if it was some of the work that had to be put in to finding a Lost Sector, the excellent visual design that made each one unique, battling enemies en route to a boss and then claiming a loot chest that almost always had something better but Lost Sectors were great. They make roaming the zones of Destiny quite fun when you’re not engaged in Public Events – which are somewhat more complicated than the original game.

They have Heroic modifiers which usually means “trigger X thing and a boss will appear”. Battling a giant Servitor a la Sepiks Prime is neat as is trying to kill drill crew members while avoiding being burned inside of the drill’s sphere. They may tire players after a point but their rewards – ranging from XP which goes towards Bright Engrams after hitting level 20 to Legendary Engrams – make them well worth engaging in.

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"Discarding Rares is pretty much the approach that other loot-based games take but then those games don’t let you put shaders and mods on said gear and weapons only to not be able to re-use them later."

And thankfully, they’re now marked on the map so you know exactly where to go for a Public Event. As for the Treasure Maps, they further encourage exploration as you hunt for a cache of goodies. They can be obtained from Cayde-6 but cost a few thousand Glimmer. Zavala will have his share of Vanguard Strike challenges, Ikora will allow you to revisit certain missions but at higher Power levels for better loot and Milestones will track your progress throughout the game, offering decent rewards for completing them.

Even if you’re out in the world collecting Tokens, materials and what have you, these can be given to certain vendors to level up Reputation and grant a Legendary Engram. Want to buy a Legendary directly? Right now there doesn’t appear to be a way to do so. It’s kind of odd but you’ll dismantle enough Gunsmith Materials, discover enough Tokens and complete enough activities that there will be a regular stream of Engrams coming your way.

As such, it’s pretty tough to get attached to any Rare weapon until you hit the soft Light cap. They’re just around to act as infusion material while you gather Legendaries, dismantle the ones you don’t like and use the Legendary Shards for infusing. Discarding Rares is pretty much the approach that other loot-based games take but then those games don’t let you put shaders and mods on said gear and weapons only to not be able to re-use them later. Legendary Marks are history though and it doesn’t feel like a terrible change at all. Time will tell of course. If anything, I miss not being able to choose the kinds of Legendary weapons I want in the end-game level from vendors in addition to receiving Engrams regularly. Maybe when the Faction Rally rolls around by September end or something.

So it’s established that there’s a lot to do in the post-game, not including the Strikes which range from excellent and full of cool mechanics like the Pyramidion to alright but with intriguing boss mechanics like Savathun’s Song and the Arms Dealer. It was pretty cool to teleport through the Pyramidion at different intervals, falling through sections and battling Vex to finally reach Genesis Mind, a large Hobgoblin who was only vulnerable when you activated sync plates. The entire level offered a great Vault of Glass vibe without ripping it off. The Inverted Spire is similarly fun if a tad long as you spend as much time running through empty spaces as battling the Cabal and Vex, avoiding a huge drill’s rotations and battling a boss amidst falling floors.

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"Guns in general feel quite satisfying though, having the right amount of damage for felling enemies."

How does the general gameplay feel? Thankfully, Bungie still knows how to do good gun play and while the movement mechanics feel kind of limiting in this day and age of high speed shooters, at least there’s some satisfaction to scoring headshots. The loadout system has changed to now accommodate Kinetic, Energy and Power weapons. Basically, this means you have two Primaries, one capable of more precision damage and the other with elemental burns.

The Power weapons include your Sniper Rifles, Fusion Rifles, Rocket Launchers, Shotguns, Grenade Launchers and Swords. Honestly, it’s kind of a letdown that I can’t carry a Shotgun along with a Primary or switch to a Sniper when my two Scout Rifles just aren’t doing enough damage. Guns in general feel quite satisfying though, having the right amount of damage for felling enemies. Heck, you might feel them to be a little too powerful when fighting things slightly weaker than you but things get tougher as you progress.

Even the Power ammo drops feel balanced enough as you know what specific enemies to focus on to refill your sword (which is still a thing, yes). Auto Rifles deal some very nice damage provided you hit all your headshots. Hand cannons nail that balance of close to medium range and deal significant amounts of damage at the cost of lower ammunition. SMGs feel great and their high recoil and damage drop-off encourages a more up close play-style.

Pulse Rifles have the stability to compete with Auto Rifles while not being totally overpowered (in the beginning anyway). Graviton Lance, one of the few Exotics offered early, hits that sweet spot of PvE awesomeness without being too OP, offering extra damage on the final bullet of each burst and triggering small Void explosions with each kill. It’s generally good times for the weapon balance in PvE even if I felt that Scout Rifles could be a little stronger. Grenade Launchers need a serious buff in terms of damage though, especially to make up for the lower range and consistency compared to Rocket Launchers.

"In place of said sub-class customization and random perks on guns, Bungie has added mod slots to its gear and weapons."

The sub-class system has changed to the effect that you get upgrade points now to unlock different skills when leveling up. So if you want a different grenade while starting out, you have to score an upgrade point and be the right level. Unfortunately, once you’re past choosing a jump/grenade/class ability type, you can only specialize in one clump of perks or the other. The Dawnblade Warlock, for example, can go with Attunement of Sky to burn enemies with melee attacks while increasing movement and reload speed, recharge grenades and melee attacks with airborne kills and so on. This is your de facto Crucible tree in many ways.

Then there’s Attunement of Flame which sees Scorch melee kills causing targets to explode, the Daybreak Super staying active as you kill more enemies and whatnot. You can’t decide to mix and match perks. While some Exotics like Wings of Sacred Dawn will grant you the ability to float in mid-air even if you don’t have the Attunement of Sky tree, it’s still a pretty big dampener on the customization offered in the first Destiny. At least there’s still some diversity in play-styles like the Devour Voidwalker that can consume its grenade to activate a perk to grants instant health with each kill while recharging one’s grenade faster. Or the Stormcaller who can clear out mobs with Stormtrance and Ionic blink in its Super form.

In place of said sub-class customization and random perks on guns, Bungie has added mod slots to its gear and weapons. If you want decreased cooldown on your Super and abilities relevant to your class or the ability to charge your Super with Void kills, there are mods for this. The sad part is that said mods, like the new shaders, are all single use. Once you un-equip them, they’re gone. The fact that such mods and shaders can be purchased from Eververse with real money using Bright Engrams, that can also be earned when levelling up, is also annoying especially after the first three levels where it takes longer.

While it’s possible to garner Bright Engrams, shaders and mods by simply playing the game, who asked for shaders to be single-use? Why are mods single-use given that similar games like Warframe, The Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and so on lets you use them continuously? It just strikes one as some new stuff to grind for. Make up your own mind about the pay-to-win implication but even trying to get them from Bright Engrams isn’t the best idea since they’re random Loot Boxes. What guarantee is there that you’ll get the exact items you want? Being able to earn experience in the end-game for these random Loot Boxes is fine but keeping shaders that could be permanently owned before and mods that can only be used once per gear is lame.

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"In terms of PvP aka Crucible, Destiny 2 feels pretty different but that depends on how you feel about weapon balance and a generally less chaotic environment."

With regards to exploring the planets, I am disappointed to see the direction Bungie took with a few. Titan and Io don’t necessarily feel as large or free-flowing as Earth or Nessus. Titan in particular has a lot more packed corridors and the industrial motif will wear on you incredibly fast despite the brilliant lighting present throughout the zone. The Zone vendors’ gear also doesn’t feel all that unique in the loot they give and simply offers more annoying dialogue than anything else. Enemies still move against other, there are more things to shoot wherever you turn and just altogether more stuff happening. But it doesn’t take long before you spot the same old enemies spawning from the same old dropships and darkened doors every few minutes.

The exploration on offer and the rewards tied to it are great but given how much Destiny 2 evokes Destiny in terms of the aesthetic, atmosphere, overall visual design and feel, it won’t be long before things start looking overtly familiar even when you’ve just finished the campaign. Sure, some enemies have been slightly revamped – the Fallen with their spears, skittering around on all fours; the Vex and their beam weapons; the Taken still being incredibly annoying – while the Cabal have new units like the Warbeasts and flamers added. In terms of encounters though, you’ll be fighting many of the same enemies you did in the previous game which only adds to the deja vu.

In terms of PvP aka Crucible, Destiny 2 feels pretty different but that depends on how you feel about weapon balance and a generally less chaotic environment. Having tried out only a few matches, I found the maps to be laid out fairly well from the centre-heavy action on The Endless Vale to Javelin-4’s mix of outdoor fighting, close quarters combat and semi-open centre. The Fortress is one of the cooler maps, highlighting the wreckage of the European Dead Zone with its half-destroyed brick walls. Maps like Vostok and The Fortress do evoke the likes of the Iron Temple and Rusted Lands (which the former should since it’s basically the Rise of Iron social space with an emphasis on tight corridors) but otherwise, the maps feel new and fresh.

The problem with Crucible, to me at least, is the higher emphasis on teamwork. Granted, teamwork is an essential part of any PvP game but popping off with a Super and downing the entire enemy team alone can be more challenging in Destiny 2. Some classes seem to be more fit for PvP like the Sentinel and Striker Titan or Gunslinger Hunter, which is fine though Bungie’s history of nerfing certain things for their over-usage could see changes made (hand cannons may not be long for the Crucible meta basically). And while the use of two Primaries and relegating everything else to the Power slot, higher time to kills and 4v4 structure may feel more friendly, especially for newer players, the PvP does come off as more bland compared to the original Destiny. But hey, thank goodness Bungie allows solo players to match up with groups, both in Competitive and QuickPlay, because reasons.

Destiny 2 Crucible

"Infusing now only takes specific weapon types as opposed to an entire category of weapons. You won’t be able to level up that Sweet Business Auto Rifle without a higher level Auto Rifle to feed into it."

Given how downright unbalanced the meta could become before, this is probably the only option Bungie could have taken. I would appreciate separate PvE vs. PvP weapon balance but something tells me I’m not going to get it in Destiny 2. At least connection quality and matchmaking seemed alright – I only spotted one real instance of delayed damage to an enemy in a fight. It was nothing serious though.

For as many quality of life changes as Bungie has made to the Destiny 2 experience, there’s still a lot it lacks. Forget about no Private matches in Crucible or numerous modes being compiled into two playlists with QuickPlay and Competitive or that Free For All and vehicle-centric PvP maps are completely gone or the lack of Ranked Play. I’m talking about the inability of your Fireteam members to see points that you mark on the map in PvE. Or the fact that you can’t mark specific points on your map like Lost Sectors – you can only track missions, Public Events and what have you.

Zooming in and out of the map is also not possible. Many Loot Chests and bosses out in the wild simply confer Tokens and while they’re neat for levelling up with a vendor, it can be disheartening to receive a Token and not some new loot. Your Sparrow is locked out until you finish the campaign, thus making you run around much more (though new fast travel points that can be teleported to without returning to orbit help a lot).

Infusing now only takes specific weapon types as opposed to an entire category of weapons. You won’t be able to level up that Sweet Business Auto Rifle without a higher level Auto Rifle to feed into it. This only encourages you to hoard more, hoping that the next weapon will be the same type of gun as the Legendary or Exotic you want to keep in order to bolster the latter further. Patrol missions are back and feel as rote as ever. There’s no option to save a Loadout so you can switch to it later, which feels like a must in a loot driven game like Destiny 2.

"Destiny 2 can be best summed up as more Destiny content for the Destiny aficionado. If you love Destiny, you probably know exactly what you’re getting into and hey, there’s lots of content to keep you busy."

The Roster screen can’t be viewed from your main menu – you have to open up the map for that – and you can’t even view how much Reputation you have with certain vendors to know when to return to them. And once again, if shaders and mods are meant to be something else to grind for, then there’s no way I’m going to use them until my very best end-game gear is obtained. Even then I will like to change out my shaders and mods from time to time and this system discourages that.

I didn’t run through the raid, which goes live on September 13th for the purposes of this review because (a) Bungie’s Guided Games feature won’t even be live by then so I have to find people on my own thanks to LFG, (b) There should be enough content within the base game to not have to factor in the raid so heavily (and thankfully there is), and (c) As a solo player, the raid won’t be something that I’ll be falling over myself to get to, which is also a good thing because it means there’s a lot to experience in the overall package. That being said, if the past has been any indication, the raid will probably be the best piece of content for those who can find five other people to play with. Playing co-op in general is also more fun in Destiny 2 as evidenced by the Strikes but then it’s not all that different from the first game in terms of build synergy, shooting and progression.

Destiny 2 can be best summed up as more Destiny content for the Destiny aficionado. If you love Destiny, you probably know exactly what you’re getting into and hey, there’s lots of content to keep you busy. Regardless of what changes Bungie makes, you’re going to keep playing. If you’re getting into the series for the first time, then Destiny 2 is a much better starting point than Destiny thanks to its stronger campaign, busier world, exploration and certain streamlined aspects of its mechanics. If you didn’t enjoy the first Destiny, then Destiny 2 won’t change your mind.

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"With so many advances having been made in video games, it’s just fascinating to see Destiny 2 still encapsulating that same Destiny gameplay without much variety or change."

For someone who’s played a ton of Destiny, returning in spurts whenever new content arrived and then leaving to play other games, Destiny 2 feels pretty typical. It can be fun and exciting especially when you explore the Zones and sort of chart out your own path. Similarly, the single-player campaign felt better directed and more epic even with the shallow characterization and lame dialogue.

With so many advances having been made in video games, it’s just fascinating to see Destiny 2 still encapsulating that same Destiny gameplay without much variety or change. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? Simply pile on more content for your fans. Lack of content has been Bungie’s biggest problem since the first game launched and there’s definitely more in Destiny 2. How much of it is meaningful and how much you’re playing just to shoot dudes’ heads off will depend on how much you love Destiny. And unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of fun in Destiny 2 already. I’d like to leave now.

This game was reviewed on Xbox One.

THE GOOD

It's the same Destiny gun play which means its responsive, cool and satisfying. Weapon balance for PvE feels just right and the sub-classes still give that great feeling of power when using your Super. The new environments are full of cool activities like new Public Events with heroic modifiers, Lost Sectors and Adventures. The campaign missions are miles above the original game and feature great set pieces. Legendary marks are gone but progression encourages more exploration by collecting Tokens and materials to grind for rep. Some of the new Strikes are fantastic and introduce cool new mechanics. Mods on weapons and gear offer some fairly decent customization.

THE BAD

Inane plot points and at times terrible dialogue drag down the campaign experience. Overall look and feel is similar to Destiny, which makes it grow old all the faster (and it doesn't help that Destiny got very repetitive to begin with). Sub-class customization has been over-simplified. Shaders and mods are one-time use, which is downright annoying in the grinding sense and impractical from a cosmetic POV. What the hell happened to Infusion? World Quests could have been so much more than just Adventures stitched together. Crucible feels more bland and matchmaking pits solo players against stacked teams. Some environments aren't as good as others in terms of layout, size and variety.

Final Verdict

On the one hand, Destiny 2 will feel like old times, an adventure that begins with the words "Be brave" and culminates in epic shenanigans. On the other hand, Destiny 2's soul doesn't feel any more defined and it's prone to many of the pitfalls of the original while introducing some new mistakes. Highly recommended for Destiny fans and new players but those who didn't like the original might want to think twice.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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  • Psionicinversion

    Destiny 2 on consoles is definitely a bad experience but playing it on pc feels like a whole new game at that glorious 60+fps. I tried the open beta on both and on PS4 felt like same old crap when I used to play it back on first one release. Playing it on pc felt so different and infinitely better so I might get it. Not on release though there’s better games launching then but maybe in November or December


 

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