Title: Destiny 2 Beta
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Official Site: www.destinythegame.com
Release Date: September 6, 2017 [Xbox/PlayStation]; October 24, 2017 [PC]
I’ve described Destiny as being either my favorite bad game or the worst great game I’ve played. I jumped into the beta for the first game when it came out in July 2014. I felt the disappointment in the original games vanilla version content. I experienced its rebirth with the launch of the Taken King DLC. I felt its last breath with the Rise of Iron DLC. And I’ve been patiently twiddling my thumbs waiting for the Destiny 2 beta, hoping it would amend the things that have disappointed the community for so long.
The Destiny 2 beta that launched on July 18 for PlayStation and 19 for Xbox One gives some insight into what players can expect from the second game. While the content is extremely more condensed than Destiny’s original beta, the changes it shows are fairly major for the series. The beta consists of one story mission called Homecoming, a strike called the Inverted Spire, two crucible modes called Control and Countdown, and a brief access to the social space in the game called “The Farm”. It also allows players the ability to test out new classes and see some of the new weapons and armor. I spent two solid days in this world testing out everything I could and exploring as much of this brief look as possible. Below, each area of the beta will be broken down.
The story mission in the Destiny 2 beta gives players an immediate glance into the central enemy of the game: Ghaul and the Red Legion Cabal. Instead of the vague beginning of the first game, you are immediately thrown into a chaotic battlefield as the Cabal take over the Tower and the Traveler, leaving resources scattered. In this mission, you run into the usual suspects: Cayde-6, Zavala, Ikora, Halliday and Shaxx. Each helps navigate you further through the wreckage of the Tower and eventually to Ghaul’s ship. It is there you come face to face with this new enemy and find yourself overpowered and overwhelmed before he strips you of your light and your Ghost and jettisons you off the frigate.
In this mission, the feeling of quality and care comes in the same way it did in the Taken King. Each character feels real with motivations and a personality that individualize them. If this is any indication of the overarching story of Destiny 2 as a whole, it’s a very good sign of things to come.
The Inverted Spire strike drops you and two others in on Nessus, a Vex world not unfamiliar from Venus. Your objective is to traverse down and find the power that the Cabal are trying to tap into. After breaking up their drilling party, you descend into an old Vex sanctuary and come across a large Vex Minotaur that is fairly reminiscent of the Vault of Glass’ Atheon, this time was known as Protheon the Modular mind, who uses his Vex control to tamper with the physics around you.
The two takeaways from this strike are that strikes in the Destiny 2 beta seem much more mechanic heavy than a simple run-and-gun, and that ammo conservation may be a difficulty if it isn’t patched for the full game. Unless RNGesus blesses you with the right type of ammo drop, you can expect to run around punching enemies until you get the ammo you need. That being said, the strike is excellent and actually feels different from the first game’s repetitive nature.
I hated Destiny’s Crucible. It always felt horrifically unbalanced and chaotic. So when I found myself actually enjoying the Crucible in the Destiny 2 beta, it became clear the level of care the developers put into making it feel like an actually fun multiplayer experience. All modes are now 4v4, which makes each match feel concise enough to make a difference in. The Control mode has been updated slightly, but still feels like a more fast paced version of the first game’s mode. Countdown is like the “Search & Destroy” game type from games like Call of Duty, but allows players to be resurrected after a period.
Instead of the normal heavy ammo drops, the game’s new “power ammo” drops at stations for individual players instead of numerous people standing around the box. The supers also charge much slower. These two things together make the game feel far more balanced and enjoyable, as you won’t have to continually die to supers over and over again or get rocketed from three different directions. As a whole, this seems like the biggest improvement on the game from its predecessor.
Classes and Abilities:
I tried out each of the new classes and found myself really enjoy the new take on them. Hunters get a unique role that allows them to evade enemies more easily; Titans can throw up a wall or barrier to allow for covering fire; Warlocks can summon wells of health or damage to buff themselves and their squad. Each of these feels like they’re designed to play together in both multiplayer and raid scenarios, and I’m excited to see them in practice. In addition to this, gone are the days of throw away supers. Classes like the Striker Titan and the Dawnblade Warlock have been designed to be far more mobile than the supers were in the first game.
After playing a Hunter for all of Destiny, the new classes and the abilities behind them definitely have me considering multi-classing. Now if only I could bring my Hunter’s jump with me to those classes…
Weapons and Armor:
Perhaps the biggest in-game change is the update on weapons and armor abilities. Instead of the first game’s focus on “strength, discipline, and intelligence” as stats that affect your ability charge times, the Destiny 2 beta has shown the new system of removing those counters and replacing them with “resilience, mobility, and recovery.” Each piece of armor is specialized for one of these fields and lets the player mix and match at their leisure.
The guns have also changed from primary-secondary-heavy to Kinetic-Elemental-Power. Your first two slots can be a range of auto rifles, pulse rifles, scout rifles, sidearms, and hand cannons, with the second slot having an elemental damage added to it. The power weapon slot has snipers, shotguns, fusion rifles, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers. This new array allows players to have a little more versatility with their weapon choices.
On top of these changes, there are also new upgrade slots. In each piece of armor or weapon, there is an elemental slot, a shader slot, and something known as a weapon mod slot, though none were included in the beta. This does mean that the player can craft and change each weapon to suit their needs at their own will, including changing the way it looks.