Title: Destiny 2
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Official Site: www.destinythegame.com
Release Date: September 6, 2017 [Xbox/PlayStation]; October 24, 2017 [PC]
Where To Buy: Blizzard, PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, Local Retailer
Back in July, I played and gave my impressions on the Destiny 2 beta. As someone who played hundreds upon hundreds of hours in the original Destiny, I left feeling hopeful, even with how little they showed. Any small step to improve my self-described “favorite bad game” would easily win me over for hundreds of more hours. Having already spent over a hundred hours in Destiny 2, I’d say they did even more than just improve the first.
Destiny 2 is the second in the series from developer Bungie. In this game, the Tower, the social space and last city in the first game, is blitzkrieg attacked by a faction of the Cabal known as the Red Legion. After working your way through the wreckage of your once intact home and running into a few familiar, if not very angry, faces along the way, you take the fight to the Cabal by boarding one of their ships and cutting the power. As you make your escape, you come face to face with their leader, Ghaul, who takes your light before throwing you off his ship to the ground below.
As you make your near fatal walk outside of the city, you eventually are assisted by a non-guardian woman named Hawthorne who brings you to The Farm, outfits you with some guns and a ship, and puts you back in the fight. It is outside of this area that a mysterious shard of The Traveler beckons you and returns to you your light, giving you the courage to go and find your old friends and take your world, and The Traveler, back.
The first ten minutes of the story in Destiny 2 put all of the original Destiny to shame. Between the integration of spectacular cut scenes that cover both friendly characters as well as your new enemy Ghaul, is like a Christmas gift to every Destiny fan. The characters actually have real personalities, even ones like Amanda Halliday, who didn’t in the first game. And though your Guardian may not have a voice in this one, everyone else seems to. The ending is the cornerstone that pulls it all back together in a way I would never have expected.
The two other factors that contribute to this feeling are the planets you visit and the musical score. Each planet feels like its own unique world with its own personal voice. This is due to the addition of a friendly on the ground in each area: EDZ has Devrim Kay, Titan has Sloane, Nessus has (my favorite) Failsafe, and Io has Asher Mir. Now, instead of hearing the same four people talk over every mission, there is an actual variety to who is sending you on quests and why.
The score is remarkable and easily one of the most notable and memorable parts of the game. During epic cinematic scenes, a full orchestral piece will play; When you’re miles underground, it takes a more synthesized approach. Each place you go feels like the music was hand-picked for that area, which mixes the “science fiction” and “fantasy” elements of the game even further.
But the hallmark of the Destiny series is the gameplay, and fortunately, that seems to be the thing that got the most fine-tuning of all. If Destiny 2 had a fan given tagline, I’m sure it would be “quality of life improvement”.
Whether it’s mantling walls for easier climbing, maps for each world so you don’t have to look online, or even just adding when a public event is dropping so you don’t need to guess, all of these and many more just make playing the game feel fun and enjoyable each time you play. It encourages you to try the nightfall; it encourages you to join a clan; it encourages you to play the raid. Each piece seems tailored to push you forward at a far better pace than the first game did.
Finally, perhaps the most important part of Destiny 2‘s content is the Raid. As they were the one part of the original that fans could take pride in, the raid in this new game is even more excellent because it screams “possibilities.” At first glance in feels linear with a set of rooms to beat and a major boss at the end, but those who make it far enough will realize that there’s an even bigger portion that requires exploration and discovery, pushing you to come back and try new ways to navigate it all. It feels like they knew those who would finish would desperately want more, so they threw an entire extra puzzle in where none would have looked.
Verdict: I am in love with this game. It’s not perfect, and there are plenty of gripes I have about some of the mechanics. Is it as pretty as it probably should be? No. Are there still minor glitches that cause frustration? Of course. But do I constantly want to be back in that world, pushing my power level further and exploring for more mysteries? You better believe I do. After all that was the embarrassment of the original Destiny vanilla, this one is already making me excited for the future. Eyes up Guardians.
- Excellent character building
- Stellar score that underlines each activity
- Plenty of content and exploration options
- Not a huge graphical improvement on the first
- Technical glitches cause frustration frequently enough
- Not as many customization options as expected