Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Release Date: September 6, October 24th (PC)
When Destiny was released in 2014, I had a lot of hope for it. Everything that was shown made it seem like it was going to be the next big first-person-shooter. While Destiny was a big hit, it didn’t quite meet the expectations that a lot of gamers had for it. Destiny was by no means a bad game. In fact it was a decent game that had smooth gun-play but unfortunately had a weak story, and missions that felt more like a chore than a fun and engaging mission. Does Destiny 2 manage to fix the key issues with the previous game or does it fall into the same traps and is it worth the price?
Probably one of the biggest issues that myself and a lot of gamers had with the original game was the way the main campaign played out. Missions were boring and at times really didn’t feel like they had a purpose. Basically the main missions had you fight through groups of enemies and to get to a certain things, normally a computer and then you’d have your ghost hack in the computer. While your ghost was working you’d then have to defend the ghost while waves of enemies would attack you. The issues with these missions was that there really wasn’t a way to fail the mission besides by dying. The enemies never actually tried to stop your ghost. They would just attack you and that was it. Since the enemies never seemed to care about the objective it was fairly easy to just sit back and eliminate them. There was no real pressure to get out in the open when all they cared about was you.
The last issue was that the entire main campaign was filled with these horde missions. After the third mission it became very clear that Destiny wasn’t going to have a coherent story with actual missions.
Destiny 2, manages to fix this issue. The main campaign is actually fun to play through becasue each mission feels different compared to the previous mission. There are a few times were you will have to defend your ghost but it’s never the main focus of the mission. Probably my highlight mission was on Titian one of Saturn’s moons and you have to steal a CPU. Upon stealing the CPU you set off an alarm and have to escape using a vehicle. It was short section but it was a nice change of pace from just having to shoot enemies.
The unfortunate part about the campaign is that it’s just too damn easy. Sure, there are some parts were I did die but these deaths weren’t becasue the particularly section was tough, there mostly deaths where I wasn’t paying attention or did something dumb. There are some hard sections but there just isn’t enough of these sections to make the campaign feel like a challenge. It also doesn’t help that the AI for the most part is horrible.The AI doesn’t try and fight with any tactics at all. They just run out and fire in the open making them easy targets.The only time Destiny 2 actually feel like challenge is when teaming with other players to do strikes or public events. I just wish that the campaign could have at least been a bit more harder instead of having to team up with other player for a challenge.
Where Destiny 2 truly shines is with it’s game-play. Nearly everything that you do in the game rewards you with something. This in turn gives you a reason to want to participate in public events, completing an adventure or even taking 20 minutes to get through a strike. This is because all three activities give you a guaranteed loot drop.Public events and adventures upon completion gives you a rare piece of gear, while strike missions can give you rare, exotic or even legendary.
Public events in the original game were almost worthless to participate in, they were fun and at times chaotic events but they didn’t happen too frequently and when they did happen you really didn’t know when and where it was going to happen. Even if you did manage to participate in a public event and completed it, there was a strong chance that you wouldn’t get anything for your effot Destiny 2 fixes all of these issues.
First off public events as mentioned before actually reward you. Now, you do have to complete the event. This means that if you don’t defeat the walker before the time limit ends you won’t get your loot, but if you do fully complete the event you will be rewarded with a rare item. Each public event also as a heroic event tied to it. If you complete certain objectives, the public event will turn heroic. This is a harder version of a regular public event and increases your chances of getting better loot.
Finding these events is now possible. When you pull up your map you can see any public events that are happening or about to happen and where they are. Public events also happen frequently. I’d say there’s a public event happening almost all the time. All of these fixes make these events an easy way to get some great loot.
One thing that did annoy me was once again like in the original game there was little to spend your glimmer on. There are vendors but most of the stuff they sell is under-leveled and never seems to actually get items that are near your level. The about the only vendors are good for in turning in tokens so that you can increase your reputation and get a legendary engram. Towards the end of the game I had a ton of glimmer as was just buy random weapons and gear so I could destroy them and use the materials to increase my reputation with the weaponsmith
I am glad that Bungie was able to increase the frequency between loot drops but I do wish that armor and weapons would have looked better. There’s really no major differences between a helmet that I get at level 1 and a helmet that I get at level 20, besides the stats of the helmet. In terms of cosmetics a level 1 helmet looks just as generic as a level 20 helmet. Even an exotic or legendary piece of gear doesn’t look much different than something that is rare. It’s a shame that when I go to the Farm, Destiny 2’s social hub. That I pretty much look like any other warlock.
There are ways of making your gear standout from other players and that’s by using shaders. Even then there still just isn’t much to make your character stand out. I really don’t care if I can make my helmet red when it’s just going to look like any other helmet that I can turn red. I want more details on the helmet. I want it to look like something that makes me want to keep it and store it my vault. Not something that just makes me want to destroy it for materials.
Like with most triple A games these days, microtransactions have been unnecessarily shoved into the game. You can purchase silver with real cash to then buy bright engrams which will give you a random variety of shaders and weapon mods. Now you can earn these engrams throughout the game without spending a dime but there’s still no reason to add microtransactions into this game, especially when it already costs $60.
The lackluster character customization also returns. After you pick what class you want to play as you can then change up how the face of your character will look. The level of customization you can do is terrible. The most you can do is pick your race, human, Exo, and Awoken. After that you can change up the hair style, add color, and add markings. That’s all you can do. It makes you wonder why even allow players to customize the look of your character when their’s so little you can actually do.
Next up is the story. The story in Destiny 2 is far better than the story we got in Destiny. However it’s not exactly a great story. The opening mission Homecoming starts off with a bang. We see a faction known as the Red Legion attack the tower and take over the Last City. The Red Legion is also building a cage over the Traveler. This takes away the light from the Guardians, leaving them powerless and unable to resurrect if they die. From here the Guardians have to regroup and find a way to get their light back.
What I love about this opening mission is that we are introduced to key protagonists and our antagonist. This is something else the original game lacked. While it had protagonists and an antagonist, they never really felt like characters. Thankfully this time we actually get characters that have personality and even there’s some that you can start to care for.
The problem with the story is there isn’t any emotional value to anything that happens in the story. Sure it sucks that the Guardians can now die but we don’t see any Guardians die. Same with civilians. Seeing the Red Legion rounding up Guardians and civilians and then executing them; would have added something more to the game. It would have made defeating this enemy even more important. You also get you light back rather quickly. While it wouldn’t have made sense to play the entire game without your powers, it still would have been great to have gone more than two missions without your light. It could have added that much needed challenge.
The other issue is that the story is just too short. You can beat the game in a matter of 4-7 hours, if you just play through the main story. If you participate in public events and adventures, you can grind it out to about 8 hours. It does seem that Bungie knew that the campaign was a bit on the short side and tried to find ways of adding to the length. Depending on how fast you level up there are some missions where you have to be a certain level in order to play the mission. This isn’t just a recommend level either, you can’t do the mission at all unless you are that level. So, you then have find a way to level up. You also don’t get access to a sparrow until about halfway towards the end of the game. This means you have to walk for most of the game. Luckily there are plenty of fast travel points along the map but it can be a bit annoying when you have to spend a long period of time just walking trying to get to your destination.
The world of Destiny is something I want to learn more about. The world Bungie has created truly fascinates me it’s just unfortunate that Bungie doesn’t want to give players a way to dive deeper into the world they’ve created. In the original game there was the Grimoire. The Grimoire acted as an encyclopedia for the lore of Destiny. You could read about the traveler. Who the Guardians were. Read more about the different enemy factions. They even went into more details about the weapons and vehicles. You can tell that there was time and effort put into creating this world. The downside to this was it wasn’t in the game. In order to use the Grimoire you had to go to Bungie’s website. While I did visit the website when I wasn’t playing the game, I would have preferred a way to do in game. So instead of just adding it into the game they just scrapped it completely.
I feel that Destiny is a game that is being held back by it’s social features. Destiny could be a great game with an epic storyline if they just focused on making on single player game. Don’t get me wrong I love doing strikes and enjoy teaming up with other Gurdians during a public event but I enjoy a great single player experience even more. I don’t think we’ll ever get a Desinty game at it’s full potential if they don’t cut out these social features.
Throughout the review I’ve mentioned adventures and strikes. So, let’s talk a little more about them. Adventures for the first half of the game replaces patrols from the previous game but are a lot more fun to do. Adventures are basically side missions that typically last for five-ten minutes. While the missions are rather short and like the campaign are pretty easy, I found myself trying to do as many as possible. They were a nice distraction from the main campaign and as mentioned before you are reward for doing them.
When it comes to strikes I found myself having a lot more fun playing them than I did with the original game. I feel the reason comes down to a few things, one of which is something that I already mentioned and that’s actually getting a reward. Every strike gives you a good amount of loot when you beat the final boss. Now you’re not taking 20 minutes to complete a strike and getting nothing. The other reason is when you finally get access to strikes.
Strikes don’t unlock till towards the end of the game when compared to Destiny, which unlocked within your first two hours. By the time I had reached the end game I found myself not really wanting to complete strikes any more becasue I had already been doing them for most of the game. This time around I find myself actually wanting to complete strikes more than anything else. Just writing about the strikes makes me want to log into Destiny 2 and run through a strike right now.
That’s something else that Destiny 2 does so well, it has that one more go feeling. When ever I would complete a strike of a Crucible match, I would find myself almost immediately wanting to queue up for another mission or match. I wanted to use the new weapons and gear that I got and hopefully some even more loot.
Boss fights at the end of a strike are more challenging and aren’t just bullet sponge targets. That doesn’t mean they can’t soak up a good amount of damage becasue they can but this time you see a good amount of impact when hitting the boss with a power weapon or your supercharge attack.
The only thing I don’t like about strikes is that there all bunched into a quickplay option so you never know which strike you are getting into until you’re already playing it. I would have preferred a way to select which strike I wanted to play. There were a few times where I ended up playing the same strike multiple times in a row. While I don’t mind playing a strike multiple times I don’t want to play the same strike after I had just completed it.
One of the last things I want to talk about is Destiny 2’s, PVP AKA The Crucible. I didn’t spend too much time in The Crucible in the original game. It was fun but by the end of the game I started to get a bit bored with it. With Destiny 2, I decided to save PVP for the end game and I am having actually having a lot of fun with it.
There are two modes you can choose from, quickplay and competitive. Both modes are 4v4 and each have different play styles. Quickplay is an easier mode where your power doesn’t matter and teamwork really isn’t a requirement. With competitive power level does matter and team work is a definite must. Once I had unlocked competitive play that’s where I found myself playing the most. I enjoyed the more skilled based combat and just how intense a match could become. My personal favorite mode to play was survival.
Survival is pretty much a team deathmatch mode with a one catch, each team has a limited amount of lives. Both teams start off with eight lives and with each death means your team is one step closer to losing. Each match is a best out of five. If playing with two even teams then a round may come down to a one-on-one fight, this allows for some great competitive matches that never feel one sided.
Like with strikes there’s no way to pick which game mode you play. So once again your left to a randomized chance. If it were up to me I would really only play survival. It’s the game mode I’ve had the most fun with.
Performance wise Destiny 2 ran at a solid framerate throughout the game, even when a lot was happening on the screen. I never experienced a crash during my playtime but did run into few bugs. One being during a strike. During it the boss managed to teleport and clip into a platform for about 20 seconds. He was still trying to attack us but couldn’t and we couldn’t either. Luckily this wasn’t a bug that ruined the strike. He eventually got unstuck and we were able to finish him off. Another small bug, was I got a black screen when trying to get to the Farm. The game wasn’t frozen nor did it crash. I could still bring up my inventory and hear sounds but I just couldn’t see anything. I had to log out of the game in order for this to fix itself. Besides that there was nothing game-breaking.
The final thing I want to talk about is graphics and audio presentation. While the original game had plenty of flaws, graphics and audio wasn’t one of those flaws. Not much as changed in Destiny 2 and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the visuals aren’t really improved there are some noticeable improvements in terms of textures that may have been held back by the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the first game. It’s actually impressive with how stunning Destiny can look while still able to keep a solid framerate.
In terms of audio, once again not much has changed. The soundtrack is still perfection and sets the mood for each encounter. Guns have a great futuristic sound to them. The only sound I wish they would have improved a bit was the grenade launcher. It wasn’t a bad sound but it didn’t sound as powerful as it sound have, especially when compared to the shotgun which has a bigger punch.
Now comes to the big question. Is Destiny 2 worth the $60 price tag? The answer to that isn’t as simple as saying yes or no. If this is your first time playing Destiny then yes. There is plenty of content that will keep you entertained for hours. If you loved the first game, played it from day one, bought every expansion ,and were playing it all the way till Destiny 2 came out; then the answer is yes. Everything that was in the first game is here this game but improved. If you hated the first game then the answer is no.
Now if you were more in the middle, you didn’t hate Destiny but you also didn’t like it, then I would suggest waiting for a sale. As for me, I enjoyed my time playing Destiny 2 but I do think the $60 price tag is a bit too much. There are noticeable changes but at times these changes feel more like a large update rather than a $60 sequel. I personally feel that this should have been a $40 standalone expansion. The content provided is easily worth $40, just not $60.
|+ Rewarding and fun activities
|-No way to read into the lore|
| +Frequent loot drops
|-Little to spend Glimmer on|
|+Characters that have personality
|-A improved but still average story|
|+Great Visuals||-Easy and short campaign|
|+Completive Loot Drops||-Microtransactions|
Final Rating: 7/10