When the original Destiny hit in 2014, Bungie was on its way to making something astounding. No, this isn’t about whether the original Destiny was “great” or not. The industry and those who played that game know how much of a beta-state that game was when it launched. It was fun, no doubt about that, but it was also very lacking. It could be reasoned that 50% of that were the restraints held to it by the older Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 but there were other underlying issues.
With the coming DLC packages, expansion, and even some fresh and new voice over work (thanks to Nolan North of course) Destiny became a much better game. Now, you may be wondering “why bring up the first game so much and right off the bat, no less?” It’s important to take the first entry at the final value it was given because when you first play Destiny 2, you will understand it to be a love letter to that game and many fans who have stuck with it. Destiny 2‘s beta may have been shallow but the final product of said game is definitely not. It sucks you in from the start and warrants a “bad habit” where you just cannot put the controller down.
(The three classes pictured from left to right – Hunter, Warlock, and Titan)
WHAT IS DESTINY 2?
Destiny 2 is an MMO role-playing FPS of sorts that involves players exploring rich and colorful worlds as one of three classes provided in the game universe and that as their own personalized avatar. Depending upon which class you choose (Titan, Warlock, or Hunter), they each have their own upgrades, perks, special abilities, along with two extra sub-classes that mix up the game-play even more and focus on a specific element (Void, Solar, and Arc). Destiny 2 generously provides three slots so you can have a character for each class (and you can also swap items such as weapons, skins, emotes, and others among-st them at a kiosk late-game). That same as with Destiny, there are three races you can choose to play as (Human, Awoken, or Exo). The customization options are fairly generous and seem to be the same options as given in the first game (so don’t expect any Mass Effect level customization any time soon).
(An Awoken Titan in the middle of customization.)
Just looking at each class at face value and having not played Destiny or Destiny 2 at all, you might not know what each class entails. I would argue that the best part about Destiny 2 and its massive replay value is the varied classes. This being the case, here is a break down below:
- Titans are the strong-arm and more resilient type of guardians. They possess powers that can help deliver protection to fellow squad members or dish out some quick and untamed fury kills. In a battle class scenario, Titans are more like your tank role. The Titan’s sub-classes include “Striker” which uses lightning (Arc) powers to hammer lightning fists down on foes, as well as “Sunbreaker” which uses fire (Solar) attacks to launch a string of fire hammers at their enemies, and a new “Sentinel” class, that mimics Captain American with the use of a arm-strapped defensive shield that can mow down a on-coming hoard. Titans are really fun to play as and was mostly used for the purpose of this review.
- Hunters are your more nimble, rogue-esc, “first-strike” guardians. Hunters are usually the quickest and most cunning class on the battlefield. This class contains sub-classes such as “Gunslinger” which allows the player to unleash a devastating hand-cannon that turns most enemies into fodder with its Solar power, and “Nightstalker” harnesses the Void and its “Shadowshot” super slows groups of enemies caught in the radius for easy kills. The Hunter also has a third sub-class based on Arc powers name “Arcstrider”, which gives the player an electrified staff and an insane amount of mobility when using. Bare in mind each class sub-type’s other skill tree options will reflect each to the most part each power (Void, Solar, Arc) it is based on (and that goes for all three classes).
- Warlocks are more like your mage and to some parts medic class. Warlocks pull off the whole Void/Arc/Solar thing best as their powers are just great displays of magic prowess. Classed included with the Warlock are “Voidwalker” which is void based and lets you pull of an explosive “Nova Bomb” super, as well as an Arc sub-class called “Stormcaller” that will make you feel like straight up Palpatine from Star Wars as you spew fist lightning with the “Stormtrance” super, and then there the new sub-class for Destiny 2 which “Dawnblade”. This sub-class is Solar based, naturally and with its super “Daybreak”, players are granted a massive blade of fire that can be swung to throw projectile fire blades at on-coming foes. This class is possibly the most fun to be had but that is no discount to the other two as any class chosen is a great time in waiting.
THERE IS AN ACTUAL STORY IN DESTINY 2
New to Destiny 2 and contrasted to the first entry, we have an actual story that doesn’t go as deep as “I could tell you”. Everything that was built up upon the initial Destiny release hasn’t been thrown away, but rather Destiny 2‘s story is built soundly upon it. You still have the known enemy factions such as the robotic Vex, the pesky Fallen, the brute-like Cabal and the wispy Taken, but new to this game is the introduction of a faction known as the Red Legion. The Red Legion is a towering force of the Cabal that is ran by none other than Dominus Ghaul. They have never known defeat and with this outstanding background, they are seeking to bind the Traveler and strip it of its “Light”.
It may not hit so hard with the new-comers but from the starting events as the Tower and everything crumbles away… Bungie makes a very good case to make you want to care. The first few hours of campaign game-play is nothing short of epic. The following story and campaign missions do a good job of mixing things up with the inclusion of 4 different planets/moons (Titan, Earth, Nessus, and IO). You can’t do multiplayer “Strike” missions as they call them (sort of like mini-raids) or even PVP multiplayer in the Crucible until you reach a certain point in the story. This might seem like a huge downside without actually playing first-hand, but Bungie does this for the best way of delivering a story that makes sense and keeps continuity while at it.
Obviously we aren’t here to spoil the story but know that the separation from early game to late game actually makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Even if you aren’t the multiplayer type, there is still serious value to be had from a single-player only type player. Though, if you choose to play online, matchmaking it a total breeze this time around and we’re told its been revamped so you will find better compatible players much easier. Strikes are varied greatly once you finish the story and once you reach certain milestone like getting higher powered gear, you can participant in the true-raid Strikes known as “Nightfall” missions. Speaking of higher powered gear, there is A LOT of great gear you can get and during playing (40+ hours) high level gears like “Exotics” and “Legendarys” were pretty good at dropping (so yes it is a grind but you get rewarded at a good pace).
LOTS TO DO IN THE END-GAME
Each of Destiny 2‘s worlds are vast and expansive (much more so since we are not limited to last generation hardware). There are a lot of mission point where you can start mini-missions of the fly and even unlock new ones such as “Patrols” through milestone progression. These mini-missions and some even being “side-quest” worthy extend the life of Destiny 2 by a good margin (some even require certain power levels before you can realistically complete). These aren’t the best part about the new openness of the worlds though. Making a return are “Public Events” which will drop certain enemies and an objective down in that given spot.
Public Events are great because they bring the more MMO aspect to Destiny 2. Having a bunch of random guardians gather around a Public Event flag and work together even when the difficulty spikes up to “Heroic”, is a great experience every time. Some daily challenges will require you to do these and sometimes you even have to search out “Lost Sectors” in the part of your current world. No matter what you do in your exploration of these 4 differing worlds, you are bound to have a good time and plenty of options while doing so.
GUN-PLAY, VEHICLES, AND GAME ECONOMY
Weapons are plenty and highly varied in Destiny 2. You can have anything from swords, shotguns, assault rifles, machine pistols, rail-guns, and everything in-between (with access to mods found in Engrams that can enhance them as well as other gear). It most likely wont be the best pickings early game but once you get to level 20, you will defiantly start getting Rare, Legendary, and maybe even Exotic weapons that will start blowing enemies out of the water. What guns you use really comes down your play-style but as a trait carried from the original Destiny, most weapons also carry an elemental effect (Arc, Solar, or Void). These effects will work on each enemy class differently and this factor will also be great multiplied if you ever try to take on the “Nightfall” Strikes.
You have to wait until completing the story but you do get access to a “Sparrow” which lets you ride around the worlds faster. You also get a ship early on in the game but more can also be acquired and outfitted with different shaders and flair effect. Speaking of shaders (items used to change the color theme of items) they are now one-use limited. In Destiny they were not this way and this had caused divide in the community over it, because there are few reasons to change such a thing unless you are trying to cash in on its value proposition. It doesn’t really hurt our overall opinion of the game but it is a little slimy to backpedal and make money on a once un-monetized feature.
As previously mentioned there are a ton of weapons and cool class gear to acquire in Destiny 2. When killing enemies, they will sometimes drop “Engrams” based on different rarities. You will have to visit the “Cryptarch” back at home base to uncover what they might hold. Once you reach level 20 you will no longer level up but you will still gather experience. This experience piles up until you hit enough to receive a “Bright Engram” which only a special Cryptarch can open.
(Exotic weapon shown above. Can mostly be found in Bright Engrams but sometimes in a lucky Exotic Engram drop.)
Its definitely not pivotal to win or have fun but you can purchase Bright Engrams in-game to have a better chance at getting Exotic gear. The store-front will also rotate stock on special items you can see before buying if you don’t want to take a gamble. These items vary from emotes (which are plenty so far) to shaders, weapons, ships, Sparrows, and even emblems. During the play-though there was enough good gear dropping without having to buy from the store but if you have the cash, there is a lot of special goodies waiting for you there!
Last but definitely not least we have the Crucible, which touts a very welcomed return. Game modes included in the Crucible are Clash (Team Death-match), Control (3-Point King Of The Hill), Supremacy (like Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed), and Countdown which is exclusive to the “Competitive” playlist; Countdown is akin to something like search and destroy or demolition but all guardians share a life pool. For those who haven’t played any recent Call of Duty, Supremacy is like Kill-Confirmed in the sense that when you get a kill, that player drops a toke you have to pick up to score. A game of Countdown starts with both teams having to acquire a “charge” and plant it at the enemy base. At the same time the other team can do the same, so you have to come up with an attack and defend strategy.
The other modes are pretty self-explanatory but they are all fun no matter what you choose. The gear you gather and acquire with Campaign, Strike, or even other Crucible matches can be brought used as-is in the Crucible. Winning games in this PVP mode will also give you chance at winning some pretty cool loot. There are a varied assortment of maps spanning all of the planets/moons and they each have points that spawn ammo for your power weapon. Whatever power weapon you bring into the game via load-out, if you work closely enough to score the ammo, you can use it. The catch is if you die, you lose that power weapon ammo.
Bungie is very well known for their great maps and power weapon game-play in the Halo days. It translated okay in Destiny but with various tweaks here and there, the maps and flow feels just right. That also goes for the player UI. Kill-feeds, ultimate meters (for you, your team-mates, and enemies) along with notifications of who got what power ammo, are all nice touches. If you can take away anything, its that PVP is just as fun as PVE.