Can Destiny 2 improve upon the errors of its predecessor and finally deliver the experience that Bungie had been promising before the launch of the original title?
Back to Black
So it appears that all that effort in the first Destiny to help humanity be great once again failed. All those grand words uttered by the Speaker about finally getting up from one’s knees and fighting the darkness, about creating a foothold for the light and freeing the universe from the terror of evil… well, it turns out it was not that simple. All it took was a massive attack on the Last City led by Ghaul and the Guardians along with the rest of forces of light are scrambling for cover and a hiding place. The commander of the Red Legion installs a big mechanic spider thingy on the Traveler and strips you of your Light, thus taking your special abilities. Now you have to start from scratch, clawing and shooting your way through endless streams of enemies in order to take back what is rightfully yours. Again.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate the story of Destiny 2. The first installment has set the bar so low, that the plot of the second part can be viewed as pretty good. Bungie rightfully understood that what Destiny lacked was characters, so now such Guardians as Cayde-6, Zavala and Ikora Rey get much more screen time and they’re really well played by the voice actors. The lack of a specific enemy, a real antagonist, has also been fixed. Although one can say that Dominus Ghoul, in spite of his tactics, looks like a big potato who has found himself a Space Marine armor somewhere in space.
Return of the Guardian
Bungie has always been best when refining their own ideas over and over again until they become better (or you simply got used to them). Destiny 2, in this respect, is no different than the Halo series. The game is simply a better, bigger, wider version of the idea behind the first Destiny. Create a gorgeous world, populate it with nice-sounding baddies and let players create fire-teams to fight evil. For glory, fun, and loot. Happily, gone is the solemnness that stood so much in contrast to the actual content of the gameplay. You are having fun shooting aliens and getting new guns, using special abilities with golden guns, and someone is constantly blabbering about the threat to the Light and this was a problem. Now the script, and especially Cayde-6 played by Nathan Fillion, is a bit lighter, even though Destiny 2 is trying to be The Empire Strikes Back, all in accordance with the rule that the second part of anything needs to be darker.
The gameplay, fortunately, has not been changed as no other developer than Bungie knows how to create great shooting and moving mechanics, and most importantly, make them fun. What helps is the fact that the difficulty level in the campaign map is not that high, so before venturing into Raids and other co-operative goodies, you can have some time enjoying being a superhero. Unless you play multiplayer, that is. Here no one’s a hero.
Good news is that Bungie really listened to all of the comments the gamers had with respect to the first Destiny. First of all, the developer has finally integrated Clans into the gameplay, which results in e.g. Clan XP that unlocks perks for the entire group or even clan-wide rewards. There’s a new Survival mode in the multiplayer part, where each team has a finite number of resurrections before permanent death kicks in.
The Crucible, the multiplayer component of Destiny 2, is all about 4 on 4 matches. You can argue that in 2017 it’s an oddly small number when compared to the biggest multiplayer titles out there, but Bungie is only developing what they feel comfortable with. Small maps and small teams force players to co-operate, and solo running and gunning can be fun, but shouldn’t be exercised too often as Destiny 2 players tend to move in packs and when taking into account the small teams, every member matters.
Destiny 2 is just so filled with content and things to do that you really can’t have anything against it. Those who like the grind of the end-game, with the never-ending repeats of Strikes, Raids, Nightfalls and Heroic Events get what they need. And those, who’d rather enjoy a rather long co-operative campaign with their friends, will easily sink at least 30 hours into Destiny’s 2 open maps and missions.
The Final Destiny
In the end Destiny 2 is a gorgeous game full of content for those, who loved the idea of the original Destiny, whether they’ve stayed longer until Bungie fixed all the problems and delivered on the much-promoted idea of a science-fiction opera mixed with knights and special powers, or bailed just after the grind for the light started. Those who were not impressed by the first Destiny’s lackluster multiplayer component and angered by the never-ending waiting for another patch won’t in all probability be that much impressed. But hey, you can come back with your mates for the next battle against funnily sounding aliens and gather some great loot,