Destiny 2 – Review

Image via xbox.com

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist. The greatest trick Destiny 2 will ever pull is convincing people it is a good game.

The last city on Earth is being attacked by a zealot Cabal known as Ghaul. He and his Red Legion have arrived to take The Traveler and its light from all of the Guardians. It is up to you, guardian, to fight the Cabal, free The Traveler, and return the Light to all of the Guardians.

The opening of this game is strong but the game quickly wanes. The first mission is familiar to anyone that played the beta and it used to setup the rest of the game. You’ll loose all of you abilities and gear that you and have to start over from scratch. The mission does well to setup the direness of the situation only to have it immediately trivialized by the rest of the game. The next thing you do is get your light back just like Stella got her groove back. Your tasked to go to where a piece of the Traveler is and commune with it to get your Light back. It is unclear how or why this part of the Traveler is here or what it does to restore your Light.

The story continues to unravel as it progresses. For whatever reason you receive your Light back, other Guardians do not. Why they can’t simple go to the Traveler shard like you did and get their Light back is unknown. Seems like they should be able to since you keep going back to it to unlock you other subclasses. The idea of you being the only Guardian with Light breaks the premise of much of the game. While all the characters in the story are now afraid of death, you and your fireteam are just fine. Yes, you are the only Guardian with Light and the ability to resurrect, that is until you join up with other players and then they are also somehow good with Light.

If part of the premise were the only problem with the story that would be fine but the game also doesn’t tell a good story nor does it do it well. Those that played the original Destiny will applaud at the story in Destiny 2. Step away from that and one can see that it is still a bad story. Bungie falters back to it prose of telling a story by not telling it. Ghaul comes out of nowhere and for no reason. There is little backstory given to him or his motivations. Near the end you get a touch of his story but not in a meaningful way. The addition of cutscenes and dialogue are an improvement over the original game but this sequel is still lacking a decisive narrative. By the end of the main story one is left to wonder why events transpired and what they mean to the overall world. There is less of the missions of running somewhere and scanning something but most if not all of the missions turn out to be go to a place and shoot all the bad guys.

After finishing the campaign there are a lot of things to do, unfortunately most of them are empty tasks. The open world is there to explore and patrols are provided for something to do. These feel like cookie-cutter rehashes of the original game just on new backdrops. Most players will spend their time in either the Strike or Crucible areas. Strikes are for the PVE players and this quickly becomes repetitive. With few Strikes to rotate through there is little to experience in this mode other than grinding for loot. The Crucible it the PVP area for those that want it. The biggest change is that teams are now four players instead of six as in the original game. The modes have changed a bit and that at least makes games play out differently.

One thing you can’t do after finishing the campaign is replay it. There are no markers on the map to go back to a story mission. There is no daily story mission to do as there was in the original game. The only way I’ve noticed to replay story missions within your character is to get them from Ikora as Meditations. Doing these will get you some rewards and increase your reputation with her. The strange issue is that she will only give you three of them and they do not reset on a daily basis. Likely this is a weekly reset and you’ll have to wait until then to replay any other story missions.

If you’ve ever heard it said “the grind is real” then this may be the realest grind you can get. The never-ending quest for better gear will have you chasing loot through all the activities. Along with these you’ll be getting reputation with NPC’s to get you even more loot. The power levels tend to taper off at a point and the gear you are getting will not be any better than some gear you already have. This can become a frustration when you don’t make any progress for all the time you can easily sink into the game.

The things the game does well it does extremely well. The first thing you may notice is the graphics. It is as if though removing the shackles of the previous generation console has allowed Bungie to create much richer and more detailed textures. Also, most if not all of the draw in animations are gone. With the absence of Paul McCartney and Marty O’Donnell the music has surprising improved. It sounds fantastic and helps to augment the visuals and moods. A major improvement to Destiny 2 over original Destiny are the maps. Not only are public events visible with countdown timers there are now fast travel points to different parts of maps. This drastically improves the playability of the open world part of the game.

Even with all of its improvements, Destiny 2 is still a shallow game. The story is barely more than surface deep and most of a player’s time will be spent replaying activities over and over. Not only are the activities a grind, Bungie also repeats missions and strikes over the same game space. Marked improvements over the original don’t fully justify the game if you didn’t play its predecessor. Players new to the game will likely recognize its flaws more readily than those returning from the original.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

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4 thoughts on “Destiny 2 – Review

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