Destiny 2 is Destiny 1, but streamlined.
Its fundamental hook of overcoming hostile alien hordes in order to collect more varied and powerful treasure remains unaltered, and will be instantly familiar to those with a few (hundred/thousand) hours under their belts. This news may be encouraging if it was this loot cycle that had you hooked the first time around. It may equally leave you feeling content to give D2 a miss if you hated the original release or are susceptible to Destiny Dependence and need to be wary.
For anyone that hasn’t read any of this year’s Game Complete posts, my criterion for completion is simply finishing the main storyline. In a sprawling epic such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim this is clearly a pretty basic benchmark, but for blogging purposes I’m sticking with it. Calling ‘game complete’ on the Destiny titles that really only hit their stride after the campaign ends is equally laughable. Them’s the rules though, so check out what has to be THE best game trailer ever made then read on!
As there are countless articles on Destiny 2 circulating the interwebs at the moment, mine will just dash through a few pros and cons from my perspective as a 500 hour Destiny veteran. Whilst 500 hours is pretty middle-of-the-road as far as time commitment goes in this community it is more than enough to appreciate the many steps Bungie has taken to continue the franchise’s evolution and make the entire experience better fulfil what was intended from the outset.
- This time around there is a genuine story arc, and it ain’t half bad! The numerous cutscenes, engaging environments and accessible lore represent a big step in the right direction for helping players understand their place in Destiny‘s universe and chronology. It’s so rewarding to see the key NPCs fleshed out and appearing in campaign missions rather than just hanging out in the command centre while we the chosen ones do all the heavy lifting.
- The new patrol zones are enormous and beautiful, each with a distinctly identifiable art style. My favourite so far is the Skyrim-esque European Dead Zone seen below left.
- The difficulty of selecting between the three classes of Guardian and their updated abilities was akin to choosing a starter pokemon, but worth the mental effort. I mained Titan in D1 and expected to start off as a knife-throwing Hunter this time around. The Warlock’s new healing rift ability was too good to pass up however, and the health regeneration theme has proven to be a perfect fit.
- No trash perks on weapons anymore! Well, none so far from what I’ve seen. The weapons’ visual and sound design are also improved, and auto rifles in particular feel far more effective across the board.
- Another small but valuable development from D1 is that the elemental shields on certain enemies have been made blindingly obvious. What used to be a thin aura requiring a magnifying glass and slow motion to spot is now visible from across the map and amidst the chaos of battle.
- The new guided games system – which serves to get solo players engaged in endgame activities and making positive relationships along the way – looks to be an ingenious alternative to traditional matchmaking processes.
- I enjoyed customising my Guardian’s look by experimenting with different shaders regularly, so finding that they are consumable and cost glimmer to apply in Destiny 2 was a disappointing surprise. At least they can now be added to weapons, ships and sparrows.
- Along the same lines as customising gear, it would be nice to be able to change your Guardian’s facial markings and hair after that initial creation phase. I regret not committing to the whole-face tattoos back at the start, and now that the world is out of immediate peril there shouldn’t be anything to stop him getting them.
- Apart from a familiar and slightly sinister sensation that I should be playing in any waking hour, nothing to report! We’ll see if this compulsion to stay up later and rise earlier remains once I’ve reached the power levels necessary to raid, which should be soon around the second weekly reset. The 1-2 hours a day that I’ve managed to squeeze in so far isn’t sustainable in the long term, but it was the best that could be done to keep up with clan-mates without letting real life completely collapse. At least our internet connection is mostly reliable now!
This Kotaku article on how the demands of Destiny can clash with a busy life really struck a chord.
PRO TIP: Don’t hold onto your faction reputation currency as I did. In line with some poor YouTube advice I had saved those rep boosts with the expectation that they would propel me through the more challenging >260 power level phase. Sadly they’ve only produced large quantities of 265 gear, so the grind to this point would have been significantly quicker had I just cashed them in as I went along instead of hoarding. Lesson learned I guess.