The PC version of “Destiny 2” will be released October 24, 2017. (Courtesy of Activision)
The squad-based, sci-fi, first-person shooter and massively-multiplayer online game “Destiny” first hit shelves in September 2014. Highly anticipated, the game fell flat on its face initially. Riddled with bugs and driven by the worst loot drop system of its time, this storiless, grindy MMO did not stand up to the hype. However, over the course of its lifespan developer Bungie poured new life into the game and dropped massive patches that made the game not only playable but fun enough for people to invest hundreds of hours playing.
Initially slated for 2016, a sequel seemed unnecessary to much of the game’s devoted fanbase. Nevertheless, it dropped in mid-September. The release was an immense success, but, truth be told, “Destiny 2” returns players to more of the exact same experience every step of the way.
As can be said with every Bungie title, the game looks beautiful. Locations new and old look breathtaking. The four new planets are all distinctly different and are all equally lovely to look at. From the new social zone, the Farm, to the watery moon, Titan, the structures and backdrops are simply stunning.
Another nice addition is a real storyline to follow. Bungie clearly took fan input from the first game into account when creating the sequel, because the original had no story. Every piece of DLC, the entirety of the base game, was a string of missions and strikes one had to play in order. The story, the voicing and the characters all brought no life, personality or immersion to the original “Destiny.”
This time that changed. To a point. “Destiny 2” is a tale of redemption. The Last City on Earth has been overrun by the Red Legion, a Spartan-like people lead by the great warrior Ghaul. He has taken “the light”:,a mythical source of power that chose the Guardians and seeks to use it to power his legion to take over the Universe. The player’s guardian must find a way to get the light back and take on the forces of the Red Legion to free the solar system from Cabal tyranny.
Despite an active effort to include a real narrative in “Destiny 2,” the story is nothing special. The comic relief characters are great for a laugh, but when characters are in harm’s way the player will not have any reason to care. There are no emotionally gripping moments, just the story, the dialogue and its cliché science fiction. Overall, the story will take no more than 10 hours, and that is if the player enjoys some exploration along the way. The exposition is there, and the cut scenes are great-looking.
Is the story bad? No. At least it exists this time. The missions are fun, but the storyline is not where “Destiny 2” shines.
Yet besides the settings and something of a narrative storyline, nothing at all is new.
“Destiny 2” is nearly identical to “Destiny.” The gameplay is fun, but mildly grindy. It mirrors the most updated version of “Destiny.” The loot drop system rewards repetition, hard work and replaying key missions and strikes. The AI is a bit more intelligent. The game provides challenge and a sense of excitement, but it is still the same game “Destiny” was at its core. Nothing at all has changed.
Even the enemies are the same: the war-like Cabal, the horde-like Hive, the twitchy Taken, the robotic Vex and the Fallen. Some of the enemy models are a bit more beefed up, they look crisper, larger and stronger. But even the enemy types do not vary. Each class of enemy is exactly the same and few of them have any new abilities.
The Guardians have very few new abilities. In fact, the three classes are exactly the same as they were before.
There are still Strike Missions, Patrols and competitive player-versus-player in the form of the Crucible. All of these side missions and methods for scoring new gear are far more expansive and rewarding. In fact, the exploration aspect is greatly expanded. The player is set free to explore the planets and play as you feel far earlier.
Nothing else is new here. “Destiny 2” is “Destiny” one with a different setting and some slight bit of exposition.
Is all this to say that “Destiny 2” is a bad game? Absolutely not. It is a terrific game, just like “Destiny” before it. But it does not try to do anything new. It is terrific that Bungie stuck to the formula that made “Destiny” great and did not attempt to reinvent the wheel, but this went beyond that. The game calls fans of the original to return and gives those who never played a chance to jump in as well, but it does nothing to bring in a new audience.
The game is amazing, fun and incredibly easy to replay, but any honest person would admit that it could have just been a $60 expansion to the original. Marketing it as a whole new game was a mistake that leaves the player wanting something more out of “Destiny 2.”