Destiny 2 is finally out, and it's so big we couldn't write a review after just a day of playing. Instead, we went down and deep into the game and came out with this review! Check it out!
A Story Destined For Greatness
Once upon a time, Destiny was merely a game you played with your friends to complete missions and kill aliens. Bungie had included a story, featuring the unenthused voice work of Peter Dinklage (a.k.a. Dinklebot), but it wasn’t very impactful. It was simply, Crota is rising, Skolas is attacking, Oryx is mad you killed his son Crota, and the Iron Lords need help with the SIVA outbreak. With each delayed release Bungie got better with their storytelling, but it wouldn’t be until Destiny 2 that they would finally hit their stride.
The story, itself, does follow the same pattern of the first Destiny in that you deal with the Fallen (and Cabal) on Earth, Hive on the next planet, followed by Vex, and then Cabal. What makes it stand out is that you actually have a motivation for going to these different places and fighting the various enemies. You even understand why they are there to begin with. It’s all part of Bungie’s renewed purpose to provide a meaningful storyline.
What makes a good storyline, though? In my estimation, it’s conflict and characters. Those are two things that were missing in the first Destiny. There were missions, yes, and the fate of the world was at stake, but without consequences and characters to really enforce the conflict it doesn’t take. That’s something Bungie made it their mission to correct, and they did it in spades.
Leading up to Destiny 2’s release, we saw a lot of Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion), Zavala (Lance Reddick), and Ikora (Gina Torres), and with good reason. Unlike before, where they were misused NPC’s you got missions from, these three take center-stage in the campaign by providing amusing dialogue, heavy dispositions, and forceful vengeance. They finally showed why they were the leaders of the Tower.
While fleshing out heroic characters makes for a good story, a strong villain makes it a great story. Ghaul is that strong villain we’ve been wanting. Oryx may have been powerful and Crota may have been a God, but neither of the Hive deities can light a candle to the Cabal Dominus, Ghaul. He gives a voice to the militant race of Martians, with his desire to be chosen by the Traveler. Bungie uses this motivation to really give the Cabal an identity, something they never had in Destiny 1. Sure, there was a vast library of lore and stories to understand the race, but that wasn’t in-game. Being able to see the Roman-esque leadership from the Cabal brought Destiny 2 to the next level, but seeing Ghaul pursue the Traveler while showing strength, insecurity, and unwavering dominance made Destiny 2 one of the best games I’ve played in 2017.
A New Way to Play
Throughout your adventures in Destiny 2, it’s easy to notice the differences early on. The weaponry is no longer Normal, Special, and Heavy. Now, it’s Kinetic, Energy, and Power. It’s the same color scheme but each have their own advantages and almost anything can be an Energy or Power Weapon. Bungie also added mods that give different pieces of armor and weaponry new perks, and even increase your light level.
Furthermore, shaders are no longer exclusive to armor and can be customized in any which way you’d like. That means, you could have a Titan with a white helmet, blue chest piece, neon green arms, yellow legs, and a pink rocket launcher. Why anyone would do that, I don’t know, but the point is you can! Speaking of customization, the facial construction of your guardian has gotten better. It’s still not to the level of, say, Bethesda, but it’s definitely an upgrade. I can actually stand to look at my guardian with its helmet off.
Subclasses have also changed, to an extent. Every class of guardian, Hunter, Titan, Warlock, still has three subclasses that they can choose to play with and 2 out of the 3 remain the same from Destiny 1. Arcblade, for Hunter, is now the Darth Maul-esque Arcstrider, Defender becomes the shield-throwing Sentinel for Titan, and Sunsinger is now the Solar Sword-wielding Dawnblade. So far, the only complaint I’ve heard from most gamers is for the Dawnblade, as most utilized the regeneration effects of Sunsinger. Nonetheless, each class and their upgrade system have been completely revamped, for the better.
Remember that convoluted and messy subclass upgrade system in Destiny 1? Bungie completely overhauled that in the sequel by simplifying it to only 16 perks to choose from. What’s better is that the grenade, dodge, and jump perks don’t take any upgrade points. The other perks are what cost points, making it a lot easier to play with the subclass you’re most comfortable with.
They even changed how you get each subclass. It requires you to run around each planet, fighting in the public events that appear on a frequent basis, and looting chests that riddle your map. Then, you go back into the dark forest and listen to stories from the leader of your class until you fight your way to the subclass and must use it to get out. It’s really cool.
There a multitude of other nuances to talk about, which I’ll get to in just a sec, but the last one I want to mention in this topic has to do with the Crucible. In Destiny 1, you were able to choose the Crucible game you wanted to play by going to Control, Skirmish, etc. Destiny 2 doesn’t let you do that anymore. Instead, you can either go to Quickplay or Competitive. In Quickplay, it throws you and 3 of your teammates into a standard Crucible match so you can hone your skills by getting the most kills. However, Competitive is where the real challenges start. Bungie took the games from, their publisher, Activision’s flagship multiplayer series, Call of Duty, and put their own Destiny spin on them. I’m talking Search and Destroy, Control, and even Elimination. I had a feeling that when Bungie announced that they would be dropping the Crucible down to 4v4 that they would be eventually trying to make Destiny into an eSport. With this new style of Crucible, it would not surprise me if they were to announce that by next year.
Bungie Astounds in Artistic Style
Bungie got a lot of things right with Destiny 1. It may sound like they didn’t with what I’ve said so far, but the fact remains that Destiny 1 was a good game. It was also a vehicle for Bungie to build off of to create an even better game in Destiny 2. For example, Bungie did a great job with the art in Destiny 1. There were several times I would just sit around the Tower, looking at the Traveler and marveling at its beauty. For Destiny 2, they would end up taking that art style and pushing it to new boundaries, creating a gorgeous environment to explore. In certain areas, the colors were just so vivid and rich that you don’t mind getting shot while you’re staring off at the distant ocean, waiting to see a sea monster. By the way, they added a sea monster on Titan and it’s pretty cool.
The environment wasn’t the only thing they updated, though. Every enemy model has been re-done to look sleeker and more defined, except for the Taken. You’ll be able to tell from the moment you first jump that the enemies you’re facing look and even run differently. It’s a nice adjustment from the art team at Bungie.
The Game That Keeps On Giving
One of the best parts of Destiny is how Bungie rewards loyalty. If you played on a frequent basis, Bungie rewarded Destiny 1 players with all kinds of new loot and missions, periodically. In Destiny 2, the entire game feels like one giant reward. When you level up, you get a reward. When you increase your reputation, you get a reward. When you finish a crucible match, complete a public event, or complete a mission, you get a reward. What’s even better is so does your clan. When one of the members of your clan completes the Nightfall, everyone else benefits with an engram. That’s not all, though. Everything I just said you get rewarded for, becomes experience points for your clan to help it grow and gain new perks throughout Destiny 2.
See, that’s the beauty of Destiny. Bungie created a game that is extremely hard to complete, because it’s constantly updating. Now, you’ve also got clans that gain rewards with your achievements, making it hard to let them down. It’s the game that keeps on giving, with no plans on stopping anytime soon.