The original Destiny launched 3 years ago to an incredibly mixed reception. The game subsequently went through a metamorphosis as DLC after DLC launched and “fixed” what was wrong with the game.
Ultimately however, first impressions are hard to shake off and Destiny left a sour taste in the mouths of many gamers. With Destiny 2, Activision and Bungie have clearly learned a lot and have created a better experience for returning veterans and newcomers alike.
Destiny 2 takes what made the original enjoyable and trims the fat. A leaner, faster and far more accessible end product is the result.
Destiny 2 review – Ghosts of the past
Kicking things off with the game’s campaign, Destiny 2 is miles ahead of its predecessor’s fragmented method of storytelling. Players will be thrust into the Red Legion campaign as the Cabal Empire lays waste to all that was familiar in Destiny 1.
Your weaponry is gone, your home is gone and your signature Guardian light powers are gone. The first half of Destiny 2’s campaign focuses heavily on loss while the latter half builds up to a worthy climax. Bungie have upped the number of cinematics and in-game quips quite heavily to deliver a satisfying story for the game’s main campaign.
Players will be able to play the campaign completely solo or with their friends in a fireteam of three.
The story progresses at a consistent pace and thankfully the level design is absolutely superb, there isn’t any point where you’ll feel bored or disgruntled.
While Destiny 1 featured some missions that just felt superfluous and downright annoying at times, Destiny 2’s campaign is well rounded and doesn’t require any additional loot grinding to complete.
Newcomers to the franchise may miss out on a couple of references to Destiny 1 but overall, anyone can jump in and enjoy the story. Having the amazing Nathan Fillion deliver another stellar performance as Cayde-6 is quite a big plus too.
Destiny 2 review – Classy
Destiny 2 introduces new subclasses to the game and changes some of the old ones from Destiny 1.
The subclasses are well balanced and each one is well worth using across all 3 classes. Playing each class felt familiar but the subclass changes make a world of difference to how they are played.
The new subclasses Arcstrider (Hunter), Dawnblade (Warlock) and Sentinel (Titan) bring new abilities to the classes. Hunters can now evasively dodge, Warlocks can charge up their grenades with arcane power or summon healing rifts and Titans can shoulder bash and put up defensive shields.
Whether you are a Hunter utilizing Arcstrider to dish out the pain or a Titan Sentinel using a shield to soak up damage, Destiny 2’s subclass super abilities are better than ever.
Destiny 2 review – Things to see and do in the future
The sheer amount of things to do in-game is mind-boggling – Lost Sectors are areas that are specifically marked off on the map by a symbol and lead to hidden loot caches.
Public Events are random high intensity battles that show up far more frequently than in Destiny 1. “Adventures” are story driven missions that reward you with gear. “Milestones” have been added that are specific tasks that need to be performed to earn rare loot drops.
Patrols make a return and are useful in completing specific challenges related to milestones. And of course, Strikes (3 player missions separate from the main story that end with a boss fight), Nightfalls (Harder Strikes with modified gameplay parameters) and the “Leviathan” Raid are also available to keep you busy for hours on end.
Additionally, each major location features an NPC character that serves as both a vendor and quest giver with rewards being granted for performing reputation boosting tasks or handing in reputation tokens. The Destiny 2 sandbox is filled with toys and you as the player just need to go out there and play.
Destiny 2 review – For the players
The game’s Player versus Player aspect has also got an overhaul and teamwork is now key to winning. Previously in Destiny 1, the Crucible’s PvP was chaotic and while still incredibly fun, seemed to lack a clear purpose other than when the Iron Banner PvP event came around.
Destiny 2’s Crucible features a Quickmatch arena, which pairs teams of 4 against each other in a range of gameplay modes, and a Competitive mode which rewards you with better gear while greatly favouring teamwork.
With the addition of milestones, the crucible is now teeming with players and clear goals have been set – Crush your opponents, seek victory and earn better loot as a team.
Graphically, Destiny 2 makes Destiny 1 seem empty and devoid of detail. The amount of effort put into the game’s worlds results in a gorgeous sandbox players can lose themselves in. Whether it’s Earth, Nessus or Io, each location has an aesthetic that’s immediately recognizable and graphically beautiful.
The soundtrack is great too with orchestral themes and high intensity battle music aplenty. There’s also haunting background tracks for when the game takes on a slower pace during exploration. Fans of Destiny 1 will also be glad to know that some of the first game’s themes have found their way to the sequel albeit with much more flair than ever before. Hearing the main theme play in Destiny 2 is something you won’t easily forget.
Destiny 2 review – Conclusion
Destiny 1’s fantastic first-person gunplay and third-person action has been tweaked to perfection in Destiny 2. Weapons handle great and casting your super abilities has never been more fun.
There are few minor problems in the game such as not being able to mark any specific location on the game’s map besides assigned waypoints and some slight server hiccups but other than that, there isn’t much to complain about.
Bungie have delivered a solid first person shooter with an equal emphasis on both solo and multiplayer gameplay. The addition of Clans and “Guided Games” (Clan led Strikes, nightfalls and so on) will ensure that players will continue to play the game and have as much fun as possible in the process.
Overall Destiny 2 is a sequel that will secure the franchise’s spot in the hearts of returning Guardians and is certainly more than enough to grab newcomers alike.
It’s still Destiny at its core but that isn’t a bad thing and the game is easily one of the best First Person Shooters available on PS4 and Xbox One (and later, PC) right now.
- Destiny 2 was reviewed on a PS4. The reviewer purchased their own copy of the game.