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Review: Destiny 2

 

Destiny one had one of the best theories to develop a game: the first MMO shooter game that could have the best MMO aspects mixed with the best shooter aspects. We all believed it, we all went along with the hype but Bungie and Activision couldn’t deliver what was told. The game had an awful story, dull missions, and a high grinding gameplay experience. The game did survive the gaming community for the most part but it wasn’t enough until they revealed the whole package: Destiny + all of the expansions. This package should have been Destiny from the start. Destiny 2 justlaunched, let’s see what Bungie made of it…

 

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To deliver some of the excitement, Bungie did a far better job with Destiny 2 than it did with Destiny. The game had a fluent launch except for some other network users and the game comes with a better storyline and more polished gameplay objectives. However, it’s not enough to blast away the mistakes that were made a couple of years ago with the original Destiny. Let’s start from the beginning…

The story is all about the Traveler that’s being captured by the Cabal. Of course, this isn’t good news since the Traveller offers hope, peace, light, and power. All the players within this world, are Guardians and they’re accompanied by a Ghost. Ghost are robots that are created by the Traveller to help us out in our fight against immediate threats to the Traveller and the people around it. After your first confrontation with the Cabal, it quickly becomes clear that we weren’t prepared for this battle. The Traveller becomes captive and the leader of the Cabal strips away its light and therefore our powers as well. It’s the player’s mission to eliminate the Cabal threat, free the Traveller and help to rebuild the world as it once was. With the help of a shard of the Traveller, we regain our powers and are ready to face the world as it is, dark and full of enemies.

 

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The singleplayer storyline will take you to different planets in the surrounding where you’ll be facing known enemies and helpful allies. Every planet has its own design and atmosphere. Each planet offers a unique landscape that’s interesting to explore and fun to play. Bungie always succeeded in creating a beautiful landscape within the fantasy setting, and this time it’s not different. Even though the planets look very unique, known enemies will cause mayhem on these planets. Our enemies consist of the Fallen, the Cabal, the Hive and the Vex. These enemies are definitely known to the Destiny veterans and won’t change the battleground or the way you approach them that much. Each enemy does have some new recruits, but most of the time you’ll be fighting the same enemies as before. Not much excitement there but the way these different enemies interact with each other does bring some tactical advantages to the scenery but then again, you’ll be the one that’ll give out the “BANGS”.

 

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The singleplayer campaign can be finished under twelve hours but it’s difficult to put a real “duration” on it because a lot of side quests will draw away your attention from the main campaign which builds up your playtime with a couple more hours. With all of the cutscenes and story missions, I can easily say that the core storyline has been improved since the original Destiny. The story is okay and believable but then again, it’s also very predictable. The cutscenes are a big plus along with the “funny jokes” that’ll pass you by along the way. It seems that the “living world” within Destiny 2 has a lot more to offer than the first one. Destiny one also had different planets to go to but they looked deserted with not much to do. It was all about hopping up on your sparrow and ride to the next area where the “instanced” battle will occur. Don’t get me wrong, Destiny 2 does the same thing but the amount of “life” and “happenings” has been improved.

Even though Destiny 2 maintains the exact same formula from as the original one, they did add some features that’ll offer you a lot more enjoyment. For example, one of the “biggest” changes they made, is the implementation of a fast travel system. Even though you’ll be able to hop on your sparrow and race your fellow Guardians to the next objective, it’s a pleasant feature that’ll make a lot of gamers happy. Each planet has story missions but after you finished the story missions, different “adventures” will be opened to you, to expand your gameplay even further. Not only are there “adventures” to deal with, there are also “announced” public events that’ll make the game a lot more accessible. The first Destiny also had public events but it wasn’t very clear when and where something was happening and now all of these public events are marked on the map with a timer, so it’s easier to meet up with friends, achieve greatness and obtain the loot. There are also still patrols on each planet but instead of “accepting and completing a mission before I search for another patrol”, you now have a short list of objectives and all of these patrols are a lot more enjoyable thanks to the voice overs and “guided objectives”.

 

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Loot also received a big update. Loot is a lot more common than the first one and this has been the best upgrade ever. Almost each enemy you’ve killed drops loot. The loot doesn’t take up the form of engrams but equipment. The original Destiny had an okay loot system but loot could only be obtained by certain missions and enemies would “often” drop loot. But this loot took up the form of engrams and these engrams have to be “inspected” first before you’re able to figure out what kind of loot you’ll be having and how good or bad the stats will be. Destiny 2 made it a lot more fun to grind some loot. Loot still comes in the form of engrams but these engrams are either legendaries or a collection of equipment and/or shaders. Another great update is the use of bright engrams. Once a character has been leveled up to level 20, the leveling still continues in the form of “bright engrams”. You kill enemies, gain exp. and you fill your level 20 bar to the max, over and over again. Each time you gain a bar, a bright engram will be given to you and this engram contains different kinds of loot. This is a great use of the “lost experience”, once you’ve hit level 20. There are even chests spread out on the planets with “real” loot and not just glimmer. There are even Lost Zones which are your typical small dungeons that are crawling with a horde of enemies and a boss enemy at the end. If he dies, he’ll drop a key that gives you access to another loot box.

Whatever you’re doing in Destiny 2 and even though they’ve made some great improvements, the game wouldn’t be so much fun if it wasn’t for the Co-op content. The game also offers Strikes, Nightfall and Raids. These “missions” can only be achieved if you’re willing to team-up with other gamers and form a Fireteam. Destiny 2 is an objective based MMO shooter which hints to “co-op” gameplay elements, so team up and it will make the game a lot more pleasant.

 

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If you’re out of luck and you don’t have many friends to play with, don’t you worry my friend. Bungie offers a great matchmaking system when you’re lining up for a Strike mission. However, the matchmaking option isn’t available when it comes to Nightfall and Raids which is kind of lame since it’s a lot more difficult content to play. You can try and play it all by yourself but you’ll be disappointed in the end. It’s weird to think that the developers made this decision…You’ll have to convince friends to play Destiny if you want to go head to head with the enemies of the Raid.? It’s not that fun to realize, you won’t be able to play the “best looting content” if you don’t have any friends by your side…

… however, to zone that problem out, there’s a little solution for your problem. Join a clan and your clan members will be able to join a solo player in a guided game. Destiny 2 will link you up with clan members so you can team up with them to go head on with Nightfall, Strikes, and Raids. The clan members will also be rewarded with legendary loot if they help. We’ll have to wait how this turns out because this feature is still in beta. Not bad Bungie, but still… weird.

 

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It would be disappointing if this content couldn’t be accessed if you’re more of a solo type of player. The best loot can only drop when you’re playing a Nightfall, Strike or Raid. These modes are the modes, experience players are looking for. Bungie will release different DLC packs this year and there will always be room for more Raids. The goal of Destiny is not to finish your main campaign but it’s all about obtaining loot, raising your power level and join high-level content to obtain even more loot that’ll help you with perfecting your character. These high-level content zones can only be completed if you have a hell of a team and the only way to obtain such a team is to play constantly with the same members over and over again to come up with different playstyles or even strategies that’ll help you with completing the content.

If PVE group content isn’t enough to float your boat, there’s always the Crucible to help you out in your time of need. The crucible is a PVP arena that offers different game modes such as TDM, Capture the flag, Countdown (Search and Destroy), Supremacy ( Kill Confirmed) … etc. The arena gives the player the opportunity to team up with 3 other members and go head to head with another 4-player team. Every match rewards the player with Crucible tokens that can be used to gain some new loot from the Crucible master. In comparison with the original Destiny, the matches run fluently and are very high paced because of the smaller maps and excellent gunplay or even the use of your Super abilities. You can earn a lot of excellent loot just by playing PVP. This will help you with the grind to power level 260 since it’s necessary to play a Raid. There isn’t a large number of maps that are included in Destiny 2, so you’ll be playing a lot of the same maps during your PVP battles.

 

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This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it’ll help you to gain some intel on different PVP strategies and tactical advantages the maps have to offer. There’s a good tempo during the matches and it was a decision to lower the reload times of your Super abilities and grenades. This makes up for some challenging matches. You’ll appreciate your abilities a lot more and you’ll notice that a good timed Super ability or a well-placed grenade throw, can alter the battlefield very quickly and turn the odds in your favor. All of these different elements combined creates a more tactical approach than the original Destiny. You’ll have to stay with your team and become successful as a team instead of a starving lone wolf. Great communication and strategizing will make your success rate blow up to the roof.

All of these things we talked about, or even new or have been updated and everything seems to fit perfectly into the puzzle of the Destiny’s franchise. However, even though the core gameplay hasn’t been changed tremendously, Destiny delivers a great gameplay experience. Now, the gameplay experience wouldn’t be much if the most “simplistic” things weren’t in order and I’m talking about the core mechanics of the game: running, jumping, gliding, handling of the weapons, … they all have been improved from the original and that’s the glue that holds all of these gameplay elements within the single player or multiplayer together. The arsenal of Destiny has been expanded with some awesome weapons and there’ll be weapons you love and even hate but that’s the beauty of Destiny. Each weapon is unique due to its stats and most of the time due to its looks. Figure them all out and use the weapons that suit your gameplay best.

 

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One thing I would like to mention before I’m ending this review is the soundtrack of Destiny. The game wouldn’t be what it is now if it wasn’t for the soundtrack. Every area has its own touch of music and it feels like the music itself is “living”. The music changes constantly when you’re battling enemies or exploring the planets and its music to my ears. The amount of influence music can have on your gameplay style or experience while playing the game, is tremendous and it makes the game even better!  The mix between gun sounds, vocals, and techno beats makes the soundtrack a delight to listen to.

 

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Conclusion:

The final score for this game isn’t an easy one to make. I enjoy the game a lot but I also know that there has been a lot of the same elements implemented in Destiny 2 that came from the original one. Let’s be honest here for a moment…

Destiny 2 doesn’t bring a lot of new things to the table but a lot of the improvements have made the game a lot more enjoyable than its predecessor. However, some people don’t think “Destiny 2” is a worthy successor that can be tagged as a full on new game… Yes, a lot of the elements have been copied and remastered from the first one but Bungie also made some important changes to the game that will alter Destiny’s future. The new features such as the cinematic story, fast travel, “living worlds”, upgraded loot system, … are additions that make the game a lot more enjoyable than the original Destiny and these additions were critical. The basic core mechanics like the shooting, the grind for loot, PVP modes, …etc. hasn’t been changed much but why rework the whole formula if the formula has a lot of potential. I think Destiny 2 has the elements to become a successful game and the developers took a big step forward, now is the time to build up further and keep the players interesting.

There’s a lot of content to go through with Destiny 2 and a lot more hours can easily be spent in the game if you’re willing to put in the effort. Playing the game with friends is something I recommended. The game is meant to play with others, otherwise, you’ll quickly be frustrated since the game won’t allow you to solo most of its content. All of Destiny’s elements make up for a great game and I recommended to give this franchise another chance.

 

8 /10

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