Destiny 2: Analysis & First Impressions

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Bungie’s Destiny is one of the best new IPs in recent years. That said, it certainly had its share of growing pains, but fans of the game have seen it through those times and now are being rewarded with Destiny 2. Destiny 2 seems to be a good mix of MMORPG and shooter genre. It has a little bit of everything — enough social interaction to play with your friends and teammates without relying completely on others and enough activity to keep everyone entertained. The game offers much more to do than the first Destiny and is quite a step up both in story and gameplay.

The Story

Destiny 2 starts off with a bang. Your character has been utterly and thoroughly defeated and left for dead while the new bad guys ravage everything you hold dear. You must slowly build yourself up, finding the Light again that grants your immortality along the way. It’s a classic underdog story and you must fight from the bottom up to regain your impressive power.

The story campaign in Destiny 2 is extensive and compelling. The first Destiny suffered from lore being hidden away inside the Grimoire, whereas Destiny 2 has it ever-present within the game and various main and side missions. The game starts with a cinematic display of your past accomplishments from the first game right before it is violently ripped from you by the new villain, Dominus Ghaul. He is intent on attacking the Last City of Earth in order to gain access to the Traveler. Once you get your footing and find out what happened to your immortality and the Light, you must save the Traveler and stop Ghaul.

There are four new worlds to explore in Destiny 2. The Earth location takes place in the European Dead Zone where humanity is fighting against the darkness. Players also travel to two far moons in their search for information, Titan and Io of Saturn and Jupiter respectively. The fourth location is a planetoid named Nessus.

The Gameplay

The game’s zones follow the MMO model, with open-world activities and side-quests in each area to keep players engrossed and occupied. There are two new activities for players in place of the first game’s Patrol Missions: Adventures and Lost Sectors. Adventures are side missions to add more context and backstory to the main campaign story, while Lost Sectors are more for the open-exploring type. They are hidden areas in the world with visual clues for players to discover them and they act as sort of a mini-dungeon out in the world.

The game now includes an in-game map, which allows for faster travel and less downtime. Using the map will teleport players to marked landing zones, with new ones opening up through campaign progression. This allows for more time spent playing the game and less time traveling.

After the campaign and when you hit level 20, the grind to increase your power level in order to attempt raids begins. The game scales world activities to players’ levels so that nothing is exceedingly hard or easy. While there is undoubtedly more things to do at end-game than the first Destiny, trying to gear up can get a little stale at times. Gear can be acquired from a plethora of activities, including strike missions, Public Events, and PvP.

Player vs Player

Destiny’s Crucible has a made a return for competitive multiplayer matches. One significant change is that the amount of players has been scaled down to make it a little more intimate. In the original Destiny, matches consisted of six players on each side. In Destiny 2, it’s four versus four.

There are five Crucible modes for a variety of PvP activities. The two deathmatch modes and the control mode returned from the first Destiny and two new modes were introduced with Destiny 2 — a Countdown mode where players attempt to set bombs, and a Survival elimination deathmatch with limited lives. There are 10 Crucible maps for PC and Xbox players, while PlayStation 4 players get an additional map for a total of 11. One of the Crucible maps was unlocked with the world-first kill of the first raid a week after launch

One notable difference between PvP in Destiny versus Destiny 2 is that PvP is now much more team-oriented than before. This makes playing with friends a lot of fun, but playing with strangers can be a frustrating hassle since targets require communication and coordinated attacks.

The New Raid

The first raid takes place after the story campaign has ended in a gilded ship belonging to the previous Cabal Emperor. The ship is the Leviathan, a massive structure with several wings of raid encounters. A fireteam of Guardians enter the ship to complete challenges in the Royal Pools, the Pleasure Gardens, and the Royal Gauntlet before ascending to Emperor Calus’ throne room to fight a mechanized version of the former ruler.

The raid has drawn some criticism from console players for its unwieldy design. The Leviathan Castellum is the central point where teams open the way into each encounter with puzzle games and frustrating fight mechanics. The Gardens in particular seem to be a main point of contention, employing stealth as the main objective to complete the encounter with a very frustrating AI.

Raid mechanics were also changed from Destiny to Destiny 2 and now deaths are much more punishing. Players who die will start a timer that essentially wipes out the rest of the team if the encounter is not finished in time. Resurrections are also limited through a set amount of Revive Tokens. Complaints note that Revive Tokens seem to be almost punishing for previous Destiny players when the first game had no such limits. Players fear that it will ensure low skill players will never be taken into a raid, as they present a hazard should they die. However, limited resurrections come as no surprise to players who have played MMOs, where the death of one player can end the whole encounter.

The raid is particularly mechanic-heavy, but it’s meant to be completed as a cohesive team. Like PvP, there is a definite emphasis on organized team play. With the fireteams of three players and new clan system, the game is building the foundation for social connections. Even though some players are displeased with the relative difficulty the raid presents, it seems to be in-line with previous raids from the first Destiny as far as world-first clears go. The raid went live a week after launch and was beaten 5.5 hours later, which is a similar time frame for the other world-first kills.

PC vs Console

While the game launched earlier this month for console, the PC version was deliberately delayed to make sure it was the best it could be. The first Destiny was exclusive to consoles but the PC version of Destiny 2 is be available through Activision’s sister company, Blizzard, as part of their Battle.net launcher.

There are a few differences between the PC and console versions. There is no cross-platform support, so the version you purchase will be the only version you can play and access your character from. This is not really surprising for anyone familiar with other games in the shooter genre — Overwatch also has console and PC versions entirely separate.

Aside from platform access, there are also console exclusives. Everyone who pre-ordered the game before the console launch received an exotic trace rifle, but there were additional exclusives for PlayStation 4. Sony struck a special pre-order deal with PS4 players getting an exclusive strike, a set of legendary armor for each class, a ship, an exotic sniper rifle and an additional Crucible map. These will be exclusive to PS4 for at least a year until Fall 2018.

The platforms also have technical differences. Consoles are limited to 30 frames per second and lack a field of view slider. In contrast, the PC game will have uncapped fps and will support up to 144 Hz with support for 4k resolution and ultra-wide monitors. It will also have full keyboard and mouse support with custom key mapping. However, it won’t officially support any mods.

Destiny 2’s Success As A Sequel

All in all, it seems like Bungie directly addressed issues players had with the original Destiny and created the game everyone was asking for with Destiny 2. The campaign is lengthy and engrossing, a stark contrast to the first game where leveling was merely an obstacle to get through. The story is actually in the game and is much more cohesive and compelling. The game systems were updated according to player feedback and there is much more to do in the game as a whole. It seems like Destiny 2 is the breath of fresh air the franchise needed.

Are you playing Destiny 2 on PC or Console? What do you think so far? Come talk with us on our Discord channel!

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