Review – Destiny 2
I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Destiny, giving the 2014 kickoff to Bungie’s newest IP a 3.5/5 despite sinking considerable time into it playing alongside friends over the next few years. While the gameplay was divine, Bungie didn’t deliver either a compelling story or a ‘gotta have it all’ loot system and while they fixed some issues with the loot in subsequent downloadable content (DLC) releases, it left people wanting more out of an eventual sequel.
Destiny 2, released last week, does address at least a few of the issues I had with the original game, chief among them the lack of a coherent story. This time around it’s a much more engaging storyline pitting the player’s Guardian (and some returning and new characters) against Dominus Ghaul – a Cabal tyrant out to steal the Traveler’s power to augment his vast army. While the first game lacked the lore to back up an entirely new universe, with the Grimoire pages detailing what came before (and making sense of the story) only available on Bungie’s website, this time around the lore is all in-game.
Outside of those major quality of life improvements, Bungie hasn’t really changed much for the sequel. The gameplay feels very much the same, albeit with a much nicer coat of paint to the visuals. The trio of Hunter, Warlock, and Titan classes return, and while each gets a pair of new subclasses in addition to one returning subclass there’s not much distinguishing several of them from subclasses in the original game besides a new name and some minor tweaks.
The game includes some new areas to explore, but doesn’t add much in the way of new enemies. There’s no all-new enemy faction, for example, just a few new subtypes within the existing Taken/Fallen/Cabal from the original game. Even the content isn’t changed all that much, with patrols, strikes, and raids (the first of which was just added to the game) forming the bulk of ‘rinse and repeat’ gameplay once again.
What does change is the rate at which gamers can access these expansions to the gameplay loop, with Bungie locking patrols and strikes behind a quest line for much of the game’s story. If you want to play PVP – even if that’s all you want to play, you’re forced to play through the campaign until you unlock PVP and then must finish several further quests to unlock full access to it. And while you can skip the cutscenes this time around, starting a new character means playing through what feels, on a second viewing, like a painfully slow intro section.