Review: Destiny 2 (2017)

Destiny 2 after one month became 2017's best selling game, but has it lived up to the hype?

Destiny 2 is developer Bungie’s eagerly anticipated sequel to the highly popular first installment. There has certainly been some hype around Destiny 2 which is clear from the fact that after just one month of sales since its release at the beginning of September, it was already the best-selling game of 2017. As someone who hasn’t played Destiny, I have been excited to see what all the fuss is about.

An opening cinematic sets the scene for the player and helps those who had not played the original by introducing The Traveller, a giant moon-like orb that give the Guardians their power that sits above an Earth city. Before starting the journey though, players can customise their Guardian. As in the first, there are three classes to choose from; Titan, Hunter and Warlock depending on your play style. Titans are an assault class, whilst Hunter is considered more of an agile sharpshooter class and lastly Warlock being based around having magic abilities. Customisable Race (Human, Awoken or Exo), facial features, hair and markings are available to players, although rather limited.

Here the campaign begins. Another cinematic shows characters discuss satellites that seem to have gone missing during a storm. Its quickly realised though this is not due to a storm, but an enemy, known as the Cabal, and the control tower is suddenly under attack along with the whole city. The reason for the attack is The Traveller and the enemy wants their hands on it; so much so that they start attaching a giant tripod like spacecraft to it whilst destroying the city.

This is where your Guardian appears, in a fancy little spacecraft. Upon landing your ship your first objective is to make contact with your allies in the control tower and begin an evacuation whilst the aliens attack the city. Now I know it’s Bungie so in them doing a space-based shooter, similarities are possibly inevitable and I’m sure people have said this before, but… Halo anyone? Pretty sure it’s virtually the same intro as at least one of the Halo series anyway.

The player is introduced to the combat and controls through a short but very enjoyable set of single player missions, before being dropped into a zone with other newcomers for a first dungeon style encounter. At the end of this though the player meets the villain Ghaul who looks like a bit of cross between Jabba the Hut and Darth Vader. After a short fight in which your Guardian loses, you’re almost killed. Just from this short initial mission, it’s clear to see why the game is popular amongst its fans as it was exciting and it sets the scene for the rest of the campaign.

From here you make your way to ‘The Farm’ where the player, starting at level 1, is able to access more of the game’s features and continue the main campaign which is interesting but not mind-blowing. The amount of options to the player in their journey to level 20 is one of Destiny’s stronger points. From the Campaign in which more features are unlocked to players, quests across planets which can be done with friends, Destiny’s dungeons and raids, to pop up public PvE events such as bosses and of course PvP. For all these activities players are of course given loot and the aim to max out to level 20 and have gear stats of over 300. Loot therefore, is king in Destiny and only through raids are players able to break past a gear score of 265 and find the rarest gear.

From a gameplay point of view though Destiny is a bit of a mixed bag. For the most part movement and combat feels a bit labored. Movement is somewhat slow and the combat lacks the intensity that is present in other first-person shooters such as Battlefield. This is possibly due to the small teams with large maps. Even placing the look sensitivity up to full didn’t quite make the impact I thought it would and it’s particularly felt in the PvP (but maybe it’s just a console thing). The game modes that are available are entertaining though, with classic team deathmatch, domination (capture zones) and supremacy (pick up orbs from dead enemies/teammates) to name a few. These are accessed via The Crucible, where Guardians train, and there are casual as well as more hardcore modes for more competitive players.

Graphically though the game is top class. The detail of the different worlds and levels are of a really high standard, visually epic and its clear to see the attention to detail. This combined with the VFX of explosions and shooting, as well as a particularly good soundtrack, really make the game impressive, showing how vital these are to ambience of games. The only criticism is that some of the gear available visually is questionable, some items looking epic whilst others a little samey or just strange.

Overall though as impressive as Destiny 2 is, I have my reservations as to whether it can hold a significant long-term player base, particularly with its PvP content which feels somewhat sluggish compared to more fast-paced or tactical shooters. This said it is a fun game with a good amount content to give players options; there won’t be many times particularly in the grind to level 20 that you’ll have nothing to do. Any DLCs will be interesting however, as once at level 20 there is only a limited amount of end-game content. Getting a few buddies and starting a clan together for co-op PvE or PvP would be an absolute blast however and players are rewarded more for playing with friends. If you just want a bit of enjoyable sci-fi action though, Destiny 2 is for you as it is probably the best sci-fi shooter out at the moment.

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