I will try to save you some time by recommending Destiny 2 from the start. Yes, I am putting the cart before the horse, but there isn’t much else to say if you’re an experienced Destiny player.
Destiny 2 is literally more Destiny, but with a lot of smart improvements added in; therefore, if you were thinking about the game I would suggest you stop reading and go buy it already. If you need more convincing, I am happy to argue in favour of Destiny 2 for a few more paragraphs.
When you look at Destiny 2 in pieces, or as a package, you can’t help but be impressed by what Bungie has accomplished. The visuals are objectively beautiful, and the item density of the game-spaces has a lived in feeling that makes the world seem alive. The controls are nearly identical to the previous game, but that’s fine because both games felt extremely responsive. The assistance features—like for headshots—help just enough to make you feel like a god. The digital artwork that makes up the solar system in Destiny is modelled as realistically as possible, and when science fiction takes over it remains interesting. The voice acting is pretty solid, but how could it be bad with Bill Nighy, Gina Torres, Lance Reddick, Nathan Fillion, and others laying down vocals?
The music is also well done.
I should also mention that the story of Destiny 2 is a massive improvement on the previous game, but that bar is so low that Bungie had to bury it in the ground before they could step over it. It is also kind of disappointing in its own right. Without spoilers, I will simply say that the story of Destiny 2 is all about the journey and not the destination. There are a lot of awesome moments along the way, but it just limps off stage towards the end. You should also accept that most of the questions you have from Destiny will not be answered. Who and where is the Stranger? What happens to the Queen’s brother? Why are the Taken still around? Didn’t we destroy the being that was controlling them? For that matter didn’t I kill the Vex’s god? Destiny 2 is a self-contained story and you will just have to accept that any previous progress does not matter here.
Once you do accept that you can focus on the gameplay of Destiny 2, and that is where the true fun will be found. A few weeks back I wrote that the Madden franchise has the most gameplay for the price tag, but now I am forced to reconsider that statement. Destiny 2 starts with the campaign narrative out of the box, but slowly opens up to allow you to roam the various game spaces. Out in the open you will find community events, loot dungeons, individual quests with light narratives, and plenty of dancing with anyone who passes by. After that you can try your hand at one of the game’s various multiplayer modes that make up for their unoriginality with sheer numbers. You can run the regular strikes—3 player missions that you grind for loot—or you can play the weekly nightfall version of a strike to test your skills. If you still need something to do, you can try your hand at a Leviathan raid. It’s an assassination mission to take down a high ranking cabal official who somehow discovered and remodelled his base after ancient Egypt. Parts of it seem a little repetitive, but there are various secret paths around the map that will have YouTubers posting videos for weeks to come.
Luckily for those of you who want to play the raid, you’ll have an easier time looking for a group this time. Among the many new features is something called guided games, and it allows you to temporarily join up with experienced players to access the more difficult parts of Destiny 2. It’s also a perfect representation of why I enjoy Destiny 2 so much. The original Destiny was a fun game, but most players agree that it was full of problems. Bungie took this chance to upgrade any part of the game they thought they could improve, and this resulted in the Director. The Director is a tool available to help navigate the maps of Destiny 2 from anywhere in the game. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but it means you no longer have to go into space to load the next mission. Engrams are also now sorted in their own area of your inventory, and you no longer have to switch your weapons constantly to take down shielded enemies. The mission checkpoints are a little more reasonable this time around, and it is a lot easier to wander from activity to activity. The list of improvements goes on, but I know that these improvements are not the most exciting things to discuss; therefore, I will simply say that they all contribute to a better overall experience.
Sadly, that overall experience is not perfect. My biggest complaint with Destiny 2 is the multiplayer team sizes. This time Bungie decided to drop the multiplayer teams down to 4v4, and that’s not surprising since this is the studio that made Halo; however, dropping two people per team has had an unintended consequence: Destiny 2 multiplayer usually ends in a one sided battle. I have played multiple games online against other players and I’ve never once seen a close game. I was either part of a team that dominated from the word go, or I was on a losing team that was just riding out the match. This wasn’t as much of a problem with the original Destiny since the six player teams allowed a few bad shots to play and not screw up the match; however, if you are going to get Destiny 2 just know that you have to bring your A-game to the Crucible.
Shaders are also a major issue, but probably not for the reason you think. As everyone reported recently, a lot of the cosmetic aspects of Destiny 2 will be sold for real money. This isn’t really an issue since you don’t need that stuff to play, but as a result of this direction Bungie drastically changed the way that shaders work. Before everyone had one shader that covered their whole body and it could be recycled. Now each shader only covers a single piece of gear—arm armour, torso armour, helmets, etc.—and once used it’s gone forever. This makes the whole shader system completely useless since there is no point in applying shaders until the very end when you keep your gear. As a result, everyone has the style of a thrift shop exploding on them, and it doesn’t look good. The last issue seems like the biggest problem, but for me it was the smallest. Destiny gave you markers along the way to show you where the next objective was. This hasn’t changed drastically, but I feel like Bungie took the training wheels off a bit this time. As a result, expect to get lost a bit more often in Destiny 2 since the navigation icons hold your hands less; also, they might not always direct you to the exact place you need to be.
Overall there is no reason to debate the idea of buying Destiny, a gut reaction is more than enough this time. The issues I just mentioned did have a negative impact my experience, but only by a fraction. The overall product is great, and while it might be reductive it is also accurate to call this game more Destiny. The majority of changes are positive, and they are built on a solid foundation of gameplay. When people look back on this franchise in the coming years I have a feeling that Destiny 2 will be seen as a turning point.